Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Storybook Land Snapshots, August 1968

Man, it drives me koo-koo crazy when I find a big lot of Disneyland slides, only to find that a large percentage of them were taken in one go, either during a ride on the Mark Twain, or on the Jungle Cruise, or, in this case, aboard a Storybook Land Canal Boat. In a lot of 35 snapshots, 12 of them are from that ride. Don't get me wrong, I love the ride! I just don't need so many pictures of it.

Anyway, I am attempting to put them more or less in the order in which they would be viewed if you were along for the journey. I think that cute little building up on the hill with the flagstone path is part of Alice in Wonderland's English countryside.

Ditto this thatched, timbered mill (I've always loved this, for some reason… maybe it's the addition of movement).

And this little church couldn't be any more picturesque. Somehow the addition of the little graveyard with its mini-headstones makes the place feel like it's been there a long time.

I'm not sure what this is… at first I thought it might be one of the Three Little Pigs' homes, but now I think it is even more form Alice's village.

J. Thaddeus Toad sure built himself a nice house! Notice Moley's cottage right down by the water.

Here's a closer look at Toad Hall, with its 9 fireplaces.

Well homies, you're just going to have to wait for part two!


Nanook said...


Storybook Land is always a pleasure too see.

The first images show Practical Pig's House, although the water- wheeled-house and the straw-roofed house are both from Alice.

I think that's correct. Others please shout-out with corrections.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Image 1 is Practical Pig's house, images 2,3&4 are all part of Alice's Village and images 5&6 are Mr. Mole's home & Toad Hall.

I'm amazed Storybook Land has lasted as long as it has. May it live happily ever after.

Chuck said...

Love today's set!

I remember the day I rode the canal boats and found Agrabah where Toad Hall should have been. I think that was the first time I got upset at a favorite, expected Park element unexpectedly evaporating.

I think it still looks odd to see a desert-based element in the midst of the lush, green landscape, but the model is well-executed. And Toad Hall eventually did make its way back to the banks of the canal in a different, less-prominent location.

I, too, am glad to see this corner of the Park remains despite its low-tech charms. I also find it interesting that, while it wasn't copied for WDW's Magic Kingdom, the next generation of Imagineers brought it back for DL Paris. Let's hope it lasts another 58 years...

Connie Moreno said...

You know, it's nice to see it through the eyes of another.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, thanks for the correction! Somehow I thought that all three of the pig's houses were on a little island, but it has been weeks since I have done what I laughingly call my "research", so maybe I'm mistaken in that as well.

K. Martinez, sounds like you agree with Nanook. Hey, at least I got Moley's and Toad Hall right!

Chuck, I totally agree! I like the detailed model of Agrabah with its gold-leafed onion domes, but it feels so out of place.

Connie, I also like to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes!

JG said...

I have always just loved the Canal Boats and Storybook Land. This ride is my earliest memory of Disneyland.

In retrospect, it may have been Disneyland in general and these tiny building in particular,that led me to my profession in architecture. Bad choice, but not blaming SBL.

Attention to detail and continuity is marvelous, seeing Toad Hall in New Fantasyland resembling the old and new SBL models.

Also, there are only two churches in Disneyland, both are here in SBL, Alice's church and the one in Pinocchio's village, unless we count the background spires in IASW.

@Chuck, I agree, but Toad Hall 2 was in place by the time I saw the change, so that softened the blow somewhat. On the whole, I am happy to see the additions of recent stories since there are so many youngsters who don't remember Wind in the Willows or the Old Mill. The Aladdin Lamp is particularly well done.

I have noticed that dramatic changes in climate and landscape are characteristic of dreams, and what else can SBL be, if not a dream?

Thanks for the pic's, Major.


Chuck said...

Today's photos and JG's comment above about the only two churches (left) in DL got me thinking about another trivia question - how many cemeteries are there in DL (and how many can you remember that aren't there anymore)?

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Let's try these:
1) Outside Haunted Mansion (3, if you count the pet, wall crypts and the little pet cemetery behind the old handicap entry).
2) Inside Haunted Mansion
3) Tom Sawyer Island
4) Storybook Land
5) Frontierland Shooting Gallery
6) Submarine Voyage - graveyard of lost ships.
7) Indian burial ground, along the Rivers of America, and is also visible from Fort Wilderness.

That would be nine. Any others-?

Chuck said...

Wasn't there a Boot Hill in the Western scene of America Sings?

And it would make sense for one to be up the hill from Rainbow Ridge, although I don't remember one nor can I seem to find any references to or photos of one. Anybody know for certain?

Did the Progress City model have any cemeteries? I remember several churches, but no cemeteries.

Would the pile of skulls on the Jungle Cruise count?

And how many of these are still there?

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

I was wondering about America Sings and Rainbow Ridge, myself; but I can't remember.

A graveyard in Progress City??!! Oh my-!!

I thought about the skull piles in the Jungle Cruise, but, I don't know if those should count. And wasn't there a graveyard shot in the Circlevision film: America the Beautiful-?

Still, in all, there are a number of them.

JG said...

@Chuck & Nanook

Great idea to count the cemeteries... never seen that done before.

I can't say "for certain", but I have studied all the pictures of Rainbow Ridge that I could find and never saw any sign of either a church or a cemetery there. Unusual omissions since these are common staples of the "Old West" imagery.

I don't recall either a cemetery or a church in Progress City either, but my memory of that is not very good. Is there still a Progress model in WDW? Not many vintage pics around.

I have seen debates about whether the "southeast asian ruins" in the Jungle Cruise qualified as a religious reference, it's pretty generic, but the idol statues are recognizable deities.

The one attraction that is straightforward in it's references is the Enchanted Tiki Room, especially the Pre-show, which is practically a primer on Oceanic religion.

Kind of odd when so much effort was expended in keeping the Haunted Mansion free of traditional iconography of crosses and pointy-hat witches just a few years later.


JG said...

@Chuck & Nanook, the Taj Mahal features in IASW, that monument is basically a tomb, a "cemetery for one". Are there pyramids in there too? Can't recall.


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, Storybook Land is one of those classic attractions that is low on thrills but over the top on charm and imagination. I can't imagine anything like it being built today. Was there a chapel or church in Rainbow Ridge? I seem to recall the tolling of a bell, but maybe it was a school bell.

Chuck, I see that other commenters have picked up the ball and run with your question about cemeteries!

Nanook, don't forget about the cemetery in It's a Small World, with all of the little zombie children of the world welcoming your brains!

Chuck, aha, you and I both think that there might have been one in Rainbow Ridge, which makes me think we might be on to something. I can't believe that Progress City would have cemeteries, since the whole enterprise was so much about optimism. Even the addition of churches seems weird to me, although I guess Walt figured that folks in the future would still want to worship the deity of their choice. I personally don't count the pile of skulls as a cemetery per se…

JG, if only we could find some plans for the original Progress City. I would like that anyway, and it would be great to be able to answer esoteric questions like this. And while there are certainly references to various religions in the Jungle Cruise, IASW, and the Tiki Room, it really couldn't be avoided because religion is such part of the daily lives of some cultures. Unlike our own mostly-secular lives in the USA.

JG again, while you are correct that the Taj Mahal is technically a tomb, I think it would be a stretch to call it a cemetery!

Major Pepperidge said...

I am still undecided as to whether that white building with the bell tower is supposed to be a church or a school. I feel like the Imagineers would have painted it red if it was supposed to be a school. Take a look at this picture of Rainbow Ridge

Chuck said...

Major - I'm having the same internal debate. Maybe it's like the dual-purpose church/school building in the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series.

I remember the churches in the rump Progress City model at WDW from a 1997 or 1998 visit. They stood out because I'd recently read a book on the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, and one of the complaints many visitors had about the Democracity diorama inside the Perisphere was the lack of houses of worship in the utopian city of the future. Churches were added to the model for the 1940 season, and I wondered if the Disney folks had come across that story as they were developing the Progress City model.

JG said...

@Major. I have looked at that building from other angles, and do not see a bell tower, nor do I see one in the linked photo. I had put it down as a schoolhouse, but I could be convinced. It looks so like the Calico school except for the tower.

@Chuck, your memory of Progress City is newer than mine, and of a different model. If you saw churches, then they were there.

I don't recall churches or cemeteries in the Disneyland COP 20 years earlier, but again, I could be convinced.

I did find some interesting blogs about Progress City Models by googling "images of Progress City". I found no "map" per se, but some great "aerials" and info on the various projected building types, square footages (no churches)and population. One guy had a CAD blog showing 3D models he had built using the original drawings.

Great way to spend a few minutes on the internet. Thanks everyone for the interactions. This is fun.