Sunday, October 22, 2017

Frontierland, June 1963

Here are two views that are all-too-familiar to regular GDB readers. And while we've seen a ton of photos of the old mill at the south end of Tom Sawyer Island, the lush landscaping is pretty impressive after 7 years (TSI opened in '56) of growth. The mill has practically been swallowed by various vines and bushes - it reminds me of photos of kudzu in the South. Still, it adds to the illusion that the mill has been there for 100 years.

I am so accustomed to photos like this, it is almost like seeing a picture of an old friend. An old friend with an arrow through his chest. 


Nanook said...


Just what's up with that settler-? He just lies there, lallygagging-around while his cabin burns. Certainly this couldn't be an example of those "hard facts" Walt so often mentioned. That heathen.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Now THAT is how the tip of Tom Sawyer Island should look! It looks like something out of the REAL wilderness. The current structure doesn't look authentic. It just looks like something out of any amusement park.

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. I'm talking about the current "Fantasmic" structure that replaced the old mill at the very tip of the island.


I totally agree with TokyoMagic! - while I know the landscaping will eventually fill in over time - the railroad trestle and rock work are HORRID - did ANYONE at WDI even LOOK at photographs or railroad engineering drawings of REAL trestles or trusses?? The timbers look like they belong in TOONTOWN!!! And no railroad in the history of railroads would have ever placed trestle bents on loose cobblestone plinths!!
The whole area makes me think of lower quality theme park somewhere. And the railroad trestle "timbers" look like they were sculpted with chocolate cake frosting - "so smooth you can frost it with a paper knife" in fact all the newly added "wood" in the area is a cheap sculpted concrete - wasn't there some kind of composite material available!??

Come on WDI - don't go low-brow on us!!!

Anonymous said...

@TokyoMagic: Agreed. The way the mill and island look in this photo truly looks like authentic untouched wilderness. The current island looks too manicured and clean, almost as if its being routinely landscaped to be made clean and proper by maintenance workers--which it is, thus killing the overall illusion! :(

Of course, you can't blame Disney for wanting to maintain the current mill, as they need it for the Fantasmic stage area.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, being a settler is hard work. There’s nothing wrong with a nap now and then. Sometimes he just relaxes in a nice bubble bath with pieces of cucumber over his eyes.

TokyoMagic!, I agree so much! I strongly dislike the way the southern end of Tom Sawyer Island looks - and has looked for over 20 years. So ugly. I am in the minority in that I am not crazy about “Fantasmic!”, or maybe I should say that I feel like it is fine (just fine), but we have lost more than we have gained by its presence.

Mike Cozart, I have a friend who does not want to go back to Disneyland until the trees in Frontierland have had a chance to fill in. What does that mean? Five years? Ten? I’ll have to go online and look at the way the new trestle looks - I’ve only watched one video. I DID notice the stone “plinths”! I kind of admit that I liked the one timber being gnawed on by a beaver - a callback to Nature’s Wonderland? While all of your comments are valid, it seems that most visitors don’t notice. Some might not even realize that anything has been changed, as hard as that might be to believe.

The Disney Dudebro, I am guessing that the Imagineers decided that now that end of TSI looks more like some sort of processing plant where goods are prepared for a passing riverboat. Maybe. I’m still upset that Fort Wilderness has been taken away - another “Fantasmic!” casualty.

Melissa said...

"Hello! A. Settler here! Whenever I feel like I've got a flaming arrow in my chest, I don't reach for the sky; I reach straight for Extra-Strength TUMS! Always keep a bottle in your cabin. Available from your local trading post, peddler, or medicine show."

Anonymous said...

TSI helped to keep the theme in Frontierland. And for this kid of the day, made me feel, or imagine, that I truly stepped into the land of Daniel Boone. Wonder if kids today feel the same way with the Pirate theme...that it instills their own imagination. KS

Chuck said...

Wait - Daniel Boone was a pirate??!!

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, back then, a TUMS was the size of an apricot, and was mostly beef jerky.

KS, I have pointed out lots of early Frontierland photos in which that land truly looks like a frontier. It’s astonishing how they carved it all out of Anaheim orange and walnut groves. My guess (which might be wrong) is that the pirate theme doesn’t quite hit home the way the western theme did years ago. It’s fun, but it doesn’t make the kids want to live there!

Chuck, Dan’l liked to dress like a pirate, anyway. He was also famous for wearing lots of leather.

steve2wdw said...

TSI at the MK at WDW still has the wilderness feel (although Irma did a number on quite a few of the bigger trees at the top of the island). We on the east coast are quite lucky to still have the original, untouched, theme of Tom and his friends. The only complaint I have about the MK version, is the fact that Aunt Polly's remains closed. In the old days, AP's was an awesome place to get a PB&J and a lemonade for lunch, or better yet, a basket of cold fried chicken. For dessert, we'd head across the suspension bridge to the northern island (yes, TSI is split into two islands) and visit the ice cream window at Fort Langhorn. Sadly, that window is also closed. Thankfully, Frontierland at the MK has nothing like Fantasmic to ruin the atmosphere, especially at night. And now that there's no nightly parade, It's the peaceful wilderness it was meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Major. Great images.