Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, January 1965

This lot, from January '65, still has a few too-dark images, but they're still worth a look. 

This familiar scene, showing "Bear Country" in Nature's Wonderland, looks surprisingly rich and complete, especially when you consider the compressed space that the Imagineers had to work with. You can almost believe that the forest continues for miles, or that the river is icy cold from melted snow. 

This one is the victim of poor timing; the photographer waited just a bit too long to take his photo. But you can still just see the battling elk. Why can't they just get along?

The desert is looking especially verdant here; it is winter after all. Maybe we'll see colorful flowers springing up soon? Pronghorn antelope gather near the pond. A geyser erupts on the other side of the crazy rock formations; but my favorite detail is the Disneyland Railroad in the distance!


Unknown said...

For what it's worth the rock structure through which can be seen the geyser is listed on blueprints as "The Natural window."

It's part of the rock work still present on the walk through to Fantasyland

Tom said...

if' I'm not mistaken, that last shot was taken while riding a mule over the Natural Arch Bridge. That would line up the Natural Window with the geyser just right.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, thanks for the info on "The Natural Window", I don't remember hearing that before. Cool!

Tom, the angle does seem a bit different than we usually see - the elevation seems higher. Good eye!

Chuck said...

Were these taken after the elk had been moved across the tracks? The position looks kinda like where I remember them in the 70's, but the train isn't visible to orient myself for sure.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I guess I didn't know that the elk had ever been moved. Do you have any idea why that was done?

Chuck said...

Major, apparently the original location was too close to the mule path, and some of the mules would balk when they saw what looked to them like much larger animals fighting nearby.

I just re-watched a clip of Tony Baxter discussing a film of the ride at the 2013 D23 Expo (, and today's photo is definitely from the second location. The segment on the elk begins at 3:05 in the video.

Orange Co Native said...

To think that the concrete path leading from Fantasyland now runs past those rock formations and over where those animals and pool of water.

It is too bad the Mine Train had to be torn out to build Thunder Mountain.

Unknown said...

Yeah, Chuck, that the Olympic Elk were in their new location across the water just before the train passed under the Natural Bridge was exactly my thought as well.