Friday, December 31, 2010

The Disneyland Hotel

Today we'll take a look around the Disneyland Hotel, starting with this lovely shot taken in August, 1965. Notice how the placement of the external elevator forced them to put "Hotel Disneyland" atop the structure. There is some construction going on over to the left; thanks to Don Ballard's book about the Disneyland Hotel, I can tell you that the construction was for the Tower Annex. This addition increased the number of rooms to 616!

This next photo is from July 1968, and features some of the hotel's shops and restaurants. You can see the sign for the "Monorail Room"...

.... and a sign announcing that this was the New Exciting Plaza Shopping Center. If you need plane tickets from United, Continental, Western or American Airlines, you were in luck.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


The title of this post is "Leftuggies" which is the non-word that my mom uses when she is serving leftovers. "What's for dinner, mom?". "Leftuggies!". My mom is weird. Anyway, I have two leftuggies for you today.

This scurvy dog is the most fearsome pirate on the Seven Seas! His pirate name is "Dimples", and believe me, it strikes terror into the hearts of anyone who sails the oceans. Sure, he's wearing an "I Like Disneyland" button, but he cut it from the coat of the captain who used to command this ship - right after he ran him through with his cutlass.

(Do you think that anybody salvaged that beautiful pilot's wheel before the ship was scuttled in 1983?)

Something strange happened to this slide (besides turning magenta), since anything black seems to fade away towards the top of the photo. Anyway, it's a nice shot of the Mark Twain as it returns to its home port.

I want that flag!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fort Wilderness, 1958

I sure miss the original Fort Wilderness. Located on Tom Sawyer Island, its presence hinted at the many unseen dangers in Frontierland, dangers from which you were relatively safe as long as you were within the timbered walls. And since it was impossible to miss from the shore, it also enticed guests to raft over to the island to see what it was all about. While they were there, they'd discover the paths, caves, rope bridges, the mill, and more. In a way, Fort Wilderness was a frontier castle.

This first photo was taken (I think) from the Indian Village/Dance Circle. As you can see, there is a bit of construction going on along the path. In fact, it might actually be on a part of the island that was off limits to tenderfeet.

Does anybody have any idea what this could be?

And finally, another view of the imposing log battlements that look like they're straight out of a John Ford movie.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Murkiness, 1958

Sorry today's post is a little late (though it's not even 8 o'clock in the morning yet!); I had my "publish" settings all screwed up.

Anyway, do you know why today's photos are murky? Because they were taken by Murky McGurk. It seems so obvious now...

I feel guilty even posting this muddy picture, but maybe one of you will find something to love about it. There's an old popcorn box. And a kid who might be taking photos with a Kodak Brownie (something about his stance makes me think that he is looking through the viewfinder on top of a camera). And a lady in the distance whose white skirt has been made translucent by the sunlight.

And here's the 300 kajillionth photo taken of the Pirate Ship. I've been keeping track so you don't have to. I love the fact that there are still orchards nearby...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Japanese Village & Deer Park, October 1969

Today I am sharing the last scans from one lot of Japanese Village slides. See the other parts here, here, and here!

This first shot is a nice one; it looks like it belongs in a souvenir guide book, but I don't know of any souvenir guide books for JV! You can see our favorite redhead checking out the colorful paper parasols in the lower right.

"Pavilion of the Doves", huh? Sounds scary, I'm not going in there. One wrong move and a flock of hungry doves will reduce you to a skeleton in less than a minute. I seen it with my own two eyes!

Those deer may the be the stars of the place, but they are humble and approachable. Especially if you have a hand full of food. I wonder if JV was open at night? My guess is "not really", except maybe in the winter months when it is dark by 5 o'clock. I'd love to see photos of it with all the lanterns lit.

When you'd had enough of those perpetually hungry deer, you could get some culture by watching a performance of traditional Japanese dancing.

For those of you who enjoyed visiting Japanese Village, never fear! I have another group of slides with some interesting images, and will share them one of these days.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mine Train, March 1961

I'm always happy for an excuse to visit the Mine Train again. Today's photo shows one of the trains as it circles around Cascade Peak; If ya never gone beneath a waterall before, then get set! 'Cause we're comin' up on Big Thunder. The biggest falls in all these here parts. Ya don't have to worry though... unless the wind changes! Anyone who was lucky enough to ride this attraction can probably remember the sound of the falls, and the cool spray on a hot summer's day.

Back at Rainbow Ridge, we can enjoy a look at some of the little buildings. Several of them (the saloon and barber shop, for instance) had recorded loops that guests could hear as they passed, enhancing the idea that this wasn't just a well preserved ghost town.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa's Village, August 1959

Merry Christmas! I know you want to relax today, but I'm going to drag you to Santa's Village, near beautiful Lake Arrowhead. (See part one of this group here).

There he is, the man himself - St. Nick! Everyone loves him, especially the ladies. Sure, they love the beard, but they also dig the fact that he's a Saint.

I love the goopy pink roof on this building. It looks like the cottage that attracted Hansel and Gretel, but the sign over the front door assures us that this is the Good Witch's Bakery. We can assume that she won't eat us.

The Christmas tree is also a ride; a Dumbo-type ride in which guests sit in oversized ornaments. The perpetually snow-covered tree spins with you, which is kind of cool, and as you can tell by the slots in the side, you are able to move your ornament up and down. Don't do it too quickly though, each ornament is actually made of razor thin glass. You'll be sliced to ribbons if you crash!

I'll bet you think we're through with Santa's Village, but you're wrong!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Claus Lane, California

Today I'm featuring photos of a classic California roadside attraction that's extinctified - Santa Claus Lane! Located in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara, Santa Claus Lane featured a strip of Christmas-themed shops, restaurants, and kiddie rides.

Here's a bit of history: A Man named Patrick McKeon was responsible. His family bought the roadside property from lima bean farmer in 1948. A juice stand stood there, a place with only five stools, and McKeon dreamed up a way to play off the region's "Santa" towns - Santa Barbara, Santa Paula, Santa Ynez, and Santa Monica. He called the little juice stand Santa Claus. Zillions of motorists traveling along the 101 freeway could see the big Santa atop the main building. Here he is in 1952...

Now I'm in the mood for some olives, and I don't even like olives. By 1960, there were novelty shops, cafes, a miniature train, a wishing well, a candy store, and a 20 foot high Frosty the Snowman was added to the roof of Santa's Kitchen.

By 2002, the place had seen better days; Frosty had been gone (melted?) for a long time, and Santa was in need of a lot of TLC. The new owner of the shop with Santa on the roof decided that the Christmas theme had to go, believing that for all the people who came to SCL because of Santa, just as many kept on driving. When you pass Santa Claus Lane these days, there is nothing whimsical to beckon the hungry or curious; there are new businesses in perfectly unremarkable buildings.

Luckily, concerned citizens saved the Santa sculpture; he was moved to a lot in Oxnard, and lovingly restored. 300 people were there at his dedication, and you can still see him if you are driving north on the 101. I waved to him just yesterday on my way up to my sister's house!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cypress Gardens

With Christmas mere days away, I decided to take a little trip to Florida for some fun, sun, and bathing beauties. Let's go to Cypress Gardens!

I can only guess what's going on here. Hoop-skirted lovelies and colorful conquistadors seem to be observing some sort of ceremony; the woman in the velvet cape is receiving extra special attention from everyone. Perfect attendance? Good posture? Maybe she can burp the alphabet.

Florida gets the best skies. The fluffiest clouds are grown there by the thousands. There is a bevy of lovely Water Maidens or Merbabes or whatever they were called; always smiling. Notice the other speedboats in the water, carefully maneuvering so that they will be ready for the next stunt.

It's a human pyramid; four women, one guy. They are waving the communist flag to show their support of the oppressed proletariats struggling against an imperialist bourgeoisie. I think.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tomorrowland, September 1967

Ah, there's MY Tomorrowland! Mary Blair's tile mural, the Bell System logo inside "America the Beautiful", the Rocket Jets and Peoplemover, and the GE logo letting me know that I can still go see the Carousel of Progress. Makes me happy just thinking about it.

Here's a different view, taken from the train as it departs Tomorrowland Station. There's plenty of time left to come back and ride everything!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Entrance, 1955

I'm trying to imagine what it must have been like to visit Disneyland in 1955. Folks had read about it, probably saw some photos, and might have watched Walt Disney talk about the park on TV. But of course none of that was the same as actually being there! For most people today, there has always been a Disneyland.

Today's photos are from a lot that is crazily dated, multiple months in 1955 or 1956, even though the people's clothing makes it clear that these were taken during a single visit. Go figure!

This first picture is a great one that I believe really IS from 1955. The Mickey portrait seen through the chain link appears to be barely filled in. The place probably still smelled of fresh lumber and paint.

Here's our lucky family, ready to go in for their first visit. Looks kind of late in the day, doesn't it? I have photos showing the same freckled girl in the park a few years later, and others from later still. It'll be fun to see her grow up!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rocket Jets, February 1969

Here's a swell view of the Rocket Jets attraction, looking striking up there atop the Peoplemover loading level. Imagine the view from your rocket when you pulled the throttle back and went as high as possible! Some neat signage is visible as well (though tiny...) - my favorite is the lozenge-shaped Peoplemover sign, but the round Rocket Jet's sign has great typography too.

The rockets have all landed, and apparently every human being has left Disneyland. It's funny how this photo, taken within moments of the first one, can evoke a completely different feeling.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Carrousel & Pack Mules, 1957

I recently went through a box of oversized color slides, many of which have already appeared on this blog - including my very first post. Many of them have turned pink or orange, but I decided that a few of them might still be worth sharing with you. Like this shot of a happy kid on King Arthur's Carrousel. Mom is making sure he is securely lashed to his leaping stallion - a necessary precaution, since his feet are nowhere near the stirrups.

The kid is still happy - or maybe the word "bemused" would be more accurate. This time he is on a real live hayburner, about to take a trip through the magical Nature's Wonderland.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Frontierland, September 1967

Here's an interesting low-angle view looking towards New Orleans Square. The photographer was actually standing in the middle of the river, and the water was about up to his chin. But it was worth it for this slightly off kilter view. I guess. Since this is September 1967, the crowds around Pirates of the Caribbean are big I tell ya; BIG! They are also itchy and in desperate need of ointment.

I like this lovely view of Frontierland and the river, late in the afternoon with an incandescent Mark Twain blazing in distance. Back in those days, if you said the words "amusement park" to people, they would not imagine a scene as pretty as this. And that's why we all love Disneyland!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa's Village, August 1959

Today seemed like a pretty good day to visit Santa's Village, in the beautiful mountains of San Bernardino, California!

Fans of Disneyland's parking lot might get a similar (but smaller) thrill looking at this sea of fabulous cars from the 50's.

These ladies are goin' nowhere fast in that sleigh, but they don't seem particularly worried about it. I love the whimsical signs on the giant candy cane, the triple clock on top of the roof the building, and the plywood "snow"!

Looks like all the kids are excited to visit the lollipop tree. Find me a red one (red = cherry)!! Simpler pleasures for simpler times - but I'll wager that small children would still get a kick out of this. Notice that some of the kids are wearing their souvenir pinback buttons. Santa's helper stands nearby in case the smaller fry can't reach the lollipop that they want.

Of course there are reindeer at Santa's Village. They get to maintain their sleigh-pulling skills (there's nothing sadder than a flabby reindeer) by hauling guests around on this contraption, which apparently runs on a track. Hey look, there's Blitzen!

Stay tuned for more Santa's Village...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Around The Fair Again

I love this first photo taken inside Belgium's huge pavilion; somehow it has a cinematic quality. If it wasn't for the giant inflatable insect chrysalis just visible over the rooftops, one might be fooled into thinking that this was really a part of old Bruges. Unlike many other parts of the fair, these "old" buildings DO feel old, right down to the soot and filth (charming filth, that is). There are little vending machines to our right that dispensed "Money Of The World", which I would have loved as a kid.

Over at the fabulous Chrysler pavilion, there was the whimsical auto-animal "zoo". The 22 foot tall red fella was dubbed the "zookeeper" (which also happened to be my nickname when I was in professional wrestling); If you misbehave he will zap you with his deadly laser eyes. Guess which thingamajig is the porcupine? Go on, I'll wait. There was also a 12-foot mantis, a 7-foot frog, a Cthulu, and other critters - all made from car parts. (OK, ok, there wasn't a Cthulu).

It was a magical day at Sinclair Dinoland; the miracle of new life was witnessed as baby Brontos hatched from their leathery eggs. Imagine how they felt when they were told that Brontosauruses never existed? If I had a baby dinosaur I'd teach him tricks and feed him and take him to show and tell and we'd be best pals 4-ever. Notice the feathered, flying archaeopteryx, swooping swoopily. His call sounded like a car horn.

And finally, let's all enjoy yet another photo of the U.S. Royal Giant Tire Ferris Wheel. Hey, YOU over there, you're not enjoying it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frontierland Station, 1958

Here's a nice photo of folks giving their feet a break near picturesque Frontierland Station (you might recognize mom from the picture of Casa de Fritos.) The image was an icky shade of deep pink, so this is my attempt at restoring it so that your eyeballs wouldn't fall out. (You're welcome!). Anyway, I like the unusual angle of the little train station. And you may notice that Disneyland is not lacking in benches.

In this photo, mom, junior and some other woman (presumably a friend) are hanging around the front of the Plantation House sign. The other woman is flashing gang signs. I am very street-wise, and can tell you that the sign she is flashing means "Let's go eat a reasonably priced chicken dinner".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knott's Airfield, March 1977

Today we're taking a quick detour to Knott's Berry Farm. The hugely successful "Roaring 20's" section of the park (which included the famous Corkscrew roller coaster) was deemed worthy of expansion, and so the "Knott's Airfield" was added. I believe that this was a restaurant, meant to resemble an old fashioned terminal. Guests could choose either fish or chicken, just like on an airplane. I kid! Howsabout that cool "flying K" logo? Does anybody know if this building still stands?

Among the attractions added for the Knott's Airfield (which included the Sky Cabin, Sky Jump, and Steeplechase), and the one visible at the end of this runway - the Loop Trainer. I think they had a ride just like this at Magic Mountain (?), and maybe at Hershey Park too. You'd spin and and spin, and the crushing G-forces held you in the ride as the giant disk tilted up at a steep angle until you blacked out. Some fun! Meanwhile I am intrigued by the double doors that would take you into the guts of the Mine Train ride - let's sneak in there!

And, just because I have it, here's an old guy near the Antiques store - wherever that was. Near the Saloon, I think.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sleeping Beauty Castle, 1956

Let's start today with a nice postcard-worthy photo of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Not exactly a lot of kids running around - there are a couple, though. There's the sign with the map of Fantasyland, for those who might otherwise skip it (or something).

Here's a neat shot taken from a Skyway bucket, looking generally east towards the castle; one interesting detail is the sign/entrance that would have led you to the short-lived Mickey Mouse Club Circus - if it was still open. That thing only lasted about a month, though. You would have purchased your ticket at an ornate circus wagon that was right next to the sign.

Take a look at a scan from the MMC Circus Viewmaster set; notice the steaming calliope heading past!

In this closeup, you can see that there is also a tremendous amount of construction going on just west of the castle. In fact, there is a big candy-striped plywood wall to block people's ways and views. I believe that this construction involves the Rainbow Ridge Mine Train, and the Rainbow Desert portion of that attraction. If anybody has any insights, please share!