Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Random Photos

I have a folder of new scans featuring Mr. X's photos - possibly from around 1967 or '68 - from some Kodak Instamatic negatives that he found recently. Today I picked some random views.

The more I see photos of the old Nature's Wonderland attraction, the more I miss it! I am actually crying right now (big gulping breaths, runny nose, annoying whining, the whole deal). For instance, this photo shows the familiar scene of bears catching trout in pool; but it looks so great! Hey, I want to catch trout with my teeth too. One of my favorite details is the "creek" that heads off into the upper right - it is easy to imagine it heading all the way up to some snowy mountain passes. In fact, the creek points in the general direction of the Rainbow Caverns show building, I believe.

Mr. X mentioned the following tidbit to me; "...there was a powerful waterfall back in that corner to the left just along the Mule Pack trail.  I used to take breaks up there at the top of the falls, though I was very careful to stay out of view". Doesn't that sounds amazing?

Here's a nice shot of the Royal Street Bachelors performing on the steps in the Court of Angels. Nothing like a little live music! One of the things that occurs to me is how subtle the colors are. Later on, those steps and the bannister were painted a vivid blue, probably on the theory that guests "like color". Everyone likes color, that doesn't mean you have to hit people over the head with it (so to speak).

The presence of the papier-mâché figures in the lower right indicates that this is from the earliest days of New Orleans Square. 

This next one was going to go into the "reject" pile; some mysterious object (a camera strap?) fell across the lens while young Mr. X was trying to capture a photo of Old Unfaithful. But I might as well post it!

Extra! Extra! Mike Cozart generously contributed these neat photos of two New Orleans Square signs; one indicated "Le Grand Court", and the other "The Royal Courtyard". Thanks, Mike!


Nanook said...


One of the talents I've picked-up while living here in the Pacific Northwest is the art of 'catching trout with my teeth'. (I've become quite proficient at it, too-!) Just look at the Court of Angels - so serene and uncrowded - a far cry from the hubbub of today. Ahhhh.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I think that bear is just playing a trout-shaped harmonica.

The second picture is so charming and relaxing I can hardly look away.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love any pics of Nature's Wonderland, camera strap or no camera strap!

And it's probably been mentioned here before, but the Court of Angels is no longer accessible to the general public, only Club 33 members and their guests. Sad.

Chuck said...

For many years, my work computer featured a tiled wallpaper of a photo of the Court of Angels I'd blatantly stolen from the Disneyland website about 1996 (so long ago it was before the "" "synergistic" acquisition). It still had this much-more-pleasing color scheme.

That's actually a photo of a rare black rainbow in front of Old Unfaithful. Nature's Wonderland was so incredibly detailed it captured colors that aren't even there.

K. Martinez said...

The "original" Bear Country photo is very cool and my favorite today. Also love the story of Mr. X taking breaks back in that area. It must've been great having unique views not available to guests. Thanks, Major.


The name “Court of Angels” was never an official name for the area. It was officialy “The Grand Courtyard”. The smaller courtyard that led from the Pirate Arcade to One of A Kind Antiques is officially known as “The Royal Courtyard”
I believe the name Court of Angels was used by merchandise castmeners after a well loved merchandise manager had passed away. Several cherub statues already decorated the courtyard and a memorial plaque was added for the deceased manager and referred to it as The Court of Angels - but again this was never an official name but cast member created and adopted.
But whatever it is called , the unique architectural area as TOKYO MAGIC confirmed is completely closed off to regular guests today.
Imagineers back then really had a talent for arranging things and landscaping perfectly in way to really make Natures Wonderleand really appear like the wilderness really went on for miles whichever way you looked - no doubt a talent developed by people who had experience in creating real physical movie sets and settings and not just a sketch or computer rendering.

Stefano said...

I regretfully never rode the Pack Mules, and wonder if the waterfall Mr. X describes was only visible on the mule trail.

The wolf who sat still with a hungry eye on the beaver colony does seem to be visible, in a grassy clearing, following a nearly straight line above the trout bear. There was some overlap of scenes which grew less apparent as the foliage thickened.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I figured you would be catching steelhead salmon up in your area! Or the mighty halibut. Next time you go to the dentist, be sure to ask him to file your teeth into sharp points - your success rate with fish will go way up.

Melissa, I have a harmonica shaped like an ear of corn, so anything is possible. (That almost sounds like a Marty Sklar “Walt Disney” quote!).

TokyoMagic!, I like that I can no longer visit the Court of Angels. Only wealthy people should be able to see it - their lives are so hard. Regular non-rich guests can eat their turkey legs and wait in long lines.

Chuck, ah, tiled wallpaper! Those were the days. I remember when I got my first computer and figured out how to do my own tiled wallpaper, it felt like a real triumph of art and technology. “Black Rainbow” is my favorite Marvel superhero.

K. Martinez, whenever Mr. X tells me about his lunch breaks behind the scenes in Nature’s Wonderland, I get so jealous!

Mike Cozart, I had heard that the “Court of Angels” name was not official… believe it or not, I did try to find what the actual name was for this post, but could not find it. In fact, I heard a person on a podcast making fun of people for thinking that it was called the Court of Angels, and how could they miss it if they didn’t even know its real name? Well, that just seemed silly to me - every website, forum, blog, etc, refers to it by that nickname, and they have for decades. And I agree with you, those original Imagineers, with their experiences designing movie sets, achieved things that are really remarkable.

Stefano, I believe that you could briefly see the falls that Mr. X described from the Mine Train, but you had to be looking in just the right direction. I didn’t know that there was a wolf watching the beaver colony! Looking at that photo, I can’t really see him - maybe he blends in.

JC Shannon said...

I too, weep at the sight of a MTTNW photo. We have lots of bears here in Montana, but none as cool as "Ursa Aneheimus". I used to bring dates to the Blue Bayou and stroll around New Orleans square afterwards. I was so smooth in those days. Great photos today, thanks.

Stefano said...

Major, there is a good view of the wolf in one of your post photos of October 8th, 2012. In today's picture there is a light-colored branch or trunk obscuring some of wolfie's hind quarters.

Chuck said...

Jonathan, I think that's kind of weird, but if you like to bring your own dried fruit to restaurants, I won't judge.

JC Shannon said...

@Chuck If only I could have got a girl to go with me!


In some early art concepts the Grand Courtyard is refereed to as “the artists courtyard” and the “artists patio”. Herber Ryman’s final concept paintings are called ROYAL COURTYARD and GRAND COURTYARD and the Disney Gallery’s New Orleans notecard set used the correct names as did the lithographs released of the images. But both courtyards festured their own enemal signs. Ive e-mailed you these images. Although to stand corrected on the sign reads “Le Grand Court” the Royal Courtyard sign was still “in use” as of last week ... the Grand Courtyard sign had been moved at one point but but the relocated site is now not in regular view and may have been removed all together with the fake glass gate doors were added to block the Grand Courtyard to regular park guests.

Even in the current emergency evacuation maps for Disneyland still each courtyard is listed as ROYAL and GRAND.

Yes, Disney fans and arm chair imagineers come up with their own myths, stories and names for AA figures ( like individual names for ALL the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion ), their own back stories : like the Gracy Manor story and the jumping bride WDW cast members came up for the Florida Mansion , Or fan created biographies for the people depicted in Haunted Mansion portraits to even creating ride vehicle nicknames like ”PEOPLEMAKER” for the PeopleMover or “Screamers” for The Rocket Rods.
Sometimes Disney even incorrectly adapts these unofficial fan made names for merchandise because they used the internet etc for their research and not official company nomenclature.

Melissa said...

Everyone in the Haunted Mansion is named Durthula. The guests, too. Even Durthula knows that.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, I prefer the Disneyland bears that won’t sneak up on you! I’ve STILL never been to the Blue Bayou to eat, even though it is something I’ve wanted to do forever. Once my trips to the park became less frequent, it didn’t seem like we had time to sit down for a long meal. A mistake, I know.

Stefano, thanks for the link, I had completely forgotten about that. And people in the comments even remark on the wolf. Very cool!

Chuck, dried fruit helps keep everything moving, if you know what I’m saying.

Jonathan, girls are too scary!

Mike Cozart, ah I see that you answered my emailed question about how long those signs were in use. The Royal Courtyard was there as recently as last week! So much for paying attention on my part (though I have long given up pretending that I pay attention). I think that the Herb Ryman concept art for New Orleans Square is some of his most lovely - I always like his inclusion of the nuns (sometimes referred to as “Sisters of Charity”, and other times, “Sisters of Mercy”). I did not know that fans had given nicknames to all of the AA figures in the Mansion, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least. Someone on Facebook once wrote a rather elaborate story to explain one’s progress through the attraction as if it was canon rather than just his theory. While Ken Anderson tried to write a cohesive story for the Mansion, in the end it was a series of vignettes. Fun, amazing vignettes! But I don’t like it when people try to dream up a connecting story that was never really there.

Melissa, whu? Durthula? (Major Pepperidge scratches his noggin in puzzlement).

Melissa said...

(There's no Durthula. I just picked a name at random for a joke on the theme that people name all the characters in the Mansion.)

Anonymous said...

@Major, you should have a meal at the Blue Bayou. It is probably the best restaurant in Disneyland, as well as the most expensive. Note: My experience does not extend to the elevated heights of Club 33, who know what wonders await there.

I'm fan of creole food and the current menu is a pretty good version. Of course, the classic Monte Cristo sandwich is still available.

The only thing that was missing at our last meal there was a good solid New Orleans cocktail, preferably the Galatoire's house cocktail, or a Vieux Carre. Had to settle for the Disney mint julep instead. And you get the view of the Bayou with the distant screams of guests discovering the waterfall.

Fortunately, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in downtown Disney serves decent creole food AND cocktails, although nothing to compare to the Carousel Bar or The French 75.


Melissa said...

Nothing settles my stomach around a heavy meal like a good distant scream.