Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Plaza and Frontierland, July 1958

You can't get to many places in Disneyland without first passing through the hub and Plaza. Besides, that Bavarian castle has a way of drawing crowds, like a lightbulb draws moths. Notice the Horse Drawn Streetcar heading toward us, I'd never really noticed how the track hugs the curb in this area.

You know how I like to zoom in for a bit of retro people-watching. Dad is going to get tired of carrying that kid on his back real soon. The Monsanto house is just visible, let's go there! 

Judging from the shadows on this July day, it looks to still be later the afternoon. But it won't be dark for many hours! Notice the buckaroo next to the trashcan. Lots of guests seem to appreciate the many benches and umbrellas.

Next we finally leave Main Street and are in Frontierland. This is an unusal angle with the shooting gallery in the distance. I tried scanning this one with a different color profile, and some weirdness resulted. Oh well! Once again I enjoy looking at the vintage people.


Nanook said...


Yeah - hold it right there, pardner-!! Someone please inform the young 'buckaroo' that he's out of character for the Plaza. He belongs smack-dab in the middle of that (rather unusual angle) we see in Frontierland. That is a marvelous shot.

And, yes, those fabulous, late 1950's clothes. I'm trying to figure out if the little girl walking next to our 'piggybacked Dad' is wearing a ready-to-wear outfit, or if her mom sewed together her outfit using leftover pieces from multiple bolts of fabric. There're so many patterns. Yeeessh-!

Thanks, Major.

Graffer said...

I have read that in the early days of the park, guests adhered to society's rules and conventions. One of those was that pedestrians stayed on the sidewalk and didn't walk in the street. The first pic supports that premise. Obviously, this characteristic is no longer followed.

Chuck said...

Holy smokes, Graffer! You mean to tell me those large, paved expanses are supposed to represent streets? I'd just assumed they were large, pedestrian walkways to better absorb crowds between the rides. I mean, that's how they're used today, right?

Now that I'm looking more closely at the photos, there does seem to be a fair amount of effort being paid by the amusement park operators towards theming, almost like they were trying to create some kind of immersive environment that was completely different from other permanent carnivals. While it looks nice, I guess, it sure seems like a waste of money to me, especially nowadays since you can't see it behind all of the awesome Christmas decorations or movie overlays. Most of us just want to rush to Space Mountain anyway or ride the kiddie rides in Babyland before the lines get too long.

MonkeyMensch said...

It's interesting to see just how close the House of the Future sat to the Plaza itself. Most of the shots one sees are from the other side of the hub and don't give that perspective.

And did pioneers just throw deer and elk antlers on roofs for fun? Was that a real thing?

MonkeyMensch said...

Oh, by the way, MonkeyMensch is Patrick Devlin. I just got a new computer and I'm running the setup differences out of it...

Anonymous said...

@MonkeyMensch, yes that was and is... a thing. I used to live in the woods in far northern Calif. and many of the farm cabins and old buildings had antlers on the roof.

I never figured out why, but it is still done in the real world in some places, at least up into the '90's.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think we all remember the battle to establish the border between Frontierland and the Plaza. It was one of the bloodiest chapters in U.S. history. That little girl’s dress is just odd enough that my money is on “home made”.

Graffer, while it is true that guests generally stuck to the sidewalks, you will see plenty of folks in the street in photos of crowded days. Main Street had reached critical mass!

Chuck, unfortunately it does seem as if “theme” is starting to matter less and less to the folks who run Disneyland. How about that crazy dancin’ marching band that looks nothing like a traditional 1890’s band? Sure, it’s fun, but it destroys the intended theme. My guess is that most guests don’t care, though.

MonkeyMensch, in a way they didn’t really have anywhere else to put the Monsanto House, as far as I can tell. It had to go right there on the Plaza! We’ve mentioned the antlers before, it somehow feels authentic, but I have no idea if it was a thing 150 or 200 years ago.

MonkeyMensch, I was wondering who this new person was! I thought maybe Monkey Cage Kurt had decided to change his name.

JG, I put my baby teeth on top of my house, so I’m continuing the proud tradition.

Anonymous said...

In the last photo, it looks like the lady in the red dress on the bench doesn't want to share her ice cream sandwich (or is it a York Peppermint Patty) with that little kid.

Also in the same pic, that little girl in the stroller (red and white frilly dress) appears to be sticking her legs straight out to both sides and dragging her feet. And the mom just might be giving her a firm talking to!

- TokyoMagic!

Steve DeGaetano said...

From the Wikipedia entry for Frontierland:

"Elk antlers were commonly placed on general stores in the old west so cowboys coming into town immediately knew where to get supplies."

Not sure about the correlation between antlers and supplies, but there it is.

Nancy said...

Beautiful day at Disneyland, as is mostly the case. Plenty of sunshine and beautiful greenery....and being an East Coaster and mostly going to Magic Kindgom at Walt Disney World, the main thing I notice is that Disneylanders dont walk in the street like we do at Magic Kingdom! I DID walk in the street the three times I have been fortunate enough to get to Disneyland....Im a rebel!!! :D

I like the third view best. Thanks for these pretty pictures! :D

Chuck said...

Major, sadly, I think it's been that way for a generation or more.

My "Babyland" comment was based on a 1995 conversation I overheard between two young moms who were within a year or two of my age (which would have been 26 at the time): "We should catch a couple of kiddie rides over in - uh - Babyland and then leave. I'm kinda bored."

That was the first inkling that I had that not everyone appreciated - or even noticed - immersive theming in the same way that I did. And try as I might, I can't blame that on Paul Pressler.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, that poor lady in red knows that if you give a kid an inch he/she will take a mile. Enjoy your ice cream treat, ma’am, you deserve it! The little girl in the stroller grew up to be… Hillary Clinton! (Yay, topical humor!).

Steve DeGaetano, now I know! I am guessing that a lot of folks who settled the West couldn’t read, so it makes sense that there was some other sign they would understand.

Nancy, nowadays you almost HAVE to walk in the streets. The sidewalks aren’t big enough for all those people.

Chuck, it is true. I love the Babyland story. In my mind I can’t help thinking of an industrial noise band of that name; they played angle grinders on steel oil drums, and things like that. They took their name from an L.A. store that catered to new parents.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I thought with her doing the splits like that in her stroller, that you were going to say she grew up to be Mary Lou Retton. (32-year old Olympic-related topical humor!)