Friday, May 28, 2010

Cloudy Fantasyland 1956

Here are two images from a small group of 1956 slides. First up is this shot of the "Fantasy of Disneyland" shop, which I believe eventually became "Tinker Bell's Toy Shop". Some overly-curious children have been transformed into mannequins, now on display in the window. Don't you wish you could see what rare and wondrous goodies are in that store? That wooden door to the left is intriguing, I wonder if it was merely another entrance to the shop.


I don't see a single child aboard any of the Dumbo ride vehicles. Back in the early days, Dumbo made a horrible shrieking sound that, it turns out, kids didn't like.

7 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

That one mannequin looks a little like Anne Francis. Marcia...Marcia?

Chiana_Chat said...

That is the best pic I've ever seen of that shop. I don't remember seeing one of that sign and never the whole building like that! Thank you Maj! =)

So that was the Pleasure Island for naughty little girls where they turn 'em to mannequins...? That'd probably be a popular thing today.

Other pic is just icing. Gosh no mouse with a whip to threaten Dumbo? Maybe the flapping ears scared the kids back... there's only one poor daddy with a bad shave waitin' for his kid, who must be a toughie at that.

Debbie V. said...

This entrance area into Fantasyland is one of my favorite place. I think maybe I just like entrances period. I love the way it looks and feels, like you are in a real village, a defined place. I can't really remember what all is there. I think there was a magic shop...wasn't there an entrance from the actual tunnel into the castle?
Then there's that little secret entrance to Frontierland?
Beautiful picture.

Chuck said...

That wooden door was the entrance to the 5/8 scale efficiency apartment upstairs originally built for Walt's grandchildren. The small space featured timbered ceilings and furniture based on artwork from "Snow White." There was a main living area with a table, chairs, and fireplace above the front display window; an alcove with bunks above the door; a small changing room in the round turret; a bathroom and kitchenette in the square tower; and a (usually locked) access stairway to the roof of the Snow White show building. Unfortunately, ventilation problems, an exceptionally loud toilet, and the fact that Walt's grandkids were absolutely terrified by the mannequins downstairs meant that the apartment was never used by the Disney family as originally intended.

The apartment sat fully furnished but unoccupied for years, partially due to management oversight and partially due to the fact that the only key had been stolen by night janitor Fred Hathaway for use as his own private break room. Hathaway kept a large stock of canned sardines and beef jerky in the kitchenette and would spend his lunch hours reading the latest issue of "Parrot World" and gazing across the Fantasyland courtyard, wondering where the locked wooden doors across the street might lead to.

Hathaway retired at the end of his shift on the night of Aug 5-6, 1970, and left the key to the apartment in the door on his way out in the morning. Late that afternoon, a group of dirty, long-haired, and thoroughly frightened Yippies trying to escape from the Anaheim PD Riot Squad and an enraged Dick Nunis found the door open and sought shelter inside. They occupied the apartment undetected for more than 10 years, subsisting on Hathaway's stock of sardines and jerky before the smell and the unexplained flushing noise from above the ceiling finally alerted the cast members in Tinker Bell's Toy Shop that something wasn't quite right upstairs.

After the Yippees were evicted, management initially intended to use the space for offices or storage, but an initial architect's inspection revealed that the squalid living conditions and horrible stench had attracted large colonies of disease-infested insects that were rapidly spreading throughout Fantasyland, threatening the structural integrity of many of the buildings as well as the health and safety of guests and cast members alike. It was decided that it would be easier and cheaper to completely renovate Fantasyland rather than try to fumigate.

The Walt Disney Company considered renovating the space into a suite for the "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion (along with the treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island and the Chinese Laundry on West Center Street), but ultimately decided that a locked wooden door going who knows where provided a much richer guest experience.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

This shop was always one of the coolest at DL. Great pic.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I am trying to decide how much of your comment is fact and how much is fiction!! Yippees living up there, surving on old beef jerky and sardines? Parrot World? A loud flushing toilet? I want it all to be true.

Chuck said...

Separate fact from fiction? One might as well try to separate peanut butter from jelly, Abbot from Costello, or Señor Wences from his hand.

Like any good gossip journalist, celebrity biographer or conspiracy theorist, I've taken verifiable, documented facts and used creative license to make up whatever I feel like to connect the dots. It's so much easier than actual research.

For example, Walt Disney did, in fact, have a history of building second-floor apartments in Disneyland. He also had grandchildren. Therefore, it can logically be assumed with some random degree of confidence that he would build an apartment for them. Wouldn't you?

Similarly, there really was an unsanctioned Yuppie rally in Disneyland on August 6th, 1970 that ended in mayhem that included riot police streaming out of backstage areas into Town Square, Dick Nunis losing his temper and punching a Yippie, and longhairs being flushed out of hiding by turning on every sprinkler in the Park at the same time. Fantasyland was completely remodeled a little more than ten years later. Coincidence? I think not.

And there really was a "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion. What more proof do you need?

Everything in my post really could have happened if you suspend enough disbelief. It's as true as you want it to be...although I wouldn't recommend citing it in your master's thesis.