Friday, June 19, 2015

Two Beauties From December, 1962

Today's photos are nicer than the usual stuff you'll find here on GDB!

Let's start with this wonderful, evocative image of a Nature's Wonderland Mine Train as it rounded the bend past Cascade Peak and the beautiful and impressive waterfalls. Just imagine the roar of the water, and the cool spray! 

I really love this angle, too, with some of the Rivers of America and the Friendly Indian Village visible. At first I thought that this was an overcast day, but now I believe that the sun has set and night is approaching. Which makes me wish (for the millionth time) that I had experienced the Mine Train at night! 

Meanwhile, over in Fantasyland... here's a fun shot of one of the Midget Autopia automobiles. Two kids, two steering wheels! This smallest of the Autopias, located near Storybook Land, was strictly for little kids. It opened in 1957, and lasted nine years, closing in 1966 for the construction of "It's a Small World".  Unless this part of the ride's track was in a sunken area, our photographer was 9 feet tall, and named "Mongo" ("That's Mister Mongo to you, Bub!").


Nanook said...


Now here are two winners,

You know, and come to think about it - wouldn't it have been the thrill-of-a-lifetime if Disney had combined the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland & the Midget Autopia-! Perhaps something along the lines of replacing the train with a 'parade' of Midget Autopia vehicles - each one containing two tots having the time of their lives navigating the meandering track passing through Beaver Valley, Rainbow Desert and Old Unfaithful, finishing-up with Rainbow Caverns and Fluorescent Waters-! Well - why not-??!!

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

That first shot is breathtaking! It looks like it could almost be out in the wilderness. The only thing that spoils the illusion is the animatronic people in the train.

K. Martinez said...

So where are the "Monkeys" and "Wild Animal" cages?

Melissa said...

OMG, the look on the little boy's face is absolutely killing me!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, that could work. But you have neglected to include Anna and Elsa! The kids love “Frozen”, you know.

Chuck, even robots like to have fun!

K. Martinez, they are there, if you squint your eyes enough.

Melissa, I can’t tell if he is happy, or scared!

Anonymous said...

Boy, that first pic is wonderful.

Thanks Major.


Anonymous said...

I recall the Midget Autopia. Thought it was pretty cool at the time. And I have pics of me to prove it somewhere. Then I got big enough for the real Autopia.

Day or night, the Mine Train was always a joy to operate. KS

K. Martinez said...

The Mine Train operator's costume has got to be one of the coolest outfits Disney has ever designed for the wardrobe department. I love the shirt, suspendors and hat.

Unknown said...

Boy, are those viewpoints unusual. I assume that the Nature's Wonderland train was shot looking back from the Mark Twain or maybe Columbia, but I have no clue for the Midget Autopia. The serpentine weaving was on the way towards the back of the ride and guest viewing of that section was pretty much outside of the fence at ground level.

Ah heck, it was Mongo. "Mongo only cameraman in game of life...".

Chuck said...

If you zoom waaaay in on this 1962 aerial photo of Disneyland from Yesterland (, you can see two park benches along the outer edge of the Junior Autopia. If the photographer (whose shadow is in the picture) stood on the right bench with the proper focal length lens, he (or she) could conceivably have taken this shot before being tackled by plainclothes CalOSHA agents for criminally unsafe activity.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Damn, you're good. I think you've got it. Thanks.