Friday, April 05, 2019

A Trio of Instamatics

Let us all raise our glasses of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink and toast Mr. X, our patron and Keeper of the Flame.

The sun doesn't always shine at Disneyland, even though it seems like that's the case in our memories. In this first photo the sky is like milk glass; everything is softened by the diffused light. I think it's a safe bet that it is early in the morning, as some of the cement is still wet from the scrubbing that it got every night.

At first I thought the Mark Twain was not in operation, but there's a CM standing near the area where guests would load, and he might just be waiting for the first batch of passengers. I love all the benches facing the river.

Mr. X snapped this photo of the noble saguaro cacti; they appear to be holding their arms in the air like they just don't care. Was X on a the Mine Train? Or perhaps a Pack Mule? The desert looks very green, as if winter storms had just brought some precious water to the arid land.

Next is this scarce view looking at one end of the Mighty Microscope (from "Adventure Thru Inner Space"). Atomobiles entered the foreboding dark tunnel, where the wonders of science shrank the Omnimovers (and the guests inside) to the size of subatomic particles. No Atomobiles are visible, oddly - even when I lightened the shadows in Photoshop, the track appears to be empty. Perhaps the ride was not yet operational, and the photo was taken from the Peoplemover (which passed through the load area)? 

Thanks to Mr. X for these wonderful photos.


Nanook said...


"Mag-ni-fi-CA-tion". That's all need be said.

Thanks, Major (& Mr. X)

TokyoMagic! said...

That (pre-opening?) aerial shot of Adventure Thru Inner Space is pretty amazing! The Nature's Wonderland shot is pretty special too! I'm guessing that it was taken from the train, as it rolled past the saguaro forest and descended into the desert area. I don't think the Pack Mule trail went over that far to the east, or that close to the cacti, did it?

Once again, thank you to Mr. X and you too, Major!

Chuck said...

Based on that high angle looking down into the Painted Desert, I'm pretty sure your second photo was taken from an omnibus.

Anonymous said...

As a long time lover of the old Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons (no dialogue, slapstick but not Marx Brothers or Mr. Bean cheesy), the picture of the maybe Mine Train/Pack Mule desert scene complete with stereotypical Saguaro cacti warms my heart. I feel like I've been transported into a real-life version of one of those shorts, minus the TNT and exploding birdseed.

Having spent the majority of my life (>25 years) surrounded by Saguaros (and other) pokey things... it makes me smile.

As much as the desert southwest is now part of my soul after all these years, the caricature of what was projected to the rest of the world about, well... (waves hands in the air) *here*, still makes me chuckle and smile. It's just right *enough* to pass as the real deal. It takes all of the best parts and distills them into something that is recognizable but not *quite* right.

Really, it's one of the things the Imagineers got right more often than not, and what makes this picture (and others) so much fun to see. Once again, though I don't pipe up often, makes me keep coming back. Thanks Mr. X and Major!!!


P.S. I love the empty 'Adventure Through Inner Space' picture. I find it strange that *nothing* was going on at the time. Maybe in preparation as you suspect. I just remember my first time to D.L. ages ago when I was a wee squirt and being terrified going into the Microscope afraid, wondering if I was going to come back normal sized!!

DrGoat said...

Living in Tucson for the past 67 years, I feel the same way about the Saguaros. As kids, we always got a kick out of the Saguaros on the mine train ride. Happy versions of the noble cactus.
The gloomy days at the park were always a welcome change from the 110 degree oven that is Arizona during the summer. Part of the whole California experience for us. Our bodies would soak up the moisture in the air for a week and dry up again on our return to Tucson.

Melissa said...

Hooray for InstamatX!

That shot of the Mighty Microscope is really something extra-special. It would make a great trivia quiz picture - with no caption, how many Disneyland fans could identify it?

The empty Mark Twain is a cool subject, too. You don't see a lot of snapshots of her sans passengers. IIRC, the only time I saw her in real life was right at park opening, so empty is how I remember her. (Feels kind of weird to use feminine pronouns for a boat with a masculine name, but there you go. "Marcia Twain" just doesn't have the same ring.)

Saguaro: Nature's Coatracks

zach said...

Three great photos!

I love all the benches facing the water, too, and I love the bench not facing the water because it's in early DL. I would sit there right now if I could.

I remember the disorientation I felt when I visited and couldn't find the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland. It was similar to Skull Rock's disappearance. Change is inevitable but those things were a big part of my earlier visits.

And I think that Saguaro was an inspiration for Squidward.

Thanks Major and Mr 'X'


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, whenever anybody asks me about anything, my answer is “MAG-NI-FI-CATION”!

TokyoMagic!, my third guess would have been “from the train” for the NW shot, but as usual, my recollection of the layouts of both rides is not that great. Not only did the Pack Mules get close to the cacti, guests were required to hug a saguaro.

Chuck, THAT’S IT!

Albino Drago, I have read that many parts of Disneyland were supposed to be sort of the “Hollywood ideal” of what a particular scene should look like. So Frontierland was not a representation of an actual historical “old west”, but rather a sort of “movie memory” of these places. I’m sure that a lot of care was devoted to making the Rainbow Desert as good as they could do within a reasonable budget, but it always felt like a giant tabletop railroad setup to me. And now that Sam Towler has built a beautiful model of the NWRR (go see it at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park), it somehow feels like the concept has come full circle. And I’ll bet a LOT of kids were worried that they would stay molecule-sized!

DrGoat, while I have seen many cacti that look similar to saguaros, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an actual saguaro! I can only imagine how nice it would be to enjoy Disneyland on a day when it wasn’t blazing hot… although everything looks so nice on a sunny day.

Melissa, ha ha, these days I think a lot of younger Disneyland fans would not be able to ID the third photo. The Mark Twain photo was almost certainly from the early morning, but on thinking about it, the cement might have been wet because of… rain! That would also explain the lack of guests. And yes, it is always a little weird to refer to the Mark Twain as “she”!

dzacher, I'd want to face the river and watch all of the activity once the park got going. Reading about the removal of many benches due to the crowds makes me a little sad. And it must have been really weird to expect the Mine Train ride to be there, only to find it gone.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff again today, Major. Thank you. Interesting how today's post highlights two of the Yesterland attractions that I miss the most.

I'm surprised to see that ATIS was moved to Frontierland. Like the others, on my first trip through the MM I was concerned about coming back ok. I also recall watching the mini figures coming through the glass tube to see if any matched people I saw going in. I guarantee it would have freaked me out to see something like that. I also remember the ring around the entrance pulsed with white light in time with the soundtrack of the microscope mechanism.

I'm voting for an early AM time for the Marcia Twain. Maybe the attraction was closed due to rain and the CM is placed to manage expectations of the forthcoming crowd. Do the river attractions close in the rain? I can't recall.

The picture of the cement cactus is definitely taken from an Omnimover cab.


Graffer said...

I think the Mark Twain pic is postcard worthy.
But I read that Walt never wanted the public to see the park empty.

I think it was in 'An American Original' by Bob Thomas that had the story of TV producers presenting Walt with the idea of an episode of him touring the park when closed, explaining ideas & concepts, telling back stories, pointing out details, etc. Walt nixed the idea due to the above reason. Too bad they didn't compromise and have Walt talk in roped off areas with visible guests behind him - they could even have panned the crowd. It would have been a great episode.

Graffer said...

Regarding the removal of benches...

I suspect it has more to do with the Paul Pressler park philosophy: People sitting on benches are not spending money in shops or buying churros. And, removal of benches leaves more room for carts. I also suspect this is the unstated reason for the Fast Pass system - people in queues have their wallets in their pockets.

Melissa said...

The waiting area for the Liberty Belle riverboat in the
Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite non-attraction areas. It's a big, shady, covered pavilion full of wide, backless benches. The wide design is, no doubt, so that two rows of people can sit back-to-back, but if there aren't a lot of people in there you can use the extra space to spread out a little. You can even lie down if it's really deserted. I've asked the attendant cast member if I could just sit in there even when I wasn't planning to ride, and they've always been okay with it. That's very appreciated as seats are disappearing elsewhere in the park.

(I suspect if there were a bunch of people waiting for the boat or if I was a large group of people instead of a single adult the CM's might not agree so readily.)

Dean Finder said...

Ah, benches, when Disneyland was a park to a large extent and not just Disneyland Park (TM) in name. And Graffer is correct. The reason for FastPass was explicitly stated to the business press--FastPasses allow people to visit shops and restaurants instead of standing on line for rides.

AlbinoDragon really distilled the essence of Imagineering "It takes all of the best parts and distills them into something that is recognizable but not *quite* right" I think that all the time when I look at the Old Mill at TSI. Everything looks like historical buildings, but it slightly nicer than reality in a way I sense, but can't quite describe.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, “ATIS was moved to Frontierland”? I feel like I’m missing something! Maybe you meant “Yesterland”? It seems that every kid (and probably some adults) watch the Atomobiles to see the people in their pre-microscopic state. As far as I know, the river attractions (or the big boats at least) stay open in the rain.

Graffer, now that you mentioned it, I have a vague memory of the story about Walt not wanting people to see the empty park. It’s kind of too bad, because I really like the idea of him strolling through the empty lands, and explaining the history, challenges, and ideas behind the attractions. It would have been great. Oh well, he had his reasons I guess.

Graffer, you might be right about the benches. BUT… I do think there will be even crazier crowds than even recent years once you-know-what opens. I can’t think of a place I’d want to avoid more than Disneyland with 100,000 guests.

Melissa, I’ve only seen distant photos of the Liberty Belle loading dock/queue area. If the benches are backless, there’s nothing to lean against! That sounds unpleasant. I need to drape myself over a something. Like a boneless cat. I’m glad that the CMs were OK with you resting in the shade.

Dean Finder, it really is amazing to see just how many benches there were in the earlier years. The guest’s comfort was very important. I’m sure that it’s important now, perhaps to a lesser degree with the crowds. The annual passes are a monster that cannot be caged. And I agree, AlbinoDragon nailed it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I forgot to mention, that I think the Nature's Wonderland shot was taken from a point, just a little further past the spot that the train is in (on the higher level) in this post of yours from last month: