Monday, August 18, 2008

Fort Wilderness, September 1958

Fort Wilderness, on Tom Sawyer Island, was a prime example of an attraction that was built to make the whole Frontierland experience richer and more "realistic" (as absurd as that might seem). Disneyland did not lure additional visitors because of the fort, but it added so much. Tom Sawyer Island was all about exploration and discovery! Rock formations and caves, treehouses and suspension bridges - - even the act of having to raft over was a mini-adventure. The fort evoked images of Indian wars (at times, arrows poked out of the top of the towers) and a welcome safe haven in the middle of an unfriendly prarie. In the scheme of things, rebuilding this fort seems like it would have been a bargain. But it was deemed to be expendable, especially since pirates were moving in. Such a shame! ANYWAY, I love this photo (with its super-saturated colors!) from a happier time, those two little girls are having a good old time!

As a bonus, here's a 1956 photo of the Golden Horseshoe. My favorite detail is that wonderful sign out front featuring the lovely Slue Foot Sue herself. The establishment was owned by her after all! I wonder why this sign was removed?


TokyoMagic! said...

I miss Fort Wilderness, Major! Why do they keep getting rid of things that have been such a long part of DL history?

Your photo has made me realize that Tokyo Disneyland's version is more than just a little reminiscent of Disneyland's Fort Wilderness, it is almost an exact copy (with the exception that they put their fort's entrance where DL's exit was and vice versa). For comparison, I've posted a photo of their fort at:

It was taken from almost the exact spot as your pic....just a little more to the left and from the second level....and 50 years later!

BrotherCharles said...

One of the things I keep noticing about these pictures, is the way people dressed back then. Even some of the kids are in suits. People would get dressed up when out in public. I kind of wished people still did that today. Maybe I'm just too old fashioned. What a great era! Thanks for the eye candy!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure this Fort and features like it did not bring people in; I'd say that such things are examples of the distinctions between the Disneyland that survived and thrived as a (lucrative!) cultural phenomenon and other entertainment enterprises that come and go.

We do not go to ride Disneyland, we go to see it. And so have millions of others.