Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thursday June 24

Today I have a nice selection of miscellaneous photos, courtesy of the Dream Team - Irene, Bruce, and James. I've shared over 200 photos from them, and there are still around 100 photos left to share! 

Here's an interesting rock formation (or is it coral?) where guests could meet Ariel, the Little Mermaid herself. You could buy a little bag of sardines to throw to her! Since "The Little Mermaid" was released in 1989, I presume that this photo was from sometime around that time. The "throne" in the doorway reminds me of an operculum - a sort of trap door that snails can use to close their shell to keep vampires away. Please use the word "operculum" five times in casual conversation today. 

Did the doorway rotate? How did Ariel (with her fins and stuff) wind up in that seat? TokyoMagic! had footage of Ariel when she appeared at a different location that was more of a stage. And we recently got to see a photo of our friend JG when he sat on that throne! (I originally wrote this post long before JG shared that photo).

Ah, Cascade Peak, how we miss ye. Forsooth! I think this photo was taken around 1995, which means that the peak would stand for another three years or so. Even without the yellow mine trains circling it, Cascade Peak looks great. You can't have too many waterfalls, if you ask me.

I am assuming that this quartet is "Billy Hill and the Hillbillies", performing somewhere near the Golden Horseshoe. I never saw this group live, but heard recordings on a few podcasts and actually thought they were really good.

And finally (for today), how about this impressive look up at the towering Saturn V rocket that was part of the Rocket Jets attraction? Very striking against that deep blue sky! Let's light this candle.

Many thanks as always to the Dream Team, and especially Irene who was kind enough to share these photos with me!


TokyoMagic! said...

I seem to remember that there was a larger, more elaborate seat on the other side of that rotating shell, which Ariel would sit on. So when it rotated around, she was just "already there." After J.G. shared his photo, I was almost positive that I had either a photo of Ariel in this setting and/or video of her. I looked for both, and could find anything. If I do come across a photo or video footage, I will definitely share it. That other footage I previously shared of an Ariel "meet 'n greet," was taken on the Carnation Gardens stage.

We can see a single marmot, popping out of the "wrecked" train in that second pic. I'm sure it's "whistling at the pretty ladies"......over on Tom Sawyer Island.

Some of the hats on the Billy Hill group, look like the ones worn by Mushmouse and Punkinpuss.

Thank you for sharing these pics, Dream Team and Major P.!

TokyoMagic! said...

Correction.....make that, "couldn't find anything."


Two of today’s images are “salt in the wounds” . Cascade Peak and Rocket Jets. I was excited that a New Tomorrowland was underway in the 90’s but as the bad designs and low budget planning was revealed every visit was painful. Watching such Tomorrowland icons and attractions get ripped away and bulldozed. I have no problem really with change - but it should still be well planned and thought out design - and st a time Disney was greatly flush with money , cheapness should have never been a issue. “ THERE’S A GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL TOMORROW.......EXCEPT 1998!”

Chuck said...

I still think that shell looks better with JG and Sebastian sitting on it. It's too bad they tore out Skull Rock Cove - that would have been a perfect place for a JG meet-and-greet.

When did that scaffolding with the pulleys on it go up along the abandoned right-of-way of the NWRR? I remember it being there, but am just curious if that was an addition right after Big Thunder opened or was that later?

Mike, while the "failure" of EuroDisneyland gets the blame for the debiggening of Disney projects for the rest of the Eisner regime (and that's certainly a contributing factor), I think that the ultimate problem was that Disney corporate leadership was influenced by the same undercurrents as the larger American corporate culture, the acceptance of the idea that the purpose of a corporation is to create wealth for the shareholders, period. That laser focus on the bottom line - and the preservation of a certain profit threshold - came at the expense of the concept of reinvesting in the enterprise and creating value for the customer.

Under Walt, the company made decisions that were less successful, too, but it didn't create a climate of fear that prevented them from spending a lot of creative talent and money on things like the 1964 NYWF, which led to technological advances and expensive attractions like Pirates and the haunted Mansion that not only brought in customers but also increased customer appreciation - customer value - for the final product.

Of course, "value" is a subjective thing, and I guess if enough customers are still willing to pay over $1000 for a family day at a Disney Park and still feel like they are getting a good deal, maybe my own ideas of "value" don't amount for a hill of beans in this world or in the eyes of Disney corporate management. But I still feel like we missed out on something that could have been so much more.

And in all fairness, Eisner probably gets too much of the blame for the loss of what might have been. Previous post-Walt leadership teams axed the Western River Expedition, Discovery Bay, Dumbo's Circusland, another lift hill on Big Thunder to give the trains enough energy to go around Cascade Peak, etc. But in the '90s, the company still seemed too focused on enormous profits and not enough reinvestment.

I know I'm not directly responding to anything you said, but it's what your comment made me think about.

TokyoMagic! said...

Does everyone want to know the sad part about the first photo? The souvenir stand that had stood in that same spot for years, and had originally been the House of the Future's outdoor patio/gazebo, was torn down for Ariel's "meet 'n greet seat." :-(

Anonymous said...

The firsr picture actually has nothing to do with The Little Mermaid. It's a huge trap door spider lair! Many more went into Disneyland than came out that year...
Cascade Peak looks be-shortened by all the trees, but it's still much better than nothing.
I'm 99% sure I saw Billy Hill at WDW. Did they ever play there?
Of course, Major, you meant "Saturn V-esque." But yeah, it was very nice.
I always heard that Eisner's undoing was the loss of Frank Wells coupled with's belly flop. It seems after loosing the financial guidance of Wells, Eisner was terrified of spending any money at all...and it showed.
Thanks, Dream Team!

Melissa said...

Glorious pack of views today. The only think I can think of to point out that hasn’t already been said is that that is clearly Mr. Clean wearing a wig for an incognito day in the park, resting with Mrs. Clean and the little scrubbers and listening to the Hilbillies.

zach said...

Thanks, Dream Team and Major!

I can't say I ever saw Billy Hill but Gaston, behind the stroller, isn't impressed. But Pam Dawber is. Where's Mork?

Thanks, again


DrGoat said...

Dream Team, Appreciate you sharing your photos. I can't honestly say Ive ever seen Ariel's throne. Or I just don't remember it.
Where is it located in the Park?
Thanks Major and Irene, Bruce and James

JG said...

Wow, thanks Dream Team!

Ariels Throne looks just like I remember it. I see there were no velvet ropes or barriers, so my impulsive dash didn’t involve anything actually illicit.

Dr. Goat, this was in what used to be the garden of the House of the Future/Alpine Gardens. It is now called “ Pixie Hollow”, I think.

The Throne was on a turntable like the batmobile, so Ariel could be seated backstage in her fishtail suit and rotated into place without having helpers. The edge of the turntable is just visible in my photo (Thanks Major for doctoring that, the Yakuza are still stumped).

Tokyo, I think you are right, this is the “dull side” and the throne Ariel had was more decorated, I think her seat had armrests too. I hope you can find those pics.

I did see Billy Hill & friends once in the Golden Horseshoe on one later trip with our kids. It was a great show.

I miss Cascade Peak and the Rocket Jets. Major, you are right, the Rocket Jets would have better with waterfalls.


DrGoat said...

Thanks JG.

Grant said...

Excellent photos. The Dream Team rocks! Thanks guys!!

Pic three... whoever it is... dressing in period duds and wandering around with a fiddle, mando, geetar and doghouse... I want that gig!! (Even if I'm the guy dragging the bass around :)

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
I noticed 'Mr. Clean' posing behind the stroller. (Didn't his mother tell him crossing your arms is a sign of defensiveness-? How rude-!)

Thanks Dream Team.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I would imagine that a mermaid would need a larger chair (or throne), to allow for her tail. It’s just logical! I feel like I’ve seen at least one photo of Ariel sitting in this “photo spot”. I remember your footage of Ariel when she was at the Carnation Gardens! I think that marmot is peeking up in other photos, maybe his mechanics didn’t work so well? Hey, it happens to all of us. Nothing to be ashamed of. Mushmouse and Punkinpuss, two of the best cartoon names ever, ha ha.

TokyoMagic!, it’s too late, you can’t change it!

Mike Cozart, I was super excited for the new “New Tomorrowland” as well, and even thought that the Jules Vernification sounded intriguing. Steampunk is cool when done right. But it always felt dark and tacked on (aka “half-assed”), probably due to the lack of money that was spent to do it right (like they would have done at Tokyo Disneyland).

Chuck, you are so right, it would have been awesome to see Ariel (and Sebastian - but not that whiny Flounder) in Skull Rock Cove! I couldn’t tell you when that framework with the pulleys was added, or what it’s purpose was supposed to be. Executing fish by hanging? Disney is certainly all about the shareholders, and they’ve been very successful for years, but you’re right about the “climate of fear” that being entirely beholden to shareholders can bring. I’ve often thought about how the 1964 NYWF seemed to be one of the last times that U.S. companies had the wealth and the willingness to spend it for something as ephemeral as a World’s Fair. People looked at those massive exhibits, and thought, “What a waste” when they were torn down after two years, but think of the impact some of those exhibits had on millions of visitors. Meanwhile, I obviously consider (or used to consider) myself an extreme Disneyland fan, but the rising prices and crazy crowds have made me question whether I want to go back. I saw some recent photos on Facebook, and all I could think was, “Man, am I glad I’m not there!”. As for Eisner, I think he should shoulder plenty of the blame (see: the disaster that was DCA, where it felt like they were saying, “It doesn’t matter what cheap crap we give them, they’ll love it because it’s Disney!”). That doesn’t mean that the previous management was blameless, but Eisner made plenty of blunders as the years went on. The buck stopped with him, ultimately.

TokyoMagic!, I actually didn’t know exactly where that meet ’n greet was - while it would have been nice to have a relic that was related to the House of the Future, I can’t say I miss that souvenir stand a whole lot. But that’s just me!

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, trap door spiders, the coolest spiders of all! Or maybe wolf spiders are the coolest. Or tarantulas, they’re pretty cool! What were we talking about, again? You’re right, they should have removed or trimmed those trees that dwarfed Cascade Peak. Or planted bonsai trees around it! I can’t say for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Billy Hill and the Hillbillies performed in Florida. I forgot about the loss of Frank Wells, it really does seem like his death was a demarkation line of some kind. After he was gone, Eisner seemed kind of rudderless.

Melissa, Mr. Clean forgot that standing like that was a dead giveaway. That and the fact that he kept saying, “It’s me, Mr. Clean! You might not recognize me with this wig!”.

zach, are you saying that Mr. Clean is actually Gaston (or vice-versa)?? Where’s Pam Dawber? She was so cute.

DrGoat, TokyoMagic! says that the Ariel meet ’n greet was near where the old House of the Future used to be. I’m not sure I ever saw it either; if I did, it was probably sitting empty like in this photo, and I walked past it without paying it much attention.

JG, it sure doesn’t look like they were very concerned about keeping people away! It’s almost as if they expected people to sit there, either to have their photo taken (like you), or just to rest their feet. I’m glad to hear that Ariel’s side of the throne was more blingy, because this version is nicely designed (and reminiscent of the background layouts used in the film), but a princess should have a little more grandeur befitting her station. Rocket Jets with waterfalls would have been awesome!

DrGoat, I forgot all about Pixie Hollow.

Grant, ha ha, I guess there is something to be admired about wearing overalls (and interesting hats) to work. Maybe standup-bass guy got all the girls because they felt sorry for him.

Nanook, Mr. Clean looks tough, but he is actually very shy and insecure. Possibly a bed wetter.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, when Disney comes back to ask me to do my Character Meet-&-Greet, I will make a condition that I will only do it if they re-build Skull Rock Cove and have Sebastian as my sidekick.

The Yakuza will never find me there.


JG said...

After a quick Google search. I found this link to Yesterland.

Lots of great photos of Triton's Garden (as it was called), including some pics of the Throne; closed, open with Ariel on board, and in transition so you can see the rotation.

Her Throne is very elaborate, as you might expect. It really was kind of cute, and I remember my daughter enjoying the show, although too shy to go up and have a photo.

According to Yesterland, Triton was in residence for over 10 years, closing in 2008 just after I took over the meet-&-greet. Maybe that had something to do with it...

Yesterland says the statue of Triton was repurposed on the Little Mermaid ride in DCA, so waste not, want not.


DrGoat said...

Thanks again for that link JG. I guess I missed the whole thing. Haven't been to the park since 2013 or 2014.

Melissa said...

No one cleans like Gaston,
Scrubs latrines like Gaston,
And there’s no one as keen on hygiene as Gaston.
I spend all of my days decontaminating!
What a clean guy, that Gaston!

Irene said...

As always, you are more then welcome regarding the photos :)

I don't remember seeing that photo of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies in the album - if I had I might have kept it! - haha.

So, let's dive into the subject of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies - shall we? First of all Bruce and James were huge fans of this group. They watched them from the very beginning when they appeared as entertainment for people waiting in line over at Splash Mountain in Critter Country. This would be 1988 to 1990. They first performed at a show called Pigmania for State Fair Days that ran from 1986-1987. Disney liked them so much they were asked to stick around for the opening of Splash Mountain. For a couple of years they played up at the older version of the Thunder Ranch area where people sat on hay bales to listen to them and outside of the Golden Horseshoe on the streets. They moved into the Golden Horseshoe in 1992 to 2012 (with a break from 1999 to 2000 while Woody's Roundup played inside - it flopped and they brought the Billies back inside). For years Bruce would tell me I had to go see them perform but I was only going once a year with a young child who only wanted to go on rides, not sit and wait to watch a show. Finally when I got my first AP in 2009 (?) I started to watch their shows in the Golden Horseshoe. My question to myself was - why did I wait so long?!! I fell in love with them and watched several shows a day every time I went to the park. I made many friends in there who are still friends today and many of us have moved over to Knott's. So on Nov. 6, 2013 Disney gave the Billies their notice. Let me tell you on that day my Facebook and social media accounts blew up. We fans were all in shock. The Billies were an institution at Disneyland having performed there for well over 24 years. The last day of their performance (Jan. 6, 2014) up at Big Thunder was packed out for every single show. I was there for every single one of them. There was even an article in the OC Register with the title "The Day the Music Died" with a large color photo of Kirk Wall (lead singer) and the group behind him - I bet that didn't make the Disney powers that be very happy!!!! There were many petitions to encourage Disney to change their minds, but to no avail. Happy ending though. Before the end of that week the announcement came that the Billies had been hired to work at Knott's and they have been there ever since under the name Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (Disney owns the other name). They are very well treated there and can pretty much do what they want song wise. Many people from Disneyland followed them over to Knott's and sales of Season Passes there soared.

To answer the question about them being at WDW - the answer is no. At least not this group. Disney may have formed a similar group but this particularly group was never back there.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, you could always carry around a plush Sebastian wherever you go. Don’t say anything about him, just let people wonder.

JG, I have some photos of Triton’s Garden, also from the Dream Team - I guess I haven’t posted any of those yet (it gets hard to remember what I’ve actually shared versus what I’ve just looked at in my “scanned” folder). Thanks for the link, it was nice to see Ariel’s actual throne, rather than the “plain wrap” version in today’s photo.

DrGoat, isn’t it amazing? There was a time when I could not imagine NOT going to the park at least once a year.

Melissa, very nice!

Irene, I will happily return that photo (and any others) to you! Please say the word. I know you were (are) a big fan of Billy Hill/Krazy Kirk. I never saw them perform, sadly. I did see the “Woody’s Roundup” show in the Golden Horseshoe (the only GH show I’ve ever seen!), and it wasn’t terrible, but not exactly “required viewing” either. Years ago one of the many (at the time) Disneyland podcasts played a performance of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, it was better than I expected, and actually funny. Much to my surprise. I remember the outcry when Billy Hill and his HIllbillies got the boot at Disneyland, folks were genuinely baffled. They were so popular! I’m glad that it all had a happy ending, with the boys performing at Knott’s. Practically up the street! Thanks for the confirmation that they did NOT perform in FLorida.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
I'm quite confident this 'verse' was scrapped in the original film due to time constraints. But that doesn't in any way diminish its genius-!

Anonymous said...

Irene, now that I think about it, the instrumentation was very different although the look was the same. I remember a resonator guitar, washboard, and a...french horn???
Now I need to.find some footage of those guys, lol!


IRENE: did any of the members of “Billy Hill” ever perform solo shows at the Golden Horseshoe? I recall seeing a fiddle player several times do a one man show with a little bird! - there may have been a few “orchestra” musicians I recall a drummer too. Anyway the audience LOVED the show - it was part music- part comedy - part medicine show and the bird was hilarious sometimes sitting on the end of the fiddle’s bow. The highlight everyone waited for was to see the bird perform the Can-Can!! ( ok there was definitely a 3 piece orchestra) I cannot remember the birds name but the interaction between him ( or her) and the fiddle player was hilarious! Of course when the big moment came to see the bird perform the CAN - CAN , a bandanna or cloth was set up in front of the bird showing only his head above the cloth ( because he was so modest) the bird moved around doing some kind of motion to the music presumably doing the Can - Can!!! (With some help from the fiddle player )All times I saw this show the audience loved it! And when the bird performed the Can-Can people cried from laughing so hard.

Chuck said...

Irene, we loved catching Billy Hill & the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe during our APH year, '94-'95. I remember grudingly going to watch them, bitter about never having seen the Golden Horseshoe Revue, and being completely charmed. We were in the Park every other week, and we'd catch the show on every full day visit. We made a point of taking my then-91-year-old grandmother to see them on her only trip to the Park (this would be the same trip where she accidentally rode Splash Mountain) and she loved them, too.

I remember hearing that the Hillbillies had been given the pink slip from you here in the GDB comments section, and again getting the report from you that they had migrated to Knott's. Thank you for continuing to be such a loyal fan.

And I neglected to thank you and the rest of the Dream Team earlier! Thank you!

Irene said...

Mike - I don't remember nor have I ever heard of a real bird with a fiddle player. I do know there was a show in there before Billy Hill started. It replaced the original show but starred some of the people from it. The only person I know that worked in the Shoe and eventually used the live bird was Dana Daniels. He was and still is a very funny clean comedian and magician who uses a bird name Luigi in his acts. He has had at least 2 maybe 3 Luigi's over the years (he always has a backup in training just in case). Now perhaps one of his acts with Luigi involved the band and the fiddle player before he started his one man show. He is still going strong and is very, very funny.

Major - I don't need any photos back but it just made me laugh that I should miss that one! I still can't find the photos I kept that have Bruce in them!!!

"Lou and Sue" said...

In the first pic, I like the fact that PUSH gets equal-billing.
Question for someone very knowledgeable (Mike): Were/Are they ALL named PUSH?

Chuck, may I add that the $1000/day per family does NOT include hotel expenses. At Disneyland, you almost have to double that amount. (Disneyland's hotel prices are much higher than WDW's, sadly.) And we aren't including airfare to get there, for a lot of us. *sigh*

Under Walt, the company made decisions that were less successful, too, but it didn't create a climate of fear that prevented them from spending a lot of creative talent and money on things like the 1964 NYWF, which led to technological advances and expensive attractions like Pirates and the haunted Mansion that not only brought in customers but also increased customer appreciation - customer value - for the final product.
And these "expensive attractions" have remained most-everyone's top favorites and have stood the test of time! No need to tear them down. (In other words, I wholeheartedly agree with you, Chuck!)

Major, you mention "whiny Flounder"...but Dory's non-stop chattering drove me crazy. Dear lord! I saw both of those movies once, and that was enough, because of her!

Irene, thank you for all of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies info! I learned a lot today. (It's soooo good to "see you" more, lately!)

Mike, that can-can bird routine sounds like a lot of fun! I wish I had seen it.

ALL fun pictures, but that last one is soooo unique! Thank you Irene and Dream Team!

Operculum operculum operculum operculum operculum, and thank you, Major!

Irene said...

Chuck - do you remember how Kirk would do his Elvis impression with the toilet paper around his neck? I wonder if he ever passed the toilet paper scarf to your grandmother. That was a very funny routine along with Puddle Prance. Puddle Prance is no longer done and though when they were first at Knott's he did the routine, he no longer does.


It was The Golden Horseshoe Variety Show and the parrot’s name was Luigi!! There was a piano player and a drummer. I guess Luigi was suppose to be Psychic. That is the show you describe. It would have been around the 2000-2003 period . That build up to Luigi doing the Can-Can makes me laugh just remembering it. One time I was laughing so hard my contact popped out!

SUE: some of the cans are named WASTE PLEASE. There’s a myth about the Disneyland trash cans that Disneyland itself tells and is very not true. That Walt Disney designed those trashcans to have swinging doors on them to prevent squirrels from climbing in and retrieving trash. I not sure who or when Disneyland began to speed this story but it’s very untrue. The model trash cans Disneyland uses were first created in the 1930’s for use on ocean liners. The doors were on the models back then. Eventually the company began offering them for sale to cities and municipalities. The door option is called a “rocking guard” Door for ship versions and later called a “ squirrel guard” door . Walt May have told someone to ORDER the cans with the doors .... but they were not something he created and were in use about 25 years before there was a Disneyland.

The Disney park trash cans were the model C type produced by the Miller Engineering company - later the manufacturing went to the LIT-O-GARD RECEPTICAL Company. Originally made of steal the company switched to aluminum in the late 1960’s. While people associate them with Disney parks , they can be found in use all over the world. The same model C was produced from the 1930’s into the 2010 period when the company went out of business . The model C is available again by another manufacturer and is called the THEME PARK MODEL. Disneyland is already using the newer versions - you can tell the new ones as they use no rivets on the trim. If you wish to buy one be prepared- a unpainted model C new runs about 550.00 : not including freight. And they don’t normally sell just one.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, thanks for talking trash!
Just curious, do you know if any CM's ever "walked off" with one?


SUE: I think several have been “saved” over time , but Disney used to sell them to company employees at property control sales at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World . I remember as late as 1999 WDW was selling lots of 1971 vintage cans .... they were about 50.00 each - however you had to arrange pick up yourself (ie : you had to take it with you) and we had no rental car - and no way to arrange anything In Such short noticed before flying back to California.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, did you “save” any??
Nowadays, $50 will only buy you a little trash can ornament.


I have a Disneyland “Matterhorn Area” can ( the mint green with dark green and white trim - the design with the 3 swiss hearts) but I bought mine from Disney thru their Disneyauctioniers they once held on EBAY in the early 2000’s. And I paid more than 50.00.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, that is so cool! Any idea what years it was in the Park?


Well probably mid 1970’s thru 1990’s. It has a certificate that reads “ Disneyland Matterhorn Waste Can Artifact” lol.

Chuck said...

Irene, I remember him doing an Elvis impersonation, but only vaguely remember the toilet paper scarf. My grandmother didn't get one. The gags that stand out most in my memory are the "prosthetic device" (goofy teeth) required to allow his "classically trained hands" to play hillbilly music and the complaint that they went to see the Country Bears' show every day but the Bears had not once come to their show. And one of the Billys wore a hat with colored lights when playing "Baroque Hoedown" from the Main Street Electrical Parade. Mostly I remember laughing - hard - every single show.

I loved the fact that he would make a point of making eye contact with as many people as he could during the performance, although I got the sense as we became "regulars" that there was a recognition factor that kicked in, and he looked our direction more frequently. Definitely a great group of showmen.

Melissa said...

I never thought I’d be jealous of somebody else’s garbage can!

JG said...

I have spotted the silver trashcan with the blue door that was used throughout Tomorrowland in several places on our travels, but cannot remember any specific locations. One fun pastime is to try to count the cans visible in any given Main Street photo. Seems like there was one every 10-12 feet.

Great story, Mike. Thank you, and like Melissa, I am happy you have that certified can.

Major, perhaps I will get a little Sebastian lapel pin instead.