On this day in 1956, the Barstow family from Wethersfield, Connecticut left for a week-long California vacation. Many families had taken vacations to the West Coast ... but this one had a few unique Disney twists to it.
The 5-member family won the trip when youngest son Danny won a nation wide contest sponsored by the 3M Scotch Tape Company. The prize included airfare, 4 days worth of Disneyland tickets, and hotel accommodations. Like many proud fathers, Robbins Barstow (an ardent amateur filmmaker) filmed the entire week-long adventure (which also included visits to Knotts Berry Farm & Universal Studios). Pieced together into a 30-minute color amateur documentary (complete with narration and cornball jokes), the film was later titled Disneyland Dream.
Fast forward to December 2008 - Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the names of 25 important motion pictures to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Among the 25 chosen was Barstow's Disneyland Dream! (Robbins had donated the film, along with 11 other titles in the Robbins Barstow 20th Century Family Home Movie Collection.) Chosen for its historical and cultural significance, Disneyland Dream quickly became a must-see video on the internet.
A few weeks later in January 2009, it was announced that comedian/actor & former Disneyland employee Steve Martin had recognized himself in the Barstow's 1956 film. About 20 minutes into the documentary, a young Martin can be seen selling guidebooks just inside Disneyland's entrance!
Little did the Barstow family know that when they left for their memorable vacation on July 11, 1956 ... they would forever become part of Disney history.
(Update: In March 2010, Disneyland Dream was released to DVD!)
Click HERE for more July 11 Disney History.