Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Monorail! September 1966

It's too bad that Monorails never really caught on as a transportation system outside of amusement parks. Sure, there are examples here and there, but I guess they were just not quite right for real-world use. But folks in Disneyland could enjoy the coolest Monorail of them all!

Here's "Old Bluie" gliding into the station in Tomorrowland. Bubble dome! The new rectangular Skyway gondolas are overhead. Note the white construction walls, in preparation for the massive redo of Tomorrowland 1967. 

Here's a very unusual shot, presumably taken from the Disneyland Railroad. Thanks to a few bits to our right, we know that we are near "It's a Small World", which had been open since May 28, 1966. I wish I could somehow find a modern shot from this exact angle to show how things have changed, but that's not in the cards for today.


Nanook said...

Monorail and Pirate Ship masts and sails-! A two-fer.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That little road in the second pic is where the parade performers and floats line up, before stepping off onto the parade route. The "Small World" parade gate was located just out of view (to the right).

Chuck said...

To our left in that last photo was the road that led to the "Disneyland Navy Yard," where the drydock and maintenance facility for the subs is located.

stu29573 said...

I've never noticed that without the pointy bits on the front and back, the monorail looks...well...boring. Somehow all of the sleekness comes from the front and back (or at least 99.874%). Interesting...

Andrew said...

I like the tail end of a submarine that you can glimpse in the first pic.

Stu, the middle cars of the monorail do have stainless steel and a rounded roof, so I think that counts for at least 1% of the appeal. ;-) Anyway, even those cars are ten times cooler than the trains that run on the Hersheypark monorail (though I'm very happy they still have it!)... which, as an aside, are identical to the old Magic Mountain ones.

zach said...

Anyone know where I can get the monorail horn as a ringtone?

These are swell, making me want to jump into the frame, being careful to not get wet.

Thanks Major!


DrGoat said...

Neat pics. Always loved riding in the monorail. Got to ride up front just once in '95 on one of our more memorable trips to the park in 'recent' years.
By the way, I go to Micechat occasionally, and I went this morning right after visiting the Major and lo and behold, a giant image of the monorail painted up with a giant Mickey and Minnie and other characters traveling over the lagoon. I almost wept.
Thanks Major, fine monorail shots.

JC Shannon said...

The sub lagoon with Monorail is a favorite of mine. I have a postcard with that theme in my collection, and it is one of my most treasured items. Space in the park not taken up by retail. Shocking. Thanks Major.

Anonymous said...

Really cannot beat the old monorail, and these are fine shots, especially the unusual "back lot" angle. Back here, the lines between the lands begin to blur and the pirate ship seems about to sail into the submarine lagoon, which would be very cool indeed.

I can see a bit of the old Grand Hotel building and sign in the background of photo 1.

Photo 2 looks like Monorail Yellow has doors on the starboard side. Did the cars have doors on both sides? I can't recall if the Hotel station allowed disembark on the right?

These are worth stepping into, even if old Tomorrowland is under construction.

Thank you Major.


Nanook said...

@ JG-

Good eye on the Grand Hotel. In 1966, the hotel was about one year old, and still going by its original name the Crest Hotel.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I would imagine it wouldn’t be too long before those trees blocked the Pirate Ship sails, so this was probably not a common thing to see.

TokyoMagic! so this is from before the parade route? I figured that once they were in an area that could be seen by the public, the parade would be “official” at that point.

Chuck, interesting! Thank you.

stu29573, it’s true, the pointy front and back make a big difference, but I’m not sure how Bob Gurr would make the middle cars fuctional and somehow “speedy” looking all on their own.

Andrew, the steel part sort of looks like the corrugated metal used for the roofs of sheds! I know it’s not really the same. I’ll have to look up photos of the Hersheypark Monorail, don’t remember what that looks like. Is it the “hanging” kind?

zach, if you have a Mac I might be able to make a Monorail ringtone for you! I’ve made a few other custom ringtones for my iPhone. Not sure if they would work on Android phones.

DrGoat, the Monorail is (as far as I can think) the last ride where guests can view the park from an elevated perspective. I’ve never been in the nose of that ride, but I’m sure it would be worth waiting for! I think the ugly designs on the current Monorail are just “wraps” that can be removed, so it’s not a total loss.

Jonathan, when you look at what a typical amusement park was like in 1959, the sight of the Subs, the Lagoon, and the Monorail all together must have been a stunning view!

JG, I know some people have argued that certain rides (the Skyway, the Peoplemover) spoil “the magic” by letting guests see all the backstage areas, but I sure had no complaints the many times I rode both of those. And yes, there’s the Crest Hotel, it shows up in a lot of photos, but it still seems weird that it isn’t HoJo’s in the distance! I do think the Monorail loaded on the opposite side at the Hotel, but I’m not entirely positive.

Nanook, I prefer Pepsodent!

Anonymous said...

The monorail loaded/unloaded on the same side at both stations. That being the left side as it does today. KS

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major - Pepsodent! The only toothpaste you can use and then eat after brushing your teeth. All the others turn the taste of food "sour."

I can't remember what the Monorail horn sounds like(?!?!) . . . now I'm going to look for it somewhere on the internet . . .

Thanks for today's fun pictures, Major!

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, I stand corrected! Now that I really think about it, you are absolutely right.

Lou and Sue, gosh, I don’t know how Pepsodent tastes anymore… I used to have it as a kid, but lately it’s been Cogate (because I like the caps, you can stand your toothpaste on the cap end). You can find LOTS of examples of the Monorail horn, a low booming “honk” similar to a truck horn.

Anonymous said...

@Nanook, I didn't know the Crest Hotel was called that.

As a kid, I remembered it as the Grand.

When we took our young kids to the Park for their first trip in the early 90's, almost 20 years after my last visit, we stayed there.

It was a package deal with airfare etc. and I was looking forward to it since I had the idea that the Grand was nicer than the motels we stayed in when I was young.

We were very disappointed, the hotel was very much down-at-the-heels and in need of a revamp. So it's a mixed memory for me.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I think those are just individual metal panels on the starboard side of the yellow Monorail, rather than doors.

Major, yes you could be seen by the public while standing there waiting for your turn to go through the gate and out onto the parade route. We were instructed to be in full costume by that point and also "in character," because as the Monorails and the trains went by, we were in full view of the guests.

Omnispace said...

The corrugated metal panels on the Monorail are very similar to Seattle's, and perhaps something used on some aircraft of the time?

Look at that amazing Speedramp! I think Disneyland had around 12 of them at one point, (that I can remember).

Thinking that they may be starting to build the Peoplemover track beyond those white walls... :)

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, I think you are right. Maybe dirt or something at the panel joints. Now that I look closer, there are no joints in the stainless steel band above the corrugated panels.

@KS, thanks for confirming. I couldn't remember the hotel station for sure.

@Omnispace, yes, those panels also look like Greyhound bus sides. Very much a "transportation" look.

Lucky Dr. Goat, getting to ride in the nose cone. I have never done that. I'd settle for the rear cone.


DrGoat said...

Anonymous, it was on our early entry Magic Morning thing. Never forget it.

zach said...

Major, it's an Android. I'll do some research.

I've ridden in the front and back and it's worth the wait. The first time was in the mid 60s with my friend, Steve. I didn't even know it was a thing until he took off running. I caught up and they let us in the front. Nancy and I have been in both. I recommend it.

I remember staying at the Grand about but had a 30+ years ago and had a better experience than JG.

I've started calling these evening visits 'GDB- After Hours'


"Lou and Sue" said...

Zach, if you stay up late enough, like I sometimes do, you can also do the ‘GDB Early Bird Hour’ for the new/next day’s post. If you’re quick enough, you can be the first to post. :)