Monday, November 04, 2019

View From Tomorrowland Train Station, May 1961

I'm kind of surprised that I don't have a ton of photos taken from the Disneyland Railroad; guests were able to sit in comfort as the train took them on the Grand Circle Tour, with the whole park right in front of them (on those side-facing cars, at least). Just snap away. But, unlike the Skyway, folks didn't seem to have their cameras glued to their faces.

This first one is the most "postcard worthy" (though that metal light pole to the right kind of ruins it). You get a great view of the Matterhorn, with the Autopia to our right (which appears to be closed?). Notice the bit of scaffolding on the right side of the Matterhorn; they were already having problems with abominable snowman infestations.

This next one was taken after the train traveled only a few feet, giving us a view of the Skyway terminal. I always like views with the gondolas getting ever-smaller in the distance. The yellow gondola to the left... why is that hanging there?? 

It occurred to me that these photos might be good candidates for merging, so I gave it a try.

As "Hannibal" Smith (of "The A-Team") said, "I love it when a plan comes together"! This merged photo came out great; it reminds me of the old panorama postcards that were sold at the park in the 1950's. I decided to post it a little large than usual for your viewing enjoyment.


TokyoMagic! said...

It looks the scaffolding on the Matterhorn has something to do with both waterfalls (the one facing us and the one that faces the loading area). And is that some kind of a crane doohickey on the very top of the mountain?

Thanks for the panorama, Major! 'Tis brillig!

Chuck said...

That yellow gondola is in the Penalty Box - five for fighting with another gondola.

Great panorama, and no "panorama twinsies" in this one. Hooray for Photoshoppe!

TM!, I see you're operating on Brisbane time again. You might want to spread some more butter on your watch.

Andrew said...

Perfect panorama! I love the castle turrets in the distance, the "sea" of Autopia cars, and the obscured Richfield logo. Like Tokyo, I was also wondering about that crane.

Stu29573 said...

Fantastic "merge" job! It really makes the scene come alive! Now if only I could feel the slight lurch of the train and hear the "poof poof" of the engine, all would be perfect!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Pepperidge Panorama Vision is a Patent Pending Process that is without peer. Between your new Panorama Vision (and the probable proceeds) and the royalties from the wiggle vision you should have quite the Photo Effects empire building!

All kidding aside the combination of the two photos is quite impressive and would make a great wide angle postcard (extra postage required).

Thanks for posting.

I love the unfinished look of the Tomorrowland Skyway station.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Love the panorama view! Thanks, Major, for taking the time to do that for us!

I hope that yellow gondola learned his lesson, Chuck.

Fun way to start the week - thank you!


K. Martinez said...

I like the openness of the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal here. You can see the mechanical structure and workings of the Skyway itself. There's something I love about viewing the mechanics of amusement and theme park attractions. BTW, great merge job! Thanks, Major.

DrGoat said...

Just a thanks for that panorama Major. I think I'll spend a minute or 2 projecting my consciousness into that scene.

Stefano said...

A swell blend Major, once the aural is imagined its in "Glorious Technicolor, breathtaking Cinemascope, and Ster-e-o-phonic sound!"

The scaffolding on the Matterhorn may have been for the time they filled in spaces and openings that were getting too waterfall splashed. There was a cat's eye-shaped hole behind the Tomorrowland-side falls, seen in a number of early year photos you've posted. Since the Christmas star debuted in 1961, and they had to close the Matterhorn for this patch-up job, the work at the top may have been preparation for the star support beam.

Nanook said...


Thanks to Daveland, LOOKIE HERE for a close-up view of the Skyway "Penalty Box". (Good one, Chuck). Guests needed a D+ Coupon to hop-aboard that bonus spin area...

Thanks, "Mr. Panorama" Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I had forgotten that at some point they’d experimented with using buttermilk for the waterfalls instead of actual water. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. Walt really loved to “push the envelope”. Anyway, at some point they realized that it didn’t really work. The crane is a mystery to me…

Chuck, I actually like it when there are “panorama twinsies”! It’s fun to see the same people as they stroll through a scene. TokyoMagic! has homes all over the world, so you never know what time zone me might be in on any given day.

Andrew, sometimes even good panoramas come out with a few little glitches, so it is very satisfying to have one that is flawless. Unless there are flaws that I am not noticing!

Stu29573, it won’t happen in my lifetime, but it would be amazing if there would eventually be a VR version of Disneyland - which version do you want? 1955? 1959? 1967? Then you could put on your VR goggles and experience a ride on the DLRR as it was just like in these photos!

Alonzo, you are preeminantly perspicacious! I never mentioned it before, but I sold “wiggle vision” to Google a few years ago for just under 3 billion dollars. Now I’m on to my next invention - edible hats.

Lou and Sue, I’m such a Photoshop geek that it is fun to do things like the panorama view. I’m glad you liked today’s offerings.

K. Martinez, I know what you mean - I’ve seen photos of the giant flywheels of other skyway rides, even though I’m still not 100% on how they stop the gondolas to load and unload passengers while the other ones keep moving. Witchcraft?

DrGoat, those will be minutes well spent!

Stefano, don’t forget 3-D! I don’t think I knew that they filled in holes in the Matterhorn that long ago. I’ll have to look for the cat’s-eye opening you mentioned, it sure didn’t make an impression before. And I considered the idea of the Christmas star for that gizmo on top, it just seemed like May was awfully early to be working on it. However, it is very possible!

Nanook, I figured that the “penalty box” was a sort of siding for gondolas that weren’t being used, and that seems to be the case. But WHY wasn’t the yellow one being used? It’s not like its motor needed work.

Nanook said...

When considering future cutting-edge inventions, please don't rule out edible windshield wipers. That's been my go-to invention for many, many years now. As you can imagine, the flavors with the best taste also produce the most 'streaking'. Damn, science-!

Anonymous said...

Major, this is a splendid post. How fortunate to get two images to fit together like that. I wonder if these were taken from the exact spot, with only a slight change in direction?

It's possible that the time-out gondola required cleaning inside. There are probably no stats on how often ice cream popcorn, and other Park food reversed course on the bobbing, swaying Skyway, but I bet there was a wet clean-up at least once a day.

@Stefano, thanks for the info about the waterfalls, overspray from water features is an often-overlooked design side effect. I've seen several falls and fountains either turned off, or dialed way back after everyone realized what a mess they were making.

I'm sure that some of the infrastructure for the crane was originally built-in. Was Tinkerbelle's routine part of the Matterhorn from the start, or was it added in later? The Christmas star was a nice effect, there's a photo somewhere on-line with Santa Claus on the summit directing the crane. I wonder if the expense of set-up was part of it's demise.

I think there is a door now in the face of the peak below the summit. Maybe that was always there, but the outline is evident now, while old pictures don't show it. Might have added a door to make the Tink launch easier.

Thank you, Major for a bang-up start to the week.


JC Shannon said...

Terrific pics. I love the fact that you can "go back in time" through the magic of photography. Let's all meet at the Submarine Voyage and spend the rest of the day in Tomorrowland. Who's with me? Thanks Major for the time travel.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, would they be made of licorice?

JG, oh man, now that you say that, I can’t help imagining that somebody “lost their lunch” in that yellow gondola. But it might just be a food spill (uneaten food). Disney has a history of not considering spray from waterfalls and fountains, they’ve had to remove a number of those features over the decades. I’m interested in your theory that there is a door on the face of the Matterhorn peak for Tinker Bell’s nightly flight. How can we confirm this?

Jonathan, I feel like my whole blog is devoted to “going back in time”! Whether it’s vintage Disneyland, Knott’s, the World’s Fair, or some other place, it’s all about the time warps.

Nanook said...

Licorice is only the starting point-! (Although they don't hold-up all too well...) It does appear to be an 'exact science'. Drat.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, butter on my watch??? Let's not be silly!

Major, I don't care for buttermilk, but if those were cottage cheese waterfalls, that would be great. Large curd, please! And there is sort of a door in the rockwork, which opens just as Tinkerbell comes out and prepares for her flight. It can best be viewed when standing in Fantasyland, right before they put the spotlight on her. I believe by the time the lights are on her, the door has already been closed. Most of the people down below, are focusing on the fireworks right up until the time the spotlight gets turned on, so they don't notice the door opening and closing.

JG, speaking of someone losing their lunch. I remember being at a local church carnival, back when I was in junior high. Someone had "lost their lunch" on the Ferris Wheel, while we were waiting in line to board it. The ride operator suddenly left his post, but returned shortly with a bucket of water, which he threw across the bench seat of the "soiled" vehicle. He didn't make anyone sit in that least, not while it was still wet. But after we boarded the ride, we could see the residual water dripping off of that vehicle, at various degrees of closeness to us, depending on where the wheel was stopped. The drips of water never landed directly on us, but they got dangerously close! I'm sure as soon as that seat was dry, people were seated in that vehicle again. And by that time, they probably had no idea what had happened previously!