Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Frontierland, 1996

Here are three more photos, scanned from negatives that are from 1996-ish. For some reason the color on these is a little bit off, but they still look pretty nice. And the park has changed remarkably in the intervening 20+ years.

First up is the beautiful Columbia sailing ship; the first U.S. ship to be made entirely of chocolate. I love the giant "Betsy Ross" flag flying at the stern, but it would be nice if the ship more sails. After putting his fightin' days behind him, Davy Crockett opened a canoe rental business, and there's one of them now. The Fantasmic stage is to our right, unfortunately.

The Mark Twain was operating too, so it must have been a busy summer day. The Twain mostly eclipses Cascade Peak, but I am kind of amazed at the size of the trees just behind its bow - I'm sure they're all gone today.

And here's an attraction that hasn't appeared on GDB very often - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Not that it was new in 1996 - in fact it was around 17 years old. I really do like this ride, as much as I miss the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland.

We'll have more scans from this batch, coming up soon.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I just noticed that the starboard side of the Mark Twain has what appears to be a sliding gate on the lower level. I don't remember seeing that before, so I went and looked at some older pics of the Mark Twain, which you have posted previously. By the way, did you know that you have posted quite a few Mark Twain pics in the past? Well anyway, that gate is not present in the older pics. I wonder when it was added and why they would need a gate on that side of the ship? Maybe the gate has something to do with the Fantasmic performers? Perhaps they board the Mark Twain from the island, via some sort of gangplank?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Does the Betsy Ross flag still fly on the back of the Columbia today? Or has it been removed in case it offends certain former NFL quarterbacks.

I too am torn. Thunder Mountain is a great ride but I did love Nature's Wonderland. Maybe they will plow Star Wars land and replace it with a new Nature's Wonderland so they can be side by side. Not gonna hold my breath for that one.

stu29573 said...

The chocolate is why the Columbia doesn't run on hot days. Can't have the guests falling through the melting deck, can we? It's good to know that "history" about Davie and the Alamo was bunk. I'm sure he lived into his 90s, just renting canoes! Weirdly enough, I had a dream about riding Big Thunder last night. Yes, I'm that much of a nerd. TokyoMagic, I'd be willing to bet you're right.

JC Shannon said...

Major, I thought the Columbia was made of green cheese. Wait, no, that's Jupiter. Big Thud is a great ride, I just wish they had put it somewhere else. It is almost impossible to look at a picture of the Mark Twain and not smile, no matter the year. Thanks Major P.

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

Maybe the fine folks at Cal/OSHA were insisting on some sort of 'second mode of egress'. Probably not. Your guess is as good as any. Mike-?

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

I like the blurry fowl in flight in front of the Mark Twain. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

And then the Good Ship Lollipop ran around on the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
Well, it IS Temple Tuesday, after all; it's just the wrong blog. Today Shirley decided to visit Fifth Avenue, rather than Candy Mountain.

Matthew said...

Good Lord you people are funny! I know I've said that before but it is worth reminding you all again. : ) I had the good fortune of working all three of these attractions but by 1996 I had left the company; however, I was still working for the company in 1992. Regarding the gate on the Mark Twain, @TokyoMagic it was and still is used for boarding performers for Fantasmic!

The Columbia photo is beautiful and I noticed "Hawkeye" up in the rigging near the foremast (mast up front). Now this "Hawkeye" isn't wearing the nautical black and white striped shirt and white pants so this must have been after they removed Fulton Burly's narration.

Finally, our train is pulling through the little town of Big Thunder (Rainbow Ridge), right through break zone #4 or BZ4 for short. You can see those breaks just in front of the engine.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

TokyoMagic! said...

Alonzo, you are singing my song! I'd even be okay if they plowed over Big Thunder and brought back the Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland. However, I know it's never going to happen!

Matthew, thanks for that confirmation! So I'm assuming that the Fantasmic performers have to be taken over to the island somehow and then from there, they board the Mark Twain for the finale of the show? It seems like a long process. I wonder why they don't just board them from the mainland, on the port side of the ship? In the meantime, is everyone just hanging out in the ugly new Fort Wilderness, waiting to for their time to "go on stage"?

Nanook said...

The performers merely avail themselves of the 'other' Super Speed Tunnel, placed underneath the RoA-!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, that gate was built so that the tuba player in the Disneyland Band could fit on the Mark Twain with his horn. Sure, it was embarrassing for him, but that’s what you get when you choose to play the largest instrument. Except for a piano I guess.

Alonzo, to be honest I don’t recall seeing that colonial-era flag on the Columbia in most of my old photos, but I also don’t think I’ve seen it in very recent photos. Your comment about Nature’s Wonderland and Star Wars Land made me think that maybe an outdoor ride through an alien planet landscape might actually be really cool!

stu29573, you make some valid points about the pitfalls of building a ship out of chocolate. When will they ever learn?? Even Davey Crockett needed something to do when he retired; renting canoes seems like a suitable hobby that also brings in a little mad money. Georgie Russell could help out too.

Jonathan, all planets and planetoids are made of a variety of artisanal cheeses, including gorgonzola, muenster, and stilton. “Big Thud”, ha ha!

Nanook, a second door is always useful; you never know when you need to evade a monster, and they never think to look for a second door.

K. Martinez, that is a rare sighting of a blurry fowl!

Melissa, I learned from Daveland that the Good Ship Lollipop was an airplane! Imagine my surprise.

Nanook, when you think about it, EVERY day is Temple Tuesday.

Matthew, thank you for the info about the mystery gate, I guess my theory was wrong. Jeez, it took me a minute to find the guy in the rigging, he must possess a skin of chromatophores like a cuttlefish, enabling him to blend in to his surroundings. And… break zone #4? NOT THAT ONE!

TokyoMagic!, I honestly don’t think that today’s guests would appreciate Nature’s Wonderland, even an updated version. Unless they added an animatronic Hulk, of course, who could be wresting a bear.

Nanook, I knew there was a tunnel under the river! Thanks for the confirmation.

Chuck said...

I just figured the performers were kept in cages backstage on TSI. Why else would they close of the secret escape tunnel from the fort?

Hey, there's an American flag visible in every one of today's photos!

Nanook said...

Don't forget the pipe organ - the pipe organ. Oaky - if we're sticking with tubas, then I guess it's Big Carl...
A typical tuba is about 3½-feet high, has about 18 feet of tubing and weighs about 20 pounds. Big Carl stands nearly 8 feet tall, contains 60 feet of tubing, weighs about 100 pounds and registers a subcontrabass BBBb pitch. His bell, the widest part, has a diameter just over 40 inches. I think that ays it all.

Andrew said...

In the Pittsburgh area, we have "Betsy Ann Chocolates." Not quite Betsy Ross, but the chocolate ship connection almost comes full circle.

Every time I see a river from now on I'm going to think about how good a riverboat would look in it. Thanks for the pics today.

Matthew said...

@TokyoMagic! - In 1992 I was moved over from the Disney University to assist with Marketing Fantasmic! Unfortunately, all the operational details of Fantasmic! are just by conversations with friends who were still working in the area, but to try and answer your question. Yes, the performers were brought over to the island around dusk. They used Fort Wilderness as their "dressing room" and "break room" between the shows. Some of have said that is why the fort is permanently closed now because they "house" all that stuff... but that is only hearsay and thus a rumor. Black curtains were installed on the island to hide the performers movements and costume changes before, during and after the show(s).

However, the biggest thing I can answer is why they don't board the performers on the port side (like during normal operation). They would have to start the Mark Twain from the dock (thus ruining the element of surprise when it suddenly appears). Plus that ship takes a huge "running start" from the Castle Rock/Smuggler's Cove area (where the performers board the ship) to build up speed to hit it's mark on cue and exit on cue to both the music and pyrotechnics. The steam engineers were giving it "all she's got" to get in and out on cue. I hope that helps.

Always your pal.

Melissa said...

You would think Davy Crockett would have plenty to retire in after inventing chicken croquettes. And croquet.

JG said...

@Melissa, and crochet...

In fact, I think this is how Davy settled on the canoes for a retirement gig, learning from the indians how to crochet them in his spare time.

Fine photos, Major.

I love Big Thunder, and I loved the Mine Train. Still wishing we could have had both, the way the Pack Mules used the same terrain, or the People Mover, Monorail, and the Autopia share the Tomorrowland gardens.

Thanks Matthew, for the details about Fantasmic operations. I have lost interest in this show as a show, but Back-Of-House details are always interesting.


TokyoMagic! said...

Matthew, yes, thank you very much for that explanation! I wonder if the reworking (ruining) of the river changed anything as far as how things are done backstage for the show. I believe they built a new storage area for the floats. I wonder if that could have changed how and where the performers now board the Mark Twain and Columbia?