Admiral Joe Fowler & King Hussein at Disneyland

Sunday will be the 56th Anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. Instead of another photo of Walt, the image above shows Admiral Joe Fowler, showing a signboard full of coming Disneyland attractions to King Hussein of Jordan in April 1959. Additions that opened that summer included the Monorail, the Submarines, and the Matterhorn. A color image of the same signboard can be seen below. (I think I snagged the color one from an eBay auction at some point.) A clearer version can be found on Flickr.

Rear Admiral Joseph W. Fowler (1894-1993) had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy and was in charge of the naval shipyard in San Francisco during WWII. During the planning phases for Disneyland, it was felt that a naval expert was needed to help build the Mark Twain steamboat. Disneyland Vice President and General Manager C.V. Wood, Jr. contacted the retired admiral. Not only did Fowler get the job, but he also got the job of supervising the construction of the entire theme park. Some years later, he was given the same task at Walt Disney World in Florida. He also, beginning at age 87, worked on Epcot Center. The dry dock for the Mark Twain and sailing ship Columbia is still known as "Fowler's Harbor."

It seems King Hussein's first visit to Anaheim in 1959 went pretty smoothly. A return trip to Disneyland in 1981, with Queen Noor and their two young sons, was a bit rockier as a park guest innocently blew past the large security detail and shook hands with the King.