Monday, February 13, 2012

Jungle Cruise, May 1963

The "elephant bathing pool" was added to Disneyland's Jungle Cruise in 1962, and has remained a popular photo subject ever since. Elephants are just cute, that's all there is to it.

This happy fella is in the best place, beneath a splashing waterfall! That's where I would want to be. On a technical note, it is impressive that this animatronic figure can continue to operate day after day in with all of that water around.

Most of those faux elephants look pretty convincing, and even the more caricatured examples (like the one on the right) still feel surprisingly realistic. Notice that "curtain" hanging behind that one elephant (slightly to the right of center); presumably real plants or rockwork eventually replaced that temporary barrier.

I am reasonably sure that the elephants at the bathing pool have been rearranged fairly often, some being removed altogether. If I had nothing better to do, it might be interesting to compare photos from various years to see what changes were evident.


Orange Co Native said...

This may already be old news for most people, but anyway here it goes. Just in case someone hasn't heard this before.

The Jungle Cruise when it first opened in 1955 with the rest of the park was a serious attraction. I believe it was Marc Davis (upon Walt's request) who walked through the park to observe and come up with suggestions on how to improve some of the existing attractions. One of the things he did was help develop some of the new scenes which would provide some humor in the Jungle Cruise which included the elephant bathing pool. A baby elephant use to be squirting water into the opening and closing mouth of a crocodile. I'm not sure if that is still there or not.

Major Pepperidge said...

OC Native, I think I have a Viewmaster reel that shows the baby elephant facing off with the crocodile; I believe that scene is long gone.

Hannahx2 said...

There's a picture of the baby elephant sitting in the waterfall floating around the Internet, on blogs and sites like Pintrest, posing as a real animal. Everyone who sees it thinks it's real and all the comments are like "look how happy the little guy is!" I always end up shaking my head... Funny how it's so realistic people either don't remember it from the Jungle Cruise or don't realize it's an Animatronic and not the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of elephants at DL...last June it wasn't just Tinkerbell in the sky over the Castle:

Bill in Denver

TokyoMagic! said...

At least they have their trunks on. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I actually thought someone else would say it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hannahx2, I have seen the same thing! It was an article (with photos) about "animals at play", and the author thought that the Disneyland elephant was the real deal. What a shnook!

Bill, Dumbo's appearance during the fireworks didn't seem to last very long; perhaps he didn't work as well as hoped?

TM!, I almost used that line, but then I remembered that I was a literary hero to millions, and decided against it.