Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Plantation House, 1959

Here are two lovely shots, circa 1959, featuring the Plantation House (sponsored by Swift). I particularly like the first view with the people in the foreground - as far as I can tell they are near that bridge that went over the river's Jungle Cruise connection. You can see the sail of a Tom Sawyer Island raft between the people and the house. 

If you would prefer basically the same photo without so many people, here you go! Imagine how nice it would have been to take a seat out front, in the sunshine (but shaded by an umbrella), with the River and all its excitement so close by.

Zooming in on the top floor (and lightening things just a bit), we can just see that the Gonzalez Trio is performing for diners. How fun would that be!


Nanook said...


The Gonzalez Trio-! That's a nice bit of sleuthing on your part, Major. These are lovely shots, and prior to expansion in that area, The Plantation House certainly provided a welcome escape for Disneyland guests.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

And I was wondering who or what everyone was looking at in that first photo! Mystery solved! I was going to say what a shame that the Plantation House couldn't have been moved or recreated elsewhere, but then I remembered that the facade inside of the Blue Bayou restaurant is supposed to be a recreation of it....isn't it?

K. Martinez said...

These are the kinds of images that make we wish I was born a just a little earlier. It would've been so cool to see Disneyland in the 1950's.

Nice detective work! And wouldn't the Gonzalez Trio fit in well since the facade on the other side of the building was southwestern in style? Thanks, Major.

Yes, TM! It is a fact that the facade inside the Blue Bayou Restaurant is a recreation and nod to the Plantation House.

Tom said...

Great to see a really good presentation of a beloved if short-lived part of Frontierland. I'd love to be able to step back in time and cross that bridge for some good fried chicken and be entertained by the Gonzalez Trio.

It always amazed me how compact that area was: the distance from the river to the DLRR was short; aerial shots show it didn't leave room for much. They managed to squeeze a lot of goodness back in there.

Anonymous said...

These are great shots, very clear and sharp. The Plantation House was before my time, I never knew there was a connection between the Jungle River and the Rivers of America until reading about it on-line here some time ago.

I think it's interesting that the Blue Bayou interior patio facade is a nod to this building and style. Disney must have had a strong affection for the South since Disneyland recreates some of the best aspects. Clearly the house was an important component and had to be kept.

After decades of visiting Disneyland New Orleans Square, I visited the real New Orleans city for the first time last spring. It felt very familiar, especially the area around the old French Market. NOS is really a faithful recreation of part of the French Quarter, complete with River and Railroad. The big difference I felt was that the real city has a square street grid, while NOS has curved and crooked streets to prevent long vistas and create an illusion of a bigger place.

Thank you, Major. Very enjoyable.


Unknown said...

That bridge and Magnolia Park just over the creek are my earliest Disneyland memory that I'm sure of. I remember, too, that there were three (I think) static crocodiles just upstream from the bridge. I think the reason that moment in time has stuck with me is that it was the site of the family portrait taken on the occasion of our annual MKC Director's day visit for the family. The picture is on-line here. I believe that's just over the bridge and adjacent to Magnolia Park. Still a distinct memory, that one.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it was mostly a case of wondering “What is everybody looking at??”. Now we know.

TokyoMagic!, I should have read your comment before I replied to Nanook’s comment! The house seen inside the Blue Bayou area looks so much like the original Plantation House that it can’t be a coincidence… or can it?

K. Martinez, I’ve never seen another photo of the Gonzalez Trio performing in the Plantation House, so that was a very fun discovery.

Tom, I almost feel like the limitations of Disneyland’s small footprint brought out the creativity in the Imagineers. With all of the space that they have in Florida, you just don’t see that kind of amazing integration.

JG, I think I first learned about the Jungle River/ROA connection in “The E-Ticket” magazine. I’ve never been to the South (I don’t count living in Atlanta when I was a tiny baby); my one opportunity to go to New Orleans fell through. Some day!

Patrick Devlin, you can find photos of the static crocodiles on this blog - often with ducks sleeping on them! I love that photo of the family that was on Daveland’s blog - there seems to be an extra boy in the mix?

Anonymous said...

@Major, you should definitely go to New Orleans, there is no place quite like it. A very unique city. We went just for pleasure travel, sightseeing, eating and drinking. Especially drinking. Just a wonderful place.

A word of caution though, I have been scolded by residents of other Southern states for placing New Orleans "in the South". People from Alabama and Mississippi especially seem to be grumpy about that (at least at the conference I attended). They claimed to me that NOLA (and Louisiana by extension) is it's own place due to the prior French connections and not truly "Southern". I guess that's a regional perception. From out here on the left coast, it's all exotic.


K. Martinez said...

JG, I love New Orleans. It's a great city and nothing like the rest of the South. At least when I visited there in the late 1970's. I traveled extensively through the southern half of the United States from Los Angeles all the way to Miami and all points in between and loved it. New Orleans is like San Francisco. A truly romantic place.

Unknown said...

Well, Major, I can only guess that extra boy is in the bushes? That's (in ascending order) me, Tom (my frequent Park visiting buddy), Mike (the former CM & Imagineer whose pics we've seen) and Joe (the eldest and current CM). Mike is the upstart with the only shirt lacking a collar. Shocking, I tell you...

Chuck said...

Sorry to chime in late...the facade inside the Blue Bayou is reminiscent of the Plantation House and an obvious nod to it, but it isn't a direct recreation or even a scaled-down copy. If you compare today's photos with this one over at Daveland, the differences are readily apparent. For example, because of nearby roof angles, it's pretty much impossible to get a really good sunset photo of the house at the Blue Bayou. I have, however, seen a jazz combo perform from the balcony a la the Gonzalez Trio in today's photo.

Neat set today, Major, and thanks for the additional link, Patrick!

Nancy said...

Such a beautiful building....I wish I had seen it and eaten the fried chicken I have heard so much about. Another wonderful place gone too soon. Thanks for these views. :-D

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I was asked if I wanted to go to New Orleans with friends years ago, but they wanted to go for Mardi Gras. Since I generally don’t like being around rowdy drunks, I declined. But I would go some other time! Alabama and Mississippi can grouse all they want, New Orleans is about as South as you can get.

K. Martinez, I would assume that much of the damage from Hurricane Katrina has been dealt with… not sure.

Patrick Devlin, yes, don’t you see Cousin Oliver? (I forgot that there were FOUR Devlin boys, instead of three. My mistake!).

Chuck, I have always thought “Pirates” was designed before the Imagineers consciously did any tributes to Disneyland’s past. They probably based the interior plantation fa├žade design on similar reference as the old Plantation House. Just my theory, anyway. So wait a minute, you’ve seen musicians playing from the balcony while in the Blue Bayou??

Nancy, I wish I’d seen it too. No such luck! It’s sad that they removed it, but they sure replaced it with something amazing, at least!

Chuck said...

Major, yes, I have, and it was pretty neat. I can't remember exactly when it was, though, and I only saw it once. It may have been 1995, 1997, or 2006.

Chuck said...

Those dates are all A.D., by the way.

walterworld said...

Chuck, I saw the Royal Street Bachelors perform from the balcony while drifting by on a bateaux back in the mid 90's, so your memory is definitely confirmed. Pure magic!

Connie Moreno said...

I've been away too long. Your blog is blowing me away! Now I have to go back to the Blue Bayou just to LOOK at it, inside and out. Great pics.