Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fantasyland 1956

I've got two views from 1956 for you today, featuring Fantasyland.

This first one is a nice shot of the new Skyway, and the Chalet that is nestled so nicely in those miniature Alps. Sharp-eyed viewers can see the "picture book" billboard that heralded the arrival of this new attraction that would take you directly to Tomorrowland.

Monstro and Storybook Land; The ride doesn't appear to be in operation - nobody is in line or buying tickets at the little lighthouse ticket booth, and I don't see any canal boats in the water.


Orange Co Native said...

It is interesting how aesthetics were not as great of a concern back in the 50's and 60's when Disneyland was in its first 10 years. That metal ramp and metal poles next to Story Book would be something they would definitely not do today.

I like the Fantasy Land of today with the greater abundance of flowers and plants that seemed very much lacking in the old Fantasy Land that had great expanses of concrete and no plants.

Hopefully there is an attraction in the future for the now unused Swiss chalet. Most people under 20 do not even know it existed or exists unless of course they visit Gorillas Don't Blog. Since it is so overgrown and hidden today.

Great pictures

JG said...

I'm sure that much of the differences in planting and amenities between the old Fantasyland and that of today have to do with costs, not design intent. Trust me, tremendous sums were spent on things that were central to the concept, for example, the excavations of jungle cruise and rivers of america, etc.

Like you, I am surprised to see the mundane and everyday materials used in the very early construction, compared with the lavish use of expensive and custom items seen today.

I'm sure it had a lot to do with initial outlay and the uncertainty of the enterprise.

Remember, amusement parks before Disneyland were not noted for a high level of fit and finish. I know that a huge sum, maybe all, of the initial budget for construction was loaned, so a lot of things had to be done on the cheap until the concept was proved and became self-sustaining, or did not need to be "marketed" to a skeptical lender.


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, you are right; if you go back and read very early articles about Disneyland, they point out the fact that the park was unlike any other. It's only when we look at old photos through today's eyes that we might expect an area to be more elaborately themed.

Connie Moreno said...

Holy smokes, how did I miss this post! What totally awesome photos! I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that first one! Just 8 or 9 days ago, I got "scolded" for attempting to get next to the stairs leading up to the Chalet. Oh how I long for that attraction.

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

I'm trying to figure out the season in these photos and I'm wondering if the Storybook Land photo is of a spankin' new yet-to-be-ridden Storybook Land and a newborn Monstro! Based on some Wikipedia work (and the visual evidence of dirt and final touch-ups needed that Mr. Disney would never have greenlit), I've found that the Skyway had a soft opening on June 10, 1956 and officially opened June 23, 1956. Storybook Land re-opened on June 16, 1956. If the picture was taken from the Skyway (which I believe it is, from this familiar long-lost angle) during this soft opening period, I am positive we are looking at a very rare photo. It is one of the first Skyway trips, a first look at an unofficially opened Storybook Land and Monstro and a first of MANY photos from the Skyway. What an image!!!!!!! <3