Friday, March 18, 2016

Two From August 1969

Here are two fun views from August, 1969! We'll begin with this great shot of the Motor Boat Cruise in Fantasyland. This attraction was kind of a snooze, to be honest, but I miss it in a way. It was relaxing, if nothing else! You could literally take a nap (or die!) during your cruise, because the boat would putt along by itself, no steering or gas pedal required.  Pretend a ghost is driving, like I do on the freeways every day.

I'm trying to figure out how the photographer got this elevated view. Not from the Skyway, surely? It was too far away, I'm thinking. Perhaps from the Monorail? Or a low-flying autogyro?

Next is this great view from the Peoplemover track. It looks a bit weird because I had to lighten it up a bunch, but it's still very neat. Yes, Virginia, that overhead track that now sits abandoned,really was there for a reason. This summer day was rather busy. Look at all the mini skirts on the ladies! Besides the wonderful Peoplemover, we can see a bit of the Mary Blair mural, the entrance to Adventure Thru Inner Space, and even America the Beautiful.


Nanook said...


Funny you should mention the 'relaxation aspect' of The Motor Boat Cruise. A family friend (who I am told will be making a future appearance within these pages), and myself took advantage of that very thing following a rather harrowing ride on the Tea Cups. We decided the Motor Boat Cruise would be the perfect tonic to soothe our heads. As for the device used to assist in obtaining the shot from "on high" - my vote is with a very powerful Pogo Stick.

In the second shot we can observe the typically long line for ATIS back in those days. And there, as you promised, front and center, is the Tomorrowland flag pole topped with a gold eagle finial, and Old Glory a-fluttering in the breeze.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I thought that the Motor Boats did have a gas pedal to make them go and that it was just the steering that was done automatically.

Nanook, maybe that first pic was taken with a super long Selfie Stick. No wonder they don't allow them in the parks today!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, those teacups... as a kid I had no idea that the spinning motion wreaked such havoc with the heads and stomachs of certain guests. One of my old girlfriends absolutely refused to go on it, even if I promised not to spin the wheel. Personally I might have chosen the Peoplemover as a way to recover, but the Motor Boats were a fine choice too. Pogo stick, eh? Remember "Moon Shoes" (with the springs on the soles)? I had a pair of those, and they were a big disappointment. I only jumped 70 feet high, nowhere near the moon.

TokyoMagic!, they definitely had a gas pedal, but in my recollection (please correct me if I'm wrong, GDB readers), applying pressure to the pedal made the motor noise a little faster/louder, but it had no effect on the speed of the boat. You could never hit the boat in front of you - believe me, I tried. As for Selfie Sticks, will they be nostalgia triggers in the way that Pet Rocks and Hula Hoops are for other decades?

Chuck said...

Look at those wonderful corporate logos! That whole area is just so perfectly balanced in shape and color. And I'm all nostalgic again for the PeopleMover.

Still marveling that I missed that flagpole all these years!

Anonymous said...

Ride operators used to call the motorboat ride "The Cruise", not because of its formal name, but because it was such a low-key ride to operate, and was actually a coveted ride when Summer shift selection time came.

K. Martinez said...

I loved the Motor Boat Cruise. It was a great little 'B' ticket attraction and it provided the lowest level view of the "Disneyland '59" area with the Autopia, Monorail and PeopleMover vehicles in continuous motion overhead. I also liked the unique low-level view of the Submarine Lagoon from the turn-around point before heading back. Many visitors focus heavily on the 'E's, but I still enjoy the 'A's and 'B's of Disneyland today. That is what's left of them.

Nice first image. It illustrates the layering that Disney used to do so well. Thanks, Major!

"Attention Motor Boat skippers! You're now approaching the unloading zone. For your safety and the safety of the passengers, please slow down and allow the boat to idle slowly to the unloading dock."

TokyoMagic!, I remember it not making much of a difference if any when pushing the pedal, but the safety spiel seems to imply there as some sort of speed control. Maybe it was just "on" and "off" and not about speed. It's been well over 20 years since I've road it, so my recollection is weak.

Chuck said...

Don't feel bad, Ken - it's been more than 20 years since ANYONE rode it. And your memory of it HAS to be better than mine, considering I never rode it at all... :-(

Nanook said...


That event pre-dated the Peoplemover, so The Moror Boat Cruise it was.

Anonymous said...

Pic 2 is one of the very best park vantages. Too bad it's lost.

Great stuff, Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I do love those logos, though of course they are attached to fond memories of those classic attractions; I’m not sure a Starbucks or FedEx logo elicits quite the same emotional response (for me, anyway).

Anonymous, that sounds like the ride for me! I wonder if any guests ever fell off the dock into the water?

K. Martinez, I didn’t think my family went on many “B” ticket attractions, but upon looking at what attractions were on those, we did a few (besides the Motor Boats), including the Swiss Family Treehouse, and Alice in Wonderland (why was Alice a “B”??). As for the boats slowing down, I believe that the announcement gave people the illusion that they were actually controlling their boats. I don’t even think the pedal did as much as “on” or “off”.

Chuck, it was a perfectly pleasant little ride, but you really didn’t miss that much. Of course if it was around today I would definitely ride it!

Nanook, how do I know you didn’t have a TARDIS?

JG, the whole Rocket Rods debacle really was one of the biggest blunders. Such a waste of energy and money, only to have a derelict track remind us of what once was.

Nanook said...


Personally I prefer time travel using the 'Rod Taylor-approved' machine.