Wednesday, January 15, 2020

SBC, 1950's

If a person (let's call this fellow a totally random name, like... Major Pfeffernusse) happens to own a lot of vintage Disneyland slides, he is just going to have to deal with scores (or hundreds) of photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle. It's a great burden, but Pfeffernusse is up to the challenge. Don't call him a hero! Just send him cold hard cash. Or better yet, send it to me, I'll make sure it gets to him. Yeah, that's it.

First up is this image from sometime in the 50's. Pre-Matterhorn, at least, because that overgrown patch of land to our right is where the 150-foot tall Swiss mountain would eventually be hatched. It's funny, Disneyland's castle is regularly criticized for being small, but it doesn't look so small here. Everything's relative!

The swans in the moat were so popular, I am almost surprised that the old brochures and guidebooks didn't list them as an attraction. Not many people know that the swans had their own chamber inside the castle, it's where they spent the night. Each bird got a canopy bed, free Wi-Fi (Walt was ahead of his time), and a complimentary mint on their silk pillow. You know it's true!


Nanook said...


With that description of the perks allotted to the swans, you've got me all jealous, now. (I do believe it was satin pillows that were standard issue, however).

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

That road in the first pic looks weird on account of how wide it is!

As for the swans, they were oringinally on the map, but people took them as an "attraction" too seriously and started climbing onboard, so they were soon removed. Of course, all this would be remedied in 1971 when Magic Kingdom opened a Disney Park's first ever swan-themed attraction - the Plaza Swan Boats (one of the most legendary and fondly remembered Disney attractions of all time, I might add).


That road passing alongside the Castle - eventually named Matterhorn Way, looks like some rural interstate road - any minute we will see a blue ‘48 Chevy pickup with crates of live chickens pass by!!

The Castle Moat Swans were another victim tacky over done projection and Roman candle shows . I believe fellow blogger Jason Schultz discovered that Disneyland rented the swans for use at the park.

Chuck said...

Major, in the first photo, the Matterhorn site is actually a 90° turn to our right. This slide was taken from just north of the House of the Future, which would have been directly behind us. Due to the size of the trees that serve as the backdrop for the Snow White Grotto, the Castle is no longer visible from this point.

Note the furled Columbia sails above the trees on the left.

You can see the effect of the roman candle shows on the white swans at the left of the second photo.

Stu29573 said...

The irony about the swans as that they were originally just supposed to be food for the castle crocks. The swans banded together, however and overthrew the crocks in the infamous "Sleeping Beauty Reptile Smackdown," in which all crocks were driven from Anaheim by their ill-tempered snacks. The "Disneyland" episode that featured the rebellion was only shown once and then was shelved forever due to "disturbing content." Now you know the rest of the story!

JC Shannon said...

I love seeing pics of the park when it was new and still developing. Good one Stu! Thanks Pfeffernusse.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Love the swans, love the commentary!


TokyoMagic! said...

Stu, is that when all the crocks retreated to Walt Disney World? ;-)

I have an Los Angeles Times article from the seventies, about "maintaining things" at Disneyland. I'm going to be posting it within the next couple months. It mentions that the swans were indeed rented. It also mentions the rental fee, but I don't remember now, what that cost was and I don't have time to look for the article. I'll try to check it later tonight!

Stu29573 said...

TokyoMagic, Yup! We need some Disneyland swans at WDW!

Dean Finder said...

I looks forward to TM's swan facts being quoted on some "authoritative" Disney site in the future.

TokyoMagic! said...

Okay, I checked that article. Here is the paragraph pertaining to the swans:

"Swans in the castle moat are replaced every six months. The birds are rented from an outside vendor and if they die on duty, their replacements cost $350."

So it doesn't say how much they used to pay in rental fees, but it does give the amount Disney had would have to cough up if the swans died. I wonder who owned the swans?

The article also mentions that the light bulbs on Main Street are replaced when they have reached 80% of their life expectancy. I bet that isn't the case anymore. Otherwise, we would not be able to see so many burnt out light bulbs on Main St. I bet Eisner or Pressler changed that policy to "Just let them burn until they go out completely! Then replace them two to three months after that!"

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks for that swan info, TokyoMagic! If the swans had babies while at Disneyland, I wonder want the deal was(?) . . . did they belong to Disney, then ??

TM! You never saw burned out bulbs in Disneyland, in the early years. And never any trash laying around, either. *sigh*


"Lou and Sue" said...

^ I wonder what the deal was
(sloppy typing and tired, sorry)

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, good question! Maybe the swans were all female or all male? I don't ever remember seeing baby swans, like the many times that I saw baby ducks in the park. A few years ago, I even saw Canada geese and their babies over in the former Motor Boat Cruise waters. It was really neat to see that! I have photos of all of, dad (at least I'm assuming it was the dad) and the babies!

Major Pepperidge said...

Sorry about yesterday folks, it was a busy day! But I’ll respond to comments today. Maybe it’s a case of “too little, too late”?

Nanook, as long as the pillow isn’t burlap, the swans are good.

Andrew, I dare anybody to confront a swan! Those birds are MEAN. I’m sure they were removed from the park to save a few bucks - the old story. I have one or two photos of the Plaza Swan Boats on this blog, but good luck finding them, with Photobucket now out of commission for a month.

Mike Cozart, it IS kind of crazy how wide that road is. I wonder if they anticipated the need to get large construction equipment through there for all of that Tomorrowland work? It never occurred to me that the projections and fireworks were the reason the swans were removed.

Stu29573, that would have been very cool if the moat had crocodiles! Except for the smell I guess. I still remember visits to the nearby alligator farm, phew. The “Sleeping Beauty Reptile Smackdown” is as controversial as the Yippie invasion years later.

Jonathan, yeah, even slightly boring photos are fun if they are from the early years!

Lou and Sue, I’m a day late and a dollar short.

TokyoMagic!, it seems like I used to see regular articles about how they maintained the park, scrubbing the streets at night, replacing lightbulbs, replanting flowers, repainting as needed. They don’t seem to do those anymore.

Stu29573, did they ever have live swans at WDW?

Dean Finder, it’s funny how that works. I once made a statement about an attraction poster that turned out to be wrong, but I saw the “fact” in another article a few years later.

TokyoMagic!, I wonder if the swans were rented from the same place that Knott’s got their Flamingoes? Or maybe the place was called “Just Swans”, for all your swan and swan-related needs. Everything was fine until the “Swan Emporium” opened up in nearby Brea. Then it was WAR. I totally believe that Eisner and Pressler changed the lightbulb policy, exactly as you said!

Lou and Sue, aw, baby swans! Cute and incredibly tender.

Lou and Sue, we will forgive you. THIS TIME.

TokyoMagic, Canada geese can be very aggressive, I wonder if the park had to take any steps to make them go away? There was a lake that my family visited, very remote in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and there were many Canada geese there. They pooped everywhere, and I’m talking large disgusting poops, like a medium-sized dog. Even in the water. You couldn’t walk anywhere without having to tiptoe. I hope you enjoyed this gross story.

Chuck said...

Major, you forgot me.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I apologize! I lost my place while scrolling down the comments. I see that you are correct about the location; you’d think that by now I would take more than 2 seconds to analyze a picture, but NOPE. And yes, I see the Columbia, far and wee. Ha ha, your comment about the roman candles makes me think of old MGM cartoons when a character has a stick of dynamite blow up in his face.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, we have Canada geese in our area. And, today, I had a gaggle(?) of Canada geese walk into the street and in front of my car - daring me to hit them. They are SO stubborn. No, I did not hit them, but honking doesn't even scare them. And their poops ARE big, greenish and messy, you are right.


P.S. Major - you and TokyoMagic! get a gold star for knowing they are Canada geese - and not Canadian geese. :)

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, it's funny...I know they are called "Canada geese," and I will say that and I will type that, but it still feels wrong for some reason, even though I know it's correct!

Major, when I worked at Knott's, there were times when I would go out to my car after a shift and find a huge chicken poop on my windshield! I can't imagine the size of one coming from a goose! Or a swan! How about an ostrich or an emu? Yikes!