Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Skyway Views, February 1961

The old Skyway was the source of a lot of great bird's-eye views that are no longer possible. I sure do miss that attraction. 

First up is this lovely shot of Skull Rock. I've always loved the multiple waterfalls! This angle lets us see more of the colorful tropical plants that were planted up and around the skull so that it didn't appear so grim. Parts of Storybook Land and the backstage area are just visible, as well as a bit of Fantasyland Station. 

Let's zoom in past the crow's nest to see part of the outdoor dining area. Things are slow! That gentleman appears to be eating by himself. Maybe the lady (just to the left of the mast) will join him. A love connection at Disneyland!

A second photo peers down on the deck of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, as well as more of the dining area. Notice the seats around the tables, they are little casks with seats on top.  

Any idea what that red container is for? My vote: poisonous queen snakes.


Nanook said...


"A love connection at Disneyland". That's what Skull Rock needed: conversation pits. Imagine the cozy conversations that could've taken place there.

And as for that mysterious red container, that's actually used for containing raffle tickets for the big Tuna Raffle to be held later that afternoon.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Love the black and red striped waste receptacles in the dining area.

That gentleman eating by himself would've been me in the late 1970's early 80's. I used to love coming here to dine just for the atmosphere. Mmmmmmm... Tuna. Mmmmmmm... red Jello cubes.

These are awesome shots! Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I don't believe I've ever noticed that raft floating off the shoreline next to the seating area. Nice touch. I wonder if that's how Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper ended up as pirates.

I was wondering about the red chest, too. Maybe that's where they dry the tuna jerky; the cage keeps the birds out.

Ken, my wife and I often lunched at the pre-McDonald's-French-fries Harbour Galley back in the '90s for the same reason. Eating next to Fowler's Harbor didn't have quite the same ambiance as Skull Rock did, but it was a nice, uncrowded corner where we could relax and enjoy a meal together. Watching river traffic and crowds being swallowed by the Haunted Mansion punctuated by the periodic, muffled screams and splashes over the hill made for a pleasant dining experience. And the Mickey-shaped corn chips were to die for.

Thanks again for another wonderful trip to Vintage Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

Queen snakes????
I guess that's why you never see Linus hanging out at Disneyland...

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, How cool! I ate at the Harbor Galley back in the 90's too. I loved that spot for all the reasons you said. I always ordered the catfish sandwich they sold there. It was pretty good. Then one day the catfish sandwich was no longer available. That's when McDonald's moved in I think. So off I was to hunt for a new favorite spot to eat at Disneyland.

Chuck said...

Ken, my go-to favorite was the clam chowder in a bread bowl. Wrong franchise, but I've always like places where "you can even eat the dishes" (although the flatware was an entirely different thing altogether).

Sudden memory recall - one time we ate there in late '94 or early '95, the Mark Twain was in drydock undergoing refit (or whatever you call it when you do periodic overhauls on the ride vehicles for the world's biggest tracked ride). I remember being surprised that it was going on in broad daylight without much - if any - screening from public view, and nono of the workers were in period costume. I remember thinking "this isn't typical Disney showmanship," but in retrospect, it was the beginning of the Pressler era and was a harbinger of things to come.

Still, it was kind of cool to be able to see the crew doing their thing, and they didn't seem to be bothered by their view of me consuming my tureen.

Is it lunch time yet?

JG said...

Oh Major, this is a wonderful picture. Chock full of piratey tuna-fish goodness.

It's a rare and unusual shot of the dining grotto area without the sailcloth sunshades, so we have an unobstructed view of the rare pebble-pattern paving and the lanterns set into the rock wall. There is a tiny bit of this pebble pattern paving still remaining in the vestibule of the Tiki Room, which opened shortly after this photo. The Tiki Room patch might be the only piece of paving left in the Park that Walt walked on.

I vividly remember the cask-shaped stools, some had black tops which became raging hot in the sun. The yellow and orange tops were cooler, but not much. The photo also shows some more conventional stools with legs, which I don't remember.

There were several of the black and red striped waste bins here too. There is probably another one just out of the view to the right, on the blue slurry near the exit.

The little raft was tantalizingly close to the shore, I always wanted to jump onto it, but never did. If I had, there would be no place to sail it to, without pixie dust of course. It would have earned me a trip straight to the exit gate, with all the hippies. Occasionally, there was a parrot in a cage on that raft.

@Chuck, I think that Tom, Huck and the gang must have commandeered another raft, since this one would have required a long overland portage from the river, unless they had a secret stash of pixie dust.

@Major, notice the "treasure chest" props with high-arched lids scattered about, on the raft, and two on the forward cabin roof on the ship. These items are clearly modeled on the iron-bound chest in the illustration of Captain Kidd on which you showed the Pirates of the Caribbean poster was modeled in turn. You posted those pictures several years ago.

The red chest on the deck was used to store unruly visitors until they could be ejected from the Park, or fed to Monstro.

In photo one, there is a shiny brass urn object on the rocks to the right of the crows nest. I don't remember anything like this, maybe a "treasure trove" prop? Maybe it was taken away before my time. This is a very early picture, judging from the plantings.

I wonder what the guy is doing standing on the Casey Jones track in the third picture? He looks like he is studying something in the patchwork plantings, but doesn't appear to be in uniform or costume.

@Ken and Chuck, as you noted, this little grotto was one of the best places in all Disneyland. Shady, out of the traffic, quiet and cool (because of the waterfalls), little or nothing like this left today. Even the Bear Country restaurant now has the Galaxy Edge thoroughfare running by it. The only quiet spots by water will now be in DCA.

Thank you, Major. This is a great photo series.


TokyoMagic! said...

Wow! Some fantastic shots of one of my all-time favorite areas in Disneyland. I think it's pretty rare that we are able to see down into the dining area this well from the Skyway. As JG pointed out, the tarps/sails that would normally be stretched out over the tables and chairs are missing in this pic. Also, the ship itself does not have it's sails unfurled....actually, it doesn't look like it has any sails at all, so we get this nice unobstructed view. I think I can see a square metal drinking fountain built into the rocks, just behind the man that is eating alone. I remember there were also speakers built into the rocks and I used to love the instrumental music that was piped out of them.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m not entirely sure what a conversation pit is, but it sounds very 1960’s. I hope the tuna raffle was for one of those big 600 pound monsters.

K. Martinez, ha ha, it’s fun to think that something as simple as red jello cubes can evoke such a fond memory!

Chuck, I agree, that raft was a detail I had never seen before - I wonder if one of the musical acts that sometimes performed at the Pirate Ship used that as their stage? I loved Fowler’s Harbor in the old days, but never ate at the Harbour Galley - as a kid I wasn’t very particular about where we ate, as long as I could have a hamburger and french fries. That was long before I was concerned with ambiance!

John Powley, I am amazed that you got that reference!!

K. Martinez, oh man, a catfish sandwich sounds pretty tasty. Of course, if it had enough tartar sauce on it, I would probably eat a shoe.

Chuck, what about clam chowder in a shoe? Your story about the overhaul of the Mark Twain in broad daylight is not as unusual as one might think; we’ve seen photos from the Walt years with workers standing in the middle of Storybook Land, or even the Jungle Cruise, not to mention a boat with an outboard motor putting down the Rivers of America. So as much as Paul Pressler is responsible for so many horrible things (and he really IS), there was a precedent of work being done in the public eye.

JG, somebody should go around and take photos of things like the last remaining pebbled paving. Van Eaton Gallery had one of the cask-shaped stools in their first auction, I coveted that thing! I think it had an orange top. That raft definitely looks just like the Huck Finn rafts - I wonder if it was an old one, repurposed? As for the treasure chest props, I’ve always assumed that they held some sort of supplies, like extra napkins! I have no idea what that shiny brass thing is, though I would love to know. I assume that the guy standing in Storybook Land is a gardener or landscaper - see? And example of a dude, out of place, right out in the open! I wonder what he did when a train passed by?

TokyoMagic!, I guess that the sun must have destroyed the sails fairly quickly… they look different in so many photos. And as you pointed out, there aren’t ANY in this case. Just think how much it cost to have those large things manufactured! I seem to recall hearing a recording of the music that was played in the pirate cove dining area, but I’m not 100% sure.