Friday, April 07, 2017

More Bear Country Construction!

I have more scans of snapshots showing "Bear Country" under construction. 

This first one is interesting because the Disneyland Railroad was able to pass right through the middle of the chaos - it's amazing that they were OK with that. Maybe they even thought of it as a kind of attraction, like they did in 1959 - the "Greatest Construction Show on Earth"! Perhaps today they would put up some sort of barriers? Or those painted/printed scrims? A Keelboat is in the foreground - we love ya, little Keelboat.

It would be more fun if I knew what these skeletal structures would eventually become! No such luck. If anybody has an idea, please chime in; we can see the arched front of one building, to our left - that one is fairly distinctive.

You can really see how massive the famous berm is - I would guess that it's around 20 feet high at this point. That's a lot of dirt! Beyond it is acres of parking lot, and the Disneyland Hotel of course.

There are only three more from this bunch!


K. Martinez said...

In the second photo, the buildings to the left are the "Hot Baths" or restrooms for Bear Country. In the distance would be the building that houses a cluster of concessions; Wilderness Outpost, Teddi Barra Swingin' Arcade and Mile Long Bar.

I love the train going over the trestle during construction. Sort of changes the scale a bit. Love construction photos. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Forgot to mention that the third pic is the same building cluster as the second pic that housed, Wilderness Outpost, the Teddi Barra Swingin' Arcade and Mile Long Bar, left to right. Of course the Hungry Bear Lodge is in the first pic.

Nanook said...


Ken nailed it; he just beat me to it. Good show, Ken. More great images from Bear Country.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken beat me to it, too! Baths, Outpost, Arcade and Bar! ;-)

I wonder if people back then, were upset over the destruction of the Indian Village?

Tom said...

That third shot really puts it into position. When you're in the parks, lost in the atmosphere, you tend not to think of the geography of the outside world... but there's the hotel right behind it all, just over the hill (not technically "the berm" since it's beyond the RR tracks, right?).

Going to be strange to be able to go from Critter Country up and around the river along the west edge, in a year or so...

Chuck said...

Here's a 1972 photo from Daveland that shows that cluster of buildings in its finished condition.

Tom, I am not looking forward to that at all.

I remember when they expanded the attraction area at Cedar Point around the north end of the lagoons to the Frontier Town area around '77 or '78 (a relic of the Gilded Age version of the resort, by the 1960s the lagoons had become overgrown and turned into that park's equivalent of the Rivers of America). While they added some neat attractions (the Corkscrew, the Gemini, etc.) and provided another way to get to the back of the park, it totally screwed up the quiet, frontier atmosphere that had existed before. While not a perfect equivalent, the parallel to Disneyland is closer than I would like.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, hot baths? Who knew. Not me, clearly. You sure know your Bear Country. Thanks for all of the great info!

K. Martinez, I always thought that it was a little strange that they devoted a whole new “land” to the Country Bears - one attraction (though of course they added Splash Mountain later). Of course I was never much of a fan of the CBJ.

Nanook, yes, when Ken posts at 12:11 AM, it’s pretty hard to beat him.

TokyoMagic!, my guess is that they were not upset, because of the new attraction that so many people loved (and still miss). Maybe a few Disneyland old-timers were miffed, however.

Tom, the train only rides atop the berm for very small portions (like at Main Street depot) - most of the time it is on the inside of the berm. So I think it is safe to say that, yes, that is indeed the berm!

Chuck, all of the construction probably won’t affect me. Why? I might be done going to the park. Maybe. It’s not the money, it’s the crowds of people nearly every day; long lines for everything, including food… just not fun.

Chuck said...

I have a friend who went to Disneyland and DCA for the first time a couple of years ago with her four young children. Her assessment? "I honestly think we could have skipped Disneyland," which floored me since she takes the family to WDW every couple of years and has been a Disney fan her whole life.

A large portion of her reaction was based on capacity - it was just too darned crowded. DCA, designed for larger crowds, didn't cause the same reaction (I'm sure the fact that her kids were Cars-crazy at the time probably factored into it somewhere as well).

Star Wars Land looks like it's been designed with high capacity in mind, but part of those capacity considerations are driving the closing of the frontier west of the river to get those large crowds into the high-capacity attractions. And as we've seen with pretty much every city in America, you can't build yourself out of congestion - available space will find vehicles and people to fill it.

I think that the only way we'll ever get crowds down to a manageable level again is to either institute a reservation system or raise daily admission to something like $500. Or maybe build an exact copy as the Third Gate and only hire twins to work in both Parks on the same schedule.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, there was a recent article on that floated the rumor that they might require an upcharge for Star Wars Land (at least for the first year or so) to keep crowds manageable. SO... pay $100 to get in, but if you want to see the cool new land, pay an additional $25 or $30 (or more?). I understand WHY that would possibly be necessary, and yet I find it so distasteful. Meanwhile, my sister has a friend who went to Disneyland for the first time, and the crowds were such a disaster that she hated it and never wants to go back, which somehow hurts me to hear it. But... it isn't the place that it was a decade ago, for better or worse.

Chuck said...

I think I just found that MiceChat article from March 31st. In an up-front edit, the author notes that the idea for an upcharge was an April Fool's joke, but because it was released at 3 am on March 31st and the punchline buried at the bottom of an article that was mostly construction photos, you can see from the comments a lot of readers missed that (I'm sure I would have had I read it that day). Still, I wouldn't put it past the company from doing that for a year or so.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, ha ha; I was pranked!