Monday, June 01, 2020

More Frontierland '78

It's time for EVEN MORE fantastic photos of Frontierland from the Mysterious Benefactor. 

At the end of the last MB post I had one photo from this outdoor eatery with the yaller umbrallers, but as I said at the time (with my deep Foghorn Leghorn voice), "I don't, I say I don't know where this restaurant was, boy. It's a conundrum! Keep up, son, you're a little slow this morning!". 

Looking in the distance we can see that Frontierland was very busy that day, or maybe a whole lot of people were heading over to the Haunted Mansion.

This is kind of a weird one, and it has me a little baffled. It is labeled "Frontierland entrance from Adventureland", which I assume is that passageway to our right (behind the gentleman who is playing  the harmonica)? The large "barn door" opening to our left seems to be the entry to a shop, but maybe there was a passageway through it too? 

And lastly for today is this nice shot of the exterior of the River Belle Terrace (formerly Aunt Jemima's). It looks kind of stretched, vertically. The wrought iron is very "New Orleans", I wonder if that pattern is used on the Haunted Mansion? Sure, I could do a little research, but it's late and I'm too lazy.

Thank you, MB!


Nanook said...


That 'awninged-building, about dead-center in the 1st image is the Golden Horseshoe. And the 3rd image shows the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade, and that passageway on the right will take you just inside the 'gates' of Frontierland. Good images, all.

Thanks to the M B & you.

walterworld said...

Haven't checked back in over a year due to busy life. Thanks for keeping up the GREAT WORK MAJOR!

Oh and like Nanook said that is the Cool exit to Adventureland after shooting at the Davy Shooting Gallery to one's right when exiting..

TokyoMagic! said...

That blue building in the second shot is what used to be The Wheelhouse restaurant. We saw a close-up of that eatery last year:

It appears that the Chinese Elm tree visible in the first two pics is still at the park today, but it looks like it has had some of it's upper branches cut off.,-117.9203685,3a,75y,219.29h,100.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st2HCB8LBdqtTgUkBnI9uXg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

In the third pic, Harmonica Man has a "Jetabout Holidays" travel bag at his feet. I looked up that name and it appears to be an Australian company. Maybe the man is actually playing his "imaginary" didgeridoo.

TokyoMagic! said...

Scratch what I said about the Chines Elm still being there. That "street view" is from 2017, but when you look at an "aerial view" from 2020, the area where the tree used to be has a construction wall around it and the tree has either been cut down, or dug up (along with some of the concrete around it). I guess Disney still hates trees.,-117.9204408,63a,35y,219.29h/data=!3m1!1e3


Despite how busy Disneyland is that day, the WHEELHOUSE ( the green building in image two) is completely closed that day. Where do I get my Frontierland Freeze now?

1978 was the period of time I was becoming enamored with Disneyland - it was when I was understanding it’s past history and excited about its future like Big Thunder Mountain and Discovery Bay. The place was perfect to me but from the models and renderings on display at Disneyland Showcase - it was going to get beter!

Inside that barn-like door ( the back entry to the Davey Crockett Arcade) was a “U” shaped counter with some expensive European western themed toys. Next to Star Wars figures I collected these Lego like Western building kits called EXINWEST from Spain. These toys were modular plastic but built a more finished model of old west town buildings - they even had details like bullet holes in the windows , opening doors, and exterior kereosene lamps. Anyway , Disneyland had a MASSIVE EXINWEST display built up and the largest inventory of the Spanish Toy line I had ever seen. In the 70’s and 80’s they were sold only in high end import toy stores and expensive gift shops. Beside having the largest selection they had the MOST expensive prices for these toys. Santa’s Village and Toys International sold the figure and wagon accessory sets for 6.95 ...... Disneyland sold them for 10.99!!! Disneyland sold the larger double building kits like the Dance Hall & Barber Shop for 38.50 other places sold them for 27.00 .... and in the late 70’s and early 80’s BOTH PRICES WERE CRAZY EXPENSIVE!!

Thank you Major and MB for colorful “windows” into my childhood!

Chuck said...

That Frontierland stockade photo brings back memories that I know I've shared before. On a family visit when I was in Kindergarten or first grade, my pants were falling down. Our first stop on that trip was ducking into that shop from the Adventureland side and buying a belt, a tooled leather example with Disney characters stamped into it (I remember Pinocchio's face was a recurring motif) and a Western stile buckle with a Colt 1873 single-action Army pistol in the middle. I loved that belt, and I know it lasted well into second grade and lived in my top dresser drawer for years after that. Wish I still had it.

Andrew said...

That picture of the "barn door" entrance to the Frontier Arcade is something I've never seen before. I guess it just goes to show that the MB had quite the eye. I took a quick look at Street View, and it looks much smaller than it does here (likely due to the ground-level angle).

I also found on Street View that this River Belle Terrace sign is still in use today, just as a menu board.

I'm still amazed at how vivid Chuck's memory is. Thanks, MB and Major!

Melissa said...

They had to fence the tree in because it kept trying to leave.

stu29573 said...

My favorite is the River Belle Terrace shot. It does have a very "Haunted Mansion-esque" feel to it. It makes me wish Disney had gone ahead and built the Mansion themed eatery that was supposed to be happening at WDW. Alas (a word used a lot at Disney now) 'twas not to be, and we got a gift shop instead (insert shocked face.)

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

That's a 'mis-read' on your part about how Disney feels about the flora in its parks. Actually, the construction fence was placed there as management was getting "concerned" at just how much 'interest' the tree was receiving from guests. And the fence was to protect the tree. Disneyland - your friend to Mother Nature.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful shots today, Major. You-are-there in the best way.

In photo one, far to the left through the trees and the crowd, just under the fringe of the yellow umbrella, you can just see the Petrified Stump with the iron band that clamps it to the supporting framework. There is a scrap of the MT Load Pavilion seen next to it, in the characteristic turquoise blue.

Photo 2 is a reverse angle of photo 1, the same tree is in the middle of both shots, but from different directions.

This is such a nice dining area, and I don't ever recall having sat here. Admired it many times walking past, but never stopped.

Photo 3 shows the exact spot where Adventureland gives way to Frontierland, at the boundary of plaster and tile to boards and shingles. I can hear the Frontierland music loop playing now.

Major, I think the facade of the River Belle was a forerunner of the Haunted Mansion Stretching Gallery. Thank you!


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, oh yeah, I can see the little Pepsi Cola logo. Disneyland is so compact that there could easily be two more restaurants between the Golden Horseshoe and where those tables are! Thanks for the ID on the Davy Crockett Arcade, I had no idea it had a big entrance like that (I am of course familiar with the main entrance seen in so many photos).

walterworld, over a year, wow! Well, welcome back. You must have been super busy! Ha ha, the “cool exit”, I guess that’s why I never saw it.

TokyoMagic!, thank you for the ID on The Wheelhouse. Funny, when you said that the Chinese Elm was still there I was pretty surprised, but (re: your additional comment) now I see that they ripped it out. Gotta have more room for all those “Galaxy’s Edge” visitors, don’t ya know. I should have thought to look up “Jetabout Holidays”, good detective work. The digeridoo is the most versatile and harmonious instrument ever, I would play one all day long, even an imaginary one.

Mike Cozart, hmmm, you say the Wheelhouse is green, TokyoMagic! says it’s blue. Only one of you can be right! (It does look green, but I think the photo has a slight yellow cast to it). What is a Frontierland Freeze?? I think I was enamored of Disneyland before 1978, but then again I am probably older than you. I had a music teacher (a folkie who played an acoustic guitar and sang songs like “Kumbaya”) at school who started telling us all about the tricks of the Haunted Mansion. I was hooked! I am going to have to look up those Exinwest toys, I am not familiar with them. But they must be cool if they were so expensive! It obviously made a big impression on you, including the high prices. I can already hear my dad telling me “NO” if I asked him to buy one, ha ha.

Chuck, I love that story of you getting your tooled leather belt in Frontierland! If you shared it before, I have forgotten, but please don’t take it personally, I forget everything. I also love that you actually used the belt until it wore out, instead of saving it, unloved, in a drawer somewhere. I once made a belt by linking a bunch of wristwatches together. You know what? It was a waist of time.

Andrew, I’m with you, the big entrance to the Davy Crockett Arcade is new to me. I probably even saw it when I was a kid, but as I have learned, I was not an observant child. And I’m not that much better as an adult. Wow, amazing that the same River Belle Terrace sign is being used today!!

Melissa, OUCH!

stu29673, oh, I never knew there was a plan to build a Haunted Mansion restaurant. Seems like it would be hard to do, you’d want it to be light enough so that you can see your food and not trip and fall with your tray, but dark enough so it looks spooky. I’ll have to see if I can find concept art online.

Nanook, you’ve taught me an important lesson: sometimes it’s just how you look at things!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, it’s funny, as I was writing my responses to the comments, I was about to hit the “Publish Your Comment” button, and thought, “I wonder if there will be something from JG?”. And there it is! Oh yeah, there’s the petrified stump, the most magical stump of all. I’m embarrassed that it took me more than one second to realize what “MT” stood for. And yes, photos 1 and 2 show the same area from different angles! I guess I should have said that. Now that stu29573 has mentioned a possible Haunted Mansion-themed restaurant, I am full of ideas. Would you place your order to a Madame Leota head? "That comes with fries or apple slices!".

Nanook said...


As I was just looking-up some "trivia" about the Technicolor, 3-color process - cyan is fresh on my mind. I believe we can safely-say the color of the Wheelhouse is cyan.

Anonymous said...

Major, I am happy that I was able to comment and round out the discussion. I read every post, but not always the same day. I spend so much time in front of a computer M-F that commenting on weekends is often not on my to-do list.

I have never heard of a HM themed restaurant.

Not sure it's a good idea, but then, I don't like the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, and it appears quite popular. So my judgment in these matters is suspect.

Of course, the Blue Bayou is not particularly pirate-themed, so maybe it would work.


Anonymous said...

Got a chuckle at the eatery serving Oscar Myer. Because nothing says "old west" like the bologna that has a first name. :D

stu29573 said...

The restaurant was part of conjecture as to what would be placed at the end of the HM after the big referb. The Museum of the Weird was also kicked around. We got Memento Mori...

Melissa said...

I would have said blue, too, but I have a mild blue/green color blindness so colors on the border can go either way for me.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I went back to Street View to look at that door. It is much lower now, to accommodate a sign and lighting above describing the shops inside. In the 70's, it was obvious it is a store, now maybe we need to be clearer. It's funny, if you can maneuver your viewpoint right in front of the door, and click to move forward to go inside, Google deposits you outside the front door on the other side of the building, right where you would come out if you walked through.

There are a few other minor changes, the terra cotta tile is gone from the Adventureland building, replaced by wood shingles. And on the other side, at the dining patio, the old photos showed an arched window on the Stage Door cafe which is now gone.

Agree, Chuck has an amazing memory about Disney things. He is part of my thesis about Disneyland; so many people have had so much fun here, that the good memories have saturated the very physical elements or the collective subconscious of the place, like Jung's collective memory. Disneyland is really "hallowed ground" in a way.

But, I'm just blathering now.


Nanook said...

@ The Magic Ears Dudebro-
Everyone's on a 'first name basis' in the Old West - hence the perfect fit for Oscar Mayer-!


Hey guys- I actually worked on the Haunted Mansion Restaurant project for Walt Disney World. This was part of a greater NEW Frontierland and New Liberty Square project that was to follow the New Fantasyland. The Mansion Restaurant was actually NOT part of the attraction’s exit but a separate structure to the left of the Mansion. The exterior was actually a facade of a crypt - moseleum - complex As well as a relocated cemetery. This was located in a planned re-routing of the Rivers if America where there would no longer be any river attractions. The Mansion restaurant was a massive complex that was actually a TWO restaurant complex - shared by a single big kitchen and support facility. The other restaurant faced Frontierland ; “Woody’s Wagon Camp BBQ” this was themed to Be inside night time “ all day” covered wagon camp around a stage and campfire ( greatly inspired by Knott’s Berry Farm) this restaurant complex would connect Frontierland to Liberty Square’ s North section where water is now.

We built about 6 models featuring variations of the Haunted Mansion restaurant, one model even featured a functional “lightning” effect in the Grand Ballroom seating area. the restaurant was two levels and all the seating dining areas were themed to different rooms in the mansion - some you would be very familiar with and several that were newly created rooms. All the rooms had haunting effects that would randomly occur abs each was home to a special specific “ghost” that would interact with dinners.

This project was active between 2009-2011. This Magic Kingdom expansion was actually killed but the decision to do Avatar-land at Animal Kingdom. Another Big attraction that was killed was a new Viking Adventure attraction for Norway at EPCOT - killed off just before production phase replaced with the FROZEN theme.

An interesting design feature of the inbuilt NEW Frontierland/Liberty Square was that the Frontierland would also connect to Liberty Square near the Haunted Mansion via a replica of the covered colonial bridge from the annimated Headless Horseman - Ichabod Crane film. It was planed that a live actor playing the headless horseman would sonetimes greet guests at night crossing the bridge!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’ve been watching various YouTube videos about early color films, it’s been interesting! Eastman House videos and such. So fascinating. I will accept “cyan” as the official color!

JG, I totally get that it can be hard to visit GDB every day, especially when you have a job and a family and just other stuff to fill your day. I appreciate you coming by when you can! I am OK on the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay of the Haunted Mansion, I just wish it wasn’t there for FIVE MONTHS of the year. I’ve mentioned before, my last handful of trips to the park were always around the holidays, I can’t even remember the last time I saw the regular HM. I wonder what they could do for a Haunted Mansion-related restaurant that was not overtly “haunted”, but maybe just a little spooky?

The Magic Ears Dudebro, yeah, seeing Oscar Meyer’s name there kind of takes one out of the theme, but what can you do…

stu29573, oy vey, then I’m glad it wasn’t done. Not sure if they have room slightly away from Florida’s Mansion, but I really don’t care for the idea of a restaurant (and gift shop, I’ll wager) butted right up against that beautiful building. Maybe cooler heads prevailed for once!

Melissa, As a kid we learned about color-blindness, and I was always a little jealous of the kids who had some form of it. “How does the world look to them?”. Of course that was stupid, but… hey I was a kid.

JG, I actually thought that Google Maps would let you go in some of the shops, but I guess “some” is the key word there. I would have been more surprised if the DID let us go inside, though it would have been cool. Everybody here remembers so much of their childhood visits to the park, while I only remember random flashes.

Nanook, Sheriff Oscar loved a good hot dog.

stu29573 said...

Wow. Killed by a project that I have hated from day one... Now the hatred! Thanks for the insight!

Chuck said...

Andrew, so am I. I didn't realize how weird I was until I was in my 30s.

JG, I like your thesis a lot. And I think it's part of what draws people here every day.

Mike Cozart, interesting concept. It sounds like it would have been an amazing restaurant complex, but I can't say I'm enamored of the idea of no river attractions at all. I understand that all that's left of the once-mighty clockwise flotilla is the Liberty Belle steamboat, but I'd hate to see that disappear, too. I'm also not a fan of the idea of being able to walk all the way around TSI - it makes it feel like the lake that it is rather than a chunk of wilderness just around the riverbend. The same thing happened at Cedar Point in 1978 and their riverboat ride was never the same.

Were they going to continue rafting over to TSI or looking at building bridges similar to Adventure Isle at Disneyland Paris?

stu29573 said...

Ok, I totally don't like the ideas for the river. I guess in the long run we dodged a bullet. Still, it would have been nice to have the restaurant...

Melissa said...

I'd rather have a dedicated Sleepy Hollow restaurant (in addition to the existing waffle stand, of course). It could be themed to van Tassel's harvest banquet, maybe with some subtle spooky effects. But I guess it's easy to be an armchair Imagineer.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, thank you for yet another amazing comment filled with great information! It’s so cool to hear it from somebody who witnessed it all first hand. I do remember you mentioning that there had once been a plan to do away with the attractions in WDW’s Rivers of America (and maybe even do away with the river itself??), which would have been terrible. It is always intriguing to hear about any concept that was eventually scuttled - maybe the thing would have been incredible! But I guess we’ll never know. The “Woody’s Wagon Camp” sounds fun just because I automatically like the “always nighttime” interiors (like the Blue Bayou). A western campfire theme sounds fun. Do you know if there are any photos out there of the models that were built for the Haunted Mansion restaurant? Or any good concept art? It seems like it’s the same old story - one good ride (or restaurant) concept is sacrificed so that the budget can go toward another. Avatar Land looks kind of neat, but I have ZERO emotional investment in the world of Avatar, even if it is full of cool stuff. Even Carsland is more appealing to me on so many levels. The covered bridge with the Headless Horseman sounds so cool. Imagine that area around Halloween! THANK YOU again for such great info.

stu29573, ever since they announced the Avatar thing, I was baffled. Will it stand the test of time? Will James Cameron ever finish any of the sequels (what, five of them?)?

Chuck, it’s funny, at some point (high school I think) I knew it was nerdy and not popular to like Disneyland and Disney history, but by that time I just figured I didn’t care, I liked what I liked. Even my siblings didn’t share my interest - none of them look at my blog, except for maybe once in a blue moon when they’re bored! Like you, I would hate to see the Magic Kingdom’s “Rivers of America” get filled in, and the steamboat removed. Tom Sawyer Island is such a “Walt” attraction, and I would hate for it to fall victim to the latest fad or intellectual property.

stu29573, I worry that if they had those concepts for WDW, they might have them on the shelf for Disneyland’s future. Noooooo!


CHUCK: there would have been NO river or river attractions as we known them. There would have been an “implied “ river and a attraction with a river theme based on the Country Bears “other relatives” . In fact the Country Bear show in Florida was intentional shortened to make space for two new songs that tied in the new River-Run Bear attraction with the country bears - the main song being “THE FURfields & The McLaws’ Ballad”. The river run attraction made use of many of the orphaned AA bears from Disneyland. The Liberty Belle would have become a static seating space for area food vendors. The removal of Florida’s Rivers of America had been in many plans dating to the 1990’s. A Frontierland redo prior to the 2009 version kept a river with no water traffic and kept an Island ..... a fort with a kinda or open horse “merry go - round “ was located inside and Aunt Polly’s remained ....the rest of the Island was all Indian / Native American themed and nothing else remaining from the Tom Sawyer theme other than Aunt Pollys. Aces to the “island” was by cave and suspension bridge. That concept I didn’t work on - in fact many elements of that model were canabalized and reused on the 2009-2011 project I was on.

The paved over area of the former Rivers of America connecting Frontierland to Liberty Square was the large building that housed a new indoor ride/attraction, the Wagon Camp restaurant and the Haunted Mansion restaurant.

While it can be exciting to work on these projects often it is difficult because you are literally erasing things you love.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Wow! Interesting info and lots-o-laughs today - thank you!

Chuck said...

Major Pepperidge sent me this link he stumbled on on the Interwebs. It is the exact same design as my cherished, long-lost belt. It was like seeing an old friend.

Thanks again, Major!