Friday, March 14, 2014

Tomorrowland, April 1987

Let's take a look at a few photos from a mere 27 years ago, featuring the Tomorrowland of yesterday!

We'll start with this shot of the classic spires that flanked the escalators (aka "Speedramps") that took guests up to the entrance to Space Mountain. Apparently that ride was sponsored by Kodak at the time, something I didn't recall. Were the speedramps prone to breaking down? I'm not sure why they were removed… my guess is that it was a combination of dollars and requirements to make the attraction ADA-compliant. The Peoplemover vehicles were still painted their original primary colors (excepting aqua, of course).

I believe this view was taken from the Peoplemover, looking back through those spires toward the load platform and the Rocket Jets, which look wonderful. Down below, the Tomorrowland snack bar (was it called the "Space Place" or am I insane?) does boffo business. 

And I might as well throw in this second shot, taken just seconds later. There are the Speedramps again, with the Matterhorn seen through the Dr. Seuss palm trees.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Kodak was the sponsor of Captain EO. That second spire to the left of the Speedramp was added in the eighties when the Magic Eye theater was built.

Also, the Space Place was the restaurant located underneath and to the left of Space Mt. (where Space Mountain's Fastpass machines are located today). That snack bar under the PeopleMover station was originally called The Space Bar and was later renamed The Lunching Pad. In the nineties, it had a Toy Story makeover: The Lunching Pad

Chuck said...

Disneyland was involved with an international conservation program that was eventually successful at bringing truffula trees back from the brink of extinction. Swomee swans were occasional visitors until a cease-and-desist order was received from Universal in late 2012, claiming copyright infringement.

I don't remember ever seeing the speedramps in operation. I assumed that by the time I started riding the DL version of Space Mountain in the early 90's, the lines were so long that the speedramp would have caused a pileup of people at the top, although I don't have that from any authoritative source.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Love the peoplemover in the proper "colors". Hated it when they changed them all to off white and hated it even more when they took them away. Nice photos of my favorite land before it all went kablooey.

Melissa said...

I love how everything at the top of the first picture draws your eye to the left: the speedramps and the half-walls around them, the angle of the Space Mountain roof, the arrow in the Kodak logo whose orange color leaps out from the blue background… and then when you get to the bottom, you see the crowd waiting to go up in the opposite direction, reinforced by the birdlike logo off in the left-hand window. The whole thing is further divided by the sun on top and shade on the bottom.

And there’s my Grandma again, dead center, in the white necklace! Come up into the light, Grandma!

Melissa said...

Are the Speedramps those special escalators without steps? I remember trying to get down one of those on crutches at the Florida PotC once when it wasn't working and there was a crowd going the other way.

The CM hadn't wanted to send me up in the special elevator when the ride was over and said the non-functioning belt was "just a couple of steps." Halfway up I realized I simply couldn't crutch uphill that far, turned around, and tried to get back down to further plead my case, and got a vivid impression of what salmon go through in spawning season.

Nancy said...

Love this! It is one of the things I am so sad they changed (along with putting the Rockets on the ground...dumb!) They really need to change this back!

Tom said...

That second photo is pretty much all vertical and horizontal lines. Really looked good and busy there then... Tomorrowland needs another makeover and quick.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Speedramps=airport moving sidewalks with incline and decline.
I remember putting a foot against the side of the speedramp (by the sidewall) and you could get a free foot massage (from the rollers below the tread) on the way up to the Peoplemover.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I remember the speedramp working once or twice, but most of the time it wasn’t. I was just going to say it had to do with the extra long line for Space Mountain, but Chuck beat me to it. I also seem to recall that it was a bit hard to walk up that ramp, like it was more work than stairs would’ve been.

K. Martinez said...

Awesome set today. I do remember the Space Mountain speedramp working, but not all the time. In the same day, they'd be on for awhile then turned off. I remember that eventually it was just turned off completely.

I read somewhere that the "Space Bar" was changed to "The Lunching Pad" to avoid confusion with the new "Space Place" restaurant opening nearby. The Space Place became my favorite place to eat in Tomorrowland until they sealed up the Space Stage for Captain EO. Gone was the open-air feeling and view down into the Space Stage. For me, this was the beginning of the long decline of Tomorrowland. Shortly after this they started stripping the color out of Tomorrowland by adding white to the monorails and peoplemover cars.

Alonzo P Hawk - I agree you with 100% on the Peoplemover proper "colors".

Does anyone remember when "The Character Shop" sign was broken? I remember it sitting unrepaired for quite a while.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, wow, I never considered that it could have anything to do with Captain EO! Thanks for the info about the Space Place and the Space Bar/Lunching Pad!

Chuck, I am sure I "rode" the Speedramps when they were still working, though it seemed that afterwards people had to walk up them, which was dumb.

Alonzo, it's funny because I think of white as being so much a part of Tomorrowland from those days, and yet the change to white Peoplemover cars made the ride more bland somehow. Still, I would take it with white cars over nothing!!

Melissa, it might just be the fact that almost everything is in shadow except for the stuff to the top left? If it was up to me, there would be more orange in TL anyway. Your grandma sure went to Disneyland a lot! And you are right, I misspoke (miswrote?) when I described the speed ramp as an escalator, since it was really an angled "moving sidewalk". Weird that the cast member didn't want to let you take the elevator, maybe he was just lazy.

Nancy, at this point I don't expect anything to EVER to returned to the way it used to be.

Tom, there has to be some way to redo TL so that it looks cool but doesn't feel dated after 5 years. In theory the Jules Verne "steampunk" idea was a good one, and yet it just looked drab.

Monkey Cage Kurt, now we get to walk 1/4 of a mile up those much less cool ramps!

K. Martinez, the other comments explanation of the Space Mountain crowds making the speed ramps unworkable makes sense. As a kid I think we almost always ate at the Space Bar for some reason (which is why I haven't been to places like the French Market). It just seemed that Tomorrowland was where we would get hungry, I guess. As you know, TL was (is?) my favorite "land", so it bums me out to see it in such a reduced statte.

Anonymous said...

These are really nice shots. I'm surprised that speedramp stayed in place as late as 1987, but that was in my "hiatus" years. I don't think I ever saw Captain EO in the original incarnation.

The whole 'back behind' area in Space Mountain seems to suffer now for a lack of traffic / strong concept etc. now. It's just sort of a mish-mash.

These pictures are how I remember it best. And now I want a speedramp foot massage.


Melissa said...

Weird that the cast member didn't want to let you take the elevator, maybe he was just lazy.

It was at the height of the whole "Disabled people are just scammers trying to take advantage" publicity backlash thing that was big in the news a couple of years ago.

Chuck said...

Melissa - Not cool. My wife got some un-Disney-like grief of that kind from an older cast member on Peter Pan back in '09, and it was not pleasant.

We had committed to a San Diego/Disneyland vacation (our first - and so far, only - with kids) some time before before, and then she got really sick and was hospitalized for 8 days. There was no way to postpone the trip as I was deploying the following month. She'd only been out about a week and a half when we had to travel, and she was exhausted by the time we got to DL on the fourth day.

To give her a chance to at least partially enjoy the vacation with the rest of us, we rented a wheelchair. And most folks were really good about it, even though she wasn't permanently disabled. But this one CM was a real jerk about it - seemed very annoyed when we used the handicapped entrance and was rather sarcastic.

I get it - there are a few folks who scam the system. And since the older rides weren't designed with handicapped access in mind, the easiest way to get them on the rides is through the exit. And that means a shorter wait for folks on crutches or in wheelchairs. And some people don't like that.

Is it "fair" that they get a shorter wait? Maybe not. But you know what? It's not fair to have to go through life with a disability, even a temporary one. And it's no picnic pushing a, um, more than 100 lbs person around a 55-acre theme park while trying to herd 8 and 5 year old boys, enduring glares of guests and cast members alike.

My takeaway from this? Give folks the benefit of the doubt - and always, always treat others with respect and dignity. You have no idea what they're enduring...and may find yourself there one day.

And don't try to roll a wheelchair up an inoperative speedramp.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I just realized that The Space Place sign is visible in that first photo (just to the right of the Kodak sign). I also remember the Speedramps in the park being on sometimes and turned off other times with seemingly no rhyme or reason to it. And who remembers the short Speedramp at the exit to Space Mountain? They replaced that one with a short set of stairs in 2005. How is that progress? At least we still have the Speedramp at the exit to the Haunted Mansion.....for now, anyway!