Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Nature's Wonderland" Views, August 1969

This first one is not beautiful, but it IS unusual in that it provides a rare detail from the "Beaver Valley" section of Nature's Wonderland (notice the beaver in the water, swimming away from us). Mr. Beaver needs to switch to a non-sudsing detergent. A fun detail is the bullfrogs on the logs… I wonder if passengers on the Mine Trains could hear the frogs croaking?

Over in Bear Country, we see those soggy old bears again. I've always wondered how they managed protect the mechanisms inside the bears from the constant exposure to water. I'll bet there were times when they didn't move… but a static bear worked almost as well. In the foreground we see the concentric ripples left behind by a leaping trout.

Other bears relax on shore, presumably full of fish and ready for a nap. I guess the light-brown guys are supposed to be cubs? 


Nanook said...


Ahhhh, Nature's Wonderland, with green water. Still wonderful.

I suspect you're correct about those "light-brown guys" being bear 'cubs'. However they better resemble that rarest of rare hybrids - the Bear cub piglet.

Thanks, Major.

Patrick Devlin said...

Wow. So nice, Major...

Yeah, Beaver Valley could use some Foam Down, that's for sure. I wonder why that section of the attraction has next to zero pics. I remember it being shady but films of that time weren't THAT slow. Hmm.

That last photo has triggered a memory I haven't thought about in decades (gulp!) There used to be a bear cub up near the top of a bare tree trunk trying to get at a bee's nest.

Now I'm off to look for photos of that...

Chuck said...

Lovely set today that's bringing back some long-lost memories for me as well.

In that third photo, I believe the bear in the back right - the one in front of the fake rockwork - is telling the litter of cubs the story of how their sleuth got the flute.

TokyoMagic! said...

Patrick Devlin, the two bear cubs and part of the beehive are visible in the upper right corner of that first pic!

K. Martinez said...

So did these bears eventually become unemployed because they didn't pick up the skill set of playing tunes and singing country music? Always love visits to Nature's Wonderland. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! I'm sure you meant second pic.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you don't even want to know why the water is green. Mmmm, bear cub piglet sounds delicious!

Patrick Devlin, my guess is that people already took photos seconds before this, and they have to conserve their 24 frames (or 36) for the whole day. You can see a better view of the bear cub and beehive in this picture.

Chuck, …."how the sleuth got their flute". That one went right over me…

TokyoMagic!, are you sure that it is not a little black rain cloud?

K. Martinez, personally I would rather keep looking at these non-singing, non-instrument playing bears… I was never a huge fan of the Country Bear Jamboree (though I know it is beloved by many).

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, I had a little book of the Disney Nature's Wonderland stories. I remember one about the beavers, there was another about bears. I might have gotten the book at Disneyland in the Main Street book store.

One of the TV shows was called "A Day at Beetle Rock" which was cool because the real Beetle Rock was in the Sierras, close to our home. Visiting a real place that was in a Disney show was an exciting experience to a 6th grade me.

I thought this ride was a good mix of almost-real animals in humorous situations, similar to the Jungle Cruise. The cub with the bee hive is a good example. The Bear Jamboree was overly stylized and anthropomorphic, but fun in it's own way.


Chuck said...

Major - sorry - a "sleuth" is a group of bears, and the animatronic bear standing in front of a large fake rock with bearlings in front of him made me think of the animatronic Native American storyteller standing in front of a fake rock in the Friendly Indian Village and telling his tribesmen the story of how the tribe got the flute.

Sometimes I can be too obscure for my own good.

K. Martinez said...

Major - I wasn't much of a fan of the Country Bear Jamboree either. I think it was and is probably more appreciated on the east coast since it was an opening day original attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

JG - I agree with your comparison to the Jungle Cruise. I always thought of Jungle Cruise, Submarine Voyage and the Mine Train as being of the same ilk. All three great narration attractions with a focus on "nature" from the Walt Disney era.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I did not know that there were TV-only additions to the "Nature's Wonderland" series. "A Day at Beetle Rock", sounds cool since I love the Sierras. It did used to drive me crazy when they would do things like playing with the film (running it backwards and forwards) to make it looks like animals were dancing. Nothing natural about that! But I have fond memories of watching many of those films in grade schooll.

Chuck, wow, I have never heard that a group of bears is a "sleuth". How the hell did that come to be? It's like somebody was just trying to be odd for the heck of it. Does the narrator on the Mark Twain describe what the storyteller animatronic is saying?

K. Martinez, wow, you might be the only other person I know who is not overly fond of the CBJ. I think Marc Davis was a genius and an incredible artist, but I was not in love with the shows that just had performing animatronics on a stage ("America Sings" is another - although I LOVED "Carousel of Progress"!).

Nanook said...

@ Major & K. Martinez-

Rack up one more Disney fan who is less than enamored with CBJ. It definitely has its moments; but a little of it goes a very long way.

Chuck said...

Major - Not sure about today since it's been nearly six long years since a DL visit, but the Narrator ("Sam Clemens," I believe) did at one time tell passengers what story the storyteller was telling.