Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Snapshots, March 1974 - Small World Area

I just finished scanning a larger-than-usual batch of vintage snapshots, dating from March 1974. They are definitely a mixed bag, but overall are nicer than most humble photo prints.

In this first example, we can see that a miniature "Wonderland" was set up at the west end of "It's a Small World"; a little hill, flowers, an oversized teapot, a mushroom that escaped from Santa's Village (mushrooms always escape!), as well as Alice and some of her unusual friends. 

There's the Walrus, the White Rabbit, and what must be the Mad Hatter, sans hat in this view.

The net two pictures show the famous façade for "Small World"; it still looks essentially like a giant foam core model - which is part of its charm. The grass and shrubs are immaculately maintained; look at those big trees behind the building! Until now, I thought that the old boats all had turquoise seats, but obviously some were yellow too. Were there other colors? Perhaps tomato red?

Here's a second view, with more topiaries.


Nanook said...


It truly is "...the happiest cruise to ever set sail". or "...the happiest cruise that ever sailed 'round the world". - take your pick. (And don't get me started on the poor behavior of mushrooms-! You can't take them anywhere).

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

There is the Small World Meadow in all it's glory. That teapot was actually a parade float that was used in many of the Christmas parades over the years.

The boat in that second pic has pink seats!

Chuck said...

The Alice meet-and-greet may have been intended as a cross-promotion with the film, which had its first American re-release on March 15th, 1974. I wonder how long this was there? I have no recollection of it in January of '75, and as an Alice-mad kid, I definitely would have noticed.

Although I know this was taken in the off-season at a dead-end corner of the Park, I'm still stunned at how small the crowd is around the characters.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Chuck and TokyoMagic! always an amazing wealth of knowledge you guys, Thanks!

Nancy said...

Beautiful views!! One thing that I like about this attraction at Disneyland better than at Walt Disney World is the outside area. I love the live plants and sunshine. It is a bit dark at its Florida counterpart. The facade, of course, is so grand, especially at nighttime when all the lights are on. Either way, nothing beats the view when you first come around that corner. ;-) It was one of the things I was really looking forward to seeing on my first trip.

Thanks for the sunshine, Major!! :-)

K. Martinez said...

There's the old pastel boats built for moderate HWP guests and the old flume trough without the wavy blue strip painted on it yet. What? No soot on the façade where the train passes through? Wonder where all those props for the promos ended up? In people's private collections? Deposited directly into the dumpster? That would certainly make dumpster diving in Disneyland a lot of fun! Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

I never knew there was a "wonderland" set up there. I'm assuming that's on the west end, near where the Toontown entrance is now? Amazing! I love these hidden gems.

Scott Lane said...

Hmm....you're seeing a hatless Hatter, but I'm seeing a little girl in a purple dress and red pants. That person also seems a little small for the Hatter, but maybe he's been nibbling on that misbehaving mushroom.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the only thing you need to know about mushrooms is that they are groovy!

TokyoMagic!, well, at least we see a bit of the meadow anyway. Whoa, didn’t even notice the pink seats. PINK! It matches the girl’s shirt.

Chuck, I think your theory is a good one. And yeah, where the heck is everybody? Even in the off season, it looks like a beautiful sunny day. Ah, those pre-AP days.

Monkey Cage Kurt, it is a good thing they leave comments here so that I can spend more time taking naps.

Nancy, I don’t know much about the Florida version of WDW’s “IASW”; was the miniature Mary Blair/Rolly Crump exterior added fairly recently?

K. Martinez, “HWP guests”? I’m sure all those props were destroyed. Well, maybe not the giant mushroom, there must have been someone who wanted that. I know a person who literally dumpster-dived at Disneyland and he has some AMAZING things in his home.

Tom, I’d never seen that little setup either. It’s a small detail, but fun nevertheless.

Kenneth Lane, you could be right. What threw me was the “fright wig” hair (!) and the crazy colorful clothing, although I must remind myself that it WAS 1974 after all.

Anonymous said...

These are really great. This pic was taken right in the middle of my "two trips a year" period and I don't recall anything like the Alice display. Nowadays, they flog these tie-ins for months and years...

The hatless Hatter is the Walrus from the "Walrus and the Carpenter" segment of Alice.

The Christmas version of the facade is very impressive now. I'm relieved that the color scheme has gone back to the neutral gold and white.

Very cool, Major, thank you.


Chuck said...

Major, as you know, the WDW version of iasw was built with a fairly standard "Fantasyland dark ride" façade, albeit larger than that of its nearby cousins. The reasoning behind this was to shield guests from the often hot, muggy, and rainy Florida weather. While taking its cues from the original Blair/Crump design, the original load area backdrop was fairly flat and undetailed, with rows of lights outlining many of the landmarks.


I remember it being a lot less colorful in the '70s, but have not been able to find any documentary evidence to support that and may be conflating it with memories of Disneyland.

In 2004-05, the queue was completely reworked, moving the entrance from the right side of the façade to the left side and adding the scaled-down copy of the Disneyland iasw clock as well as a Disneyland-inspired color scheme.



Dean Finder said...

Chuck, that's interesting. During a visit to WDW a few years ago, I noticed the row number plates on the ground on the "unload" side of the iASW boats and was confused why they were there. It makes sense now that I know it was the former load area.

Also, from the last picture it looks like the Blair/Crump Disneyland-style facade was installed while the load area was still to the right of the boats.

Scott Lane said...

Anonymous: No the Walrus is to the right of Alice. The figure in question, the Hatless-Hatter/Little-Girl-In-A-Phyllis-Diller-Fright-Wig, is the figure with its back to us between Alice and the White Rabbit.

Chuck: Y'know I was originally thinking the same thing (WDW's interior being plain and colorless) but, looking at that first pic, my brain said, "Yeah that's the way it looked in the 70's". So either my age-addled mind was also blending it with DL or maybe it was BOTH ways in the 70's? Plain in the early years and then painted by mid-decade? Or maybe we're both just ready for the Dementia Ward...