Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two from 1999

Here are two more 1999 photos from our friend Mr. X! We'll start with this nice shot of the Matterhorn, looking suitably impressive. It's surrounded by palm trees, just like the one in Switzerland! The thing that makes this photo slightly unusual is the glimpse of a Rocket Rod running along what used to be the Peoplemover track. 

From all accounts, ridership for the Peoplemover was way down by the mid-1990's. Seems hard to believe, but anything is possible. It is unfortunate that the Rocket Rods turned out to be something of a debacle; perhaps it was rushed into being? In spite of its ignominious end, I can't bring myself to hate it - I just wish we had our Peoplemover!

One of my favorite spots in Disneyland is the Snow White Grotto, with the Wishing Well nearby. The splashing water, gleaming white (fiberglass) statues, the squeaky voice of Snow White singing "I'm Wishing"... love it. I always bring approximately $6000 in change to toss into the well.

Mr. X said he would prefer it if there weren't so many people in this photo, but I like the way it is. It is very much like the kind of photo you might see in a souvenir guidebook.

Thank you to Mr. X for these great photos from 18 years ago.


K. Martinez said...

The Swiss Matterhorn surrounded by palm trees! That's what I love a about Disneyland. Where else are you going to find that?

Just looking at the PeopleMover track you can see how shot and ugly it looks with the dripping stains and dirty yellowish look. It really was the bottom of the barrel for Disneyland at this point in time.

Thanks to Mr. X for documenting the "Disney Decade" at Disneyland. The 1990's were definitely a unique period for Disneyland.

Patrick Devlin said...

Nor do I have any hatred for the Rocket Rods, Major. Imagineers were trying something new and more importantly Disney was willing to invest money in new ideas, and that's always encouraging. Oh, and bring back the Peoplemover, hee!

To the point: cool shots, thanks to Mr. X. and the Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, until you pointed it out, I didn't notice how yellowed and stained the old Peoplemover track was. Yeesh. They really let that thing go; such a shame.

Patrick Devlin, the concept of the Rocket Rods is OK, but they didn't want to pay for banked tracks, and if they did, it would have been a 30 second ride. It just seems like they did not think it through completely. As for new technology, my understanding is that the ride system was basically the same as the Test Track in EPCOT, unless I am confusing it with something else.

DrGoat said...

I'm a big fan of the Grotto too. You can pretend for a little while what the park was like when you were a kid.
I've tossed my share of loot and memorial coins for friends and family that have passed down that well.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

It's hard to hate the total loser (rocket rods) when it tries so hard to fill big shoes.

I once saw Dick Schofield strike out 3 times (to Nolan Ryan). Hard to hate a guy who fails when he facing terrible odds anyway.

The Rocket Rods was just failing to meet expectations whilst being faced with overwhelming support for the beloved PM.

Thanks (X) for sharing, Major for posting.

K. Martinez said...

I don't dislike the Rocket Rods. I dislike the decisions made by those in charge during this period of Disneyland history. It's obvious that Disney wasn't willing to spend the proper amount of money to do the New-New Tomorrowland justice. I think the Rocket Rods was a victim of poor project management and budget cuts. Why on earth would you put a high speed ride on a support structure that was built for slow to moderate speeds? Even the structural integrity of the Tomorrowland buildings along with the track support was compromised by the speed of those vehicles. It made no sense from an engineering stand point in the way they approached the design and construction of Rocket Rods. Disney cheaped out. I try to be positive for the most part, but the period of Disneyland history under Paul Pressler was the absolute worst.

Anonymous said...

Good pics today, Major. Thanks to you and Mr. X. Snow White's grotto is always a favorite view. It was under renovation a couple of months ago and has since re-opened. I was afraid they were adding a Jack Sparrow dwarf, but Snow White escaped that evil fate.

These photos are right square in the era of my first trips back to Disneyland (94 & 99) after a 20 hiatus. What a huge disappointment the Pressler "Reign of Terror" (hat tip to Daveland for that one) was to come back to. It was enough to keep me away for another decade. I didn't really "enjoy" a trip to Disneyland until 2008.

My kids called the Rocket Rods the "Rip-Off Rods" for the long wait and short, interruption-filled journey. They were truly an ill-conceived project, along with almost everything else about the Throwback Tomorrowland, which is still being recovered from today.

It's so everlasting strange to me how a company that tout's it's imagination and creativity twice a day in parades and water shows can have so little imagination to think up cohesive updates to Tomorrowland. The Michael Jackson show ran "forever" and Lucas's Star Tours ran for almost 20 years without ever an alternate story.

I'm really wondering what they plan to do when Star Wars Land opens. Will they relocate Star Tours? I can't believe they will close it. Will Tomorrowland become SWL-Lite with permanent Jedi overlays on everything?

But, even as barren as Tomorrowland is today, compared with 1977, it's better than 1999 IMHO.

Thanks everyone.


Chuck said...

I can remember riding the PeopleMover with my wife one evening in November of 1994 and we were the only people in our train. While it was nice to have the entire train to ourselves, lower ridership numbers probably didn't help its survival.

I recall reading a Mike Cozart comment somewhere (maybe here?) that an Imagineer (maybe the project lead?) had insisted on replacing the PeopleMover with a thrill ride in the New New Tomorrowland, which sealed its fate. I'll need to dig that up.

Chuck said...

Here it is, way down in the comments. And it appears that I've told that story about riding the PeopleMover before.

MRaymond said...

I never bought that argument about ridership, even on crowded days you went straight up the speedramp. Isn't it still the ride with the most "guests per hour" numbers?