Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nature's Wonderland

I'm sure that most GDB readers never had the pleasure of riding the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. Heck, it's been gone since 1977; I rode it, but my memories are foggy.

Here are the mysterious, colorful "paint pots" of the desert. They're pretty, but don't get so much as a drop of that colored stuff on you. You'll go mad! Drinking it is OK though.

Speaking of drinking, these antelopes have gathered near the local watering hole to talk about the recent episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies". They loved that show! If you look carefully toward the upper right, you can see a few coyotes on the rocks...

… well, here they are. It was worth it, wasn't it?


Nanook said...


Although I can't remember every moment of the attraction, I AM old enough to easily remember riding on The Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland. As many GDB readers have expressed - and I concur - it is my favorite defunct attraction from Disneyland. From Beaver Valley thru the Paint Pots, old Unfaithful, all the way up to the Rainbow Caverns, every minute was sheer joy.

Major, thanks for sharing.

TokyoMagic! said...

I still miss Nature's Wonderland and I would trade in Big Thunder in a heartbeat to have it back. If they are dead set on removing the Subs and the Autopia, why not replace them with the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland? They could have a "train of the future" take guests through it all.....maybe even the Viewliner??? Okay, I'll just keep dreaming on.... said...

The comment you made on your opening photo of the " "paint pots" of the desert" about "Drinking it is OK though" makes me think they need to do a Frontierland themed bar at the Frontier tower of the DL hotel of course, think of it as a companion of Trader Sams, if the "Adventure" bar is Trader Sams the "Frontier" bar could be "Mike Finks" and one of the drinks could be a "devils Paint Pot" they bring you five small shot glasses each with a different colored fluid in them and you'd either drink each as is, or they could bring you a bigger glass to mix them in but be careful if you mix them because if thou mix them in the wrong order it might foam up put of the glass like the geyser "old unfaithful" going off (really for the record I don't actually recommend this, because any thing that would do that in a glass would probably do the same thing in your stomach, think Diet coke and mentos here)

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I agree with Nanook and TokyoMagic. Good memories of this ride and miss it most of all (peoplemover is a close second).

The antelopes are discussing how if they cee-ment that thar water hole maybe they could lure ellie mae to take a swim.

K. Martinez said...

I still remember Nature's Wonderland, including both the Mine Train and Pack Mules. It's the one area of Frontierland I spent the most time in as a kid in the 1960s. My cousin and I used to ride the Mine Train and right after that hop on the Pack Mules for another go round of the area. I definitely have more fondness for Nature's Wonderland than Big Thunder Mountain. The only attraction I miss more is the Skyway. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Oh, give me a home
Where the drink’s polychrome,
And you hear all the antelope say:
“Do you see that blonde,
By the big cee-ment pond?
Doesn’t she look just like Ellie May?”

(And now I totally want to go to Mike Fink’s for a Devil's Paint Pot! If they opened a corresponding Tomorrowland bar, the equivalent drink would be a Flight to the Moon.)

David Foose said...

Needless to say, news from the parks was a whole lot different before the internet. I was living in Northern Cal in the late 70s and on a trip to Disneyland in 1978, I made my way to Frontierland to ride the Mine Train. I will never forget the moment when I arrived and the Mine Train was gone. Poof. I hadn't heard a word about it! I stood there for a good long time just staring. I will always lament the loss of Nature's Wonderland.

Tom said...

Hurray! My favorite defunct attraction that I never got to ride on!

It's amazing how much real estate Nature's Wonderland took up... but I'd say they haven't exactly utilized it well since the shuttered the thing back in the 70's. Bring back the desert! Bring back the stage coaches and pack mules! They could make animatronic mules that wouldn't balk, bite or excrete anything. We have the technology.

K. Martinez said...

@David Foose - I too went to Disneyland in 1978 without knowledge of the Mine Train closing. It was truly a bummer when I discovered it was no more.

Anonymous said...

@bigbrian, that is a splendid idea! I want a Devil's Paint Pot at Mike Fink's Bar, and I want it now.

Major, these are wonderful pictures of one of my old favorites. For me, living the high life was getting to sit on the drop-down seat on the door of the passenger car.

From the corny jokes in the narration to the Les Baxter music in Rainbow Caverns, this was a high point of early '60's imagineering.

It's sad that they felt it necessary to compete with Six Flags with a big coaster. Even though Big Thunder is very well done, there are plenty of coasters, but there was only one Nature's Wonderland, and I miss it terribly.


Omnispace said...

Best thing about ordering a "Devil's Paint Pot" from Mike Fink's Bar is that your teeth will stay that color for the rest of the day....! :o)

The amazing thing about the mine train is that it transported one to many different places in a relatively small area. It was a genuine journey. I agree with @Anonymous thoughts on Big Thunder but at the time it was the new and exciting thing and a one-of-a-kind first for the level of theming it had. It's unfortunate the two attractions couldn't have existed side-by-side.

Raimundo said...

I like the action-coyote close-up .... that is one demonic-looking hound! At least some of that Living Desert rockwork is still there on the trail, to fire up fond memories and leave one vaguely dissatisfied with the way things are.

Alonzo P Hawk said...


Nicely done.

Additional side note, don't invite granny. She will be cooking up them Antelopes for vittles. Well known fact that Jethro and granny loved them some antelopes stew yum yum.

Anonymous said...

And I enjoyed taking all of you on the journey. Yep, it's missed. Former MT operator.

PsySocDisney said...

Mike Fink's Bar sounds awesome! I thought it was funny that Major's caption mentioned "coyotes on the rocks" and I was going to try to make a drink joke about that… Ya'll beat me to it! :D Thanks for the pretty NW pics today!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know there are plenty of folks like you and me who have at least *some* memories of NW… but then there are the folks who remember the mid-1980's as the time when Disneyland was the best!

TokyoMagic!, I am still hoping that the rumors of the Subs and Autopia being removed are bogus. I wish I could be certain that whatever is supposed to replace them is worth it., whoo-hoo, FIVE shot glasses full of colored liquor! That would put me away. However, I do like the idea of extinct-attraction themed drinks. I am not sure they'd be crazy about anything becoming an alcohol geyser, as fun as it would be to watch!

Alonzo, Ellie Mae was such a babe, even as a child I knew she was pretty. Plus she loved critters.

K. Martinez, I am jealous of your many memories of NW… as far as I know my family only rode the Mine Train two or three times. You'd think it would have been one of our regulars, since it such a grandparent-friendly ride!

Melissa, A+ for rhyming "home" with "polychrome"!

David Foose, oh man, I can only imagine how disappointing that would have been. As a kid I heard about Big Thunder and was excited at the idea of a runaway mine train roller coaster, and I DO like that ride, but it just lacks the imaginative touch of NW.

Tom, yes, if you look at aerial photos, that attraction took up a big chunk of land. It was worth it!

JG, these pix definitely bring back fond memories; I still wish I had experienced it at night! That would have been the coolest, I'll bet it looked especially beautiful then. And supposedly if you happened to ride when the fireworks started, the train would stop so that passengers could watch. Wow.

Omnispace, ha ha, I like the idea of deep blue teeth. I'm surprised that the idea hasn't become a body modification trend. And I agree with you, the imagineers did so much in that small amount of real estate - they were ingenious, those guys!

Raimundo, the coyote is either demonic or scruffy, I can't decide which! Maybe it can be a bit of both?

Alonzo, it isn't a party without granny.

Anon, if you ever want to reveal some inside stories/trivia, I would LOVE to hear it!!

PsySocDisney, I like my coyote with a dash of bitters and a sprig of mint. Glad you enjoyed these!

MRaymond said...

I posted a picture on one of Micechat's ephemera topics from when I zipped to the MTTNW and found it closed. I took a picture of the sign proclaiming BTMRR was coming. Sad day for me. The mine train holds tons of memories.

Melissa said...

I thought it was funny that Major's caption mentioned "coyotes on the rocks" and I was going to try to make a drink joke about that

I was going to try a parody of Neil Diamond's "Love on the Rocks," but my heart just wasn't in it.

Omnispace, ha ha, I like the idea of deep blue teeth.

Didn;t you ever get into Mom's Cake Mate when you were a kid? There's no lying your way out of that one because you proclaim your guilt as soon as you open your mouth.

Melissa said...

Here's my starter menu of Extinct Disney Attraction Cocktails:

1. America Slings (variation on the classic Gin Sling)
2. America Stings (variation on the classic Stinger)
3. Circlevision Triple Sec
4. Cranberrium Command
5. Golden Dreams (this could be so many kinds of beer cocktails)
6. Horizons (layered drink like a Tequila Sunrise, with lorange, blue, and dark layers for desert, sea, and space. If you can dream it, then you can drink it.)
7. If You Had Wings (Red Bull and Vodka, with a sombrero-shaped cocktail umbrella)
8. Mike Fink’s Kir Boat
9. Souse of the Future
10. SKYYway (the mixer would determine whether it’s to Tomorrowland or Fantasyland)
11. 20,000 Leagues Under the Seabreeze
12. Viewlimer (could either be a Mojito or a Gin Rickey)

Melissa said...

The Tomorrowland-themed lounge could be called "Mission to Bars."

TokyoMagic! said...

And the Screwdriver could be called ScrewDisney (for destroying all of these wonderful attractions in the first place). Hey, I try not to be bitter, but it's difficult sometimes.

MRaymond, was this the sign that you took a picture of on the wall around the demolition of Nature's Wonderland: Big Thunder Future Attraction Sign (Scroll to bottom of the post for the picture of the sign!)

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooops, sorry! The photo of the sign on the construction wall is in the middle of the post, not at the end. If you don't want to read my vintage trip report about Grad Nite '78, here's a link to just that photo: Big Thunder Future Attraction Sign