Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Fantasyland - The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

It's time for yet another pair of crisp, clear, colorful photos from The Magic Kingdom, taken during its first Thanksgiving holiday (when the park was only a month old). 

We'll start with this beauty, taken from the Skyway. Our photographer (a young Mr. X) was actually on his way to Tomorrowland, which was behind him. To our right you can see the turquoise blue lagoon and a Nautilus submarine, all part of the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction. It's sort of interesting how the queue structure looks like it was fitted into the lava rocks of Vulcania. 

You can see the Dumbo ride (er, "attraction"), and you also get a nice overview of Fantasyland; from this bird's-eye view we can see that the ornate European façades emerge from a large, nondescript warehouse of a building. For me, photos of the Florida parks are so interesting with that flat horizon that seems to go on and on.

Meanwhile, down on the ground... it's another lovely shot of Fantasyland. There's the "Information and Tickets" booth; I believe that the green façade to the left was the "Peter Pan" attraction, but I know you'll tell me if that is not correct. 

In '71, Disneyland's Fantasyland was still in its budget-conscious "medieval faire" mode (which I loved),  while the Florida incarnation was wonderfully themed and detailed by comparison. To my eye it all looks a little too clean and tidy - it would have benefited from a few crooked rooftops and skewed shingles and tiles, but I admit that I am nitpicking. The place really does look great!


Chuck said...

Oh, my!

[Minutes later, after recovering from spectacular view...]

That first photo is magnificent, Major. The giant warehouse of a building is "It's a Small World. Interesting to see how the "city wall" continues beyond the edge of the building to the right to mask it from ground-level viewers.

With nothing in the distance, that line of trees that make up the horizon looks like it's only about 50 meters beyond the show building. I can remember my dad joking during a 1987 visit to WDW (after two and a half years in very open southwest Oklahoma), "I'm starting to get claustrophobic - I can't see the horizon!"

I'm also drawn to those geometric planters in the first photo. From up here, they don't look very "Fantasyland" at all, but from the ground level, they worked just fine.

Thanks again, Major and Mr X!

Nancy said...

Wow!! Amazing view....and such a bonus seeing the Nautilus on our right. My luck is always that there would be none in view when I was riding the sky.

I just love this place so much....these views will have me smiling all day! Thanks, Major! :-D

Pegleg Pete said...

That first photograph really is fantastic! I remember particularly loving the 20,00 Leagues queue along the lava rockwork and the glimpses one got of the sleek Nautilus submarines. And, as was the case with the pirate ship in Disneyland's Fantasyland back then, the 20,000 Leagues attraction lent the area a wonderful exoticism which raised it above being merely a pastiche of a medieval European town.

Scott Lane said...

No, the green facade is all part of IASW. Peter Pan is directly across from it. (out of our view)

Nice to see the subs again. There was a seating area under those round tents in the picture where I used to sit and eat lunch a lot. I always grabbed a spot next to a depression in the "rocks" so I could watch the subs. (which appeared to be headed right for my table! Aaaah!)

K. Martinez said...

The first image was always my favorite angle and approach to Fantasyland. Gliding above with Mr. Toad to the lower left, Captain Nemo to the lower right and Pinocchio's Village Haus up ahead. It was so magical back then! I also remember being able to see the Haunted Mansion façade just beyond the Skyway Chalet terminal when riding the Skyway just like it can be seen here in the photo. Extra Wonderful image today. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, that IASW building is huge. I wonder if the layout is roughly the same as the one in Disneyland? I like your dad’s comment, but there aren’t many places in the U.S. that are as wide-open as Oklahoma…!

Nancy, I agree, I am glad that the Nautilus managed to sneak into that first photo!

Pegleg Pete, I liked the fact that WDW’s submarine ride was in Fantasyland, with its Jules Verne theme, while Disneyland’s “nuclear” subs were in Tomorrowland. There was a brief period when I thought that they might bring the Florida subs to Anaheim - even though it wasn’t the right theme, I love the Nautilus subs so much.

Kenneth Lane, thanks for the correction. I know next to nothing about WDW! I’m always jealous of people who were able to go to The Magic Kingdom (or Disneyland) enough as kids/teenagers that the parks were as familiar as their own backyards. I never got to go that often!

K. Martinez, it still kills me that the Skyways are gone; whether it was due to ADA-compliance problems, or whatever, the removal of those rides were a major blow to both parks. A few years ago Tony Baxter said “We have to get guests back in the air somehow”, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Mark H. Besotted said...

The last time I rode that Skyway was 1998. 20K was closed, but the lagoon was still there. I'd read on that newfangled World Wide Web that Mr. Toad was endangered, so my brother and I made sure to ride both tracks.

I also got to see Alien Encounter and Timekeeper for the first and only time, and had my last trip with Dreamfinder.

And while that's all bittersweet, I can still go back today, climb the Swiss Family Treehouse, and see a much better Tiki Room show than in 1998.