Back in 1987, a young silhouette artist at Disneyland, California named Harry Bryce, came up with an idea that changed the world and it wasn’t just limited to Disney but his artworks and designs were seen by people around the world.
Who Came Up With The Idea Of Disney Dollars?
Knowing how people love collecting anything that is associated with Disney, the Disney dollar was a great way to create both a currency as well as a way to provide an inexpensive method for guests to collect a little bit of that magic. Initially, they had thought about making a three-dollar bill with the three little pigs and a seven-dollar bill with the dwarves but they luckily went back to the idea of the one in the five-dollar bill instead. Now as for the design, it was decided to have a character on the front and an attraction on the back and to make sure the bills also had the feel of real money by using special 100% cotton paper.
It is highly speculated that Harry Bryce came up with this idea when he attended a Disney convention and witnessed how head over heels people was with anything and everything related to Disney. However, on the contrary, most people claim that the idea came from the Disney legend Jack Lindquist. Over the course of his 38 years with the Walt Disney Company, Jack would hold a number of executive positions.
In 1990, Jack was appointed to the best job in the world – President of Disneyland. Among the projects Jack spearheaded during his time as President, Disney Dollars was one of them.
The idea came to him while reading about the rise of the British pound in the financial section of a newspaper. He thought Disneyland is bigger than a lot of small countries so it should have a currency of its own.
Hence, the Disney Dollar was born and the Walt Disney Company became one of the first private organizations to print its own money and accept it in Disney parks like any other official currency.
Why Were The Disney Dollars Off To A Rocky Start?
At first and despite many efforts, Lindquist couldn’t find many supporters for his idea because many people assumed that it was some sort of play money for a limited promotion. They had done this before back when children could use Mickey Mouse phony bills to get ice cream cones at the local Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1930s. These bills were awarded at the theatre Mickey Mouse Club meetings on Saturday afternoons as part of a promotion to give away 1 million ice cream cones and they also used it with the 1 dollar recreation coupon – a type of coupon which was signed by Roy O Disney having their own unique serial numbers that were given to VIPs and occasionally special guests in 1971. But these could only be used at the Florida Park and did not have any cash value.
However, because Lindquist took it so seriously and was very persistent, others began to take it seriously and he was given permission to pursue the idea and the Disney Dollars were a huge success.
The Disney Dollars began with $1 and $5 bills. The 1 dollar had a waving Mickey Mouse on the front and the castle of Sleeping Beauty in the back. The 5 dollar bills featured a proud-looking Goofy on the front and the Mark Twain riverboat on the back. Both bills were signed by Scrooge McDuck and had a special appearance by Tinker Bell. They were first released in Disneyland on May 5th, 1987, and could only be used in Disneyland.
Special Features Of The Disney Dollars
Disney Dollars were no play money. Actually, Disney Dollars contain a variety of security features to help prevent counterfeiting. Some of these features included microprinting, intaglio ink printing, serial numbering, and special material imprinting.
The bills went through a complex intaglio engraving process that gave them raised texture and fine detail. Each bill had an individual serial number and was printed on rare expensive rag cotton stock bearing a subtle watermark and there was never an incident of the money being duplicated.
They also were the first currency to be used for color printers. Roughly 60,000 Dollars in Disney Dollars were sold on the very first day that it was launched.
Timeline Of The Disney Dollar
Disney released new Disney Dollars every year from 1987 to 2014, except for 1992, 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012. This included a 10-dollar bill featuring Minnie Mouse, a 50-dollar bill featuring Mickey Mouse made especially for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. A 10 dollar bill featuring Simba and commemorating the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World, another 10 dollar bill featuring Tinker Bell commemorating the 100 years of magic celebration and many more.
Sadly, on 14th May 2016, Disney retired Disney Dollars forever and hence came collector’s items.
A Disney spokesperson said,
“It’s a testimony to the enthusiasm and heart of Disney guests and collectors that Disney Dollars remain collectible even today.”
With that being said, Disney Dollars remain a classic even to this date. Hence, if you find one by chance, preserve it to add a nostalgic aura to your collections!
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked.
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