Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, August 1961

It's Father's Day! I miss my dad constantly, so if your father is still around, be sure to let him know how awesome you think he is.

These rock formations (found in Nature's Wonderland's "Living Desert") were probably state-of-the-art back in 1960 (the year before this photo was taken), but they look pretty funky by today's standards. Still, they got the job done, and with all of the plants and animals to see, guests might not have even noticed. Though I know that, as a kid, the "tumbling rocks" were a pretty creaky effect. Notice the Disneyland RR in the background.


This is a pretty terrible photo of the scratching, lazy bears. You can hardly see them! Maybe they had perfected some sort of stealth technology or cloaking devices. Even heat-seeking missiles couldn't find them. The only interesting detail is that it appears as though the pond (where you would see the fishing bears) is empty. I've never seen that before.


11 comments:

Nanook said...

Major-

Drat-! I was so hoping to spy (at least) one Midget Autopia car...

Thanks.

TokyoMagic! said...

Interesting! There appears to be some bears missing on the shore. I spot three adults and two cubs. The one that is usually seen scratching himself with his hind leg is missing, as well as a couple others. I wonder if that is a smidgen of water near the bottom left corner of the pic and the water level was just low, or if it was indeed completely drained. Perhaps this area was under refurbishment?

Melissa said...

The bears just wanted a little privacy from the snooping paparazzi. you can't have a good scratch with flash cubes snapping at you.

K. Martinez said...

Major, I still miss my dad from time to time and Fathers Day is one of those times I think about him more. I do feel fortunate that in the end he knew how awesome I thought he was. Hang in there.

I love the partially hidden passenger coach of the Disneyland Railroad and spouting geyser through the archway in the first image. It's the trees that do it for me in the second image.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, maybe I will have to Photoshop a Midget Autopia car in for you!

TokyoMagic!, I have noticed that the lineup of bears often changed over the years. It could very well be that the water level was low, or that is just a puddle left over after the whole thing was drained.

Melissa, those bears are naturalists, they are proud to let it all hang out!

K. Martinez, it seems that everything reminds me of my dad; makes watching TV or movies a more emotional experience. Like you, I get a kick out of seeing the train in the background.

Steve DeGaetano said...

That Santa Fe & Disneyland RR car is the combine--currently preserved at Walt's barn at Griffith Park!

Patrick Devlin said...

I probably don't have to mention this to most GDBers but the "natural window" and adjacent rock-work are still present on Big Thunder Trail. I'm happy they're still there as an homage to the previous attraction, but also as an anchor point for my always-put-off series of historical overlay aerial shots...

Major Pepperidge said...

Steve DeGaetano, only a true Disneyland RR enthusiast would recognize the combine! They all look alike to me, ha ha.

Patrick Devlin, I don't think I have ever personally seen the natural window, though I am sure that I've seen other surviving NW rocks; I'm going to look for a current photo right now!

TokyoMagic!, now I am wondering if I am mistaken about the water being drained; going back and looking at older photos, it's possible that the angle just makes it appear that way.

Anonymous said...

My earliest Disneyland memory is riding with my dad through Nature's Wonderland and being more than a little worried about the wobbly rocks above. That was in 1964 when I was four. I miss my dad too and your post today brings back a happy memory. Thank you Major!
Deanne

Major Pepperidge said...

Deanne, I think that my love of vintage Disneyland is largely due to the childhood trips taken with my parents and grandparents. My dad liked "Pirates of the Caribbean", in my mind I can imagine sitting next to him as the bateaux went down the waterfall. Thanks for your comment!

Steve DeGaetano said...

Deanne, I have the exact same memory--although mine dates from the 1970s! I was so sure those rocks were going to topple into our car...