Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Sandy Desert, December 1956

I hope you have a bottle of water, because we're going to be spending some time in the Rainbow Desert. The heat, the alkali dust, the spiny cacti, poisonous reptiles, and time portals all make the desert a place where caution should be used. 

First up is this nice clear view of the fabulous rock formations - a geological fantasia. Pueblo Indians have built their homes atop these rocks, providing safety from enemies, and million dollar views! Meanwhile Mr. Coyote pops his head out of the cave wondering where today's newspaper is.

Mysterious paint pots are cool and everything, but what if they were pudding pots? Chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch. Each guest will receive one cup of still-warm pudding. Whipped cream is optional.

Next week: the Rainbow Dessert?


"Lou and Sue" said...

I have two questions regarding today's post:

1. HOW did those Pueblo Indians get up there?

2. Is Coyote pronounced with two, or three, syllables?

BTW, several weeks ago, I saw that "Rainbow Dessert" cake for sale at Starbucks. (No, I didn't buy a piece.) Can you imagine all the food coloring it took to get those vibrant colors?! Your insides would be stained for weeks.

Great pictures and commentary, today, Major! Today surely is not a "snoozer" Sunday.


Nanook said...

I've always loved the 'diminutive homes' atop those rocks - a 'geological fantasia' as you've so-rightly intoned. Perhaps Disneyland could've extended the life of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland attraction had they filled those paint pots with a rainbow of delicious pudding flavors. Guests could simply "have their desert and eat it, too-!" (Oh, my-!)

@ Sue-
When you think of those homes, just imagine the building of the pyramids, but much steeper.... And as for that food coloring nightmare cake - those are better-suited for admiring, rather than ingesting-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, you took the words right out of my mouth, about how much food coloring must have gone into that cake!

What if instead of pudding pots, they were pudding pops? Disney could have gotten Jell-O to sponsor the ride. Then they could have installed an audio-animatronic Bill Cosby, standing in the desert next to the pudding pops, and speaking gibberish to the riders as they passed by. At the end of the ride, guests could have exited through a shop which sold both Jell-O products and Bill Cosby dolls. Of course, they would have needed to sell accessories for the dolls, like a red cape and devil horns, so you could dress him up as his character from, "The Devil and Max Devlin." Disney could have made a fortune and at the same time, kept the attraction open for at least another 30 years, until Cosby's popularity waned.

stu29573 said...

When I rode it, I remember the Devil's Paint Pots, but I have no memory at all of the Pueblos. I think I might have never noticed them, considering the impossibility of their placement (and horrible out of scaleness). I'm afraid my perspective don't force that much!

Andrew said...

The added detail of those Pueblo cliff dwellings is nice, but the forced perspective isn't doing it for me. Maybe it looked better in person.

I was really surprised to see a picture of a cake when I scrolled down, but it instantly made me smile. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Those pueblos were some of the most impressive examples of forced perspective in any Disney park - you really had to force yourself to believe in them.

Sue, coyote actually has eight syllables, but you don't notice since several are stacked on top of one another.

Gnometrek said...

I rode the ride and have watched countless archival videos. Heck I even follow a fellow that has created a working miniature diorama of Nature's Wonderland, including Rainbow Ridge. In 50 years I never noticed the Pueblo cliff dwellings. It just goes to prove that it's a good thing that I didn't pursue a career in real estate.

JC Shannon said...

If only there were a time portal in the desert that could get us back to the Mine Train. I'd be first in line. We may never know the proper pronunciation for coyote, cause Road Runner ain't talkin'. Meep Meep. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I especially wonder about the pueblos atop that tumbling rock. Seems like a bad idea. There must be a little staircase on the back side of the rocks that we can’t see. Do you think you can taste the food coloring in that cake? I once had a red velvet cake, and was aware of what I am sure was the flavor of the coloring. Yuck. And I say “coyote” with three syllables, because I’m not a cowboy.

Nanook, unfortunately those pueblos never really looked like they were human sized, but far away. It just looked like a race of six inch-high Navajos inhabited the Rainbow Desert. Confession: I never had a pudding pop. That and s’mores have somehow eluded me.

TokyoMagic!, you have to admit, that cake looks pretty amazing in a photo! Who cares how it tastes. Pudding pops of the desert? Also, Bill Cosby’s popularity has waned? Since when?? I remember the period when “The Devil and Max Devlin” came out, Disney was releasing some weird stuff, trying to appeal to more adults. “The Watcher In The Woods”, “Night Crossing”, “The Journey of Natty Gann”, “Flight of the Navigator”… I guess I appreciate that Ron Miller and associates were attempting to get away from the cheesy comedies like “Gus” or “The Apple Dumpling Gang”.

stu29573, it’s been so long, I can’t remember if I noticed the pueblos or not. It’s a bummer how fuzzy my memory of the Mine Train ride is! The pueblos being atop those buttes does seem impossible, but I’ve seen photos of monasteries in Europe that are atop rocky mountains that look like there’s no way to get to them.

Andrew, nope, the perspective doesn’t work, but somehow I forgive it because it’s so darn charming. Soon this blog will be nothing but photos of cakes and other desserts.

Chuck, I’m wondering if the forced perspective doesn’t work because of our constantly-changing vantage point? If the scene was on a stage where you sat in a non-moving seat you could make them more convincing as distant, full-sized adobe homes. Just a thought. It is impressive that “coyote” has 6 letters, but eight syllables!

Gnometrek, I saw that amazing Mine Train model at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park, what an accomplishment! Looking at some photos I took in 2018, Sam Towler didn’t include the pueblos atop those rocks. Now that I’m thinking about it, the rockwork on the actual ride was all improved when it became “Nature’s Wonderland” in 1960, maybe the pueblos were removed at that point?

Jonathan, man, I so agree, it would be amazing to ride the NWRR several times during the day (to get different light effects), and then ride it a few times at night too, hopefully catching the fireworks!

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the Navajo, but some Hopi live on top of mesas (Google photos of First Mesa, Second Mesa, and Third Mesa) and from the right angle they look a bit like that.

As for the forced perspective, I think it doesn't work because it doesn't look far away enough. Even in the desert, wind-borne dust can create a haze that gives the sense of distance, and we just don't have that here.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Speaking of Jell-O and dessert, I miss Jell-O 1-2-3.


Chuck said...

Major, I think you are right; looking at Daveland's Nature's Wonderland collection, it appears that the pueblos were removed in the 1960 expansion.

Those large bluffs were stripped to the framework, expanded, and then re-skinned with more realistic-looking rockwork.

Here's an overview of the entire area after the upgrade.

Nanook said...

@ Sue-

Yes - I wonder why Jell-O 1・2・3 had a relatively-short life of around 15 years. It definitely looked better than its overall mouthfeel and taste - kinda like today's rainbow cake.

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, even as I was writing the word “Navajo”, I was thinking, “I should probably do some Googling”. But as usual I resisted the urge. Thanks for the correction.

Lou and Sue, I remember that! My brother would just eat the top fluffy layer and wouldn’t eat the rest, which made my mom mad.

Chuck, thanks for all those links, I’d seen photos of some of the rocks stripped down to the framework before, and of course had observed that the rocks looked better after 1960. I can only assume that somebody (Walt?) decided that the pueblos just didn’t work, even though it was a fun idea.

Nanook, I didn’t think that Jell-O 1-2-3 was around for even 15 years. Maybe it’s just that my mom only bought it when I was a certain age. They should bring it back! New and improved.

Nanook said...


Yes - it can now be Jell-O 1・2・3・4-!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Thanks Major, I'm on a strict diet and craving something sweet. Seeing muddy pudding and cake that looks like shaved crayolas made it go away. Swell shots of my favorite attraction, thanks for posting.