Thursday, May 07, 2020

Around the Plaza, July 1969

Some visitors arrive at Disneyland, walk through the tunnels beneath the train tracks, and know right where they are headed. Tomorrowland! The Haunted Mansion! Indy!

But others haven't planned things out in advance, and they might get to the Plaza in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and linger a little while while they confer in a huddle. Might as well take a few photos while your there, right?

The balloon vendor looks like some kind of alien creature, an amorphous blob of constantly-shifting drupelets. Don't get too close, or it will absorb you! I can't tell, are red Mickey balloons not popular (because there are still so many left) or are they so popular that they need to have five times as many on hand at all times?

It seems hard to believe that only three years before this photo was taken, the wonderful Monsanto House of the Future was in the location of this pond, with its fountains and pretty gardens. Why, it's the "Alpine Gardens", as the sign to our left tells us. I understand that the HoF had become dated, but it seems a bit of a shame that they couldn't think of something to replace it with.


Nanook said...

You say there're five times as many red balloons-? And I see just as many green ones. Oh, mercy-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

But Major, they DID think of something to replace the House of the Future....Ariel's Grotto! It just took them 29 years, that's all!

I wonder why those white stanchions and rope (last pic) were set up? It almost looks like the ground is sinking there, but I know that can't be. It's the Matterhorn that's sinking.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love that first picture.

Major, that isn't a balloon vendor. It's a balloon purchaser. Probably a very wealthy tourist. Never mind the fact that he now can't ride any more rides or eat in any restaurants. And he will have to walk home.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! Why do you say 'the Matterhorn is sinking'?? (btw, good morning to you and Nanook!)

TokyoMagic! said...

Good morning, Sue! I was only joking about the Matterhorn sinking, but there was a rumor going around for a while about that. That was after the Submarine Voyage closed. Some "people" were saying that there were cracks in the Sub lagoon and that the narrow strip of land between the Matterhorn and the Sub Lagoon was saturated, because of it. They went on to say that the only thing holding up that strip of land and the Matterhorn, was the pressure of the water in the lagoon and that if they ever drained the lagoon, that strip of land would collapse and the Matterhorn would go with it.

Geologically speaking, I think that would be impossible. But then, I am not a geologist!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue (continued), and of course, they did drain the lagoon when they were working on the Finding Nemo overlay, and the Matterhorn didn't collapse. It only tilted 18 degrees to the east.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I forgot to put a winky face emoticon after that last comment! ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...




There were plans for a new restaurant and another rising bandstand for PHASE 2 of NEW TOMORROWLAND and would have opened in 1968. That was why the Monsanto house was removed so quickly. The new restaurant’s rising stage would appear while a circular waterfall hid the rising performers - once the stage was in position , the waterfall would open like a curtain revealing the entertainers

In my first TOMORROWLOUNGE blog I show the scale model of this restaurant - jokingly implying “this is where TOMORROWLOUNGE is located “

Most of Tomorrowland phase 2 also called TOMORROWLAND ‘68 did not happen as funds were diverted to the Florida project.

In 1973 this same area was again intended for a relocation of Carnation Gardens using a new design for the restaurant and dance floor but still featuring a waterfall and rising dance floor - the relocation proposal in 1973 for Carnation Gardens was because of a proposal for LIBERTY SQUARE ( a close duplicate of Florida’s ) was proposed to have its entrance between Frontierland and Fantasyland. This Liberty Square featured the wooden Concorde Bridge entryway as Florida’s das but would also include a colonial windmill. Most of this Liberty Square would be where big thunder is now. At this time, Thunder Mesa was proposed to be built back where the friendly Indian village was and included The Western River Expedition and The Thunder Runnaway Railroad - it’s intersecting that WED was planing on the removal of Nature’s Wonderland as early as 1973.

Budblade said...

Lou and sue, That balloon purchaser isn’t going to walk home. With just 2 more balloons, they are going to fly home!

stu29573 said...

I once worked with a woman who was terrified of balloons. Not kidding. She hated the sound of them bonking together and if they squeaked she would run from the room (if one popped, it was all over). She would see what we view as a pleasant shot of a vender as a scene out of a horror film!
She was weird.

Chuck said...

There are a lot of people in that first photo, and yet it still doesn't seem too crowded. True "Disney magic."

I think that area in the second photo was probably roped off due to temporary flooding that has now dried out and the ropes just haven't been removed. If you look behind the right-most temporary post, you can see a drain grate with a bunch of dirt stains around it. That suggests a large puddle that was there for a while that took some time to drain. Either that, or this was some sort of avant garde art installation.

Mike, I learn so much from your former access to the WDI archives! Those are proposals I'd never heard before. Interesting to think what might have been. Now I need to go back and read your blog from the beginning.

zach said...

And everyone is nicely dressed. These were good years to go to Disneyland.


K. Martinez said...

I'm one of those who actually liked this spot best when it was Alpine Gardens. And yes, I do remember when House of the Future was there (barely).

Not every space at Disneyland needed to have an attraction or a Disney stamp on it. Alpine Gardens was one of those peaceful spots in Disneyland that I enjoyed. It was also a great way to escape the crowds. Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

They should have kept the HoF in storage for a few decades. It would be considered retro cool today. My mom always said if you keep something long enough it will come in to fashion again. That's why I'm hangin on to my lucky mood ring and Beatle Boots. Thanks Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

It's not that red balloons weren't popular but just ahead of their time. It would be another 14 years before Nena would be looking for 99 Luftballoons. Maybe they were stocking up.

Nanook said...

@ JC Shannon-

Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The guy in the yellow shirt, left of the alien balloon monster, and sporting mutton chops looks like a young Kirk Wall. Formerly of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies (Golden Horseshoe).

Submitted for your approval:

Mmm-mutton chops.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, One of my favorite quotes by Noah Cross in my favorite film set in L.A.

Melissa said...

They missed the opportunity for a corporate-sponsored dog park called The Alpo Gardens.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
Calling Ed McMahon...

Major Pepperidge said...

Sorry for the delayed response everyone, it’s been another busy morning!

Nanook, I think it might be time to take one of those cool Ishihara eye tests!

TokyoMagic!, I actually didn’t know that Ariel’s Grotto was right in this spot. I guess it makes sense, since it was also King Triton’s Enchanted Puddle (or whatever it was called). I was thinking that maybe there was an errant sprinkler spraying out onto the sidewalk, but I don’t really know why the rope and stanchions are there.

Lou and Sue, now I wonder if anybody ever said, “I’d like to buy ALL of your balloons”? Maybe some wealthy eccentric liked to give them to orphans. Soon to be a TV movie starring Jim Carrey. “The Balloon Weirdo”.

TokyoMagic!, I remember that rumor going around, I wonder where that started? Was it just some jokester who liked spreading silly rumors, or did some people actually think the Matterhorn was going to sink or keel over?

TokyoMagic!, maybe after the Cascade Peak debacle, a story like that could really gain traction. Who would have believed that CP would be so neglected and poorly maintained that it was on the verge of collapse (or so we hear, anyway)?

Mike Cozart, I’m sure I read all about Phase 2 on TOMORROWLOUNGE years ago, but it has all vanished from my memory. It’s always so tantalizing to hear about concepts that were never realized. It seems like the entrance to a land might be a problematic place to build a stage… what if Papa Doo Run Run was performing there? It would be chaos! Folks would be trampled! I like the waterfall idea. But I always like waterfall ideas! It seems to always be the way of things… money for one project winds up being diverted to another project, back and forth. Growing up it seemed like I always read about Florida getting so many cool things, it felt like Disneyland was the unloved stepchild. I know that’s not true, but… that’s what I thought, anyway.

Budblade, YES!

stu29573, I always thought that the sound of all those balloons bumping and squeaking was so odd. It didn’t strike terror into my heart, however. Fear of balloons seems pretty irrational, at the very worst what could happen? A few of them could pop.

Chuck, As you pointed out, it looks like that is a low spot where water might puddle from various sprinkler runoff (or rain, though that is unlikely in a SoCal July). It’s as if that grating got clogged up with dirt and debris. Who do we fire??

dzacher, yeah, it’s funny how the clothing that was probably considered very casual back then is now pretty nice.

K. Martinez, I always like a tranquil place to relax, and the Alpine Gardens are pretty for sure. I am not sure I ever really saw the House of the Future in person. But I’m kind of surprised that you say you like the gardens more than the plastic house!

Jonathan, there is the often-repeated story that they couldn’t raze the HoF with a wrecking ball because it would just bounce off, and they had to resort to sawing it to pieces. First of all, I’ll bet I could have torn it down with a wrecking ball! Nobody asked though. But it would be amazing if somebody would build one of these again. They have hundreds of acres in Florida, do it there!

Alonzo, oh those little Luftballoons. How I love them. All 99, I can’t pick a favorite. Was it really only 14 years after the photo that the song came along??

Nanook, I forget who said that. Noah Cross in Chinatown? I never thought that the HoF was ugly!

Alonzo, alas, I never got to see Billy Hill, OR his Hillbillies, but I’ve heard recordings, and it sounds like they were lots of fun. Thanks for the picture link!

K. Martinez, ding ding, I win a cigar!

Melissa, GENIUS! And they could have had fountains that sprayed dog food in graceful arcs. Want to try it? Nobody will stop you!

Nanook, what about Lorne Green?

Nanook said...

I don't think the HoF is ugly, either. I was just trying to find an excuse to work-in that brilliant line from Robert Towne, and then spoken so eloquently by John Huston. Lorne Green's alright; but for my money it's got to be 'ol Ed-!

Melissa said...

I would pay to see The Balloon Weirdo.

Chuck said...

Melissa, isn't that how TV work these days?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, John Huston is so good in that movie. Somehow charming and horrible.

Melissa, all we need to do is raise $250 million - necessary for the special effects. Instead of using real balloons, they will all be mo-cap.

Chuck, I don’t pay for TV because I watch all my shows through my neighbor’s window.