Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grand Canyon Diorama

Disneyland is full of amazing attractions and high-tech wonders, but one of my favorite features is the beautiful Grand Canyon Diorama! It reminds me of the wonderful dioramas that you might see at a number of natural history museums - only this one is over 300 feet long and 34 feet high!

Today's images are from a series of "Treasure Tone" souvenir slides dated 1958 (the year the diorama made its debut). I thought that they were nice enough to share with you, and the scenes have been put in the correct order (I hope). Play Ferde Grofe's "On the Trail" from his "Grand Canyon Suite" to really set the scene!

After a few seconds in the dark tunnel, this first vista is pretty spectacular! The canyon is dusted with a light snowfall (so neat that they chose to show the canyon during the winter), and the the ruins of Indian cliff dwellings can be seen both in the foreground and in the distance. Notice the rattlesnake!

Mule deer and the golden leaves of quaking aspens are featured here...

... and here!

That giant painting is pretty convincing.

Three playful mountain lions (cubs nearly grown?) play near their den...

... while mom is on the hunt. A storm is brewing, but unfortunately the slides skip that brief segment of the diorama, including lighting flashes, and the eventual rainbow. And the porcupine!

The sun is setting, and wild turkeys prepare to roost. They do roost, don't they?

And finally, the majestic bighorn sheep watch us go by as night falls.

I hope you've enjoyed today's images!


Chiana_Chat said...

wow I sure did! Thanks Maj!

Huge praise to the folks at Disneyland for preserving the wonderful Diorama for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of the future. Long may it bring a touch of natural beauty and the striving of art to reflect it into people's lives.

My fav recordings of the Grand Canyon Suite are Morton Gould's (available on a beautifully done CD with more great music for a great price) and as soundtrack for the lovely 1959 Grand Canyon short Walt Disney released... if you haven't had the pleasure, enjoy 'em both!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Hey Major, these are Fantastic! I love the Grand Canyon Diorama too, now the music is playing in my head, which is a good thing!

These are like a box full of candy - Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love the train and always look forward to this tour of the Grand Canyon and it's wildlife. The train ride itself has a certain smell - a good smell - that still lingers after all these years.

Katella Gate said...

I love the diorama, every kid in the 60s did at lease one science project or history assignment in a shoe box.

It was also an absolutely inspired way to hide the administration buildings and parking lots.

Nancy said...

so beautiful...they remind me of the dioramas we have here in our Carnegie Museum of Natural History

i always enjoy seeing this when i get to DL :D

thanks for sharing them!

Chiana_Chat said...

Turkeys aren't there to roost, they're waiting for the sun so they can roast.

Bugs me to think that if you said "Diorama" to an entertainment company today, they'd think "Dio-Rama" and get their lawyers onto a contract to shoot heavy metaler Dio in 3-D not a beautiful work celebrating nature in tandem to classical music...