Thursday, February 02, 2017

Views From A Tree, 1950's

In the days before the Matterhorn was added to Disneyland's list of attractions, the highest point in the park (for guests) was up in the branches of Tom Sawyer's Treehouse, on his eponymous island. The tree itself wasn't actually that tall, but it was built on top of a hill; as you can see by these photos,  folks really did get a pretty spectacular view.

Like this one! Facing slightly to the northeast, we can see all kinds of stuff. The corral where the Stage Coaches,  Conestoga Wagons, and Pack Mules loaded up. Rainbow Ridge. Casa de Fritos! Beyond that we can even see into Fantasyland, including the Pirate Ship, Skyway, and Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Zooming in a bit, notice the cluster of crude huts known as "El Zocalo", a marketplace where many wondrous souvenirs could be had. To the left, in the middle, is the Mineral Hall. And if you look carefully, you can just see a bit of the red Viewliner in the upper right.

Next the photographer turned to face toward the north, for a view up the east bank of the Rivers of America; eventually Cascade Peak would appear at the bend. At the very bottom of the frame we can see some folks crossing Tom Sawyer Island's suspension bridge, with the pontoon bridge just above that. 


Nanook said...


Wow - you ain't kiddin' about the view-! (They should charge extra for it). Wait a minute - let's not give the powers-that-be any more ideas in the "fleecing the Guests' department"-! I was about to say you almost missed the Viewliner and the elusive Mineral Hall - but you called them right out. Mineral Hall was only there a little more than six years, but certainly made a big impression on me.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

There are way too many trees in that last pic. They really should remove about 99 percent of them. It will save them a lot of effort and expense in about 60 years.

I love that first pic, Major. Do you think that row of trees off in the distance is a wind block for a farm or grove? You know it's all about the trees with me. Trees and animals. Let's be kind to both, please. :-)

K. Martinez said...

There's too much river as well. It needs to be shortened. More than a few minutes on the Mark Twain or Columbia looking at life along river and one could easily become bored. It takes too long to ride as it is.

Aerial views are a favorite. There is so much to look at in all directions. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, now that you mention it, there's also too much island. Walt didn't know what he was doing when he planned that area of the park. The river and the island both only needed to be half as big. What a waste all that space has been for the last 60+ years.

Chuck said...

You guys are all missing the best part of the view - telephone poles!

You know, from up here, the forced perspective on both the Castle and Rainbow Ridge doesn't work so well. I may also be getting altitude sickness. Oh, shoot - my nose has started bleeding again...

Wonderful views today, major. Thanks!

Scott Lane said...

All that space for those nasty pack mules! They should get rid of em and put in a Woody And His Pals meet & greet. Synergy!

Unknown said...

Oh boy! This is going to be great!

I think the white roof inter posed between ourselves and the roof of Fan1 (or is that Fan2? I may need a mnemonic) is the back of the Mickey Mouse Club Theater. Or the Fantasyland Theater, eventually. This view, of course, is going to add a lot of value to the sale price...

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, J. Nartubez isn't going to be very happy with me now that I missed the telephone poles. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't catch them.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick Devlin-

I was afraid to weigh-in on the Fan 1/Fan 2 question. Fan 1 is closer to Nature's Wonderland. That's all I'll say.

Chuck said...

Patrick, looking at near-contemporary (1960) overhead imagery, that would be Fan 2. Fan 1 is out of frame to the left.

I keep them straight by placing them on a north-oriented map in my head (there's plenty of room; my brain doesn't take up that much space) and reading the numbers from left to right.

Unknown said...

So which one was next to Dumbo's original location?

Nanook said...

@ Patrick-

That should be Fan 1. Just hop-on-over to Daveland and check out the aerial views from 1960, or the one between 1959 and 1961. That should help you get your bearings - or something like that.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, my #1 favorite idea is “Let’s raise the prices so that the people who can’t afford it will stop coming - that way it won’t be so crowded”. Brilliant!

TokyoMagic!, I hate trees! Did you know that they remove valuable carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Maybe I want that CO2. But no, they take it like it belongs to them. Down with trees! I’m guessing that the stand in the distance is a wind break.

K. Martinez, I wish they would just remove boring rides like the Mark Twain and replace it with a “Mississippi Riverboat” themed roller coaster. Now THAT would be awesome!

TokyoMagic!, I am dying to see a recent aerial pic so that I can get a better idea of how much the river has been shortened and the island has been reduced. Have you seen anything like that? All I find are photos taken from the parking garage, and it’s hard to get a feel for what’s going on.

Chuck, to me the castle looks bigger than it usually appears when seen from Main Street. Not sure why. And I didn’t know that you were a telephone pole afficianado as well… I thought that was Ken Martinez’s thing!

Scott Lane, I agree with you, and can’t decide which I despise more, mules or trees!

Patrick Devlin, I am flashing back to “Animal House”! Jeez, I barely can see Fan1 (or Fan2, or whatever it is) even in the zoomed view. At first I thought you were referring to the Carousel.

K.Martinez, one more infraction like this and you will have to turn in your T.P.F.C.A. (Telephone Pole Fan Club of America) membership card.

Nanook, I am resigned to the fact that I will never get those eateries straight.

Chuck, left to right, left to right… maybe I can remember that trick! Probably not, though.

Patrick Devlin, I was going to answer your question, but see that Nanook has beaten me to it.

Nanook, that's what I was going to say!

Matthew said...

Good Lord you people are funny!!!! =D Nice views... nice pictures... nice people. On that second shot you get a nice view of the Skyway Tower up on Holiday Hill.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...


I think all this hand-wringing over the identification of whether the visible tent and its 'finial' belongs to either Fantasia 1 or Fantasia 2 isn't correct. I think you are correct when saying it belongs to the King Arthur Carrousel, as it just appears too wide (and having a taller finial - okay geegaw, or according to Webster: gewgaw) than the toppers adorning either of the eateries.

Either way, back in the day, a thirsty guest could choose from either Coke or Pepsi (or both together - yuck-!) at both Fan 1 & 2. Mighty fine times, indeed.

Anonymous said...

In any case, the bright roof in the center background is probably the theater.

Seems like I remember Mineral Hall, but could also be conflating with a similar exhibit at Knotts, if there was one.

These photos are winners, Major, in every way.

Thanks everyone for a fun thread.


Unknown said...

Boy, oh, boy, did I ever get turned around this morning in my directions. Thanks for the info all, and you can just ignore all of the rest of my posts. Sheesh. I simply had a senior moment, I guess.

walterworld said...

This should and will be disputed, but I think the shell of Mineral Hall is part of Rancho De Zacollo now. Take a look next time you're there. Look outside. The outline of the building right over the indoor ordering area has the same profile as Mineral Hall did and is in very close to the same location. Thoughts? Did the Fungineers just decide to make it look like that?

Thanks Major

Anonymous said...

@Walterworld, I believe you are right, I remember looking at that area and thinking that was the old Mineral Hall, but there's no way of being sure. The buildings do look very much alike anyway, so it could be original, or a reconstructed lookalike.


walterworld said...

JG: If it's just a look-alike I applaud them for the attention to detail, because it sure looks like the original Mineral Hall building.

And it might just be, since they also took care to preserve part of the original 1950's Casa De Fritos entrance when they put in the Rancho DZ back in the late 90's.

Maybe they had a very sympathetic Imagineer in charge of that re-do...