Monday, November 03, 2014

Frontierland Watercraft, August 1969

I really like today's photos from Frontierland's "Rivers of America"! 

How about this almost-postcard-worthy look at one of the Tom Sawyer Island rafts? This angle reveals some of the controls (gauges galore!) normally hidden by a rustic housing. The rafts must require a pretty substantial motor to move their clumsy bulk across the river - and they do it in a pretty timely fashion too. I can't explain it, but a photo like this reminds me of why I love (vintage) Disneyland so much.

Nearby (at the Indian Village) was the landing where one could catch a Keel Boat or a Canoe. Notice the totem poles, which were a slightly later addition (acknowledging the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest). And while we're noticing things, check out the crowds, which were there (in large part) due to the opening of the Haunted Mansion.


Nanook said...


I seem to recall the "dials & gauges' to be clearly on-display to guests who happen to load towards the 'stern' of the raft. I always enjoyed spying the mechanized portion of "Pioneer" Americana.

And speaking of spying - the gal standing near the controls could almost be mistaken for Jackie Kennedy - what with that iconic hairdo and sun glasses.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

At WDW, anyway, the raft trip to TSI is almost as exciting as the ferryboat trip to the Magic Kingdom itself. It's another one of those great metal and emotional transitions into another time and pace that the early Imagineers were so good at.

Also really digging the Mary Tyler Moore flip on the lady in blue downstage left on the raft.

Melissa said...

"Mental" transitions, that is. Metal transitions are a whole different ballgame.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you can even see in the photo that if you happen to be toward the back of the raft, you'd be able to see the controls. But notice that everyone heads to the front! Poor Jackie Kennedy, I'll bet she could never go to Disneyland without the paparazzi driving her bananas.

Melissa, since WDW is larger, I just assume that the river there is really big as well; do you know if that is the case? I've always been amazed - considering the scale of Disneyland, Frontierland's river takes up a huge percentage of real estate. (I want Disneyland to have metal transitions).

Tom said...

I'm loving these August 1969 photos. I keep checking to see if my family is in any of them. Since we were there a few days before the Haunted Mansion opened I'll probably be out of luck though.

Keep them coming!

Melissa said...

I can't really say if the WDW river is wider than the DL one. It looks like it might be, but it's hard to tell in the parks, what with all the messing around with perspective that they do.

Tom said...

If you assume Google Earth's measurement tool is accurate, the width of each river is about the same; anywhere from 75 to 120 feet wide depending upon which bend and stretch you measure.