Friday, November 14, 2014

Skyway and Matterhorn, April 1967

One of the things I miss the most at Disneyland is the wonderful old Skyway. After being launched from the station (in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland), your bucket would sway for a brief moment before settling into a sensation that was almost like flying. You were fairly isolated from other buckets, as well as from the hubbub below, and everything felt so peaceful. And then there was the view! There was nothing like it.

This first shows the view as we leave the Tomorrowland terminal to glide above the Monorail track and the Submarine lagoon, and on into the Matterhorn.

After passing through the mountain, our photographer turned around and took this beautiful shot, as his bucket moved away from the Matterhorn and toward the Fantasyland Skyway chalet behind us. The afternoon sunlight really makes the colors pop, and the photo is so nice and clear. I really love this picture!


Nanook said...


These ARE really swell views. I wish I could be up in one of those buckets right now.

Thanks, Major.

Monica said...

That part when your bucket swayed for a moment always scared me to death! Once it calmed down though, I loved it.

These are really great pictures.

K. Martinez said...

That ultimate Disneyland moment of passing through the Matterhorn via the Skyway. I love it!

The second image is wonderful. Not only does the afternoon sunlight make the colors pop, but the Skyway bucket colors are warm and sunshiny as well. Thanks, Major.

Brad Abbott said...

Love the second view of the Skyway. It's one of the few rides I grew up with that I really miss in the park.

I can't see the Skyway now without thinking about all the buckets that Disney sold on eBay years ago. Still wish I'd somehow managed to pick one up!

JG said...

The first one has that real "You Are There" feel to it.

Thanks Major, winners today!


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the Skyway was such a simple ride, really - and yet it still ranks among my favorite extinct attractions. I remember Tony Baxter saying "We need to figure out how to get guests up in the air again", but I'll bet it's never going to happen.

Monica, I also remember that when you'd pass by the towers, the bucket would sort of bump, like an airplane going through turbulence. I always wondered if the buckets could fall off (which I'm sure they couldn't).

K. Martinez, it's amazing how much difference good lighting can make in a photo… which is why it is sometimes a bummer to have an otherwise nice shot, only it was taken on a gray day.

Brad Abbot, did they sell a lot of buckets? I somehow missed that. There must have been dozens and dozens of them. It would be neat to have one, but where would I put it??

JG, glad you liked these! Happy Friday.

Tom said...

I'm with Tony Baxter. I say jet packs. Who's with me?!

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Well, 'never say never' - even in this case. Although I don't believe any skyway accidents over the years occurred at towers. In fact in addition to several safety switches located at each station, there are safeties at each tower which would shut down the ride if cable alignment issues should crop up - such as from a swaying gondola. But it's up to the combined weight of the cable, gondolas and passengers to keep the cable centered in the set of sheaves at each tower.

Melissa said...

What great POV shots - I feel like I'm right there in the bucket with the photographer.

Brad Abbott said...

Major -- Back in probably the 2004-2005 time frame when DisneyAuctions was going strong, they sold them spread out over a few months. But, there were times when there would be 5-10 of them for sale at the same time.

If I remember correctly, the premium colors such as teal were selling in the $7-$8k range, but less desirable colors like orange were sometimes sub-$5k. Seems like a steal now!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think people's impression was that the buckets were just hanging from the wire, when (I presume) they were attached (clamped, whatever) on somehow. I have a friend who claimed that he liked to scare his girlfriend by making the bucket sway a lot - somehow I would expect the park employees to have given him a stern lecture.

Melissa, maybe somebody will make an amazing simulation for the Oculus Rift, and we will be able to experience it all over again!

Brad Abbott, wow, I had no idea. And I looked at ebay all the time! I would have been thrilled with orange, it's my favorite color!!

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Oh yes, those "buckets" (Gondolas) are clamped onto the cable. In fact, the (current version of the) clamp is a Von Roll #VR101 Detachable Grip. The Disney versions utilized a small, spring-loaded vertical arm, which when a Gondola arrived in any station, would press into a bar, opening the grip at the same time the wheels surrounding the grip assembly contacted dual steel rails, allowing the Gondola to move freely through the load/unload station. As the Gondola emerged from the station, the grip arm released at the same time the wheels moved-away from the steel rails and the Gondola then gripped onto the cable as it started its ascent to the first tower.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

These are gems today. I agree with you Major, not a thriil ride but something about it made to casual ride through the park via high wire seem exciting. I too miss this one a lot. Thanks for posting.