Friday, July 08, 2016

Tomorrowland Construction, 1966?

All of the remaining Instamatics from my friend "Mr. X" are photos showing the construction of the "New Tomorrowland". 24 of them! Which is pretty cool; it will be a nice sendoff for this incredible collection of photos that I have been sharing for years (literally). I shared one of them two years ago, you'll see it at this post.

Let's start with this photo, taken from the Disneyland Railroad; I am a bit discombobulated, but the Matterhorn is pretty far away, so we must be close to Tomorrowland Station. Maybe. In the foreground is the Truck of Tomorrow, along with some mysterious wooden sheds and 2 X 4's. For you fans of dirt, today is your lucky day. I love that Mr. X caught the Yellow Monorail as it came swooping by.

This was probably taken before the first photo, as it looks like we might be more in Fantasyland at this point - is that the Richfield Eagle from the Fantasyland Autopia to our extreme right? In any case... more dirt, and more Yellow Monorail!


Nanook said...


I'm not so good at identifying dirt - that requires a true expert. But as far that "Truck of Tomorrow" is concerned, it might be more proper to refer to it as 'a late model' - specifically, a 1963 Ford Truck.

And it does, indeed, look to be the Richfield Eagle peeking-in at the extreme right.

Thanks again - to Mr. X & you-!

TokyoMagic! said...

I think those two silver-colored lamps in the first pic, would indicate that the dirt road in front of the truck would have been or is going to be an Autopia roadway? Was the Tomorrowland Autopia altered at all when the New Tomorrowland of 1967 was under construction?

Tom said...

Hurray for dirt! Overturned soil meant progress, and what better to symbolize the updated Tomorrowland? Kind of reminds me of what's going on right now over in what used to be the north end of Frontierland.

K. Martinez said...

Looks like they had a serous gopher problem in that second pic. The only thing I can think of is preparation for the PeopleMover track installation and maybe altering the Autopia tracks slightly to accommodate some of the supports. Both images look to be just west of ISAW. I'm sure creating access to construct the PeopleMover in the Autopia area also created a bit of a mess. That's just my guess.

Great construction mystery today! Thanks,Major

Patrick Devlin said...

Thanks Mr. X. So kid of you to share.

I think you're pretty much on target (hee) with those location guesses, Major. That Monorail Gold is just about to leave the Park at that point. I just had no idea that the Autopia was torn up so much pre-1967!

The second one, I think, was taken just after It's a Small World (after all) and that dirt is where the parade access road sits today. Both of these shots just look so funny in their perspectives. Truly discombobulating.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as an ex-farmer observer of soil (dirt), not an expert, the material in the photos looks very consistent with the spoils we are seeing in the Star Wars Land reconstruction.

Appears to be a sort of sandy loam which looks to have excellent percolation characteristics.

Probably why all the Disneyland watercourses are lined to prevent loss.

It's probably really good for oranges and strawberries, in view of the past uses. Avocados and other citrus as well. We can see from experience that the non-native landscaping thrives in it.

Not sure what kind of bearing pressure it supports, probably requires compaction before constructing heavy things on top.


Steve DeGaetano said...

I know exactly where that first photo was taken:

In the last car of the train! =)

Nanook said...

My vote is just "east" of IASW. Do I hear any votes for another compass point-??

Chuck said...

Steve, you are awesome!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, that may LOOK like a 1963 truck, but strangely, trucks in the year 3000 are going to look exactly the same. It’s like convergent evolution. The only difference is that the future truck hovers 9 inches off the ground.

TokyoMagic!, those are certainly Autopia lamps, but I am unsure if they are from the Tomorrowland Autopia or the one in Fantasyland. I honestly am not sure if one or both of the Autopias were altered during the big Tomorrowland redo.

Tom, the Carousel of Progress should have just had the audience look at piles of dirt on the stage! ;-)

K. Martinez, your Peoplemover theory sounds pretty convincing; they would have had to do a lot of digging for the track supports, and of course we know that the two attractions shared a lot of the same real estate. I think you might be right!

Patrick Devlin, like you, I believe that photo #2 is more in the Fantasyland area. Wait until you see some of the other construction shots… some of them are pretty amazing!

JG, I didn’t know you are an ex-farmer! As you mentioned, they had to line the Rivers of America, first with clay and later with cement, so that the water wouldn’t drain into the sandy soil. “Loam”, for some reason that word takes me right back to grade school.

Steve DeGaetano, I’ll bet the lantern was the tip-off!!

Nanook, that’s my guess too.

Chuck, don’t encourage him!!

K. Martinez said...

Doh! I definitely got my east and west crossed. I agree that it's west of IASW.

K. Martinez said...

I still can't get it right. Probably why I have problems with left and right. Anyway, what Nanook said I agree with. I think it's time for me to hang it up and retire.

Anonymous said...

Ha, Major, I left one high risk profession for another.

There was a substantial amount of below-grade construction in 1967 TL. I've seen photos of some surprising excavations.

There are tunnels connecting the central tower (People Mover and Rocket Jets) and the elevator stage to adjacent buildings, there is a good sized basement under Carousel of Progress, etc. and maybe more I don't know about. This work was all "cut-and-cover".

We could be looking at stockpile spoils from these various excavations waiting to be put back in place once the subgrade work was complete. There would probably be haul-off since the soil is displaced by below-grade building volumes. On an occupied site, it's hard to "lose" excess spoils and they often hauled off. If the location guess is correct, these piles could be accessed from the road around the back of the submarine building where the "Navy Yard" sign used to be.

On a new site without substantial below-grade work, the spoils can often be "lost" in the grading to avoid the haul-off costs by raising the grade in some areas. This is common in large area projects. In an extreme case of stockpiling, Snow Hill (now the site of the Matterhorn) was made up of the spoils left over from digging the lake that later became the submarine lagoon. There are huge piles in future Star Wars Land, but these may become landscaped hills.

It's very likely that the People Mover track pylons are founded on drilled piers, which don't create a lot of excess spoils. It's a sound engineering solution for the kinds of loads carried by the pylons. The pylons might even have been cast continuously by adding formwork above ground.

A big augur just drills a hole, a rebar cage is dropped in with a crane and concrete pumped into the hole till it's full. This would be the easiest method in such a complex environment. Some of the Autopia might have been re-routed to avoid conflict since beam spans are limited due to the need to use a consistent cross-section.

I have seen construction pictures of the PM track beam which appears to have been cast-in-place with a lot of overhead formwork. Quite an undertaking. The central tower and the long tracks running out of it are works of art rendered in concrete. If you understand the challenges of concrete construction, they are amazing. Especially since created in a pre-digital age with conventional drawing tools and old-fashioned math.

I think the monorail beam is mostly made up of precast pieces fabricated off-site and craned into place. Joints are evident in some places. Some of the sweeping curves might be cast-in-place however. Seems like there were pictures of this too, somewhere.

Thanks again, Major for these photos and all the accompanying speculation.