Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Moonliner, Tomorrowland - 1950's

Space Mountain is a pretty eye-catching sight in today's Tomorrowland, but I'm not sure it tops the old Moonliner for sheer "wow" factor. 

In this first photo, you can see how tiny the people look at the base of the rocket - and this version was only 1/3 of the size that the proposed "real" rocket would be, if we ever sent one into space and to the Moon. Now that would be impressive! Especially since the pre-1967 Tomorrowland was, for the most part, a low-level, one story affair. 

We can also see the Space Bar, the Skyway, the Flight Circle, and those unusual elliptical awnings to the right, providing shade for weary Moon travelers.

Some people don't notice the cockpit up near the nose, where brave and experienced pilots would control the rocket during its 500,000 mile trip (that's 250,000 miles each way)! It is also where he would experience the delights of a genuine Pillsbury Space Food Stick. Chocolate, or peanut butter? You can't go wrong.

I loved those things!


Nanook said...


And let's not forget an ample amount of utility poles, poking their heads up in the background-! I'm also a bit curious just what that gentleman is doing over there at the trash can. (And is that a galvanized, watering can or pail just this side of it-??!!)

Fortunately, I've never sampled any Pillsbury Space Food Sticks. (Oh, my misspent youth...)

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

What's the point of even HAVING Moon-Pies if you're not going to eat them on your journey to the moon?

Chuck said...

These are an interesting pair. It's too bad the photographer didn't understand the future limitations of Photoshoppe; the different positions of those shade structures are preventing a nice panorama (which I'm sure you tried yourself).

In the background on the first photo you can see two Skyway cars executing a docking maneuver. It's a little-known fact that the early astronauts trained extensively at Disneyland before more permanent facilities were built at the Cape and later Houston.

Even less-well-known were Pillsbury Space Food Logs, which were designed to feed an entire family of Moon colonists. They were fairly expensive, though; there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

I wonder what happened to those chairs surrounding the Flight Circle? I can imagine they were sold as surplus, and could very easily be in some Southern California garage with the owners having no idea of their provenance.

Thanks again, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

I remember Pillsbury Food Sticks. I also loved those things! Weren't they supposed to contain everything a body would need in a meal.....sort of like Carnation "Instant Breakfast"?

Chuck, I have a couple chairs just like that. They aren't that color, so I know they didn't come from DL.....darn it.

Melissa said...

We used to pretend our crayons were astronaut food sticks and pantomime eating them. (Feetie pajamas make the best space suits.)

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

Such a shame that the Moonliner is not longer erect at Tomorrowland. I guess it simply didn't fit in with the new Tomorrowland. They could have probably given it a different paint job to make it fit in, but oh well.

I think one of the cool things about the Space Race, aside from all of the technological advancements made, was the interesting food that was developed for it, from these Pillsbury Food Sticks to Tang and Jell-O.

From many interesting articles on-line, Jell-O was marketed as "the food of the future", with many interesting recipes for them, and by "interesting", I mean "what the heck were people in the 1950s thinking when they made this?"

I'm sure most of the older folks on here can probably answer that question. This is just some of those examples. The Glace Fish Mold seems especially revolting: https://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/17-horrifyingly-disgusting-retro-gelatin-recipes?utm_term=.msy4Rlndx#.gxG8l1jJg

Anonymous said...

Oh, Space Food Sticks, I had completely forgotten those. Wash them down with Tang. They really weren't very good, but definitely had the "wow" factor. I remember them in my GI Joe lunchbox.

I had a Disney comic book that featured Mickey or Donald flying the Moonliner, sitting at the controls in that cockpit. It was so cool to believe that it was real and not a static display, even if only in a comic book.

It was kind of sad to lose the Moonliner, but at least 1967 TL replaced it with a Saturn 5 lookalike, took some of the sting out. The junior version now on the pizza restaurant is a nice gesture, but it's unmoored from the TL reality and doesn't connect to any narrative, just a decoration.

I keep hoping that Elon Musk will license the paint pattern from Disney and apply it to his SpaceX rockets, which are rapidly bringing this upright launch/landing vehicle into reality.

Thanks Major, terrific pics today.


Tom said...

Space food sticks! Those things were so good. I remember BEGGING my mother to buy them.

I never knew that little nub at the top was the cockpit. Of course, it makes perfect sense.

Great photos as always!

K. Martinez said...

If only they served this kind of food at The Space Place or Tomorrowland Terrace instead of those Moonburgers. Now this is fine dining.


Great Moonliner pics today. Thanks, Major.

The Disney Dudebro, There is still a Moonliner in Tomorrowland. It just isn't as blessed in size as its predecessor.

Nanook said...

@ The Disney Dudebro-

As Jell-O has been around since 1897 (or 1885, depending on sources), I'm uncertain just how "futuristic" a food product it was. It all depends on your perspective I suppose, and the times when one was living.

Clearly, the downfall of the late 20th century was the lack of recipes centered-around the use of aspic-! I must say, some aspic canapés sound mighty tasty, right about now. Oh please, no-!