The early 1960’s are near and dear to the HoJo and of course Disneyland. New attractions were underway at the park and the 10-year anniversary was coming up in 1965. Construction began in 1962 for The Haunted Mansion attraction with a hopeful opening date in 1963.
By 1963 the exterior of the Mansion was complete but the Mansion sat hollow and unfinished for many years. The attraction was previewed on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” in 1965 but would not open it’s spooky doors until 1969! Delays on the Mansion involved Disney taking his creative team off the project in favor of the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and 1965. And of course the creative genius himself passed away in 1966 causing further delays. Disney’s original concept of the Mansion differed from what you see today, most notably you were intended to walk through the attraction and have a restaurant and museum waiting for you at the end of the ride. We think the existing mansion is pretty much perfect nonetheless.
Meanwhile, across from the Matterhorn a 10-acre orange grove was removed to make room for the brand new Howard Johnson Motor Lodge – a first on the west coast. With the familiar orange-roofed restaurant, the hotel and HoJo Restaurant opened on time for Disneyland’s 10th anniversary in the summer of 1965.
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