Monday, August 19, 2013

More From the Autopia, December 1998

Today we're continuing our look at the old, pre-revamped Autopia, circa 1998.

Five Mark VII vehicles "race" around the beautifully manicured landscape of the Fantasyland Autopia. Nobody said a race has to be fast, right?

Barely a car to be seen here, but the Mark V Monorail sneaks in for a bit of photo-bombing. I wonder if those street lights were entirely custom-built for Disneyland, or if they were existing, small-ish versions that just happened to work on the scaled-down freeway?

Zooming in, we can see (or rather, can't see) some ghosts riding a Rocket Rod.


Nancy said...

These are cool! Beautiful picture of Monorail Red ... I love when something big is low to the ground (like when you are approaching an airport and the plane's landing route happens to go across the highway when you are at that spot)

Also very neat to see the Rocket Rod. Too bad it didnt work out, wish I could have tried that one!

Melissa said...

Mark VII! Oh, how that takes me back to the logo at the end of Adam-12 and Dragnet reruns when I was about 5 or 6. I’d be glued to the TV every evening right before supper. And every time there was a siren outside, Dad would run to the window and say it was Malloy and Reed or Friday and Gannon out in the driveway, come to haul me off to jail for being bad. What a merry prankster! Didn’t stop Kent McCord from being my first TV crush, though. I sat through Galactica 1980 for that man, and if that isn’t love I don’t know what is. These days, I’m starting to see the stern, masterful appeal of the gravel-voiced Jack Webb. Now, there’s a man who’d hold your purse while you retied your babushka.

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to accommodate the forgetful. This is the city: Anaheim, California. I work here; I'm a Disneyland Cast Member. Thursday, January 8th, 1998. It was sixty-eight degrees in Orange County. Big surprise. We were working the day watch out of Autopia. The boss was Captain Mouse. My partner was Jack Hammer. What? I TOLD you they weren’t real names. My name is Friday. Yes, you can thank God it’s me. A group of clever kids had figured out a way to get the Autopia cars off the guide rail using only shopping bags from the Emporium greased with Dole Whip residue. Our job was to catch them before they extended their record to four car thefts in four weeks, and to figure out how they were getting them out through the exit turnstiles. The only thing we knew for sure was, we had the best darn scale-model streetlights in the golden state of California, and we weren’t going to miss a thing. All we know are the facts, ma'am.

”Zooming in, we can see (or rather, can't see) some ghosts riding a Rocket Rod.”

So… ghost riders in the sky?

K. Martinez said...

Rocket Rods! The one attraction I never experienced. I meant to go on it, but the lines were too long and with the continual breakdowns I passed on it. Then it retired. Oh well.

I'm pretty sure these photos are of Tomorrowland Autopia and not Fantasyland Autopia.

The first photo was taken from the cloverleaf near the Submarine Voyage entrance and the second photo was probably taken from the Tomorrowland Depot. The monorail in that pic is just leaving the monorail station to go outside the Park and to the Disneyland Hotel.

Also in this same batch of "Dec '98 Autopia" photos you've posted the Fantasyland Autopia appears unused in other photos from that set.

Great update. Thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, you didn't miss out much on the Rocket Rods. Not that it wasn't fun at all, but it went mildly fast and was over quickly. The Peoplemover was better!

Melissa, I don't get it, why does Mark VII take you back to Adam-12 and Dragnet? Is that the bumper with the big sweaty hand and the hammer and chisel? I always thought that was weird! Jack Webb, I don't know why any women were interested in him. He was an odd-looking dude, but I guess he did have a certain strong personality. He "dated" Julie London ("Dixie McCall", what a hilarious TV name), so good for him. "You can thank God it's me", ha ha!

K. Martinez, you are probably right, it is the Tomorrowland Autopia. I'm not 100% sure that all of these Autopia pix were taken on the same day… but they probably were.

Melissa said...

Yeah, Major, it's the hand-and-chisel bit. Mark VII was the the name of Jack Webb's production company.

As a kid, I found it equal parts fascinating and terrifying. I was sure that hand was going to hurt itself one day.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I was so confused by the Mark VII references, what was Melissa doing being 7 years old in 1998?

Makes sense now.

It's weird, we visited Disneyland in 1999, I do not recall this monorail. I have to find the old pictures, I know we took some.

On that trip, I rode the rocket rods... once.

The wait was grotesquely long, the ride ridiculously short, although fast enough to be exciting. The breakdowns were insane. It might have been a good attraction on a different track, but the PM was built to be a leisurely tour, not a rollercoaster, so FAIL.

The best part of the ride, IMHO was the queue which extended underground through a service tunnel. from the former "America The Beautiful" theater into the center pylon of the PM structure (does that structure have a name?). This glimpse of the former "backstage" location was better than the pitiful ride.


Melissa said...

When the crypts hold AND the tombstones stand
Spooks come out to Tomorrowland
Happy haunts go out abroad
And look out for something mod;
Grim, grinning ghosts ride out on the Rocket Rods!

Now, don’t close your eyes and don’t try to hide
From the silly spooks in their cars of five.
Where the Peoplemover trod,
They’ll proceed to ride roughshod;
Grim, grinning ghosts ride out on the Rocket Rods!

As the high track goes o'er the rides and shows
Spooks look down on the guests below
Creepy creeps with see-through bods
Throw popcorn and shoot spitwads;
Grim, grinning ghosts ride out on the Rocket Rods!

When you hear a throng sing a Steppenwolf song
And weird glows where they don’t belong,
You’ll know that coffin lids were clawed,
And bony hands broke through the sod,

If you would like to join our flying squad
There’s a simple rule that’s only slightly flawed.
Mortals pay a fee that’s odd: fifteen pounds of week-old cod.
So hurry back, ride out on the Rocket Rods!