Monday, October 20, 2008

The Living Desert, 1956

I've got four images from the old Rainbow Ridge Mine Train attraction (before it was expanded in to Nature's Wonderland).

Among the desert's unusual features is the saguaro cactus forest. Unusual because they are made of fiberglass! In the background are some weathered mesas. The forced perspective of those tiny pueblos on top almost works in the Southern California haze! To the left you can see one of the tumbling rocks, which spun madly like one of Barney Rubble's bowling balls.

Here's a clearer view of those same mesas and rock formations...

Sometimes the heat of the desert can make you see things. Crazy things! Like these little cacti, they almost look like people. Or maybe like the trolls from Magic Mountain.

And finally, one more look at some of the tumbling rocks, the vibrations from our passing train set them off. Look out!


TokyoMagic! said...

There are the the Seven Dwarf Cacti! I have never seen pics of them, but I thought I remembered them from Nature's Wonderland in the seventies. They must have kept them around through the the NWMT redo. Thanks for that memory, Major!

Daveland said...

I also JUST received some slides that referred to them as the 7 Dwarf Cacti...first time I'd ever heard of that reference!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Neat series, Thanks! The second one looks like Disney promo shot! "Seven Dwarf Cacti!" wow, more references for Progressland! Looking forward to seeing your slides too Dave!

TokyoMagic! said...

I remember them being pointed out as the Seven Dwarf Cacti on the ride, but the soundtrack doesn't make any mention of them. So my question is, was the narration always pre-recorded, or was it ever delivered live by the mine train drivers like on the Jungle Cruise??? I thought I remembered it being live, but I might be blurring that memory with the Calico Mine Train at Knott's. Any cast members out there that can please answer that question? Thank you!

Major Pepperidge said...

I have heard that, early on, the Mine Train spiel was performed live. Supposedly Walt had a favorite guy who he used when showing off the ride to special guests. At some point the famous recorded version was used. Were they ever used at the same time (i.e. some people performed it live while others played the recording)? I don't know!

Nancy said...

these are very pretty. again, something i never got to see in person. ive never heard of Seven Dwarfs cacti, even checked in the DL 50th anniv book

i love how beautiful a day it was...gorgeous blue and its so peaceful

we can see a few horses with riders in photo number three. were the trails they rode on intertwined with the sights one saw when riding the train? what part of the present park did this area occupy? if i were to walk up to the top of the hill in phote number four, what vista would greet me; highway, the park, unused land??

i wish the 50th anniv book had been more explicit about "things that arent there anymore" : )

Scott Schrantz said...

"what part of the present park did this area occupy?"

These tottering rocks were back behind Thunder Mountain, right about at the entrance to the Big Thunder Ranch.

"if i were to walk up to the top of the hill in photo number four, what vista would greet me?"

I'm not sure about the orientation, since I was two when this was all torn out. But I believe if you climbed that hill you'd end up in Fantasyland! Either that or you'd take a quick dunk in the river.