Monday, April 16, 2018

Skyway Views, January 1978

Here are a few nice views taken from the Skyway in 1978!

We're on the Tomorrowland side of the Matterhorn, looking north toward "It's a Small World". But I find all of the stuff in front of it to be of more interest. The Peoplemover! The Fantasyland Autopia! Perhaps a smidgen of the Motor Boat Cruise! And to our left...

...say, there are constructions walls around the Matterhorn and its chalet/queue area. But why? Well, it's 1978, and that's the year that the much more open interior of the mountain was filled in; the glowing ice caverns were added, and a certain abominable snowman moved in. In addition, the bobsleds went from a single-car configuration to a two-car arrangement. 

"It's a Small World" had been in Disneyland for over a decade at this point, and it was a classic from the get-go. As we can see here, the original white and gold color scheme was already getting some changes, in the form of some blue accents. Nothing too drastic! 


Nanook said...


What's gotten into the Matterhorn? ♪ I can't imagine.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, "What's gotten into the Matterhorn at Disneyland?" "Nearly twice as many bobsleds to whisk you into the icy depths. Glistening crystal ice caverns. Howling Winter storms. And something else! The New Matterhorn.....It could only happen at Disneyland!

Major, I went to Disneyland in February of 1978 and took some pics showing the Matterhorn under scaffolding and some of it's holes being "plugged up." I need to post those!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, was there a tune that went with the slogan, “What’s gotten into the Matterhorn”? Time to a search on YouTube for a vintage commercial!

TokyoMagic!, while I kind of missed the big open interior of the Matterhorn, I did love the ice caverns, and the abominable snowman was a great addition. Who doesn't like a little "scary" once in a while? I’d love to see your photos - definitely post those!

Jonathan said...

I love these pix, Major, you have outdone yourself. A great deal of photos were taken from the Skyway, I miss it to this day. Love the people mover in the background. The motorboat cruise sign, the Monorail track, all great. Great shots of the Small World attraction. Absolutely a classic. Thanks Major for the scans.

K. Martinez said...

Great memories and the peak of Disneyland in my opinion. One of the sad things about Disneyland is that you can't take pics like this anymore because of the Skyway removal. Bummer! Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! I loved that commercial or slogan. Can't remember if I read it in a newspaper ad, heard it on a radio ad or saw it in a TV commercial. Probably all three since it's etched in my brain.

Nanook said...


I seem to recall the first line: "What's gotten into the Matterhorn" had a tune that was sung, for TV and radio spots.

Anonymous said...

Look at that colorful sign for "Fantasyland Autopia", it looks like international traffic signs combined together, and the less exuberant sign for the motorboats with nautical flags, similar themes and colors.

Looks like here is a large lighting boom over the left side of IASW in photo 2 with a row of black fixtures, must be for the parades. Or is it something else? I can't see it clearly in photo 1, maybe it's beyond on the backstage building?

@Tokyo, yes please, post those pictures. I would love to see those.

The Abdominal Snowman was an inspired addition to the Matterhorn, although I hope that the ice caves weren't closed up just to add him. I've always suspected that there was some kind of structural upgrade behind this renovation and the Snowman was a distraction added to give the work a marketing kick. Similar to the recent renovation that slowed the car travel, the Matterhorn is almost 60 years old and hard to renovate, maybe reducing the loads is the way to address new requirements.

Anyway, I liked the snowman, once I got to see him.

This was the last year of my regular visits to the Park, it would be almost 20 years before getting back. Usually I love construction photos, but this was the beginning of the end of the Disneyland of childhood, even though the evil valley of the Pressler era was still in the future.

Thanks for these, Major.


Patrick Devlin said...

That view of It's a Small World makes me think of another (along with the degree of ivy on the facade of the castle) that one could date certain photos: by the paint job and color of the IASW facade. Well I'm off to do some research...

Melissa said...

I knew about the 1978 Matterhorn renovation, but I didn't realize how extensive it was until I just went and googled images of the old interior. Holy crud!

Nanook said...

@ JG-

That 'blob' with the 'little black boxes' is a building; but I just don't know which one.

Nanook said...


I'm gonna go on-record and say it's the penthouse area of the [former] Global Van Lines building, paralleling the Santa Ana Freeway.

Melissa said...

it's a small blob after all

Stefano said...

It's surprising the Skyway was still operating, with the work being done in the Matterhorn interior. The PeopleMover was closed for over a year, when Space Mountain was under construction.
Nifty pix---if the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland hadn't closed the year before, I'd have said this was Disneyland at its peak.

Chuck said...

I concur with Nanook's assessment. Check out this photo from the Disneyland Nomenclature blog. You can see the row of windows or whatever they were along the top center of the building.

Anonymous said...

Really love the monorail and Peoplemover tracks. One of the good things that Disneyland had over Disney World is that its monorail actually goes into the park, thus providing guests with an aerial view of the park before going in.

Disney World just has the monorail going around the lake outside the park. Though I heard that they originally had intentions of allowing the monorail to pass into the park.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, it is true, that Skyway was a key location for photo taking! I don’t know what percentage of my collection was taken from a gondola, but I’ll get it is significant.

K. Martinez, since Skyway-type rides ran mostly without incident for years, it seems hard to believe that there was no way to leave that attraction there. I have to wonder how much of the decision was purely with a view toward saving money.

Nanook, I think they hired Luciano Pavarotti to sing the jingle.

JG, I love that Fantasyland Autopia marquee with all of the traffic signs. I can’t quite tell what those black squares are, but it appears to be from a building in the distance. Global Van Lines?? I would love to know if there really was some sort of structural upgrade to the Matterhorn, but if there was, I have never heard anything. As for today’s photos, it was still a bit of a golden time for the park in my opinion - as you said, this is “Pre-Pressler”, the man who loved to close attractions and lower maintenance standards. Until guests died.

Patrick Devlin, I don’t think I have enough photos of IASW from those later years, but I also have wondered when the blue was added, AND when the pastel colors were added (something I can’t find online).

Melissa, while the open interior of the Matterhorn was interesting, the ’78 additions were great. I was happy to have them.

Nanook, I think it’s the Empire State Building.

Nanook again, yes! I agree, Global Van Lines, which you can frequently see looming on the horizon beyond IASW.

Melissa, is it a blob of laughter, and a blob of tears?

Stefano, I agree, but MAN, wouldn’t it have been cool to pass through the Matterhorn with the construction going on? I did not know that the Peoplemover was closed for over a year; that would have been awful! Of course now it’s been gone for 20 years, so… yeah.

Chuck, thanks for the link to that photo, it is very instructive! It appears that the sun is shining through those openings in the photo from Disneyland Nomenclature, so I am still not entirely sure what they were!

Dudebro (I hope you don’t mind my shortening of your nickname), I keep forgetting that the WDW Monorail doesn’t go through the park. On the other hand, it is used as an actual means of transportation in Florida which is pretty darn cool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for helping me figure out that row of black squares, definitely part of the building behind.

Re: dating the color changes of IASW. This photo is the first dated shot of which I am aware showing the blue accents. This looks pretty good with the tastefully relocated attraction signs, which are much better than the original Bank of America sponsorship sign that blocked the view. The blue is probably a lineal successor to the BofA corporate blue of the original signs. I can't tell if these signs in the photo advertise a corporate sponsorship or not. Anyone know when BofA ended their sponsorship?

There was a thread awhile back that seemed to date the tutti-frutti paint job to the mid-to-late 90's, related to the Afternoon Avenue, Roger Rabbit and ToonTown updates. There is a post card aerial shot somewhere showing the facade under scaffolding that someone thought was taken late '80's to early '90's. I believe this update added the gift shop across the exit, which was originally sponsored by Mattel. I remember this vividly since we couldn't leave without a Barbie and a Hot Wheels car or two.

No clear date on the return to the original white, gold, and silver, but glad it came back. Has anyone heard an update on the reconfiguration of the queue? There was supposed to be some realignment of the parade route so the queue didn't conflict, and a return to the original direction, which was reversed at some point in the past (maybe the tutti-frutti remodel). I saw some construction pics online, but nothing showing finished work. It didn't seem like a long project, the Main Street rail work was done in a few weeks, so hopefully this is complete.

With any luck, IASW will survive without any devastating "improvements", although I fully expect Rey, Finn and Kylo figures to be added to a Jakku segment somewhere in the desert, to say nothing of Johnny Depp tucked into the Caribbean scene.

Thanks everyone.