Friday, February 08, 2019

Peter Pan's Flight, May 1966

Boy howdy, I sure love today's first image showing the façade of the Peter Pan attraction, circa 1966! Look at that color. And the assortment "Op Art" patterns is neat - Eyvind Earle himself helped to design the aesthetic of the "medieval faire" Fantasyland.

Instead of today's 45-minutes (or longer) wait to board the ride, it looks like folks practically walked on. Most of you know that the early versions of the dark rides were considerably different than what we know these days. In the 50's and 60's, your pirate ship flew over London, headed toward the second star to the right, where you wound up in Bakersfield.

Zooming in a bit, we see a father and daughter looking for their "D" tickets - it looks like mom already has her yellow ticket in hand. The two ladies to our right have large bags full of goodies. I would be happy to have an empty example of one of those bags today - full would be even better though.

Not too far away one could find the Tinker Bell Toy Shop; just imagine the cool stuff inside! Perhaps some Hagen Renaker figurines. I tried zooming in on the window display, but it just wasn't clear enough to really see anything clearly. To our right is the Snow White dark ride, which was so scary that thousands of people died of fright halfway through.


TokyoMagic! said...

If I remember correctly, after the pirate galleons flew over Bakersfield, there was a surprise encounter with an animatronic Buck Owens.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Major!

I usually bring my "end of night" internet loop through here (someone who works nights/early mornings... as an astronomer), mostly as a means to bring a smile to my face at the end of a long night. For some reason (maybe the bright colors... obviously a bright, sunny SoCal day) these brought an extra smile to my face.

Thanks, as always, from someone who spends more time on the 'dark side' than most.


Chuck said...

I came here looking for something I couldn't find anywhere else, and today's images do not disappoint.

For some reason, I had it my head that it was the original version of Mr Toad's Wild Ride rather than Peter Pan that ended in Bakersfield. Funny what tricks memory will play on you.

Love that trash can in the second photo.

[With apologies to the good people of Bakersfield; I only jest.]

Stuart Powley said...

Fun Fact! The souls of all those guests who died in the Snow White attraction were stored and eventually used in The Haunted Mansion! It's said (by me) that without Snow White, there would only be about 32 "Happy Haunts!" Now you know!

David Zacher said...

Bakersfield? I got stuck in Lodi, AGAIN!

We have an old Dodge Ridge ski lift chair made into a swing on our property near Sonora. I would GLADLY trade it for a Peter Pan ride vehicle (striped sail, please).

I'm loving that trash can, too. Kinda makes a kid WANT to throw something away.

Hmmm, Why am I craving a Mickey Mouse Ice cream bar?

Thanks Major,


K. Martinez said...

Nearly every morning, my "pirate ship" flies over the internet and winds up in Gorilla's Don't Blog aka Walt Witty World.

I loved the "medieval faire" look of original Fantasyland. so much color and op art patterns as you said. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

@Chuck, I think the original Mr. Toad's Wild Ride had you get run over by the last train to Clarksville.

Love the color-coordinated mother and daughter. Sometimes Mom would make or trim our clothes with the leftover fabric from hers, and we'd rock that whole von Trapp look.

I think my favorite parts of the old facade are the shields on the fence, and the adorable Peter Pan Portrait. Remember "Picky people pick Peter Pan peanut butter; it's the peanut butter picky people pick?"

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Bugs Bunny's pirate ship makes a right turn at Albuquerque to avoid Bakersfield?

Our route to Disneyland took us down 99 through Bakersfield. The yellow neon on the Gateway on old 99 was always a welcome landmark since that was almost half-way to Disneyland. Compared to where we lived, Bakersfield was practically New York.

The uncrowded look of the old Fantasyland is sure appealing. It may have been done on a budget, but it shows what inspired design can do with limited resources.

I can't figure out the fascination with the Peter Pan ride resulting in the long lines. It's fun, but so are Pinocchio, Snow White, Mr. Toad and Alice. The last couple of trips, Pinocchio has been almost a walk-on while PP and Alice had hour waits. It must be the flying aspect of the ride mechanism. I don't recall this discrepancy from the visits of my youth.

I heard that Snow White had a special chute to dispose of the bodies of riders who died of fright. Delivered them direct to the Haunted Mansion for new costumes and orientation, just as Stuart Powley describes.

@AlbinoDragon, welcome to the party!

Thank you, Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, oh yeah, I forgot about that! It was sort of the precursor to “Mulholland Madness”. “Look Peter! It’s Merle Haggard!”.

AlbinoDragon, an astronomer! You are livin’ the dream. Glad today’s pix helped bring a smile to your face. Thanks for checking in!

Chuck, you’re thinking of Walt Disney World, where Mr. Toad drove a pickup truck through central California. I wonder if those trash cans were unique to Disneyland?

Stuart Powley, I love a good Fun Fact. If you have to haunt a place, you can’t do much better than the Haunted Mansion, don’t you think?

David Zacher, just thank goodness you weren’t stuck in Fresno! (Just kidding, people in Fresno). A ski lift chair as a swing, what a great idea.

K. Martinez, it’s funny about the “New Fantasyland”, it is beautiful and they did a great job, but I did love that old look. Probably just “rose colored lenses”.

Melissa, another Monkees reference in one week! Ha ha, I don’t have an eye for matching (or coordinated) outfits, but you always spot them. I love those shields as well, and wonder who wound up with them (or if they went into a dumpster).

JG, I have needed to go to Bakersfield for a number of years, since I worked on a car wash project and have never seen it. It has a "cave man" theme! But it’s just far enough that I haven’t made the drive (it’s less than 4 hours away). While Disneyland could certainly get crowded on peak days, it is amazing how lovely and relaxing the park looked most of the time. Even up to the 1990’s. Something happened after that, I’m not sure what. Like you, I love the other dark rides, but have to admit that Peter Pan has always been my favorite - it’s just so pretty. I worry about the Pinocchio ride though, and hope they never remove it! The special chute you mentioned went right to the nearby kitchens for some reason.

Nanook said...


Another vote for that trash can - and for the sweep, disappearing into the Tinker Bell Toy Shop. And let's remember... "Fresno is the gateway to Yosemite-!"

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I've read that the main reason for the longer lines at Peter Pan is the relatively low capacity and slow loading time.

I realized I could jump in on today's theme - my favorite boss was a Bakersfield native. I figured he would retire back West, but he stayed. I guess if Bakersfield is practically New York, New York must be practically Bakersfield.

Chuck said...

I don't think Pinocchio has ever enjoyed the same ridership as the other Fantasyland dark rides. Even in the '90s, when it was still relatively new, there was rarely much of a wait to board.

Melissa, I thought Bakersfield was practically northern Indiana. At least, that's what Hitchcock tried to tell me.


Snow White’s Scary Adventure’s and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey both have more than double guest capacity that Toad and Pan. But enjoy the first two as much as you can current plans for a Fantasyland renovation removes both Snow and Pinocchio to be replaced with a Beauty and the Beast attraction.....

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, “…the gateway to Yosemite”… talk about damning with faint praise! Maybe the sweep is going into the toy shop to talk to a cute girl.

Melissa, hmmm, now I’m wondering what the capacity numbers are for each of the dark rides. Is Peter Pan really that much slower (or lower capacity) than Mr. Toad? And if you don’t mind the cold winters, I’ve heard that upstate NY is quite lovely!

Chuck, I love the Pinocchio ride, it is a wonderful dark ride that fits right in with the others - and Pinocchio is my favorite of all the classic Disney animated features. (I don’t get your Hitchcock comment!).

Mike Cozart, oh noooooo…. that makes me very sad. Unlike many, I have never been a particular fan of “Beauty and the Beast”, certainly not when compared to Snow White, or even Mr. Toad.

Chuck said...

Major, sorry - sometimes I'm too obscure for my own good. The cropduster scene in North By Northwest, set in northern Indiana, was shot outside Bakersfield.

K. Martinez said...

I heard about the Snow White and Pinocchio dark rides being replaced by a Beauty and the Beast attraction. I'm so over the "new" Disneyland. Last time I went to Downtown Disney I walked past the gates and didn't even care if I went inside the Park. If that doesn't illustrate my attitude about Disneyland in its current state, I don't know what does. It's for the new generation of Disney fans and they can have it. My not going anymore leaves more room for them to enjoy it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I was wondering if you were referring to that scene. I didn’t remember that it was supposed to take place in Indiana. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it!

K. Martinez, the amazing thing is that there was a time when it was sheer torture to drive down the I-5 and see the Matterhorn and to keep on going to wherever our real destination was. Now, I would think, “Eh, it’s probably super crowded, and it’s going to cost $140 (including parking) at least, and… I guess I don’t want to be there that much after all!”.