Tuesday, March 05, 2019


I have two excellent Instamatics, taken by - you know him, you love him - Mr. X! By golly, he sure has shared a lot of photos with me, and by extension, with you.

Let's start with this wonderful shot of the Fantasyland Autopia, with a boy (a lifelong friend of X's) at the wheel of a Mark VI vehicle. Those are the ones with the eyebrows, but no "eyes" (the previous Mark V's had eyebrows and headlights), and they were in used from about 1964 through 1968. You can see the center rail, which was added in 1964, to much international controversy.

This image was scanned from a very scratched and damaged negative, but I'm glad I took the time to make it presentable because it's the kind of photo that makes me happy.

Next is a great view overlooking part of Fantasyland. Presumably the photo was taken from the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, since the Skyway is above us. Or Mr. X was wearing stilts that were 15 feet high, which is a distinct possibility. Anyway, this section has a very circusy atmosphere, which is apt with Dumbo being there. The "Fan 1" snack bar is the big top, ya see.

Two leprechauns (the green derbies totally gave it away) wander through Fantasyland, completely unimpressed by such things as flying elephants and pirate ships.


Nanook said...


"International controversy". Yes, I believe there was a UN Resolution to that effect. And... It's a Small World on the horizon. It IS a happy photo, indeed.

Thanks, Major.

Gnometrek said...

The two gents in the green derbies are accompanied by two lovely red headed gals. Can Darby O'Gill be far behind? Great photos today. Thanks!

Stu29573 said...

I like the way the cars have a huge "Disneyland" sign on the front! That's in case you decided to hop the rail, fly over the berm and go scooting down Harbor Blvd. Some savvy cop would see that sign and say "Hey, wait a minute...."

K. Martinez said...

Always liked how the Fantasyland Autopia load area was separate from the main Autopia woodlands and cloverleafs and you had to cross Fantasy River to get to the main part with views of the Submarine Voyage and Motor Boat Cruise in action along the way. Now the waterway is filled in and the Subs Lagoon view partially blocked. the scenery and vistas have become less interesting. Today it's just the "off-road" section of Tomorrowland's Autopia.

I also liked the red-and-white striped awning of Fantasyland Autopia. The Tomorrowland Autopia had the blue-and-white awning. Later on both Autopia awnings were painted all-white when Tomorrowland 1967 arrived.

The red Skyway cabin really stand out in the already colorful Fantasyland image. You bring up something interesting about the circusy atmosphere. One of the things I loved about the original Fantasyland is it had a variety of sub-themes going on. There was the European castle and courtyard, the medieval faire dark ride facades, a tropical lagoon with Captain Hook's ship and the American circus theme of Dumbo and Casey Jr. Add to that the Tomorrowland spillover of the Monorails and Autopia complex and you have lots of variety. I liked it when Fantasyland wasn't so tightly define as European, but a more eclectic mix of style and fantasy.

These are some extra-nice pics today. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I mostly remember the protesters marching in Washington DC.

Gnometrek, yes, it is only right that the leprechauns are with two red-headed ladies! Hmmm, what would a Darby O’Gill ride be like?

Stuart Powley, I would love to remove the thing that limits how fast the Autopia cars go (The governor? The mayor?) and really get one to go as fast as it can. There’s a photo of a youngish Bob Gurr kicking up a rooster tail of dirt during a test drive, clearly he was going more than 6 miles an hour.

K. Martinez, in theory I should like today’s longer, combined Autopia ride, but as you said, they’ve altered a lot of what made the old versions fun. My guess is that the Autopia will be removed someday, it takes up so much real estate. And as we have learned, nothing is safe! I never really thought about the different sub-themes of Fantasyland, that’s pretty interesting!

Melissa said...

The face of the kid in the car says it all. This is his happy place. Vrrrrroooom!

Anonymous said...

Major, I agree, that photo in particular makes me happy. Recalls to mind the fun feeling of climbing in the car and being master of your destiny, except for the center rail and the governor.

I believe the Autopia governors should be referred to as commissars, since speed control is communistic.

One organizing theme of Fantasyland that may not be evident at first glance; Teutonic/European stories on the west side, Anglo-Saxon stories on the east. Storybookland mixes both, as it should. I also welcome the addition of bits of Aladdin and Frozen there. Ken is right, there isn't much differentiation in the architecture of remodeled Fantasyland, hard to point to something specifically "British" or "German" in the new facades.

Came for the glimpse of the Rainbow Caverns show building in the second building and feeling satisfied.

Dumbo shares the classic Disney festive-but-irksome climbing deterrent on the top of the fence. The scalloped wood trim is more attractive than barbed wire but almost as effective in preventing fence-sitting.

Thanks Major and everyone.


Anonymous said...

Second "photo", sorry.

You knew what I meant.


JC Shannon said...

The Autopia car with the 56 Chevy blue paint job is so cool! The Dumbo photo is a great people photo, excluding the leprechauns of course. Great mid-sixties fashion and comfortable shoes. Iv'e been thinking, I might wear my Beatle boots to work today. Ken makes a good observation, things I noticed but never put together. Thanks to Mr. X and Mr. Major for the happy snaps.

K. Martinez said...

Major, The Autopia is not longer than it used to be. It's just reconfigured so all the loading is done in Tomorrowland. No new road has been added and there are still four separate tracks as before.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, the kid is living the dream!

JG, there really is something to being the driver of the car, particularly to a little kid. My young nephew loved the “little cars” most of all, after his first trip. Pretty impressive when you also have things like Space Mountain or Big Thunder as competition. Can you imagine the chaos if they didn’t limit the speed on those things? Death and destruction! Nice observation about Fantasyland. It still amazes me that beautiful Rainbow Caverns was in such a “blah” building! Another thing I never considered was the decorative scalloping on the fence and how it deterred fence sitters!!

JG, I did know what you meant.

Jonathan, some time ago I realized that, in the right photo, the people at Disneyland could be as fun (or more so) than the park. I love it when I get a good vintage crowd shot. There’s one coming up featuring New Orleans Square that is chock-full of goodness.

K. Martinez, what I meant is that the current Autopia is the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland tracks combined into a single longer ride. Or am I mistaken?