Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Bear Country and More, 1960s

Here are two nice photos from sometime in the 1960s (from different lots). First up is this familiar view from a Nature's Wonderland train as it crossed the rickety trestle over Bear Country. It seems like I used to find pictures of this scene fairly regularly, but now it feels like it's been years since I've posted one. Thank goodness the water is so turbid, I have it on good authority that those bears aren't wearing swim trunks. "Nature's Wonderland" indeed!

This next one was shot on a gray winter (?) day, long sleeves on everybody in the canoe, so the temperatures must have dropped to a bone-chilling 62 degrees or so. We can see the skeleton of the Mark Twain through the trees, and the waterfalls on Cascade Peak have been turned off. Notice the mysterious little doorway behind where the big fall would be! Walt’s other apartment? I wonder if it was time to repaint Cascade Peak? Some parts of it look as if the color has been removed (sandblasted), or as if it has been re-primed.


K. Martinez said...

I do remember when you posted quite a bit of "Nature's Wonderland" back in th day. Today is a special treat for sure. I always enjoyed crossing that trestle on the Mine Train seeing Disneyland's original Bear Country. There was never a boring section on this ride. Always something to get your attention. Cascade Peak looks sad and dry.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Thank goodness those bears in the background are in heavy shade. They're bearly wearing anything.

Unless I'm looking at the wrong thing, I think that "mysterious doorway" is the shaded area underneath the NWRR train trestle that went behind Big Thunder (that was the name of that big fall, wasn't it?).

I agree with Ken - never a dull moment on this ride.

zach said...

Photo 2 makes me want to be 11 yrs old on the OG Tom Sawyer Island. If I don't bump my head I'm not having fun!

Turbid waters of DL are the best!

Thanks, Major


Anonymous said...

Can you bear a bare bear? Just barely.

Although, I find these photos of Nature's wonderland easy to bear. That old mountain is interesting even in a drought.

Disneyland was somehow more fun when the various pieces of the different lands and attractions interpenetrated like this. You could see the train from the riverboat, and the river from the train, whichever one you rode first made you want the other one next, and you could never see the whole of anything from anywhere.

I understand how so many of the new attractions have become isolated elements since they were conceived and built as single project additions, not as part of a whole land, and how hard it is to integrate a complex project into an operating whole, but something is lost in the process.

Thanks Major!


MRaymond said...

Someone get that bare bear a beer. Hamms?

Nanook said...

Poor Cascade Peak - it's looking very 'peaked'. That Indian War Canoe is sitting a bit low in the water. I think I'll stick to terra firma.

Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

No swim trunks, there's trouble bruin. Hey, it's pun Wednesday. In Montana, bears usually dress casual, tee shirts and flip flops, except when raiding your campsite, or as they call it, eating out. Then, it's formal dinner attire all the way.
I agree with JG, the lands were all well planned by Walt and the Imagineers. Today, it's thrills and flash over substance. I have no problem with adding new attractions, just expand the park, and leave my favorite stuff alone. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I’m not sure if there are just not as many “Nature’s Wonderland” slides out there lately, or if I am just not seeing them! The trestle crossing was definitely a highlight of that ride, just thinking about it makes me miss the attraction yet again.

Chuck, the little doorway that I spoke of is in the shaded area… it looks like a grown man would have to crawl through it. Why Walt would make the entrance to his other apartment so small, I’ll never know.

zach, 11 years old sounds just about right! The island felt big, and at that age there is enough energy to do everything. With enthusiasm!

JG, I agree that it was great the way rides seemed to be a real part of the whole area, the way Cascade Peak became a Frontierland landmark, or the way the Rocket Jets were fun even if you were just looking at them from far away. There’s certainly a lot less of that today (but still some). I guess it’s hard to change things (sometimes drastically) without sacrificing something.

MRaymond, that water doesn’t look “sky blue” to me!

Nanook, many photos of the canoes show it very low (uncomfortably low) in the water. There can’t be more than four or five inches of “birch bark” keeping the river out of the boat!

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, with Disneyland, puns come with the territory. For better or worse! My brother in law and niece went out on their motorcycles two weeks ago and saw two bears in San Luis Obispo, too close for comfort according to them. I've never seen a bear in California, as far as I can recall (not counting the zoo).

Anonymous said...

Loved going over the trestle. From my perspective, sitting on the tender, I could look down between the locomotive and tender and see the water below. There were a lot of fun locations on MTTNW from where I sat. In fact just about all of it. KS

"Lou and Sue" said...

Can you bear a bare bear? Just barely.
But bare bear butts?!?
Bad! Beastly bad!

I have no problem with adding new attractions, just expand the park, and leave my favorite stuff alone.
JC Shannon, I couldn't agree more!! The poor excuse that the younger generations need "new stuff" is ridiculous. They can grow up with some of the same attractions we did - and, therefore, fall in love with them, also! (I just felt like venting.)

JG, I agree with your comments about how all the rides/attractions overlapping made Disneyland more fun! Much more exciting with so much to see at one time and also to anticipate doing next! Awfully boring when each attraction stands alone.

Fun post, pictures and comments! Thank you, Major and all!

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, you definitely had a special perspective on that Mine Train! So jealous. At least you can look back and realize how lucky you were.

Lou and Sue, I would assume that part of the reason they couldn't "expand the park, and leave my favorite stuff alone" was that it took them a long time to acquire a lot of the land that is now Disney-owned. There were holdouts who didn't want to sell, at least in one case. Maybe they didn't even have the money until the high profit Eisner days. And the overlapping attractions was probably partly due to Disneyland's lack of spare acreage, but it's also what made it so impressive. The size and sprawl of WDW is also impressive, but they had no need to be clever about squeezing lots of stuff into a small area.

Anonymous said...

Major and Sue, I am sure that part of the loss of the overlapping and interpenetrating action was that most of the big examples of it were built all at once in a piece. Nature's Wonderland with the Mine Train, Mules and Wagons, Casey Junior and the Canal Boats in 1955; Submarines, Autopia, Monorail and Matterhorn in 1959; People Mover and New Tomorrowland in 1967, and Splash Mountain, Critter Country and the DLRR whenever that was built. Even Indiana Jones and the Jungle Cruise share a little bit with one another.

It is very difficult to do that kind of integration in construction without simultaneous planning, design and construction.

And some of our favorites have no, or very little integration with other attractions; Pirates, Haunted Mansion, the Fantasyland dark rides are all very much each "stand-alone". Partly by design, and partly since some were built at different times. I guess I feel the Nature's Wonderland loss more keenly since I wished that the Big Thunder coaster could have had the slower train mixed in somehow.


"Lou and Sue" said...

The size and sprawl of WDW is also impressive, but they had no need to be clever about squeezing lots of stuff into a small area.

Major, you are sooooo right(!)...but, with approximately 40 square miles of land to work with, someone at WDW decided to build Bay Lake Tower (hotel) practically on top of the Contemporary, as seen HERE. IMO, definitely NOT TOO CLEVER! The Contemporary always looked so cool standing out, alone. (This happened to be a topic of conversation, yesterday, at my house, so it came to mind when I read what you said, above, Major.)

JG, I hear you, but any new "lands" (areas) that Disney has built, that I've seen in the recent years, has lacked the exciting "overlapping" [of movement] of long ago, IMO. The only recent exception is the addition of the Skyliner in WDW - which, to me, feels a little like the original Skyway (on steroids)...a fun new "ride" (even if its main purpose is for transportation).

Chuck said...

Major, I see the door you are talking about. Not sure how I missed that before.

Sue, I guess it's been a minute since I paid close attention to what's going on with WDW hotels. That Bay Lake the words of an immortal, nameless sage, "they ruin everything!"