Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nature's Wonderland, July 1967

I am always happy to revisit the wonderful (and much-missed) Nature's Wonderland. What an attraction! 

Two male elk, almost hidden by trees and shrubs, are battling it out for those barely-interested females. In fact, they girls are actually watching a small black and white TV just out of frame (it is always showing animals programs like "Gentle Ben", "Flipper", "Lassie", and so on).

Here's a nice portrait of the rock formations in the desert. They get the job done, but the craftsmen who specialize in rock work have improved by leaps and bounds over the years. The desert looks especially green in this picture, I wonder if the photos were actually taken a few months before July, in the cooler months of spring.

Does anybody know if there is some sort of real-life, natural version of the "Devil's Paint Pots"? Yellowstone has some bubbling pots of hot mud, but I think they are just plain old brown. My guess is that they were just an imaginative idea, playing on the "Rainbow Desert" theme.


Nanook said...


I believe you will find both the "Fountain Paint Pots" and the "Grand Prismatic Spring", both at Yellowstone National Park.

Now - as for the 'non-plussed' female Elk, the reason they are glued to television-watching is they just got their new C-O-L-O-R TV, and are having nothing to do with the 'ol boys fighting one another. Besides, they are all mesmerized with Lassie's blue eyes. (Oh - you didn't know-??!! If the truth be told - neither do I-!)

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

It must've been cool to be a maintenance worker at Disneyland and get to walk around all this stuff for closer inspection.

One of the disappointments of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for me was that they didn't include the geysers shown on the coming attractions billboard drawing.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it does sort of sound like the did a mashup of those two Yellowstone features. And it worked! As for color TV, I still remember when my best friend's family got a color set (years before we did) and I would go over to watch Saturday morning cartoons. It blew my mind to see those shows in COLOR!

K. Martinez, it probably was cool at first, but then it just becomes routine. I think of trips to Europe, and at first you are excited by every cathedral. By the end you barely give them a glance. For Big Thunder, I know that the Paris version has all kinds of geysers (not sure about the Florida version)… maybe there were budget cuts. It would have looked great though, if we had them in Anaheim.

Chuck said...

I read there was a typo on the blueprints for the DL version. The construction team had a hard time with the geezer installation and finally gave up.

Orange Co Native said...

The rock formations in the second picture are still at Disneyland. The path going to Fantasyland behind Big Thunder runs parallel to the train track you see in the foreground.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, geezers are notoriously difficult to work with!

O.C. Native, I am glad that at least a small part of Nature's Wonderland still survives after all these years. If only Walt could have afforded more land! We might still have that amazing attraction.

JG said...

The geothermal area called "Bumpass Hell" in Mt. Lassen Park in northern CA has some mud pots, mostly brown, but there are some mineral color effects on the soil.

Nothing as varied or brilliant as the Rainbow Desert of course, which is artistic license.


Unknown said...

Regarding your question on brightly colored hot springs; yes, there is such a place, and it's amazing! Gerlach Hot Springs, near Gerlach, Nevada. Has brightly colored mounds from which natural geysers spout, and an incredible set of terraced pools! I first saw it on some Travel Channel show, and then googled it to see if it was for real! Don't know if Walt had ever seen it, but it's the best representation I've ever seen.
Mike Douglas

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Douglas, thank you for the info about Gerlach Hot Springs. I looked it up on Google and it does look amazing!