Monday, October 28, 2019

Three More From the Peoplemover, November 1975

Welcome aboard the Disneyland Peoplemover! We are continuing our journey through Tomorrowland (and past Fantasyland) as I share scans from a lot of over 30 slides.

For those who never got to ride the Disneyland Peoplemover, it might be easy to assume that perpetually-moving trains glided above (and through) assorted buildings and over roadways, so it's neat to see a photo like this. It's like a trip through the countryside - but, instead of riding in dad's jalopy, we're on a futuristic transportation system! 

Up ahead, a mysterious structure gleams in the sunlight. No human hands could have built such a thing, which means that it was ancient aliens! What else could explain it? They used gold gleaned from the astroid belt. That's also where they mined all of the glitter. We may never know what the aliens were trying to tell us.

Somehow that brightly-colored building (a souvenir stand?) sticks out like a sore thumb, which is quite a feat in a place called "Fantasyland". Rolly Crump loved some saturated hues, I wonder if this was one of his projects? It almost looks like a large bounce house, to be honest.

Stay tuned for more views from the Peoplemover!


Nanook said...


That is quite the structure. It does appear to be alien-like. (Beware of the pods-!) As for that "brightly-colored building" - that would be the Caricature Stand.

Thanks, Major.



That bright turreted structure was a caricature ( and silhouettes depending on the years) stand and was indeed designed by Rolly Crump. Just north of it had been a temporary pavilion for Bell Telephone to continue to showcase their Bell Picta-Phone while the New Tomorrowland of 1967 was under construction.

Melissa said...

"Greetings, Earthlings! This is a diminutive planet, after all. It is a planet of cacchination, a planet of lacrimal secretions. A planet of optimistic anticipation, a planet of distressing trepidation. It is a diminutive, diminutive planet."

I often find myself wishing we had Peoplemover trains in real life. The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was supposed to have them. Where's the future we were promised, dangnabit?

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I also want to know where THAT future is!

I think I've mentioned this before, but I have a caricature of myself, which I purchased from that stand during the summer of 1976. I remember that the artists would often draw you doing some sport or with me, they put me on a skateboard. But then at the last minute, they made the sketch comical by drawing the edge of a cliff underneath me and the skateboard. My friend had a caricature done during the same visit. His caricature showed him slam dunking a basketball, but at the last minute, the artist drew a ladder underneath his feet.

We can see the colorful Fantasyland "Ice Cream Train" underneath the Monorail beam in that last pic!

K. Martinez said...

Love your description of the ancient alien ruins.

I always loved that "Ice Cream Train" next to the Motor Boat Cruise. It was colorful and whimsical like old-school Fantasyland. I'd usually pick up a frozen treat there from time to time. The little things like that added up along with everything else that made Disneyland special to me. Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

I love how these pictures make you feel like "you are there!" It seems like there aren't a lot of photos taken from or of the PeopleMover in that back loop near the Autopia. That's also quite the close interaction with the Monorail beam - it's too bad that something like that could never be built today.

JC Shannon said...

A much missed attraction for sure. The track geometry is a favorite for me as well. Such graceful, and at the same time futuristic lines. At least we still have the Monorail. More slides please! Thanks major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you know, it’s not nice to reduce a building to a mere caricature. It’s a person, with hopes and dreams and fears.

Mike Cozart, I am not sure I would have pegged the caricature stand as a Rolly Crump design if it wasn’t for the colors, and that’s only because I’ve seen photos of some of his maquettes (like that one showing the smiling clock from “It’s a Small World”) with those “out of the tube” colors. I wish I had a photo of Bell Telephone’s temporary pavilion.

Melissa, OK, I have to look up “cachinnation”. That’s a new one for me! I agree about wanting Peoplemovers in real life, but I wonder if they could be made to go faster at points (slower at junctions where passengers load/unload, faster in the longer straightaways). Supposedly one of the drawbacks of Los Angeles’ old red car trolleys was that they were too slow for the distances that they had to travel.

TokyoMagic!, it sounds like your caricature (and your friend’s) was saved at the last minute with funny additions. My sister had one made and it has her carrying a tennis racquet and running in the direction of an arrow-sign that says “Boys”. She must have told them that she played tennis, but I don’t remember her ever holding a racquet in real life. An “Ice Cream Train”? Now that’s a future I look forward to.

K. Martinez, I know I have photos of the Ice Cream Train, though I am not sure if they have appeared on the blog… I am sure I didn’t know what it was. There was a Casey Jr. parade float, was the Ice Cream Train a repurposed float?

Andrew, once again I am impressed with your detailed knowledge of Disneyland, especially since you’ve never been there. I still can’t accept that a Peoplemover couldn’t be built today (how about using those inflatable airplane slides for emergencies?), but the cost is clearly a lot higher than Disney would ever pay. We may have seen the last of any Monorail expansions too.

Jonathan, those Imagineers really knocked it out of the park with the Peoplemover, and the way it crossed the track of the Monorail, and even the Autopia. It looks complex, and was probably a lot harder than it appeared!

Anonymous said...

Lots of terrific photos and information here today. These pics come from the era when I could visit twice a year, so it all looks so familiar.

The autopia "back lot" might have been the best version of the Disney innovation of building a big back lot of sets and then running a lot of attractions through it. I think I'm still holding out for Nature's Wonderland for detail and excitement, but with the loss of wagons and mules, only the Mine Train and DLRR experienced most of it. Loving the glimpses of the Skyway station, Pirate Ship and the Storybook Alps.

It was a ride through the country, and a most welcome rest for tired feet. Even provided a SpeedRamp massage on the way out. I will always remember and miss the PM.

Major, you are right about building the PM. I have blathered on before about the complexity of the concrete work. Mike Cozart has some blueprints on his blog illustrating the complex compound curves, all worked out before 3D CAD modeling. It's a concrete work of art, IMHO.

Major, your description of IASW is spot-on, since only in an alien world will people ever live together in harmony.

Melissa, 10 points for cachinnation. I bet you read H. P. Lovecraft.

Thanks everyone for the info on the Caricature Hut. I remember it well as a structure as I passed by, but couldn't recall what was in it. Also, I didn't know it was called the "Ice Cream Train" but that's about all you could call it. I don't like ice cream very much, so never bought any, but I recall the various cars were reach-in freezers with different treats in each. I think the caboose was the cashier.

It was all so much fun and I miss it so.


"Lou and Sue" said...

I think that is the first bad picture I've seen of IASW. It's rather funny. Looks like a "mushroom-grouping" popping up in the bushes, alongside a rural road.



MAJOR: the Fantasyland Ice Cream Train was a series of ice cream freezer chests decorated with laminated panels to look like train cars - bookended by a caboose and locomotive. I have some original art ( momentary in storage) of the Ice Cream Train from about 1981/82 with call outs for new colors , gold leafing and new sunbrella canopy. I’m not sure exactly when the Ice Cream Train was removed , but I have recollections of it still there at a 1986 Grad Nite.

Dean Finder said...

Major, the WDW Peoplemover does slow for the unload/load area, the accelerates for the ride. It also speeds up and slows down at various points.

The Red Cars, like most streetcar systems only became too slow when the roads became too clogged with cars, They can't change lanes to pass, so had to move at the rate of the slowest thing on the road.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike Cozart, if you ever decide to open a museum - I'll be first in line!


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I’d have to give Nature’s Wonderland the edge, but like you said, it would be close! Maybe it’s because NW has been gone for so long, while we still have the Autopia. For now. It really is astounding to consider what the Imagineers designed and the crews built, before computers as you say. How did they do it? Was each curved piece of track unique? If so, how did they create the forms to cast them? Sadly, I think you’re right about this planet not being able to live in peace and harmony; it’s shocking to observe the people who just want to hate because it’s all they know how to do.

Lou and Sue, funny, I sure have plenty of bad photos of IASW, but that one doesn’t bother me that much!

Mike Cozart, that makes more sense than my “converted parade float” theory, I have to admit. I wish I could find photos of it on GDB, but I have no idea where those might be. Cool that you have that original art!

Dean Finder, I wonder what the maximum safe speed is for the linear induction version of the Peoplemover? It would be great to have something like it for busy downtown areas. Not holding my breath though!

Lou and Sue, maybe you can even get a free admission!


BYW : the Fantasyland Ice Cream Train Posts and canopy frame is still in use at the park: across from the Matterhorn it’s used for the face painting vendors .

If such a museum existed ALL GDB followers would get free unlimited admission ( excluding shooting galleries )

Chuck said...

Sorry I'm late, guys.

You can catch a GDB photo that include the Ice Cream Train (as well as the Caricature Stand and the old Small World souvenir stand from the days before the exit dumped you into one)here, along with some now-poignant speculation on what this community's hopes were for Ewok Alley.

See you all at the grand opening of Mike's museum!

Anonymous said...

Chuck, thanks for posting that link to the old thread. Interesting to read in retrospective.

Mike, I will race to be first in line at the opening.