Monday, December 04, 2017

Mine Train & Cascade Peak, June 1963

Someday, when virtual reality is a regular thing, I hope that somebody creates a super-accurate ride-thru of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. Wouldn't that be amazing? 

Today's first image shows one of the li'l yellow Mine Trains returning from that amazing Wonderland. Boy, did they get their money's worth! Bears, battling elk, beavers building a dam, colored mud pots, anthropomorphized cacti, geysers, mysterious rock formations, and last but not least, rainbow caverns. I am so jealous of every one of those people!

Next is the lovely Cascade Peak, with multiple waterfalls cascading away, just like the ads said. 


Nanook said...


Jealous is the very word. (I wonder if all those folks know just how lucky they are-
?) I doubt I considered myself lucky on my many excursions on the Mine Train. I just knew how much I loved that attraction, and rode it often. Love the memories.

Thanks, Major.


While Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's announcement and construction really threw me into being a mega Disneyland fan , I really loved Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland - just the thought of it brings back so many visual and audible memories . I also have very strong "smemories" I can recall scents from the attraction as if It was 1976..... particularly the musty smell near the waterfalls and geysers , the smell of pine and creosote timbers and a sooty oily smell inside the attraction's tunnels ( but what caused that sooty smell if the locomotives were battery powered??)

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Getting older sucks but I concur with Nanook and Mike about all the sensory memories of this old extinct attraction. Glad I got the multiple opportunities to ride it. This was one of my favorites even though a snoozer by today's standards.

Mark me down (virtual reality developers)for an advanced order of the ride through.

Pic one is post card perfect imho. Thanks for Mine Train Monday Major.

K. Martinez said...

I like how the Haunted Mansion's top appears above the foliage in the Cascade Peak image.

The Mine Train WAS Frontierland to me in those days. I would anticipate riding it every trip to Disneyland along with the Jungle Cruise and Submarine Voyage. I loved those "narration" attractions through the different "nature" environments, all reminiscent of the True-Life Adventure films. Thanks, Major.

DrGoat said...

I'll echo all the sentiment expressed here, the Mine train was one of my favorites in the old days. Then they sped it up a bit and it lost a lot of it's allure for me. Soon after that it turned into Big Thunder. I do remember the smells associated with a lot of the rides in the park. Olfactory memory plays a pretty decent part of my experiences it seems.

Tom said...

I'm envious of those who have the memories! I became a mega-Disneyland fan after discovering there *used to be* a mine train and a living desert where Big Thunder Mountain now runs.

There is no color video of the inside of the rainbow caverns to my knowledge. I've seen pictures, and there is some black & white footage, but even so, to have truly experienced the glorious glowing fountains and cascades... wow.

So yeah I'm fully behind the virtual reality reconstruction. And I'm thinking Matrix-level virtual reality: I want to be IN it.

Stefano said...

Most Disneyland rides cast a spell, but Nature's Wonderland, like the lamented northern part of the Rivers of America, really made the rest of the park disappear; you could believe you were in the southwest or Mississippi and not smoggy Anaheim. All that acreage of hills and valleys and streams and plains, ringed by trees, glorious trees. I'll be sounding like Dallas McKennon for the rest of the day.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I did ride the old Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, but all these years later the memories are brief flashes of a few specific sights, like a broken slideshow.

Mike Cozart, your comment recalls the “sense memory” discussion we had recently; smells seem to be especially evocative. Interesting about the sooty smell! What could that be? Is it possible that it was added artificially?!

Alonzo, it’s one of those things - I wish I’d seen so many things from the past (the 1939 World’s Fair!), but I’m glad that I am not 90 years old. For some reason one of my most vivid memories of “Nature’s Wonderland” is watching the “tumbling rocks” start to spin and move as the train approached, and then (looking behind after the train had passed) watching them stop moving!

K. Martinez, oh, I didn’t even notice the Mansion! At that point the exterior had only been there for a matter of months. I really do wonder if today’s crowds would embrace the MTTNW, or if they would complain that it was boring?

DrGoat, interesting, I’d never heard that they sped up the trains - but it doesn’t surprise me. Check out Daveland’s blog from a few days ago, with some amazing color photos inside Rainbow Caverns!

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, as I just said to DrGoat, see Daveland - he just posted two color photos from inside Rainbow Caverns. I have NO idea how the photographs were taken (without a flash) over 50 years ago, in such dark conditions.

Stefano, I agree with you, about how the rest of the park disappeared. In fact, most of Frontierland seems to have been like that in the old days. Please send a recording of yourself ordering from McDonald’s in your Dallas McKennon voice! Be sure to use the word “coconino”.

Anonymous said...

Have to say I'm not aware of when (if ever) they sped up the trains. If one went too fast, it could jump the track in places and I'm not aware of that ever happening. Perhaps this is related to when the MT was expanded years before my time. For Mike Cozart...the 'sooty' smell may have been the result of the tracks being greased in the Caverns. This was done each morning to lessen the squealing sound when making tight corners in the track layout. That was always an issue if not done. KS

Chuck said...

Thanks all for bringing back such wonderful smemories, things I had forgotten how to remember for decades.

Anonymous said...

Basically, what everyone here said.

Such a favorite attraction and so sorely missed.

I'm hoping that maybe a little bit of the DLRR will have some of the old feeling as it passes through the former landscape of the deserts.

Thank you, Major. Great memories of sights, smells, and Les Baxter-inspired soundtracks.


Melissa said...

Smell is one of the strongest senses for memory.When I worked at an art museum, our education director told me about her previous job at a history museum, where they added smells to each gallery consistent with the setting for the exhibit it contained. (Seawater for an exhibit on whaling, for example.) She was fascinated to hear that they use the same technique and Disney parks.

DrGoat said...

I might have been hallucinating the train being sped up. During the 60s and 70s, my sensorium took a bit of a beating.

Tom said...

Major - thanks for the heads up on Daveland! I sometimes forget to check that site; he's always got some amazing and rare photos. I'd never seen those two he posted!

One of my few serious time-machine wishes is to go back to 1961 and try to get some video of the inside of that cavern with a modern low-light camera. I bet it would work.