Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fantasyland Construction, 1983

A few years ago I acquired a small group of snapshots that were taken during the massive construction for the "New Fantasyland" that opened in 1983. Since New Fantasyland debuted in May, I am guessing that these are actually from sometime in 1982, for those of you keeping score. 

Since they are prints rather than negatives or 35mm slides, the quality isn't as nice as I would like. Most of the pictures in this bunch were taken from the Skyway, which continued to operate during this major refurbishment. Presumably this was one of those times when a Skyway ride was "round trip" from Tomorrowland and back again? 

Anyway, there's a whole lotta dirt and lumber to be seen; King Arthur's Carrousel is mostly hidden behind large tarps. Behind it is a large empty structure that will eventually house the new "Peter Pan" and "Mr. Toad" attractions. I have so few photos with Space Mountain in them that it is always slightly weird to see it.

To our right we can see the construction of "Pinocchio's Daring Journey", in the former location of the Fantasyland Theater. I love this "new" dark ride, though the lines for it are always short. How would you like to climb that spindly ladder? If you fall, you will only break 5/8 of your bones.

Stay tuned for more pictures from this lot!


TokyoMagic! said...

In the second photo, I think some of that paint in the lower right corner might still be wet!

Also in the second photo, we can see the "backside" of the New Fantasyland/Coming Soon sign on top of the construction wall over by the Castle. Major, you had posted pics of the front of it in 2014: New Fantasyland Sign

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, and yes, the Skyway was round trip at that time. There was a sign at the Tomorrowland station informing guests of this. And there were cast members in the Fantasyland station that would push the gondolas (with guests in them) around through the station and back onto the cable. Now that I think of it, that must of been a lot tougher than just pushing the empty gondolas like they would normally do.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. This brings back a memory and solves a family argument all at one. I visited Disneyland in the early 1980s and have memories of lots of construction, but what sticks out after all these years is the round trip on the Skyway. We took the trip three times as it was one of my all-time favorite things to do. I distinctly recall the CM pushing us around the Fantasyland terminus and back on up in the air. My family states it never happened... hah! Now I have the proof to bring to Thanksgiving this year. Thanks!


Snow White Archive said...

Great pics! Got any of SWSA under construction?

K. Martinez said...

Love the palms and Space Mountain together. Great combo. I think the Rocket Jets and Grand Hotel are visible too (left of Carrousel).

I remember first seeing this mess while I was having my first ride of the day on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad first thing in the morning. That's when I glanced over from the second lift hill towards Fantasyland. I was shocked to see it all torn up. I was not a happy camper to discover that the Fantasyland of my childhood was destroyed.

In various periodicals and publications, Pinocchio's Daring Journey has been criticized as the weakest dark ride in the Fantasyland set. I disagree. I love all five of the Fantasyland dark rides for differing reasons. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! and Meredith, I remember doing the round trip on the Skyway as well during this time.

Anonymous said...

When they tore down the Mickey Mouse Theatre, they paid a steel scrap dealer to haul away the steel beams that spanned the theatre. Shortly after the beams were hauled away, they realized that they could have used those beams for the Pinocchio building. A call was made, and the scrap dealer brought the beams back - for a price. I can only imagine the scrap dealer saying, "A pleasure doing business with you."

Anonymous said...

To Tokyo Magic - The key to turning the loaded cabins around was to keep them moving. They were work only if they stopped.

K. Martinez said...

@Anonymous, Good for the scrap dealer. Transporting materials isn't free. Sounds like someone at Disney wasn't doing their job. You'd think the project manager in charge would've taken a look at the materials to see what was reusable before having it hauled away. Either way, I love stories like this. Thanks for sharing it.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I love that very crude “Wet Paint” sign! As for the “Coming Soon” sign, this photographer took a photo of it as well! Stay tuned.

TokyoMagic! again, I guess that explains why all but one of the pictures in this lot were taken from the Skyway, apparently as it went back and forth over the construction zone. I’m kind of surprised that we don’t see more photos from 1983. Thanks for the info!

Meredith, TokyoMagic! is full of all kinds of knowledge.

Snow White Archive, unfortunately there is nothing featuring the Snow White ride.

K. Martinez, I think that the early 80’s were a time when I didn’t go to the park that much - but in retrospect I wish I had seen this construction going on. I sure remember reading about it in various publications. And I agree with you, I love “Pinocchio’s Daring Journey” - the line is usually short, which is just fine with me. They did a great job with it… it feels like one of the original dark rides to me.

Anonymous, I think I’ve heard that story about the steel beams before, but I don’t know where. I can only assume that they still got the reclaimed beams for less than brand new ones, but still, what a blunder.

Anonymous, I can only imagine trying to move a 600 pound (or more) Skyway gondola from a dead stop!

K. Martinez, you know that if Admiral Joe was still in charge, that would have never happened!

Melissa said...

So weird that they let all that construction show! Although I can't think of much they could have done about it without closing the Skyway down. Giant canopies? A Cast member stationed in each Skyway bucket saying, "Hey, look over there!" at strategic moments?

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Like many older Disneyland fans I’m a bit of a purest at heart. I really do miss many of the attractions that were laid upon the sacrificial alter of “upgrades” (note the quotes). Submarine Voyage, Swiss Family Tree house, and of course the undefiled Pirates, it COMPLETELY breaks my heart to think that they and many others are simply gone forever. But dare I say, I don’t really lament the loss of the pre-80s Fantasyland much at all. Even as a little kid it just felt kind of cheepy to me, and this particular renovation was VASTLY superior and even needed in my opinion.

I’ve never seen photos like these before. Considering the Skyway passing right through you’d think there’d be a lot of them floating around. Nice bit of history, GOOD FIND Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Snow White Archive, since the Major said he doesn't have any pics of Snow White's Scary Adventures under construction, here is a link showing the old attraction completely gutted with just the roof and one wall still standing: New Fantasyland Construction 1. And here is a link showing it further along with the new facade under scaffolding: New Fantasyland Construction 2.

Nancy said...

very cool. hard to imagine that Fantasyland was closed for an extended period of time like that. looking forward to seeing the rest!

Chuck said...

Speaking of construction, there was some discussion in this space last week about the date of the demise of the Dominguez House/Old Admin Building, with the consensus seeming to be 1966. I remember reading an article in an "E Ticket" (maybe Issue 29, Spring 98?) that discussed the house, but unfortunately can't find it (I think it was eaten by termites in an unfortunate storage area disaster a couple of years ago).

Today's Daveland (http://davelandweb.com/aerial/images/KTPBK-7-74-N04B-d1.jpg) confirms that the structure was definitely gone by 1974.

Snow White Archive said...

Thanks Tokyo! :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, from what I’ve seen, they were a lot less secretive about construction back then; when the New Tomorrowland was under construction, you could even walk through parts of it and observe what was going on over very low construction walls.

Monkey Cage Kurt, it is no surprise that I am with you, and am a purist/traditionalist. I recently read of rumors that the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island are going to be severely truncated for the upcoming Star Wars Land, at it just makes me sick - I hope it isn’t true.

TokyoMagic!, Wow, those are some great photos! Thanks for the links!

Nancy, wasn’t the WDW Fantasyland recently closed for a few years?

Chuck, OK, my next homework assignment is to dig out my E-Ticket magazine to find the article about the Dominguez house. I know I have it, and I even know where it is! I just need to remember to find it and read it. Hopefully it will have a more exact date.