Theme park history is fascinating enough on its own, but Disneyland history is especially fascinating. Why? Because, as these incredible—and, in some cases, almost unbelievable—former Disneyland attractions underline, the early years in the park were wild. Live mules! Real fishing! Actual mermaids! Can you imagine the careful, safety-oriented Disneyland of today launching these kinds of attractions? Nope. But when the park had just flung open its gates to visitors, all these and more could be found within its borders.
If you grew up during a particular era in the United States, you’ve likely encountered a particular piece of child-friendly jewelry that was, for a brief period, a must-have on the playground: the slap bracelet—a bracelet made of a thin strip of metal housed in a colorful cloth covering which could be straightened out, and then made to curl up as if by magic when slapped on a wrist. But who invented the slap bracelet, an item that was ubiquitous in the early ‘90s? Is there an individual with whom we can credit the simple yet effective toy?