Friday, May 05, 2017

Wonderful Fantasyland, July 1958

Today I have some really nice photos from Fantasyland!

First up is this pretty image of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party attraction, with the Skyway overhead, and quite a lot of slurry, for those who love such things (hey, some of you love telephone poles, what can I say). Somehow the old, flat fa├žades of the pre-1984 Fantasyland seem more cartoony, as if they were painted on cels. And for a land that was populated by some of Disney's most famous animated characters, that feels appropriate.

Next is this great photo of the then-new Alice in Wonderland attraction (it had opened only a month before, on June 14th). A short line of eager guests wait all of two minutes to board their caterpillar vehicle for a trippy ride through Wonderland.

And I know that you all noticed the wonderful shot of Holiday Hill, aka "Snow Hill" (or "Snow Mountain"?) - I can never keep it straight. I love the group of folks at the crest of the hill, the girls in their poofy dresses. Behind them, the Skyway tower looms - but not for long! Construction on the Matterhorn would begin soon after this photo was taken.


Nanook said...


I don't know if it's just nostalgia, but there does seem to be something special to the pre-1983 Fantasyland. And what a wonderful shot of Holiday Hill & Alice. Some wonderful images of Alice could be shot from that vantage point. Hey, folks - where are they-??!!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I never noticed how curvy those poles were that held up the leaves over the Alice queue. And why are those people up on Holiday Hill just standing there? Are they trying to be nonchalant about looking for a place to make out?

K. Martinez said...

Wow!! I love the first shot. It's like seeing Disneyland in a whole new way. It's very horizontal with a blue sky above and the slurry below. Shortly after this a mountain would rise behind the Castle courtyard giving the area some serious height. Of course I love slurry! In fact, I miss the old slurry look of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Thanks, Major.

Nanook, It isn't just nostalgia. The original Fantasyland was special. I've never forgotten the whirl of colors Fantasyland was compared to what it is now. It had a more dreamlike quality compared to the European look it has now. And I'm not knocking Fantasyland 1983. My heart just lies with the original.

Chuck said...

I know I've perused at least a hundred photos of the teacups in their original location and saw them in person there several times, but the low hedge inside the fence never stood out to me before. It's always kind of exciting to find new details in familiar things.

Additional new details - there's yet another variation of Disney cop uniform off to the left. And shoot - when did they put that Skyway in?

Nanook, it's funny - at the time, I was really excited to read about the Fantasyland refurbishment in the 1983 Annual Report, and I think it was brilliantly executed, but I, too, miss the original Fantasyland of my youth. And I think that's what that photo evokes for me - a low-angle view of Fantasyland as I might have seen it as a child, holding my mother's hand as we exited the Fantasyland Theater.

Thanks again, Major!

Tom said...

Any picture that has Holiday Hill in it is a good one in my book. It always make me amused to think that they could take what was essentially just a pile of dirt and turn it into an attraction. And a popular one! Winding trails, high vantage points, a pleasant place to stroll... amazing.

Thanks for more great nostalgia photos, Major!

Chuck said...

Ken & Nanook - sorry, the second half of my comment was intended for both of you.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, nostalgia is definitely involved, but there is no question that the old Fantasyland was still pretty great in its way.

TokyoMagic!, yes, those people are trying to pretend they are interested in the view, when they are really looking for a place where they can find a little privacy.

K. Martinez, Walt Disney added a horizon to Disneyland in 1957, as you know. Sure, it cost a little extra, but that’s what money is for. I like the old Fantasyland because it resembles the artwork of Eyvind Earle more than the “realistic” post-83 structures.

Chuck, I didn’t really notice the hedge until I posted a night photo years ago, and was wondering what those odd shapes were. Somebody (TokyoMagic I think) informed me that they were hedges!

Tom, I used to think that they used the hill and sort of built around it to a degree, but I have a photo or two that shows that they essentially flattened Holiday Hill and then built the Matterhorn.

Chuck, we will never forgive you. And by “we”, I mean me and Queen Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

Splendid crisp and brilliant views, Thanks Major. Always fun to see the early Park designs.

I always enjoyed the old Fantasyland facades, never looked cheap to me, but the 1983 look is very much better. I guess the only thing that upset me about the remodel was the loss of the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock. I keep hoping they will bring it back somehow.

The area around Alice has sure changed with the addition of the large trees. I think this little zone with the relocated Tea Party is very successful, if only there were fewer people crammed into it.

Holiday Hill was a masterful use of excavation spoils, making a virtue of necessity and saving a bundle on off-haul.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but what is "slurry"?

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, Off with your head! Kidding aside, I don't know what you're apologizing for. I'm thrilled to hear there are others who have an appreciation for the original Fantasyland. Nanook's comment reminded me how much I loved that version. And now there are generations of park visitors who probably aren't even aware it existed.

Major, I loved the original Fantasyland design for the Ervind Earle style too.