Thursday, November 06, 2014

Alice in Wonderland Attraction, August 1961

The Alice in Wonderland dark ride is one of my favorite Fantasyland dark rides (though I honestly love 'em all); the sheer trippyness is unique, arguably just surpassing "Adventure Thru Inner Space" as one of the more surreal Disney attractions to ever be hatched. 

There's a snooty caterpillar vehicle moving circuitously down the exterior ramp. We've been shrunkified! Hey, just like in "Inner Space". Coincidence? Anyway, that's why the plants and leaves look so enormous. 

Here's another angle looking up at the Skyway, and at the mushroom ticket booth with the wonderful poster on top of it. Like the Storybook Land lighthouse ticket booth, the mushroom doesn't seem to have been used for long, though it remained as a purely decorative element.

I almost didn't include this picture, because it's kind of "blah", but then figured "What the heck". Those sure are some Mary Blair-ish leaves, by golly!


Nanook said...


I, too, have great fondness for the Alice in Wonderland attraction. But I'm having a hard time enjoying the 'snooty' caterpillar and the surreal leaves of the first image as they are both being upstaged by the 'Wowie-!' sunglasses being worn by the gal in the lower-right corner of the picture. They definitely belong in that attraction, though-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

You almost didn't include the last picture? That's my favorite today just for the unusual angle and focus on the leaves. Glad you figured "What the heck" and posted it anyway. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Wish I had some Mary Blair-ish leaves in my yard, although they'd be a pain to rake in the fall. I see in this early photo just how important they were at providing some sort of shade for guests.

Matterhorn1959 said...

The cast member working the ride is dressed like Alice.

Melissa said...

I like the more natural colors on the maple-leaf-looking leaves better than the current cotton candy colors. IMO that color scheme works better on the more fanciful leaves like the ones featured in #3.

And the paint job on the mushroom is so much better than the current yellow, which makes it look like it's carved out of Swiss cheese.

Melissa said...

Also, absolutely LOVE the grumpy lady in the cat's-eye sunglasses in the bottom corner of #1! She needs to photobomb every picture!

Anonymous said...

The mushroom is not purely decorative. It's used as the ride "office" where the daily paperwork is done and RO's can stash jackets and lunch.

The poster on top is in the form of a partially open book.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, she is wearing the actual glasses from the movie "They Live", which explains the expression on her face. "Obey"!

K. Martinez, it is an unusual angle, but I thought it was too much leaves, and not much else. Maybe I need to appreciate the leaves more!

Chuck, Monsanto and I are working on creating giant Mary Blair plants. You can be part of our test audience, but you need to sign a 3000 page waiver.

Matterhorn1959, you're right, I didn't even notice!

Melissa, I like the way those leaves are translucent, the way real leaves are. However, I can't complain about the leaves with the Mary Blair swirls and curlicues. The mushroom is yellow now? Arg. And I agree, that lady does look grumpy. She probably just ate at Casa de Fritos.

Anon, what kind of paperwork would the ride require? I'm not trying to be a smartass (which is unusual), I really want to know!

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Hello Major, Monkey Cage Kurt here

Nice shots! I really love those translucent ivy leaves. Those aren’t there anymore, are they? Bring em back!

High marks in diction for your use of “circuitous”. Also “Blair-ish” really jumped out at me as well. Did you just make that one up? Don’t seem to recall hearing you use it before. I think it needs to be added to the English dictionary. I will do my best to use it in conversation at least ten times throughout the day today.

JG said...

Wonderful and unusual angles on an exciting and innovative dark ride. I love the way you go out and in and up and down. There's a lot to this ride.

I remember the CM's dressed as Alice. Bet that no longer happens.

One of my first "how-they-did-it" realizations was on this ride, noticing the veins of the old "Blair-ish" leaves were made up of concrete reinforcing bars. The characteristic texture was clearly visible in the steel, which I had ample time to study from the Bobsled queue across the way.

Now, this is all changed, of course, the leaves are all modern and unidentifiable materials, just like Wonderland plants should be.

I think you still hear the 'WOO-HOO-HOOO" noise as the second floor door slams. Having that repeat about a thousand times while Bobsled waiting will really hammer home a memory.

Thanks Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, nice to hear from you! Those ivy leaves are long-gone. "Blair-ish" will be a tough one to work into daily conversation, unless you use it wrong, like I do. "This casserole is positively Blair-ish".

JG, we've also seen at least one photo of the ride operators at the Snow White attraction dressed up (as Ms. White in that case, of course). I'm sure the cast members wear generic costumes now - think of the savings. It makes sense that the old leaves had rebar in them, though you'd think that they would have come up with something that didn't reveal itself quite so obviously. And yes, I'm almost sure you hear that distinctive whoop near the exit - I always think of it as Goofy's sound.

K. Martinez said...

Major - When I was a ride operator at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in the 1970's we had to fill out daily paperwork for morning safety checks, maintenance calls and repair throughtout the day, injuries on ride as well as write down the hourly ride counts from the turnstile meters. Perhaps it was similar at Disneyland.

As for the leafy image, I think the composition and quality of the first two images are superior, but the leafy image evokes strong memories of hanging out between Alice in Wonderland and Matterhorn Bobsleds.

JG said...

@Major and Ken: Yes, I'm pretty that "woo-hoo" noise was originally Goofy's cry in the various cartoons, repurposed for use in the ride.

I think of that sound as Disney's "Wilhelm Scream" >>

Wikipedia claims the Wilhelm Scream was used in Disney movies, but no citation is given, nor are any films named. Wikipedia also thinks the Martians beat Napoleon at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

I'm not sure my ear is acute enough to tell if the Goofy scream is the Wilhelm Scream or not. Maybe someone else knows.


Chuck said...

Goofy's scream (which my sister and I referred to as "yah-ha-ha-hooey") was the first recycled sound effect we ever noticed. We picked it out watching "Lambert, the Sheepish Lion" on "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club," and suddenly we heard it everywhere.

JG - Goofy's yell (or at least the one I'm describing above) is definitely not the Wilhelm Scream. The example I always think of is the stormtrooper that Luke shoots off the bridge just before he and Leia swing over the chasm in "Star Wars" ("A New Hope" for all of you born after 1980). Although it is fun to imagine that same scene with the Goofy scream...

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I guess all that stuff makes sense - but were there really so many injuries that they needed to be kept track of? Also, did you have to reset the turnstile meters, or just do the math for the hourly count?

JG, I am very familiar with the Wilhelm Scream, and still hear it in movies all the time. I'm sure they meant that it was the Disney *equivalent* of the Wilhelm Scream, which is actually pretty apt.

Chuck, it is amazing, once you know the Scream, just how often it is used. I'm sure I heard it in some of Peter Jackson's movies, and I guarantee it was used mostly as a sort of "tip of the hat" to its use in some of his favorite films.

Nancy said...

I think my favorite part of the ride is that you come outside and go back inside again. we had a haunted house here where they had that feature and your car came outside on an upstairs porch and across, then back inside to haunt some more. It was fun to see and wave to your friends. :)

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Just like Anonymous Chuck, the Wilhelm Scream first leaped out at me when I was a kid. It was that stormtrooper from “the swing across” scene. I always thought “what a wimpy scream for a stormtrooper”, it always bugged me. Then Raiders of the Lost Ark came out and I heard it again, and it bugged me in that as well. It is in all the Jackson films too. It’s more like, what film is it not in? I’m sure Abrams already has a place picked out for it in episode VII. I’ve heard that some film makers consider it to be a good luck charm. I just find it to be distracting. It’s just so darn Blairish!

(I didn’t use it right did I Major?)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, that sounds very familiar, there used to be a carnival ride (maybe at the L.A. County Fair) that also went outside for a brief bit. I remember being confused by it when I was a tiny child. "Is it over?".

Monkey Cage Kurt, you did it! And for your efforts, you not only get an A + +, you also get a smiley face and a gold star. What could be better? I kind of agree about the Wilhelm Scream, when I hear it a part of me is taken out of the moment, and I picture a bunch of guys sitting in a sound mixing room having a good laugh.