Wednesday, February 12, 2020

More Photos From Huck

Here's another batch of photos from our friend Huck, from October 9th, 1991. Today's pix feature some signs and other fun details.

As you can see, a fairly spectacular billboard was placed next to the Mark Twain loading dock - I'm sure this image featuring Chernabog (from "Fantasia") must have whetted people's appetites. There's a photo of an artist painting this sign, and I'm sure I have it somewhere on my computer, but... I couldn't find it.

There's a blimp up there! It seems that blimps regularly flew over the park in the old days; the Goodyear blimp had a nest in nearby Carson... if the pilot had guests, what could be more fun than giving them a bird's-eye view of the Happiest Place On Earth? Yes, I am talking about Tijuana. But on the way, why not go over Disneyland too?

Here's a sign for the Horseless Carriage... "to TOWN SQUARE VIA MAIN ST. (one way only)". It's hard for me to tell, I assume that this sign was located at the Plaza? Huck had heard rumors that Jack Lindquist wanted to do away with the Main Street vehicles (except for the streetcars) and took this picture for posterity. Also, I never really thought about it before, but are those drum-shaped things below the sign speakers? They're painted "go-away green"!

Boy-oh-boy, look at all the stuff that's closed. Of course in the last Huck post we saw that the river had been drained, so it makes sense that any river-related attraction would be unavailable. But Space Mountain too? That hurts. And Mission to Mars would officially close forever on November 2, 1992 (about a year after these photos were taken), but Huck says that it never reopened after his visit (again, in October of 1991). Notice the Disney Dollars on display in the upper left, Jack Lindquist's most ingenious scam ever. 

Many thanks to Huck! There are more photos from him coming up.


Nanook said...

That billboard at the Mark Twain loading dock is better than what it's 'advertising'... And yes, those "go-away green" oval-shaped enclosures are loudspeakers.

And say what you will about Jack Lindquist, but several folks I know who worked with him have nothing but the nicest things to say about him.

Thanks to Huck and you. (Tijuana... Hmmmmm).

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook is right about the Fantasmic billboard being better than the actual show! I do remember seeing that sign at the park. Little did I know that what they were planning, was going to ruin the look of Tom Sawyer Island forever. And who knew that this "thing" was going to still be with us, almost 30 years later!

Nice pics! Thanks, Huck and Major!

Andrew said...

You're walking to Adventureland, admiring the scenery... when wait! Is that what you think it is? A BLIMP?? In Disneyland? Unreal! Snap a picture, Ma!

I saw those same type of speakers being shown in a promo for the Main St. Electrical Parade recently. With all of the high-tech audio (electro-synthamagnetic) that parade had, I wonder if it had its own speakers separate from the BG music.

DrGoat said...

Agree about that great sign. Much better than the show. Really disappointing decisions made.
I guess I need to drag out my Disney Dollars now and check them out.
I've got about 40 dollars worth. I suppose it was worth it, they are nice to look at.
Thanks Major.

Melissa said...

Aww, I miss Mission to Mars.

K. Martinez said...

I thought Fantasmic! was a pretty amazing show for its time. And that's just it. It should've moved on by now. But it's a crowd pleasure so there you go.

Nice pics. Especially the Fantasmic! teaser billboard.

BTW, where on the Disney property was the second pic taken?

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Major, I am enjoying these pics from the era when I couldn't visit.

Too many sad and bad things happened to the Park during that time.

I hope it wasn't my fault for moving a long way away and not visiting.

Thanks to you, and to Huck for preserving some of it.


"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat, I'm sure you know that some of those DIsney dollars sell for much more than their face value - you may have $400 to spend after selling them on ebay . . .

Speaking of dollars - boy(!), those park entrance fees are really climbing, aren't they?!

Major, we have a nest of those pesky blimps making a home in one of our trees - and we're having the darnedest time getting rid of them. They usually go south (to Tijuana) for the winter, but this one bunch refuses to budge.

Unique pictures, today - thanks, Huck & Major!


Matthew said...

In 1991, I found myself working with the Disney University and Marketing; however, I still had plenty of friends working over in Adventure/Frontierland. When Fantasmic! arrived I remember Guests kept asking my friends in costume about where they could find the "Fantasia Ride." That question was asked repeatedly by park Guests like, "Where's the restroom?" But unlike that second question Guests asked the logical next question, "What is it?"

I came describe Fantasmic! to Park guests as follows; "What is it you say? Fantasmic! is where you will see nitro burning funny cars race from the gates of hell across the Rivers of America, while the mighty Ursulasaurus does battle with the devil himself, Chernabog! It all comes to a fantastical fiery finish three times a night right here in Frontierland!"

Finally, may I add, that although I agree that Fantasmic! came to take away those peaceful romantic nights along the Rivers of America, it did bring Audio-Animatronics to the Friendly Indian Village, the "exploding" burning settler's cabin effect, a beaver damn, and a bear scratching his back. The river was in need of an upgrade an the Imagineers took that time to plus the river.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Matthew said...

PS You may also notice that the advertisement does not include the name of the show. The working title and possible name was Phantasmagoria; however, it seems there is a magazine with that title (you know the one... the gore on the cover called our names to peak inside). Finally they chose Fantasmic! (Mic for for Mickey Mouse).

Always your pal,

Melissa said...

Phantasmagoria is what goes on in the Haunted Mansion.

DrGoat said...

I didn't know they were worth anything more than their face value.
I just read that the price of a one day pass in Disneyland went up to
200$ or something like that. Maybe those bucks would get me a day in the park! Or not.

Chuck said...

I'm glad the Horseless Carriage route is specified; I'd hate to accidentally get on the one that goes to Town Square via Fantasyland. A polar circumnavigation of the globe is on my bucket list, but I'd rather go faster than 25 mph.

Andrew, I'm pretty sure that by this time the MSEP used the same speakers as the background loop (and maybe it always did). The BG loop would shut off just before announcements that the parade was about to start, followed by some silence, another parade announcement or two, and then the famous synthesizer announcement and intro music cue.

The music would follow the parade, so that the speakers closest to a float were playing the appropriate music for that float, withe "Baroque Hoedown" in the background tying it all together. It was pretty impressive. I never tired of it. Not sure why I enjoyed this one so much better than Fantasmic!, particularly since I first saw them both as an adult in the same year.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you’d think that Chernabog played the biggest part of “Fantasmic!”, and in my memory he barely appears. I’m sure Jack was a nice man, but perhaps not cut out to be the President of Disneyland.

TokyoMagic!, I seem to remember that you shared a photo of that same sign, and I have a photo from Irene, Bruce, and James too. Guess I should post that one soon. I guess the OC locals still swarm to the park in the evening to catch the fireworks and then watch Fantasmic!, there would be a riot if they removed it. They should do the extended 5 year “last show ever” thing like they did for the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Andrew, that’s a good question about the speakers, and unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you. My guess is that they used the speakers for BG music and for the parades.

DrGoat, I remember reading about Fantasmic when it was still being built, and thinking it sounded so cool. But as TokyoMagic! said, its effect on Frontierland was so awful that I could never bring myself to love it.

Melissa, I do too!

K. Martinez, I kind of think that the blimp photo might have been taken outside of the park but I don’t really know for sure. If anybody out there knows, please chime in!

JG, I do remember those days when Disney was doing everything they could to draw people to the park, including price breaks for SoCal locals, and so on. I think there was an economic downturn at some point, and then there was the dreaded Pressler Era. Argh!

Lou and Sue, are Disney Dollars valuable as collectibles now? I think I have two that I acquired almost by accident. To get rid of blimps you need to put a huge wasp nest in your tree. Take it from me, it will work great!

Matthew, I will be the first to admit that I am in the tiny minority when it comes to my lack of love for Fantasmic. I listen to plenty of podcasts where people describe their ritual of finding their prime seats along the river many hours before the show. Which is crazy to me, but I’ve never had an annual pass or gone to the park more than three times in one year, so I’ve never been able to devote that much time to just sitting and waiting. Frontierland at night used to be my very favorite part of Disneyland, and that is just gone forever, and it just kills me to think of how beautiful it used to be and what it has become. To me, those positives you listed are nice, but not enough. Again, just my opinion, and I know most don’t agree with me!

Matthew 2, now that you mention it, I did notice that it didn’t say “Fantasmic!”. Interesting. I think they chose a good name, “Phantasmagoria” somehow isn’t quite so catchy.

Melissa, that’s where it belongs!

Anonymous said...


The second photo (exposure #20) was taken in Adventureland right before the Hub snap of the Horseless Carriage sign. I still have a little trouble getting my bearings with regard to that shot but I just checked the negative strips and there are nothing but DL photographs on that 35 exposure roll.

Honest! :)


"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat and Major:

Disney dollars are highly collectible - the value depends on the character on the bill, the year and serial number. If you take a look at or you'll see what they're going for. For example, there's a $1 Disney dollar listed that just sold for $105.00. There's a $5 Goofy that is now for sale for $1,000.00. Even ebay will give you an idea of what they're selling for. explains why certain bills are worth more than others. When you see what the dollars are going for, you'll kick yourself for having spent any, in the past.

DrGoat, your $40 in Disney dollars may be valued at enough to take all of us with you to Disneyland! ;)


Nanook said...

@ Matthew-
As someone speaking from the minority - the first couple of times I saw Fantasmic - I was very impressed. What the heck - it was new, different - typically Disney: Big-Bigger-Humongous. That feeling, however, soon vanished. Even at WDW's Hollywood Studios, where there's a dedicated area for it, it continues to displease.

Unfortunately, the changes [ultimately] exorcised on Disneyland's Frontierland are just too much to accommodate this overblown extravaganza. But quite clearly, this show was never geared for me. I'm happy for those who really enjoy it.

Dean Finder said...

I saw Fantasmic in the amphitheater at Hollywood Studios a few weeks ago for the first time in about 5 years. There have been minor changes to the projections and live elements, and it's better than I remember. However, it didn't displace anything and I'd lament the loss of RoA more than I'd enjoy the show if it were placed there in Orlando.

Melissa said...

I'll never see Fantasmic! again because all those flashing lights blind me for the duration.


I remember in the 80’s and into the 90’s ( long before the internet )calling Disneyland to see what attractions were closed on our planned Disneyland visit. I also remember running up to the ticket booths to look at the “ not operating today “ list and getting a knot in my stomach seeing something like The PeopleMover , Big Thunder , The Haunted Mansion etc. being closed . For awhile Disneyland’s entry plaza featured a combination Disneyland /DCA Sign listing the closed attractions .... but I haven’t noticed them for several years now.

I probably wouldn’t have a problem with Fantasmic , but the show is too big and overly complicated and impedes Disneyland’s regular operation. I hate that Frontierland and even more so New Orleans Square , have been altered so much to really ruin the theming and design of the two lands . Parades , Fireworks and any other entertainment show be able to appear and disappear without permanently effecting the layout and design of a theme land . New Orleans Square really has suffered with its entire authentic roofline and many facades completely destroyed to hide Control booths , lighting figurines and other show support equipment JUST for Fantasmic.

Back in the mid 90’s merchandise would freak out because sales at the Disney Gallery would come to a halt during Fantasmic - and about an hour before and after - upper management couldn’t figure it out . We would explain to them that the Fantasmic Crowd control cast members wouldn’t let guests go up the two stairways you get to the Disney Gallery. They were told to not let guests STOP on the stairs to view the show , but allow them to access the Gallery - the Fantasmic CMs just decided it was easier not to let guests acess the stairs at all. But when Disneyland discovered they were losing money - the hammer came down!!

I never heard that there were plans to remove the Main Street Vehicles , but at one point there were plans to return the Main Street Horse Drawn Surreys back into service during the Fall. In the 90’s there was a proposal to completely build new Main Street Vehicles for National Car Rental - the new Sponsor . One proposal replaced the Horsecars and Omnibus with a double- deck electric streetcar based on a design type used in San Diego in the early 1900’s!