Friday, October 26, 2018

Tomorrowland, July 1959

Maybe it's just me, but the Autopia seems to have lost a little bit of luster over the past few decades. It's still kind of fun, don't get me wrong; and the scenery is pretty. Perhaps I'm just not a fan of the cartoony cars that were added in 2000, or the way-too-large queue building.

Anyway, this is a swell view of a corner of Tomorrowland that includes the Autopia (still no center rail!), the Space Bar, the Skyway terminal, and just a bit of the Rocket to the Moon building. We also see the Administration Building in the background.

One interesting detail is that there are Mark IV Autopia cars (the first four iterations looked basically the same), along with a few of the new Mark V versions. 

Here's a better look at a Mark V vehicle! These were apparently extremely heavy (300 pounds more than the Mark IV) and prone to leaking oil and breaking up the concrete.

Next is a "meh" photo of the House of the Future to round out today's post. Meh, I say!


Nanook said...


I always thought the Mark V Autopia vehicles looked like odd ducks in terms of design: Kinda old and kinda new all at the same time.

Thanks, Major.


I believe that structure visible behind the SKYWAY building was the employee lockers ( 2nd floor) and the first costume-wardrobe facility on the first floor. This was still used as lockers and storage after costuming moved into its new building in 1966. The original administration building was located where Space Mountain was built. Mainly departments were located in that Space Mt. site ( including security) untill it was torn down to begin Space Mountain construction.

A friend of mine was very little in the last days of the Monsanto House of the Future: she always thought the attraction had something to do with dentists as the interior of the all plastic home smelled like her dentist’s office and the house itself resembled a cut-away giant tooth model he also had in his office.

JC Shannon said...

I always thought the Mark IV looked like a race car, and the Mark V like grandpa's old Plymouth. The 2000 models look like you crossed a Prius with a Gremlin. The House of the Future was cool, mid-century modern is making a comeback, so it is cool all over again. Here's an idea, lets all pool our vast resources and open a park with all the ghost attractions from days gone by. Dibs on the first Skyway gondola! I wonder if they would let me engineer the Mine Train? Thanks to Major for the scans.

Anonymous said...

Major, I admit I have skipped Autopia on the last couple of visits. I think it was closed for refurbishing once, so I shouldn't count that as indifference. Once it was due to the long line, not enough bang for the incredible wait.

Moving the queue out over the track was a brilliant design move, although the building itself is rather weak looking.

I do still enjoy the ride for the views of the Tomorrowland back country, even though the motors seem to be slowed way down and the exhaust fumes get to you.

Surprising that this ride is still in place, takes up a lot of space and it's obviously hard to apply a Star Wars theme to it. Maybe they will re-skin it as Pod Racing.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, in spite of their failures, I can’t help loving the Mark Vs., in much the same way as I like Edsels!

Mike Cozart, wasn’t the building that housed the employee lockers also part of the administration building? Perhaps I am mistaken. I think I’ve also been told that that is where the cash from the various shops was taken to be sorted and counted. I love the sense-memory of the House of the Future from your friend!

Jonathan, I dunno, I like the way the Mark V looks (though you’re right, the Marks I thru IV are more sporty). Maybe instead of a real physical recreation of all of those attractions, we could get someone to build it all in VR? Not quite the same, but it would still be pretty neat.

JG, I understand why the Autopia is limited to its slow speeds, but man does it feel excruciating sometimes! “Come on! I could walk faster!”. I think that main queue structure is just way too massive for Disneyland; not sure what the idea was as far as the Imagineers were concerned. They could have still provided shade and a little pre-show pizzaz without a monstrosity. I wonder if the Autopia will ever switch to electric vehicles, or if they will just eventually remove the ride?

JC Shannon said...

Major, I would settle for VR for just one more ride on the Peoplemover!

K. Martinez said...

I rode the Autopia on my last visit in 2012 and still enjoyed it. I guess I still enjoy it because it reminds me of an earlier time at Disneyland and it's from Walt's era.

Sometimes when I'm overloaded and saturated with the high tech "wonders" of Disneyland ('E' ticket fatigue) I crave the simple pleasures of attractions like Autopia, Tom Sawyer Island and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes.

I do agree though that the monstrosity that is the Autopia queue building and cartoon-y design of the vehicles does lessen the the "magic" for me. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Woo-hoo! Administration of the FUTURE, baby! Boy, would I love a glimpse inside the Costume Department of 1966.

The Rocket to the Moon and Space Bar are two of my favorite buildings, and not just because I love puns so much. And any shot of that majestic Richfield eagle is a sight for sore modern eyes.

That kid in the red car looks more satisfied than I've ever been in my life. He is Going Places On The Highway To Tomorrow, Man.

I take your Meh, sir, and turn it into Mehgnificent! (Through the power of MEHGNIFICATION!)

K. Martinez said...

You're knocking 'em dead today, Melissa!

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, I have read that somebody did a VR recreation of “Adventure Thru Inner Space”, (looked it up, check it out HERE), that would be awesome, but I don’t have a VR system. Imagine a VR ride on the Mine Train, or the original dark rides (crude and awesome!), or a walk through the old 20,000 Leagues exhibit! It would be so amazing.

K. Martinez, I’ve guilted you into commenting! I agree, in spite of the slow putt-putt nature of the Autopia, I still do enjoy it. And it doesn’t get much more low-tech than small gas-powered cars. I’d love to see if there were other less gigantic concepts for the Autopia queue building from around that same time.

Melissa, future administrators will give you pills to make you more compliant. Nobody will mind though, because they all look so good in silver lamé. That kid in the Autopia car looks so cool, the only thing he is missing is a pretty blonde by his side.


Major: cash control was still located in that building at least untill the early 2000’s, but I don’t think it was located there when that image was taken.

Anonymous said...

That CM standing in the middle of the road is a lot braver than me!

Melissa said...

If I were on my computer instead of my phone, I'd be Photoshopping a little blond girl wearing a babushka into that car faster than you can say "disestablishmentarianism."