Friday, March 08, 2013

"Small World" Construction

Today I have two neat photos taken by my friend Mr. X, and his trusty Kodak Instamatic. While riding in the Skyway past Storybook Land, X spotted some fairly major construction going on over in Fantasyland. I assume that he had no idea what it was at the time, but WE know that it was for "It's a Small World"! Fresh from the 1964 New York World's Fair. This was probably from late 1965 or early 1966, since the folks in line for the canal boats are be-sweatered. 

Continuing along the Skyway, X snapped a second picture, more clearly showing the work in progress. Presumably the Disneyland Railroad wasn't running, since Fantasyland Station was located in that general area and was removed for IASW. As a bonus we can see the Midget Autopia and the Monorail Blue.

The humble Instamatic didn't have the best lenses in the world, but zooming in we can still see a number of fun details. I love the old trucks (one blue, one red) parked in front of the construction. There appears to be a few dozen Matterhorn Bobsleds being stored. I wonder why? Most interesting to me is the billboard near the Motor Boat Cruise lake showing a stylized layout of what guests could expect from the upcoming attraction - something that was done at Disneyland for the Skyway, Storybook Land, and Nature's Wonderland. I've never seen a photo showing this particular sign before.

Here is a Small World brochure from 1975 with a map that looks similar to that sign, although this artwork is considerably more detailed.


Nanook said...

WOW - Monorail Blue AND the Midget Autopia, all in one shot. My day has been made.

Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

Beauties today, some of my favorites ever I think. and the bonus Monorail Blue, twice this week!! The Midget Autopia sign is so cool. Ditto on the row of bobsleds.

I am also noticing how it looks like it was a fence rather than a solid wall like we see today, cool that they let the audience in on construction, making them a part of it from the start :)

What is the white building there behind Small World, I wonder.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Great post. Makes we want to reach out and snatch one of those old school bobsleds for my back yard.

Love the perspective of monorail blue headed toward the camera.

And to boot (because it's friday) a babushka! Pic 1, lower right, front row of storybook queue.

Connie Moreno said...

WOW WOW WOW! Thank you, Mr. X!!!!

K. Martinez said...

These are amazing photos that came from Mr. X's Kodak Instamatic. Love the zoom-in on the stored bobsleds.

Matt said...

Look right behind the monorail. Isn't that the service "monorail" pushing Blue? As if Blue possibly died and needed a push to the station? Or am I seeing things?

Tom said...

Even better than unusual angle pictures are construction pictures! Especially when they're from an unusual angle, AND they feature great stuff like the midget autopia and awesome signage. GREAT pictures!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, didn't the IASW construction make your day?

Nancy, it is sort of surprising how they seemed to not mind people being able to watch the construction progress. I have photos of the "New Tomorrowland" construction with kids easily looking over part of the fence.

Alonzo, I'll bet those old bobsleds were just shredded and buried. Arg! And you have better eyes than I do… I can't tell if that's a babushka or just some other kind of headwear.

Connie, I will pass along your thanks!

K. Martinez, that was an interesting detail…. I wonder why they were all there.

Matt, there is *something* there, but I can't quite tell what it is. I always imagined that the "mule" used with the Monorial was smaller, but really don't know. Good eye, though!

Tom, I was pretty happy to find these in the bunch of Instamatics!

Nanook said...

Well yes, Major, the IASW shot was a given. Gotta give a shout-out to the Midget Autopia whenever you can.

D-ticket said...


The white building behind iasw is Global Van Lines' western regional headquarters. Property bought by Disney in 1985, building was razed, and replaced with the TDA building, opened in February 1996.

PsySocDisney said...

Very very cool series of pics today! I like to think the bobsleds are just hanging out and watching the construction. They're on their break sharing some popcorn and dreading going back to work.
Or they're trying to get the song out of their heads, and wondering, "hey! where're the Disney characters?" They're gonna go angrily blog about it later.

(It's Hannahx2 by the way... finally changed the name!)

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

My grandfather worked on the structural engineering for both the World’s Fair and Disneyland “it’s a small world”s, and it’s so rare I get to actually feast my eyes on his craft in action. My DNA and soul are in those support beams! Thank you so much for posting these, what a great way to start my Friday!!

- Eric

Matt said...

The more I look at the photo, it almost looks like Monorail Yellow is behind the mule, which is behind Monorail Blue. You can see something yellow, and it almost looks like the curve of the front window, with the bubble on top. Curiouser and curiouser.

Anonymous said...

What exceptional photos! I remember the debut of IASW, not that in detail, but I recall how excited we were to ride the first time.

I have no memory of the construction, nor of the Midget Autopia, which until now, I have known only by name, with no inkling of where it had been.

Standards for construction walls have changed dramatically over the years. The need for visual screening is not just paranoia on the part of Owners who want to hide their project until complete.

Often this is a requirement to prevent views from the workers out to the occupants of a given site. The "wolf whistles" and crude comments of the workers to passers-by are reduced when they can't see each other. In today's environment, these are actionable by both parties. Workers have sued Owners for maintaining a "sexist" or "abusive" workplace, and the passers-by have sued the workers and Owners for crude comments. I have seen this happen on my projects.

Combine this with the safety concerns of workers for "distractions" and the solid fence is the only answer. Many communities now require visual screening to hide "ugly" or noisy construction. The next wave of regulation is noise. You now see highrise construction in some cities completely covered with sound-absorptive blankets to prevent the tool noise from escaping.

Today, the scaffolding on the facade would be covered with the green or black plastic fabric, aiding in fall protection, preventing worker distraction and hiding the work from the public.

So refreshing to see how the world used to be.

Thanks Major.


K. Martinez said...

JG - I enjoyed reading your post about the changing standards of wall construction. Very interesting. Besides wanting to sneak a peak behind the walls, I never thought that much about them before.

Nancy said...

Thanks, D-ticket! :-D

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I guess Midget Autopias need a little extra love!

D-ticket, thank you for answering Nancy's question, which I totally spaced out on.

PsySocDisney, I am going to miss the old "Hannahx2 name! I like thinking that the bobsleds are kicking back and enjoying the spectacle.

…But It Wasn't Always That Way!, very cool that your grandfather worked on two versions of IASW. Did he work on any other Disneyland construction projects? There was so much going on back in those days.

Matt, I think you might be right, the yellow Monorail does look like it is behind the blue one. Weird.

JG, I never thought of the construction walls being used to shield the public from the construction workers! The old wolf-whistles are for real though, as I discovered when I was in New York with my girlfriend a few years ago. She enjoyed the attention, ha ha. It's funny, I have one construction photo (for New Tomorrowland) where you can clearly see a sign that says "QUIET!" - for the workers.

Nanook said...

Indeed, Major - Midget Autopias DO need extra love. After all, it was gone by April, 1966.

(Now - where are those images of the Junior Autopia, before it was closed in 1958, to re-open in 1959 as the now larger, Fantasyland Autopia-?)