Monday, April 30, 2018

Mine Train and Saguaro Forest, October 1961

I love the first photo for today, showing a little yellow Mine Train passing both the Disneyland Railroad and "Old Unfaithful" geyser. Look at how close the two trains are! You could practically "high five" somebody going in the opposite direction. The Mine Train operator seems to be pointing at the other train (using two fingers, hopefully), I wonder what he was saying?

Not far from the geysers was the magnificent and mysterious Saguaro Forest. These strange plants live for many decades, and can grow up to 40 feet tall. Sometimes they can also resemble people, or even animals. Or is it just the heat making us plum loco?


Nanook said...


I believe the Mine Train operator is merely signaling for a right turn-! (Good luck on that score). What a nice way to start the week.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I might be seeing things (again), but it looks like Frankenstein is riding in the second to last row of the second to last car, of the Disneyland Railroad. It also looks like he is trying to whistle by inserting his two middle fingers into his mouth. Please, somebody tell me that you see it too! I think THAT is what the Mine Train operator is pointing at.

In that second pic, I see two of the wild boars at the base of the cactus that's growing out of that pile of pebbles. It appears however, that the stranded bobcat that is supposed to be on top of that cactus is missing. Instead, I see what looks like the stranded bobcat on top of the rocks just to the right of the cactus. I'm confused.

Chuck said...

Holy cats - I see it now, TM! The bobcat jumped from the top of the cactus to the rocks when nobody was looking.

Great shots today, Major. Fantastic way to start the week. Thanks!

K. Martinez said...

The first pic is wonderful! Thanks, Major.

TM!, perhaps ol' Mr. Bobcat got out of his sticky situation.

JC Shannon said...

It's going to be a great Monday, I do love the NWRR and can't get enough of pics of NW. These are wonderlandful ( I love to make up words). I loved this attraction and I still miss it to this day. It is photos like this that allow people who never got to experience the Mine Train a chance to see it, and for old folks like me to enjoy it once again. @TokyoMagic, you have the eyes of a Hawk, I missed all that. Thanks to Major for the geat scans.

Stefano said...

I bet employees and visitors alike have had fun sassing each other from passing vehicles of different attractions. Riding in the monorail bubble once, as it moved opposite to the SF and DRR Train, the operator horn-honked out "Shave and a Haircut"; the train tooted "Six Bits" in reply.

Just love the saguaro skeletal hand and octopus---every well xeriscaped garden in Southern California should have those.

Melissa said...

@TokyoMagic! - I'm just glad he's not inserting someone else's fingers into his mouth.

What lovely, bright, clear images! I love how you can see all the little water droplets in the geyser's spray. These cheerful, sunny pictures are a great way to start a Monday morning.

"Sometime they can also resemble people, or even animals."
Or coatracks!

DrGoat said...

We always got a chuckle at the Saguaros. Our house was near Saguaro National Monument in Tucson so they looked a bit silly in contrast, but in a good way. I actually did see a Bobcat up in a Saguaro once in my life. A bunch of Coyotes were roaming the wash and he stayed up there until they were gone. I did my best to chase them off but they basically laughed at me and went on their way.

Anonymous said...

Looking at photos such as this makes me feel like it was a real shame that Disney World never had an equivalent attraction, though it almost had with the Westward Expansion.

That's partially the reason why Pirates of the Caribbean is shorter than the Disneyland version, because Westward Expansion was set to have a bigger and better experience.

Though I'm glad we at least finally got to have Big Thunder Mountain Railroad out of the entire thing.

Also, for both you and K Martinez, as well as everyone else, just wanted to remind you all again that my blog's web address has changed to match my new name, The Magic Ears Dudebro:

Just a friendly reminder since I can't e-mail any of you individually. Didn't want anyone to think that my blog had disappeared because of the change. ;)

Tom said...

Thanks for sharing these pics today! My favorite extinct attraction, and some really amazing and unusual angles to boot! Love it.

Dean Finder said...

We're any of the cacti real?

Patrick Devlin said...

It sure looks like a good day to see Nature's Wonderland. The guest in Beaver Valley (NWRR 201) has the dang car to hisself and I'd have been in the cab of the locomotive myself.

For the life of me I can't see Frankenstein...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I appreciate the operator’s proper safety procedures!

TokyoMagic!, not only do I see Frankenstein’s monster, but I can tell that it is the Glenn Strange version (not Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., or Bela Lugosi). As for the bobcat, it does seem to be missing. Am I crazy, or were there TWO bobcats in Nature’s Wonderland? I don’t have time to go back and look through my photos, but I’ll look later.

Chuck, the darn bobcat was up there for a whole year before he decided to jump.

K. Martinez, yeah, I really like that one!

Jonathan, I only wish I had more photos of other parts of Nature’s Wonderland; I’d say 75% of what I have shows the Rainbow Desert. I’ll happily take more Bear Country, or especially some Rainbow Caverns!

Stefano, I always thought it was, “Shave and a haircut - two bits”, but I guess inflation has changed it to six bits. And whoa, I never noticed the “skeletal hand”. Very cool!

Melissa, I almost saved these for Friday, but what the heck… we can start Monday on a high note.

DrGoat, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an actual live saguaro. The ones in Nature’s Wonderland impressed me because I thought they looked pretty realistic (except for the fanciful ones, of course). Are they actually way off?

The Magic Ears Dudebro, it seems so crazy that they didn’t do more big attractions in Florida, with so much land to work with. And yet they made “Pirates” shorter (I read that it had something to do with the location, and nearby waterways), and from what I’ve heard, even the Autopia is smaller, which seems nuts.

Tom, I dream about somebody creating a high-quality VR version of Nature’s Wonderland. Someday!

Dean Finder, I doubt any of the cacti were real, but maybe some of the smaller examples were. Like the barrel cactus? Chime in, knowledgeable people!

Patrick Devlin, gosh, you’re right, somebody got their own private Mine Train car! SO JEALOUS. Frankie is hard to see because it is very dark, and he blends in with the dark green background. You have to really want to see him!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
You're not seeing things - you've merely mis-identified the figure. It's actually the Hamburglar-!

Matthew said...

@TM those are some great eyes to spot those things. The only problem is the boars and bobcat scene (along with the teetering rocks) were on the left side of the train... not the right side. The image needs to be flipped. : )

Major... yes I remember there being two bobcats... one on top of the teetering rocks and one on top of the cactus.

Both photos are incredibly beautiful!!!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Patrick Devlin said...

I think the picture's the right way Amazon Belle it's just taken from the back of the train looking up the grade as it descends into the desert.

Say Major, are these photos from the same batch that had the backward-looking shot of Big Thunder Falls? It would kind of make sense in a way taken from the last car in the train.

Chuck said...

You can see the locations of both bobcats in this detail from Chris Merritt's wonderful map of the attraction (the rest of the GDB post is worth a review, too). Inexplicably, the Whistling Frankenstein was left off of the final rendering.

Anonymous said...

@Dean Finder, yes, some of the smaller cacti were real plants. It did help with the illusion. I remember seeing some of the little barrel cacti blooming in season.

I do recall the octopus cactus, now that I see it again. This is a great set today.

Thanks Tokyo and the rest for the bobcat spotting. It's amazing to see new details in an attraction vanished for over 40 years.

Best to all.


DrGoat said...

Major, the Saguaros are not way off...about 60% accurate. The flowers on them are way off.

Anonymous said...

Seeing the peccaries again reminds me, the one on the right was named Gregory.

In photo 1, you can see what looks to be a real plant barrel cactus, just behind the DLRR end car of the train, between the tracks. Also maybe a yucca with a single bloom and possibly a prickly pear, the kind with the flat pads.

There's one that looks like an ocotillo, but it might be fake.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I hope to never see a McDonaldland character in Disneyland! Even though I sort of like them for their weirdness, they don’t belong there.

Matthew, thank you for confirming that there were two bobcats. They must have gotten a deal on them at the taxidermist. I think (but am not positive) that the (missing) bobcat photo was taken from the rear of the train looking back rather than forward.

Patrick Devlin, great minds think alike! And YES, these photos are from the same bunch as that shot that you referred to.

Chuck, have you seen early Haunted Mansion artwork in which non-Disney characters like Frankenstein’s monster were supposed to appear? I’m glad they didn’t go that direction, although I love the Universal Monsters so much.

JG, I may have a photo of the octopus cactus on this blog, but I am too tired to look for it. Thanks for the confirmation on the barrel cactus.

DrGoat, that is surprising, since I figured that the Imagineers would do their research. Maybe they figured that most people wouldn’t have a clue.

JG, I can’t tell if you are kidding or not in reference to the peccary. I sure see a lot of prickly pear cacti while hiking near where I live. Billions of them! Many are bearing fruit right now too, though I am too chicken to ever take one home to try it. I think the ocotillo is real, but I suppose that it could be faked…

Anonymous said...

Major, I think Gregory Peccary was a character on the Muppet Show. Anyway the spoof name remains in my memory.


Melissa said...

So... cactopus?