Friday, July 10, 2015

Beautiful Rainbow Ridge, March 13, 1958

I've already posted most of the slides from March 13, 1958, but there are still some nice ones left - like today's!

The low attendance (I think it was in the neighborhood of 5,000 people) on this day allowed for an excellent shot of Rainbow Ridge. It is a good looking small-scale western town, in spite of its artificiality. The muted colors look as if the buildings have been exposed to blistering sunshine for decades.

Oh man, there's already four people in line. It's not worth it! You can see one of the trains heading through the tunnel that exited into Bear Country. I wonder what the red-shirted cast member is doing? I wish I could read that white sign to our left, but no such luck.

How's this for a lovely shot? Taken from the Mark Twain, we look down into the empty corral where you could catch a Conestoga Wagon or Stage Coach. Looks like there are a few people in line for the pack mules - assuming the rain didn't start, this would have been an awesome day to ride the mules.


Nanook said...


Still can't get enough of Nature's Wonderland. As far as that CM is concerned, undoubtedly he's covering-up the screen of his smart phone, which allowed him to see the text clearly and just realized the call is from Walt. "I've gotta take this..."

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Rainbow Ridge kind of reminds me of the Fantasyland dark ride murals, but in 3D. It's sort of like a storybook version of a western town and like those attractions, you have a colorful backdrop in the load area with tunnel/portals at each end taking you in and out of the action.

Is that a shadow of a Mark Twain's stack in the last image? I think I spot a drainage grill and hole at the end of that shadow. In the back there are two Skyway buckets just above Mineral Hall going to and from Tomorrowland and a shy Moonliner. Nature's Wonderland can't be beat. Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

1958 would mean pre-Nature's Wonderland. Did Bear Country exist before the 1960 make-over? The ride operator is probably logging the hourly count, taken from the turnstyle.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I concur with Nanook, any Nature's Wonderland are welcome anytime.

I have to laugh to think what life would be like back in those days if smart phones had existed. If Walt's was in one of his famous "bad" mood periods you could change his ringtone to something that matched like the Star Wars stormtooper music.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think he might be trying to get Scottie to beam him up.

K. Martinez, I suppose that Rainbow Ridge is sort of like the murals in front of the Fantasyland attractions! It sets the stage, puts guests in a stylized Western town, and gets them ready for their adventure, even though they are totally unaware of it. Yep, that sure looks like the shadow of a Twain stack; and you are right about the Skyway buckets too, which I didn't even notice!

Anonymous, you are right of course. Which makes me wonder what WAS the first thing guests saw after going through that tunnel, pre-1960?

Alonzo, smart phones are a miracle, but it is a little disheartening to see people constantly staring at those little screens. Walt was so fond of technology, I could almost imagine him showing off an early phone on his TV show!

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice set.

I've blabbed before how I like the sort of shots that have nothing but themed area in sight and could have been taken in the real world. Most of these are from Frontierland. The second one is in this class. I'm giving the castle a pass 'cause it looks like it is sitting on some extension of the hill (Rainbow Ridge!) that the town's upper buildings are perched on.

Nanook said...

@ Anonymous-

You would think for someone who owns the Frontierland attraction poster depicting the "Stage Coach Ride", "Mine Train Ride" & "Mule Pack Ride" would know the history of the attraction's name. Evidently not this time. However, the appearance of Bear Country was a part of the 1960 make-over.

@ Major-
It would appear guests on the Mine Train would first see desert and some trees. It's hard to verify just exactly what tableau greeted guests, as most of the historical info is linked to a post-1960 Mine Train. Even the article in The "E" Ticket doesn't dwell on that aspect of the attraction.

Melissa said...

Gorgeous, sun-kissed pictures! Love the one at the end with no people in it - how often do you see anything like that nowadays?

Interesting that you mention Scotty; if this was anything like Star Trek, the guy in the red shirt would be getting ready to be run over by the train!

Nanook said...


I Pulled out Disneyland, U.S.A. to see if it revealed any secrets as to the first scene to make an appearance as the Mine Train exits the first tunnel. It appears to be 'barren landscape', with some shrubbery - but not exactly desert-like - until it crosses through the Natural Arch Bridge, some time later - which would be well past both Beaver Valley and Bear Country.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, that second shot really is a beauty… I think the quality of the light and the beautiful sky really helps to make it exceptional.

Nanook, even if you have that poster (lucky!), it’s easy to forget about the date that the attraction changed from the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train to the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. I guess that the pre-1960 ride was considered too unremarkable? It certainly saw incredible improvements for Nature’s Wonderland. Thanks for the info about that “first view”… it’s hard to believe that it went from “desert and some trees” to that magnificent trestle bridge, and the river and bears and everything else!

Melissa, I think that the days of low attendance are gone, unless it is rainy. I definitely thought of the fate of anyone wearing a red shirt on Star Trek!

Nanook, I’ll have to look at that wonderful film when I have time (I’ve watched it over and over, and love it every time). It’s so incredible to see film of Disneyland in such glorious color, in those early days.

Anonymous said...

I remember Mom and Dad laughing at the CM costumes for the Mine Train. The red underwear was a cliche from before my time.

Thank you, Major, really enjoy stories about the Mine Train. I forget that so much of my familiar Disneyland was "plussed" up (hate that term) from the original opening conditions. Never occurred to me that Nature's Wonderland opened in stages.

Hope you are getting settled from your move. My first things to do were always setting up the hi-fi and the coffee pot. With music and caffeine, the rest seemed to happen easier. Now it has to be "wi-fi" befor "hi-fi" I guess, and my iPad is the hi-fi, no set up needed.



Chuck said...

Just noticed the Anaheim Hills in the background of the second image. The high angle and the rainy weather do wonders for being able to see a good distance.

When I was stationed at March AFB, some of my favorite days were in February, when the sun would come out after a rainstorm had knocked all of the particulates out of the air. You could see the San Bernardino Mountains all the way from Moreno Valley, some 25-30 miles away.