Thursday, February 04, 2021

Monorail and Motor Boats, January 1961

I have a few photos from an overcast day in January of 1961. The sun manages to shine brightly on January 1st for the Rose Parade, but after that it just doesn't care. 

Sure, we've seen plenty of photos of the Monorail zipping over the Submarine Lagoon, but I can't say I get tired of the view. This is the cute li'l 3-car Mark I Monorail, the Mark II four-car trains would be introduced soon (the track was being extended to the Disneyland Hotel).  

Next is this nice Skyway vista looking down on Fantasyland. We get another good view of the Mark I Monorail, as well as the load area for the Motor Boat Cruise, and the small covered queue area for the Midget Autopia to our left.

Who doesn't love a zoom-in? I love the little ticket/information booth, the striped trash can, and even the striped benches!


"Lou and Sue" said...

In the 2nd photo, if you look closely by the blue and white striped umbrella (right side of photo), you'll see a person making a bold fashion statement with their flaming red socks! Not many people can "pull that off"...maybe Elvis or our Major, but that's about it.
Even the bench, that's a little farther down in the photo, is making a bold statement with a unique pattern and style.

Thanks, Major - we always love seeing Mono-bluie!

TokyoMagic! said...

These are both quite nice, Major!

I wonder if anyone ever rings the bell in the steeple, above the Matterhorn queue?

In the second pic, we can see a long (wooden?) fence, just on the other side of the 5 freeway. There was a trailer park on the other side of that fence, which existed up until the early to mid-1980s. I think we can see at least one trailer in the photo.

Anonymous said...

I like this view of the Motorboats. Even though it doesn't show much, it shows enough to make the ride look more interesting than it actually was. Of course as a kid I would have loved it, since being in any kind of small floating boat was a thrill to me! (Ok, I still kind of have that feeling)
I can almost ID the copper colored car on the 5. If I were to guess (which I am, of course) I'd say a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, but in all honesty it could just as easily be a 1954 Ford Customline. I'm sure someone can correctly identify it!
Great pics!

DrGoat said...

First photo is a doozy. Have seen a lot from that angle with the Mark I (and II etc.), but never get tired of them.
Nice shot of old number 5. The freeway we used to come in on when we came to the Park from Tucson. Both my sister and I would be on the look out for anything Disneyland as we barreled in on the 5. We had only been to the park twice before they built the Matterhorn, but as soon as that went up, it was the thing we looked out for. When that was in sight, the level of kid excitement really set in. The old Chevy Nomad was a buzz with Disneyland mania.
Lou & Sue, Those could be ruby slippers. If anybody is going to wear them, it would be in Disneyland.
Thanks Major.

Stefano said...

Thanks Major, the lower right of these photos show that sudden twist in the Monorail track, my favorite part of the ride. The trains wriggled a little, fun if you were on them or just watching from below. The layout was like a last minute decision had been made to bring the trains closer to the Matterhorn.

zach said...

Love the Caddie lenses on the Monorail.

Such iconic attractions. Thanks, Major


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, man, those red socks are pretty sweet. I don’t know if I would have the courage to wear them, but they look good on that woman. I could see Elvis wearing red socks, maybe with a nice silver suit.

TokyoMagic!, my guess is that the bell in that steeple is strictly decorative, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Maybe the steeple serves another function, as a cleverly disguised antenna or something? Thanks for pointing out the trailer park… is that were the KOA was?

Stu29573, as a kid I admit that I found the Motorboats to be a bit dull, but looking at photos of them today, I’d give anything to enjoy a relaxing trip through the waters of Fantasyland (and Tomorrowland?), putt-putting at 3 miles an hour, not having to steer or anything. If you can ID a car at this distance, I am impressed! Maybe between you and Nanook there will be a consensus.

DrGoat, yeah, I assume that the photographer was standing near a Kodak “Picture Spot” sign, and that’s why we have so many photos of the Monorail over the Sub Lagoon that are so similar. I know that there were a few billboards along the freeway to announce that you were getting closer and closer to Disneyland, that was probably enough for most kids to get excited. But of course there was nothing quite like seeing the Matterhorn from the car!

Stefano, that sudden twist really is pretty extreme, I’m almost surprised that the Monorail could navigate a turn like that. But obviously it could, for many years. I wonder if you are right about the layout being changed so that the track was closer to the Matterhorn? There are photos of the Monorail zipping past the mountain that are pretty impressive.

zach, I think it’s amazing that those Cadillac lenses were so big that they even worked on a rather good-sized train of the future, no special versions needed!

Anonymous said...

In the second photo (and zoom), the monorail is just crossing the switch to the monorail barn. Before the Mk II's, the barn was just big enough to shelter one train, while the second train would park overnight at the Tomorrowland station.

JC Shannon said...

Wow, it took me 10 minutes and a half a cup of coffee to find red socks guy. Someone has been eating their carrots. Major can indeed pull off the red sock look, and the occasional sequined dinner jacket. I love the fins on the Mark I as well. I can't decide which color Monorail I like the best, but ol blue sure makes a statement. Great photos today Major, thanks.

Nanook said...

@ Stu29573-

That's an Ultim Parvo (a foreign job). Actually, both of your guesses is exactly what I was thinking - with a bit of a nod toward a Ford; as it "appears" the front end 'may' be at a slight slant - which would indicate a Ford product from those years.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nanook! I am now quite impressed with myself, lol!

Anonymous said...

I loved the motor boats. Here's to more quiet, relaxing rides in the Park.

Mark I monorails with the Cadillac taillights were the best, even though the longer trains were more impressive. The taillights and the Santa Fe logo made it feel like the the present would extend into the future.

The first photo disoriented me, I'm not used to seeing the Bobsled Chalet without the Matterhorn. I figured it out after a moment.

There is a second red sock wearer at the base of the Motor Boat sign.

The Matterhorn steeple bell now rings at feeding time for the Yeti.

Thanks Major, these are good pictures today.


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I meant to point out that that little trailer park was located on the corner of Ball and Harbor Blvd. It was more of a "residential" type of trailer park, rather than a "stay for a few nights" type of park. There might have been some mobile homes in there, too. The KOA was located on West St. Today, part of the Mickey and Friends parking structure sits on the former KOA property.

Hi Stefano! How have you been?

Omnispace said...

Yes, I remember seeing a similar pic of the Monorail recently - perhaps from the base of the monorail exit Speedramp or the Submarine boarding? What I noticed last time, and evident here, is the transition from the rock work edging the lagoon to the contemporary concrete wall. It works for me.

I think the Santa Fe RR logo on the side of seems a bit anachronistic on the side of a sleek monorail, but who am I to say. Many companies modernize their logo over the years, and yet logos like GE's seems timeless.

Interesting to see in the second photo the beginnings of the meager path that would one day be expanded to "it's a small world" and eventually become a parade corridor. I remember seeing it "snow" for the first time along that route during a Christmas parade.

The Motor Boat Cruise might have been a lot more popular if they gave you a Skipper Cap and a pipe for the journey.

Stefano, Thanks for explaining the offset in the monorail beam. To me it looked like it gained elevation at that point.

Overall, in these pics the Monorail layout looks like one if the best "toy sets" ever!

Major Pepperidge said...

Anonymous, interesting, I sure didn’t know that they parked one of the Monorail trains at Tomorrowland station!

Jonathan, I hope the search for the red socks was worth it! Sometimes I have trouble finding things that commenters refer to, so don’t feel bad. I’ve never had a sequined jacket, but in the 80s I did have a jacket that was sort of silky, it looked blue mostly, but then highlights would look red in certain light. I thought it was the coolest thing at the time!

Nanook, HOW can you tell what that car is?? It’s mostly a blob!

Stu29573, ME TOO.

JG, I love the Mark I Monorails, but it was a shame when the Cadillac taillights went away. I guess that by the early ‘60s, things like big tail fins and pointy taillights were falling out of fashion in cars. I like the idea of the steeple ringing for the Yeti’s feeding time! They could get a guy in a costume. Named Major Pepperidge. And pay him lots of money.

TokyoMagic!, ah OK, thanks; I did think that t he KOA was on the other side of the park, but was not entirely sure. I didn’t really know that the Mickey and Friends parking lot was built right on the old KOA lot!

Omnispace, I wish I knew which photo you were referring to, but there are too many for me to remember. And of course you might not have seen it here! I agree about the Santa Fe logo looking out of place, but they did have a deal with Disney to have their logo on all of the trains (even the Viewliner), so Disney has nobody to blame but themselves. As for logos, so often the updated version is a bland disappointment compared to the original. See: the Budweiser logo and the Chicken of the Sea logo. I can’t help wondering how the Motorboat Cruise might have been altered had it survived until now. You can bet that they would have done something to try to jazz it up. Bikini girls? I mean, that’s MY idea, maybe others have better ones.

Anonymous said...

Misinformed - The monorail barn before the track extension to the hotel did in fact hold two trains. In addition to the switch on the main line, there was a second switch at the entrance to the barn. Oops.