Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fantasyland & Frontierland, August 1970

Avast, ye landlubbers! You'd think that after looking at countless jillions of photos of the old Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, I might be sick of it. Nope! Sure, this feature was a restaurant, but what a restaurant! Walt and his Imagineers made it spectacular to look at, even if you were just passing by. If you wanted, you could climb aboard and explore, talk to a pirate with a real wooden leg, and even get  a nice elevated view of Fantasyland in the bargain. After 1960, you could relax behind the ship in a cool, shaded area away from the riff raff. We miss you, Pirate Ship.

By now these rock formations are a familiar site on vintage Disneyland blogs. The antelope in the foreground don't even notice them anymore. Some of these rocks survived the change to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and from what I've heard, they will continue to be preserved with the addition of Star Wars Land. It's enough to make a Wookie smile.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the two squarish rock formations in that second pic were just bulldozed within the last couple months. The rock "arch" on the far right is now the only rockwork in this picture that is still standing. I really would like to know why the whole thing couldn't have been saved.

Nanook said...

@ TM!

It's all in the name of Progress, don't-cha know. At least we have GDB and others on the blogosphere who continue to share images from Disneyland's past.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

All in the name of Progress. :-(

"There's a great, big, bulldozer tomorrow..."

Unknown said...

The yellow streaks running through those sandstone cliffs are called Coconino. The red are called Supai.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered what contractor Disney found to build the pirate ship. Surely not a typical structure firm. Maybe a boat builder, but a boat with a concrete foundation? It was such a class act.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Like you Major I never get enough of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. Now the Mark Twain on the other hand…

Quite a few Google Images of the Jolly Roger derive from this site. I’ve said it before, I was looking for pics of it the day I found GDB the first time.

Nice shots Major, thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, to tell the truth, I would have been more surprised to learn that the rock formations really HAD been saved. Why go to all that bother for some dumb rocks that nobody even notices? Meanwhile, the more I hear about Star Wars Land, the less interesting it sounds.

Nanook, it certainly is a kind of progress, and I realize that 90% of the people online seem to be super excited for things to come. I guess I am happy for them?

Chuck, I can just hear Rex Allen’s voice singing those words…

Patrick Devlin, when I was a kid I always thought that “Supai” was “Shoe Pie”. Why would anyone want pie made with shoes? Unless you put ice cream on it of course.

Anonymous, my guess is that Disney used studio craftsmen who built things like pirate ships all the time. I’ve seen construction photos of the Disneyland pirate ship, and it doesn’t look like conventional ship building to me (not that I’m any kind of authority).

Monkey Cage Kurt, ha, I love the Mark Twain, but I agree, it has to be an extraordinary photo of it to make me very excited. I guess it’s only inevitable that pix from my blog would be “out there”; people on Facebook are the worst, there are folks who repost photos from GDB on an almost-daily basis, and they NEVER give any credit.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kurt, it was an image search for the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship that led to GDB. I think the loss of this old attraction hurt the most. I wish I had pictures of my own, but of all the times we visited, never a one. Big thanks to the Major for consistently searching out and publishing these pics of a special spot.

I am guardedly hopeful for Star Wars Land. The recent update to Big Thunder and the new developments in Cars Land are much more in line with the old quality approach I recall from the Disneyland that developed the original New Orleans Square and the new Fantasyland. For example, I am in hopes that the River and the Train will benefit greatly from the work in spite of the criticism of reducing their scope. That part of the River and Train were always dull to me, even as a kid. Experience in the industry makes me refrain from criticising construction projects until complete.

I think if today's critics were to encounter something like the old Fantasyland, they would have a cow, yet all of us old people loved it because it was the place of our youth.

Reactions to Disneyland changes are as much about the quality of the change as they are about growing old and seeing your old neighborhood torn down.


Chuck said...

Well-spoken, JG. Thank you.

K. Martinez said...

I think what fans and long time visitors of Disneyland are lamenting is the fact that there are relatively few areas in the park which are "quiet" anymore. The back end of the Rivers of America was the largest of those "quiet" areas along with parts of Tom Sawyer Island. It provided a sense of removal and reprieve from the hyperactive world that Disneyland has become. Since it is now removed, there really are no areas in the park that provide that sense of removal or relief from the masses.

Also part of the story of the Rivers of America is that when you pass New Orleans Square/Critter Country you are told through the narrative that you're leaving civilization behind and entering the wilderness. That aspect has been drastically altered and will probably no longer feel that way after the changes. I'll add that the tree removal does bother me more than the rockwork removal. You can always build more rockwork, but years of tree growth can not be replaced. That's just my two cents.

Nice set today, Major. Just want to add that I appreciate the hard work you do to keep this blog running daily. Thank you!

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

I agree completely - but how can the Imagineers continue to provide accommodation to the ever-expanding crowds without having to lose Disneyland's "quiet areas"-? One 'could' argue the never-ending price increases should "tamp-down" the crowds, but lo and behold, the crowds continue unabated. As sad as it might be to see the Park become so "commercial", it is what happens with great success, and (essentially) limited areas for expansion. Heck, even WDW's Magic Kingdom, with all its space is now feeling crowded with all the folks who want to partake of the Disney experience.

Enjoy your memories - that's something no one can take away from you.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, you are not wrong; but I can honestly say that I was never ever bored on the Rivers of America. Once we reached that quiet “wilderness” area, I felt like I was no longer in the middle of Orange County. Change is inevitable, of course; but Star Wars will never feel like “Disney” to me, even though they purchased it. Same with Marvel, or Muppets (less so Pixar). That doesn’t mean they’re not good, I’m just not as interested personally. Star Wars Land will be a big success with the fans, and that will bring yet bigger crowds to a park that is already too packed - my least-liked visits to the park have been due to large crowds. So it saddens me to see one of my favorite places turning into a place I don’t want to go. But that just leaves more room for everybody else!

K. Martinez, yes, that’s definitely one of my issues. And as you said, the “story” of the Rivers of America leading you into the wilderness is key to what Frontierland was (in theory) about. To me, anyway. Thanks for the input - and the compliment.

Nanook, the folks who run the park have a tough row to hoe, for sure. How do you add new attractions without removing a beloved classic? How can we preserve the beautiful open spaces? Etc. It’s so funny for me to recall when I thought of myself as perhaps a little *too* into Disneyland, and now I think that I barely rate as a fan, when compared to the folks who go 200 times a year. I once went three times in a year, and that seemed like a lot. But I do enjoy my memories, and love looking at old photos, which is why GDB exists. It’s more fun to share!

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I do enjoy my memories and feel very fortunate I was born at a time when I got to see Disneyland in its golden age. You are correct. No one can take that away from me. It still doesn't change how I feel about what they're doing. Somehow it feels like a big mistake to me. I was really enthusiastic about the Star Wars project at the start but after corresponding with a couple of Disneyland fans and reading more about the project, I've become wary of it.

I just don't see Disney as trying to accommodate the ever expanding crowds, but wanting to draw more people to their resort and increasing the spending per guest at the least amount of operating cost to them. Of course in today's business climate it's their job to do that. However, it has been my observation that Disney management has not increased the number of attractions at the Park over the years. Net wise it's been flat. They keep removing old ones when new ones are opened for no other reason than to save on costs, even though stories are invented as to the demise of an attraction. It makes me wonder what we're going to lose for this expansion. Explorer Canoes? Casey Jr.? Even now I recently read that Disney is going to cut into the budget for this project. I'm skeptical at this point.

Anyway, I'm grateful for places like GDB where those Disneyland memories are kept alive.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

I'm afraid the mantra for publicly-held companies, and practiced over and over again: Maximizing value to shareholders, is Job #1 - for better or worse - and clearly in the big picture, it's surely for the worse. And Disney has been very successful overall with this practice. And as has been discussed before, the challenges of adding new attractions to keep 'things fresh', while trying to maintain the 'feel' of the past is daunting, at best. But as I have stated, and in spite of a cadre of highly talented folks, Disney is so beyond 'being full of themselves', they are often incapable of real clear thinking, and being entirely caught-up in whatever the latest craze (read - BIG $$$"s) might be.

Based on past decisions, good luck seems unneeded. But you never know.

DrGoat said...

I only get to the park about once a year and sometimes
every other year since I am in Tucson. Did get to go
starting in '56 when I was 6, so I think great memories
of the older Disneyland trumps going 200 times a year,
which to me is bordering on crazy. How can it not become mundane
when you are there 3 times a week. So I do appreciate
having GDB to keep those very fond memories alive and kicking.

K. Martinez said...

@Nanook, Well said. Perhaps Disneyland should recycle the vintage Oldsmobile commercial. "This is not you father's Disneyland".