The Walt Disney Studios have always had a long time fascination with mermaids and Disneyland is no exception. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California opened it’s gates on July 17th, 1955. It was the only park to be designed and built to completion, with direct supervision, by the company’s founder Walt E. Disney.
In 1959, when the Submarine Voyage opened at the Disneyland, there were two attractions, there were eight mermaids selected to be apart of the festive celebration.
So how did Disney find such beautiful mermaids for their lagoon?
Prior, to the opening in June, there was an open casting call to find female swimmers with long hair. The auditions were held at the Disneyland Hotel swimming pool.
The lucky girls, who got hired as mermaids, practiced at the Disneyland Hotel pool, before they were given their tails and were allowed access to swim in the park. They were also paid $45 a week, which was a lot for that time.
A few weeks, prior to the June opening, the girls selected to be mermaids at the park, practiced in Submarine Lagoon. They were surrounded by construction, as the Matterhorn was being constructed, as well as the final touches for Submarine Lagoon. They were warned, to keep their distance from the submarine, since there was no barrier.
When the Submarine Lagoon did open in June, the mermaids would safely swim around the submarine, giving guests a jaw dropping and memorable experience underwater and above the surface. The mermaids would perform tricks, such as flips and turns with their tails. Their costumes consisted of a starfish top and a beautiful neoprene tail.
Guests, could also see the mermaids aboard the monorail, that transported park guests from the Disneyland Hotel to Disneyland.
As part of the design of the lagoon, there was rock, that would provide warmth for the mermaids, since the water was 55-degrees and was freezing cold. The rock, became the hangout spot for the mermaids to warm up in the sun and chat amongst themselves. It was also a great spot for guests to see a breathtaking scene of mermaids lounging in the sun.
Unfortunately, the mermaids at the lagoon, were shut down, due to ongoing safety concerns and regulations.
As someone, whose a Disney Parks enthusiasts and a lover of all things mermaids, it must’ve been so magical to witness those mermaids at Disneyland.