Monday, April 3, 2017

Children's Fairyland

April 2017 -- Recently visited to Children's Fairyland, a small theme park right in the middle of downtown Oakland, on lake Merritt.  Built in 1950.  A bit small and primitive by today's standards; nonetheless, small kids like it, it's charming in it's own way, and close, and accessible, and inexpensive.

More interesting is its history, and recognizable Disney references.  Built in 1950, it was one of the original themed amusement parks in the US.  Disney visited when developing ideas for Disneyland.  The park contains a lot of elements from earlier Disney movies like Pinocchio and Snow White, and a lot of the features in the park are motifs that would later be elaborated on a grander scale in Disneyland ... at least that's what I think, see the pictures and decide for yourself.


"Fairyland was built in 1950 by the Oakland Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, a local service club. The park was immediately recognized nationally for its unique value, and during the City Beautiful movement of the 1950s it inspired numerous towns to create their own parks. Walt Disney toured many amusement parks in 1950, including Children’s Fairyland, seeking ideas for what turned out to be Disneyland. He hired the first director of Fairyland, Dorothy Manes, to work at Disneyland as youth director, in which position she continued from the park's opening until 1972...."

"The park opened on September 2, 1950. Admission was 9 to 14 cents, depending on age. The original guides to the park were a dwarfish married couple dressed in glamorous Munchkin-style costumes. The park was reported on nationally, with numerous newsreels shot in the park. The original sets included Pinocchio's Castle, ThumbelinaThree Billy Goats Gruff, The Merry Miller, The Three Little Pigs, Willie the Whale, and several others. The entrance to the park was through the shoe illustrating the Old Woman in the Shoe. The entrance through the shoe was sized for children, so that adults had to bend over to go through."

Typical stylized structures with zany dimensions...

Snow White ... how they escaped Disney lawsuits I don't know...

Pirate ship with crow's nest...

Livery stable in the "Old West" section...
A whale that you can walk through ... to "Monstro" ride at


  1. Looks like it is kept up, brilliant colors.

  2. It is (it's) a wonderful deconstruction of its (its) overall construction.