Wednesday, January 08, 2020

River Belle Terrace Kitchen, May 1978

We've already seen hundreds of wonderful vintage images from the collection of scans generously donated by the Mysterious Benefactor; among my favorites are the many photographs taken in the restaurants, behind the counters and in the kitchens, where the average guest was never allowed to wander. Today I'll share five from the River Belle Terrace, circa 1978!

A hardworking CM is taking breakfast (?) orders. What is that strange implement in his hand? Where are the computers? Notice the Carnation milk cartons and whipped cream, they were still going strong in '78. You know what sounds good? PANCAKES! Did they serve them all day long at the Terrace?

"So you want me to alternate layers of waffles and pancakes until the stack is eight inches tall?". Yes. That is what I want. With a side of bacon.

That poor woman is waving her money around desperately, but you know what? Disneyland doesn't care about her money! They care about giving her friendly service and quality food.  All they require is a sincere "thank you".

"I want a Jumbo Jack, two tacos, and curly fries". "Ma'am, this isn't Jack in the Box". "Well then I'll have a Big Mac, a Filet o' Fish, and a diet Coke". (CM's hat flies off)

It looks to me like this lady is putting the finishing touches on some Mickey pancakes, while the woman in line is wishing she'd ordered those instead of the bowl of plain steamed groats (extra watery). It's a lesson for all of us, isn't it? 

MANY THANKS to the Mysterious Benefactor! There are more River Belle Terrace photos to come.


Nanook said...


Real human interaction, and some sort of hand-held writing instrument-?? Did people really do that sort of thing-? My oh my.

Thanks to the M B. These images are always fun.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love these "behind the counter" images! I would like to know what that red stuff is in those two bowls on the counter (in the first pic). Meatballs? Stewed tomatoes?

And yeah, that lady who is really "eager" with her money is pretty funny. Doesn't she know that those aren't the people who take the money? The cashier is way over at the end of the line! I wonder how much staging was done for these photos? I have a feeling she was actually told to have her money in hand for the photos.

Thank you, M.B. and Major!

Andrew said...

TM!, the lady with the money was probably just trying to bribe the chef into making her that 8-inch stack of pancakes (and waffles).

Your captions were gold today, Major. These action shots are really cool and perfectly capture that moment in time.

JC Shannon said...

Now I want pancakes. With lots of butter and maple syrup. I wonder what those CMs are doing today. Did they become titans of industry or stay in the breakfast biz? Thanks to Major and the MB.

Chuck said...

The cast member with the pencil bears a strong resemblance to Matthew Modine in the first photo, although that resemblance isn't repeated in the later shots. I can find no evidence that Private Joker ever worked at Disneyland.

He's patiently trying to explain to the woman clutching her money "No, ma'am - crepes, not craps."

DrGoat said...

Yes, it's morning and I want pancakes too! Same as JC...lots of butter and just the right amount of maple syrup. Kodiak Cakes are the preferred pancake for me. Easy and yummy. Last time at the Park, I went with beignets from the French Market Restaurant. Lots of powdered sugar. Had a sugar buzz that made my hair stand on end.
Great candid pics Major.
Even as a kid, I was not a big fan of milk, even in those cute little cartons...unless it was chocolate milk of course.
That particular color and cut of marble must have been pretty popular.
We have two coffee type tables (about 18"x40") that my folks bought back in the 60s. Still have one, my sister has the other.
Thanks again Major. Love people pics.
JC, Maybe those CMs are retired from Goofy's Kitchen by now.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think the writing instrument is what was called a “stylus”, used for pressing cuneiform letters into a wax tablet.

TokyoMagic!, mmmm, “Gimme a big bowl of stewed tomaters!”. I was wondering what that was too; I thought maybe it was strawberries in some sort of heavy syrup, but honestly have no idea. Maybe it’s a bowl full of fresh rabbit hearts, one of Walt’s personal favorites. I don’t think these photos were posed, but can’t say for sure.

Andrew, “Listen buddy, I am holding two one-dollar bills in my hand, and they will be yours if you make my tower of pancakes and waffles”.

Jonathan, I am a fan of breakfast any time of the day. Maybe I’ll have French toast for dinner! And I always wonder what the CMs are up to 40 years later.

Chuck, I see the Modine resemblance. I am glad that he is making the woman understand that the restaurant doesn’t sell craps. An important job at any restaurant!

DrGoat, lately I have been putting raspberry jam (no seeds) on my pancakes or waffles. My mom does that, and I finally tried it, and it’s good! Butter too of course. But when I go to my sisters and she gets out her big electric griddle and makes tons of pancakes, I will happily use maple syrup. Mrs. Butterworth’s, if you please. Can you believe that I have never had a beignet in my life? How can they be bad? I grew up drinking milk, though at some point I stopped. But there were four kids in our family, and my mom would come back from the Navy commissary with enough milk to fill the whole bottom shelf of our fridge.

Matthew said...

@TokyoMagic! The bowls of "Meatballs or stewed tomatoes" are actually bowls of Maraschino cherries, cut in half, that would become the nose found on the Mickey Mouse pancakes we see in the photo. You have to remember... they were serving a lot of pancakes each morning.

The River Belle Terrace Cast Members shared the break room with the rest of Adventure/Frontierland. In fact, the breakroom was out their backdoor and up a flight of stairs over the kitchen.

What also caught my attention was the soda fountain in the second and third shot. Is that "Pepsi" written on the fountain? I know our friends at the Golden Horseshoe were serving Pepsi at this time and Coca-Cola hadn't taken over the entire park yet. Made me think, maybe Pepsi was "the official" drink of Frontierland?

Great post today Major and thanks Mysterious Benefactor!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

Having started my CM 'career' in the Hills Bros kitchen, I have an affinity for that chef outfit. Boy were they starched white. Kept me standing straight for the first hour. Yep, orders were once taken like that and for me, posted on the order wheel by the wait staff. Interesting look on the hats there...I wore mine like a stovepipe rather than crunched down. KS

Anonymous said...

These are lots of fun. I love the interaction of the staff and customers here, with the Major's comments as the sound track.

My vote goes to stewed strawberries as the red compote in the bowls. Maybe you got to apply your own, I can't recall.

The last two photos are the best for me, I remember those weird wax paper cups on the tray in the bottom of the photo, and the honest-to-Pete Mickey Pancake in the last shot.

I was the chef at my Scout troop pancake breakfast fund raiser, and I took it as my solemn duty to demonstrate the proper fabrication of Mickey Pancakes, along with the approved garnishes of half a pineapple ring smile, cherry nose, blueberry eyes, and as see in the picture, powdered sugar sprinkled on the ears.

Now at Riverbelle Terrace, the "mickey panchakes" are pre-molded, pre-baked, flash-frozen toaster pastry garbage, almost, but not quite completely unlike a proper pancake, and my heart weeps for today's youngsters who will never know a classic Disney breakfast after the dash to Pirates and the Haunted Mansion at the opening bell.

Thanks Major and MB, these really took me back.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Fun post today! Not only can you see and "hear" all the hustle-bustle going on - but you can image how delicious breakfast would be. We don't see a lot of food pictures from back then - so these are especially nice.

Is that a "dollop" of soft/whipped butter at the top of Mickey's face - between his ears? I don't recall if I ever had those MM pancakes, but I can't imagine what else I would've wanted to eat for breakfast when we stayed at Disneyland [Hotel]. I do remember always getting orange juice and it was delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice. I wonder if they used the oranges from the orange trees that grew on the property?

Speaking of milk, I was just talking with a friend yesterday about how a local dairy is closing because young people don't drink much milk, anymore. I also recently read that breakfast cereal companies are struggling because sales are down, too. What are kids eating for breakfast nowadays ? - maybe Andrew can fill us in . . .

Thanks, Major & MB!


Andrew said...

Since you're wondering, Sue, I typically have cereal and fruit for breakfast (milk on the side) with a frozen waffle every once in a while. As for other kids today, I really don't know. A straight diet of Pop Tarts perhaps?!?

Chuck said...

One of my kids has popcorn for breakfast - when he eats it. I swear I'm not making this up. The other usually skips it altogether because he normally wakes up 15 minutes before he has to go to school. Teenagers...

(In all fairness, I often skipped breakfast my senior year to catch a few extra winks. No wonder I weighed 135 lbs - I'm 5'10" - when I graduated from high school...)

Sumday Night said...

I really enjoyed these photos of hard working CMs. I found it interesting how they used the copper/gold accent even for things like the soda dispensers and tray sliders. Classy!

Sue don't forget that Sunkist was at the park and they did have fresh squeezed orange juice. Perhaps it was sold at the River Belle Terrace?

Major, your commentary today was top shelf!