Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Today I am following up on some discussions I've had in recent weeks...

So, forgive this repeat, but there was some question as to where exactly this photo was taken in the scheme of things. But thanks to Imagineer (and all around nice guy) Chris Merritt, I think we can say for sure where it was.


Years ago, and just because he wanted to (!), Chris drew an incredible, detailed map of Nature's Wonderland, in a style that is very reminiscent of Sam McKim's classic park maps. He gave me the "OK" to share some of it (well, all of it actually, but I don't want to be pushy). I am reasonably sure that the mules and mine train are right next to the western edge of Rainbow Ridge, about to circle Cascade Peak. Thanks Chris!


This photo of Harper's Mill, circa 1957, was posted back in January. Reader James Gluth was generous enough to send a photo to me showing the southern tip of Tom Sawyer Island the way it looked in January 2009, from almost the same exact angle. Wow, what a change! That "Fantasmic!" stage is massive, and I guess there is some sort of a pirate show performed here? Nevertheless, I do wish that it was a little more picturesque. Thanks for sharing your photo, James!



11 comments:

yellow_sub said...

haha yay! my picture made it to the blog! the second i saw your post of harpers mill i knew that angle seemed familiar. do what i did and open both in a separate window and click back and forth to really see the difference, it's just amazing.
about the first pics, im glad you posted that. i tried to picture in my head where it was taken from but was never really sure until now

Chiana said...

Thanks Chris Merritt! By the way if you see this Chris, I just saw you on the wondrous newest Sleeping Beauty video edition and want to rave. You come across as both inspired and amiable and somebody I'd love to see the park with. I hope to see the castle attraction in person, what I can see on the vid is so amazing and marvelously evokes the singular magic of Sleeping Beauty. It's not like a new attempt to recapture a lost style but like the film makers had made the attraction. It's alive!

Your map looks joyful too. :)

Maj, nice post, and good to have that point cleared too.

More Frontier in Frontierland. Fantasmic! to DCA, I say!

Jim said...

Love the illustration title lettering. So evocative, so Imagineering, so Disneyland. Consider this a formal request to post the entire piece. Thanks.

TokyoMagic! said...

Great comparisons today, Major! Does anyone know if the original Harpers Mill was moved over to the side of the island when the Fantasmic building and stage were built, or was it torn down and a new mill built?

The Fantasmic stage is and always has been hideous. It would have been nice if Fantasmic had been built separately in the back somewhere...perhaps behind Big Thunder or beyond the berm like Toontown was. It could have had it's own lagoon area and seating like the Disney World version has.

I hear the brand new dragon is already broken. Anyone know for sure?

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Nice post Major. Detailed info is always the best. Thanks.

Katella Gate said...

Thank you Chris for generously sharing your artwork with us.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Gads, the contrast of the two Mills is sad indeed. TokyoMagic, I believe the Mill was entirely rebuilt from new materials (link) judging by the fantasmic construction photos (link) not only the mill, but the entire front of the island was massively rebuilt. I wonder how much the river narrowed around the front bend?

Nice map Chris, that dude is multi-talented!!!!

Regarding the top photo, that spot is still there! I gaze at it on each trip, imagining the clacky-clack of the mine-train and clip-clop of the mules on the trails above....

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

P.s. The new Dragon is being repaired and wont appear until "later this summer". Somewhat unbelievable given all the marketing hype. I hear city has was PACKED with complaints last Friday, also the new Dumbo didn't work on Friday (opening day) but he's working now....

Nancy said...

what a beautiful place, that Harper's Mill of old...and picturesque as you said, Major, compared to what stands today, which is pretty plain, tho the lovely Columbia helps me overlook it...

and a gorgeous map! would be cool to have images like this for all of our favorites...thanks, Chris, for sharing your talents :D

Chris Merritt said...

Thanks all for the nice comments about the map! What can I say - I love classic Disneyland, and the castle walk through "reawakened" was an attempt to recapture some of that. Everyone on that team worked so hard to make it look the way it does - so I am very happy that people seem to appreciate the effort. Dave - if you want to post the Nature's Wonderland map in its entirety, I'm fine with that. I did it on my own, so copyright isn't an issue.

All best!

Anonymous said...

Fantasmic was a disaster to Disneyland. Entertainment developed and designed the show and what was going to happen to the island without the input of WDI and as it the project went to construction and when it became apparent the whole tip of the island was being ripped off for a huge flat stage, WDI got involved. I was fortunate enough to participate in the WDI effort with legend Collin Campbell. We reworked the design of the “cider mill,” added propping where ever possible, made the huge stage platform into several levels as opposed to just one, however we were unable to add any landscaping of significance to tie the new Fantasmic stage into the rest of the island as it would ruin sight lines for the guest and projection throws for the water screens. Unfortunately we were not able to save the original Harpers Mill, but were able to recreate the original to the right of the stage, (if viewed from land), something we were adamant entertainment pay for given the scope of destruction to Tom Sawyer Island. The end result is a very odd tip to the island, with no character, lots of dead space and no landscaping. It looks a bit like a parking lot and something most of us were unhappy with as an end result. Fantasmic wreaked havoc not only on Tom Sawyers Island, but also throughout New Orleans Square, Frontierland and throughout the whole riverfront area. Large trees which had been in place for decades were cut down, facades were altered and the whole river front area had to be redesigned a year after opening due to the destruction of planters by guest trying to see the show. All for this for show which still makes no sense Frontierland or New Orleans Square’s overall theme. I know there are many fans of the show, (of which I am not one), the show is confusing even with its had to be added narration at the beginning of the show to explain its confusing “plot,” it’s loud, the water projections never worked as planned, (even with new HD projectors) and the scares created by the show on Frontierland and New Orleans Square will last forever. Thankfully live shows do not.