Friday, August 12, 2016

Tomorrowland, 1972

 There aren't many things in this world that I like better than a beautiful photo of vintage Tomorrowland - and today's first example is a lulu. The photographer was aboard the Peoplemover, or at least I believe so. 

I love the perspective on the Skyway buckets as they head toward (and from) the openings in the Matterhorn. The square buckets look like plastic ice chests - as if they were insulated to help keep guests cool! Down below there are Peoplemover vehicles, and Monorail Red, as well as some Autopia cars. All under a cloudless sky on a perfect July day.

This one is not quite as dazzling, but it still offers an interesting view as seen from the Disneyland Railroad while stopped at Tomorrowland Station. In this photo and the previous photo, the Peoplemover trains are empty for whatever reason.  But if it wasn't running, how could the first picture have been taken from it?!


Nanook said...


That first image is a beaut-! But, ah, the "mystery Peoplemover". The Phantom Peoplemover: No passengers allowed. Perhaps guests were feeling the effects of 'miniaturization' while passing adjacent to the Adventure Thru Inner Space, and never fully recovered. They're just too short to be seen in these images.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I think that first, absolutely gorgeous photo was taken from the location of the imperial blue PeopleMover train in the second image.

The PeopleMover appears to have been running that day - note that there is a fiesta yellow train in the second photo in the same relative location as the Malibu turquoise one in the first photo.

Not sure why there are no people visible in the trains. The crowds look fairly light; perhaps they were all doing something else. I can remember in the '90s watching empty trains depart the turntable area on low-attendance days, and my wife and I were able to get trains to ourselves on multiple occasions (all the better for public smootchin').

An alternate theory is that the photos are posted in reverse order and the PeopleMover wasn't running or wasn't loading passengers when the second photo was taken. By the time the first one was shot, the PeopleMover was open for business and the photographer was in one of the first loaded trains. Since the trains were left scattered throughout the track when the ride was switched off rather than all being shunted off onto a siding, it would make sense that there are still empty trains ahead of the photographer's train since they wouldn't have all cycled through the loading turntable area yet. Although, honestly - Nanook's theories are just as plausible.

Whatever the cause of the Phantom PeopleMovers, today's shots are stunningly colorful reminders of what was. As always, thanks for preserving our memories of what many of us believe was the best iteration of Tomorrowland.

TokyoMagic! said...

What's that bamboo doing (other than growing) at the exit to the Skyway? It seems like an odd place to plant it, since it is a pretty aggressive grower.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Perfect photos of a perfect place and perfect era. IMHO this area/era will never be outdone.

The technology, flash and "freshness" Walt always hoped they would continue to strive for has and will replace all of this for new generations.

Sometimes you make something special and it can't be topped. Line for the time machine forms behind me!!! Happy friday everyone. Thanks for posting, well done.

MRaymond said...

Empty Peoplemover trains wait for no man

DrGoat said...

Perfect indeed. I love that area. When we were doing our early morning entry in '96, the monorail let us off there. Going down the stairs into that space completely devoid of people was one of those moments I can't forget.

Omnispace said...

While my family always rode the Peoplemover, it was still a fairly hefty 'D' ticket -- not free like many of the other sponsored Tomorrowland shows. With other great attractions such as Rocket Jets, Skyway, Tom Sawyer Island Rafts, Disneyland RR, Canal Boats, and the Mark Twain competing for attention there was always a certain amount of anxiety whether an attraction was worthy of the finite amount of tickets in the book. One could always purchase an extra ticket within the park but it would be at full value. A 'D' ticket in 1972 (Yesterland source) would set one back $.70 which is the equivalent of $4 today.

Tom said...

This was taken on the day of the second annual Ninja Days At Disneyland.

All of the Ninjas are riding the Peoplemover. What, you can't see them? Exactly.

Both of these photos are breathtakingly beautiful. I declare them entirely step-into worthy.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, code blue, code blue! We are back on visual, but we are only an inch tall. How many kids rode Adventure Thru Inner Space and genuinely worried about not getting back to full size?

Chuck, I have no idea what order in which the photos were shot; it just seems mighty strange that we see NO passengers in the Peoplemover. I thought that perhaps the ride was not open, but that they were cycling the trains through to test it - but of course that does not explain why the first picture was taken from almost exactly where that blue Peoplemover train is in the second picture. I’m just going to blame junk food and get on with my life!

TokyoMagic!, my grandmother’s neighbor once paid me to dig out some bamboo that was growing along her fence. One of the hardest jobs I ever did! So what I’m saying is that the bamboo in photo #2 was probably planted by my grandmother’s neighbor.

Alonzo, one thing that I think really comes through in this Tomorrowland is the feeling of optimism - Walt’s vision of the future was not a “Blade Runner” distopia. None of the attractions had a movie tie-in either, and nowadays ALL attractions have a movie tie-in. It makes a difference, somehow.

MRaymond, you speak the truth.

DrGoat, I hope you took lots of pictures!

Omnispace, that was definitely a conundrum in the days of ticket books. I remember running out of “good” tickets partway through a visit, and having to buy another ticket book, which was something like 8 dollars. As a teen that seemed expensive! However, as others have pointed out, the ticket books also encouraged folks to take some time to visit those “A” and “B” attractions that might be overlooked, otherwise.

Tom, I feel silly having completely ignored the possibility of ninjas. They follow me everywhere!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant pics, major. The essence of Tomorrowland.

Especially liking the second shot from the train, complete with scalloped canopy.

Thank you so much.


Patrick Devlin said...

All that talk of PeopleMovers and not a peep regarding the two officers in Summer White Service uniforms? I am dumbfounded! Or dumb. Or something.

Great pics, Major. I really loved the Mk. III monorails.

Nanook said...


Apparently your grandmother's neighbor really 'made the rounds'. I can attest to a bamboo 'outgrowth', requiring the services of a backhoe and many hours of labor.

Without getting too philosophical/political here... In spite of Walt's optimistic and forward-looking/thinking approach to life, his Disneyland came of age at a time that reflected a great deal of optimism and the welcoming of a future that would be better. The timing was quite prescient. And as Alonzo P Hawk accurately pointed out: "Sometimes you make something special and it can't be topped".

[As seemingly] poorly-designed and conceived as most of the changes to the 'New' Tomorrowland seem to be, in some odd way it perfectly reflects the technologically-driven (for the sake of technology) and superficial, entitled society, focussed on amusement and games, but also worries, fear and a constant state of panic, that we now find ourselves living. Its new "look" - appearing merely 'different', rather than truly feeling forward-thinking, and better - combined with mass-merchandising, "synergy - yes THAT excuse - the public has come to expect [and feel comfortable with] that version of Tomorrowland, seems to fit the bill if one cannot truly look forward. If the 'bean counters and marketing hacks', who collectively haven't had a brilliant idea in centuries, would go-away, just Imagine what a great Tomorrowland the Imagineers could create if they would just allow themselves to think the impossible can be possible...

Chuck said...

Good eye, Patrick! I (obviously) totally missed them. They are either Navy (and not necessarily ours) or Coast Guard, although we can't rule out the possibility of it being Good Humor Day at Disneyland.

Nanook, I hope that the current crop of Imagineers unfettered could come up with something as awesome as Tomorrowland '67, but it would necessarily be different. The group of designers who worked on the Best Tomorrowland EVER grew up in a world where people really believed the future really was a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, and their design philosophy and show scripts all reflect that. And while they did a fantastic job with them, they were only building upon ideas that had been around since at least the 1933 World's Fair and maybe as far back as the 1893 Fair. I'm not saying that optimism can't be harnessed again in a way that would engage and inspire the public, that next generation that will launch "Chimpanzees Don't Twitter" and turn it into another cultural touchstone, but there's an awful lot of additional societal baggage that's built up in the past 50 years that needs to be waded through first to get there.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I hope your grandmother's neighbor didn't pay you with penny whistles and ribbon candy!

This would be a very good year to set that time machine for. The Carousel of Progress and the Pack Mules would still be open (but only for another year) and Country Bear Jamboree and The Main Street Electrical Parade were both brand new.

Speaking of the MSEP, did anyone else hear about them bringing it back to Disneyland for a very limited time next year? I say....TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, glad you liked these!

Patrick Devlin, I was going to make a Good Humor ice cream joke, but see that Chuck beat me to it.

Nanook, I know what you mean regarding the general mindset of the 1960’s - I see a lot of similarities in so much of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and that is a large part of why that Fair appeals so much to me. I’m trying to think of the last attraction at Disneyland that was not directly tied to a movie. Perhaps it was “Big Thunder” (1979)? I would love to believe that Imagineers could come up with a brilliant Tomorrowland if not for the meddling of the “suits” and those “sharp pencil boys”, but also realize that creating something futuristic that won’t become dated in a decade would be very difficult. Alonzo P Hawk’s comment probably sums it up as well as anything!

Chuck, I know that many of today’s Imagineers are bright, hard-working, and sincere in their desire to build the best attractions possible. But there was something about those original Imagineers, who started out as painters and animators, with years of storytelling experience, and artistic ability that was off the charts - did Walt somehow know that they would excel at helping him design a brand new, incredible amusement park experience? Or was it more prosaic - “I need artists, and hey, I have a bunch of them already working for me in other areas”? Meanwhile, when GDB ends, they will break the mold, and bury it with silver, garlic, and wolfsbane.

TokyoMagic!, yes, I did hear about the returning Electrical Parade - I’m sure it will make a lot of people (all those Orange County locals) very happy. Isn’t it amazing the way it keeps on going and going?

DrGoat said...

Have a photo of 2 cast members in costume, one had his giant character head off and was adjusting something. When the other CM saw us across the empty plaza, he grabbed the other guys head and put it on quickly.
Also we got to be first in line at the newly opened Indiana Jones ride and got a neat certificate and a bunch of other stuff.