Thursday, October 21, 2021

Tomorrowland at Dusk, 1980s

I am generally of the opinion that the older a Disneyland photo is, the better. But there are certainly many exceptions to that rule - mere age is not a guarantee of quality or significance. Like today's examples, for instance! They are from the 1980s (undated, but that is my best guess), but because the photos were taken at dusk, we are given the opportunity to see some really lovely views of Tomorrowland.

Feast your eyes on this one, my homies! We've got the Rocket Jets flying high, with their atomic-powered headlights searching for meteors or UFOs or errant space junk. The Matterhorn somehow looks even more realistic in this light, framed by a couple of palm trees (just like in Switzerland!). Lower down are signs for the PeopleMover, and even a glimpse of one of the Mary Blair murals. 

Whee-doggies! Here's another beauty. I've said it before, but it's always a little shocking to see Space Mountain when I've looked at so many photos from before that existed. You are all as aware of the other features as I am (probably more so), so I'll just shut up and let you enjoy.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, these are terrific! Beautiful time to be at Disneyland.

Do I see some performers 'on stage'?

Thanks, Major!

Nanook said...

Gotta love that sunset lighting. What a great time to be in the Park.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Wow, such beautiful images today, Major. Thank you. They look like they were taken from Mars!

As Lou and Sue noted, in the 2nd photo, the Tomorrowland stage is in its full and upright position. I wonder who's playing?

- Jar jar Binks (Me-sa tink dis-sa scariest name of all!)

TokyoMagic! said...

I love how it isn't completely dark yet, but both PeopleMover signs are lit up, as well as the "headlights" on the Rocket Jets.

If it's the 1980s, that band at the Tomorrowland Terrace could be Pizzazz, Krash, Gazelle, Airplay, or Choice.

JB, that IS the scariest name of all!

- Tokyo Milk (but a sour/spoiled milk!)

Bu said...

Always the best time of day...especially during off season as it was the beginning of....going home for the day :) At least for us daytime people...for the graveyard people it meant something else. Spinning around on rockets that high up with absolutely no safety device seems a bit sketchy in today's world...but it was great back then! Given the small swatch of fabric I can see in the costumes on the Tomorrowland Terrace Stage I have to speculate it was Gazelle...lots of pinks and oranges. I think Sunshine Balloon was before this could be them too. Love the power lines in the parking lot. When you saw the power lines from a distance it meant "we are getting closer!". Side note, have been in Orlando on business the past few days. I entertained "a return". Since I couldn't handle the airport and the "World of Disney" gift shop there... I don't think it would have went well. I abstained and I think I'm better for it :) Lots of kids who seemed to have eaten bags of C and H sugar...that airport security is quite the scene...and Jack Wagner has been retired from the little train to get you to the main terminal from the gates. That probably happened a lonnngggggg time ago....

Stefano said...

Thanks Major, it's a rose colored future here. The Matterhorn has that genuine Alpenglow, just as it looks more real after a rain, fresh and gleaming. There is sort of an attraction mashup in the first pic, it looks like Rocket Jets are racing down the icy slopes. Better than Star Wars, anyway.

JG said...

Major, it’s hard to imagine any better photos to start the day.

Of course, back then, I couldn’t imagine they would wreck all this either.

Notice how the central rocket’s boosters have nose lights too, aiming up and out, where we hoped to be headed.

Thank you very much!


"Lou and Sue" said...

It appears the Skyway ‘buckets’ are roosting for the night. All settled down to go to sleep.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, it does look like somebody is performing… maybe “Sunshine Balloon”? That’s my favorite name of all those Tomorrowland bands.

Nanook, yep, I sure want to step into these pictures!

JB, I can neither confirm nor deny that these photos were taken from Mars. It’s classified.

TokyoMagic!, I’ve noticed in other pictures (from years ago) that they turned the lights on long before it got dark, presumably so that there would be no chance of guests wandering around, bumping into things. Plus it just looked good too. Did all of those bands eventually play at “Videopolis”?

Bu, some people might argue that nighttime is the best time at Disneyland, but there is something about this transition period when there is still a glow in the sky, but all the lights have come on. Really special. Did the park tend to have “day shifts” and “night shifts”? I kind of thought that groups would come in (and others would leave) all through the day. Guess that doesn’t make much sense, good thing I’m not running a theme park. Also, didn’t the Rocket Jets at least have a nylon seatbelt? Better than no safety device at all I suppose. It might have been interesting to go to WDW right now, but as you said, you might be better off for not going.

Stefano, whoever took these pictures used a whole roll of film to capture the park at dusk, they clearly were enamored of the way everything looked. I love the “mashup” that you noticed!

JG, I hate to go so far as to say that they wrecked everything, but we sure have lost a lot. I used to see people on Facebook who went to the park every week (I can’t even imagine), and they still loved everything about it. Good for them. Good eye on the rocket’s booster lights . gotta avoid those asteroids.

Lou and Sue, there are two Skyway gondolas visible in the Matterhorn’s nostrils in the first picture! I think that the cables just ran in a direction where that ride wasn’t super visible from the angle of these photos.

Kel said...

I miss THIS place. After a small break at the hotel pool, I'd be heading back into the parks around this time, because we knew how special Disneyland was at night. It had a completely different feel and some of the best lighting I'd ever seen.

The feel transferred to the rides and made them almost a completely different experience. Going on the jungle cruise went from a fun cruise through the jungle to potential unseen dangers. Riding Pirates set at night, felt different and less jarring when you left since the time of day now matched. Haunted Mansion gave you an extra spook factor while approaching the mansion. Even Harold's roar from the Matterhorn seemed more menacing.

Let's not forget wearing a glow in the dark necklace around the park and your captain EO visor with flashing lights would make you one of the coolest kids there!

When VR is ready enough, I'll be plugging in to this age of the park. Thanks for the pictures!

-Killer Kel (muahahahaha!)

"Lou and Sue" said...

Hey, Killer Kel, I couldn't agree with you more, regarding the nighttime at Disneyland. Well said! (You need to stop by here, more often, btw.)

Major, yesterday you mentioned I should watch Captain EO on YouTube and report back, if I did. I watched it for the first time, this morning, and here's my report:

It's great for little kids, and definitely on their level. Silly characters, squeaky voices, simple and corny plot, and lots of movement. Hooter should've been named Tooter.

Just like Nanook mentioned, this audience also chuckled at the lame, "We're going in." Probably more out of disbelief.

This 18-minute video was very difficult to sit through all at once. Thank goodness for a few very welcomed distractions - texts with some cool pictures from a friend, plus I also had some laundry to fold.

I didn't see Captain EO at The Parks because I'm not a fan of MJ. But, even if I was a fan, I would've been very disappointed. No one's talent was maximized in this endeavor.

Bu, were you actually sitting in the show, when MJ was there?

In a nutshell: Captain EO is the children's version of The Alien Encounter. (Though The Alien Encounter IS in my top 10 favorite attractions.)

Bu said...

As bizarro world and unbelivable as it may sound...yes...I have been in the EO theatre when MJJ was in was a very "curated" audience. There was more than one instance as well. MJJ had a "Disneyland thing" in the 1980's as probably everyone he was frequently around...his bodyguard/man friday/chauffer/ etc. was also very strangely Marlon Brando's son Miko. I think this is all public knowledge. He would also bring many friends with him...or random neighbors and was very very distracting to the overall "show" once the press got a hold of things, and sneaky photographers came to take photos. Paparazzi are not allowed. Once the guests figured it out (or went looking for it), all Hell broke loose. Then he started wearing a surgical mask...and then things got worse...and then it was a worse. I'm sure all of the '80's employees have a story to tell about Micheal Jackson. I have a few as well...nothing too exciting. He himself was not an exciting persona when not performing- a man of very very very few words. Then something happened with some legal something and he got barred from anything free or "special". Then it all changed back again. Both MJJ and Mr. Eisner I suppose were fickle and we just did as we were told.

DrGoat said...

Beautiful photos of a special place and a special time. The 80s were a great decade for the most part. I remember having a ball in the 80s. Lots of laughs, events, marriages and lots of trips to the park.
Thanks Major

Major Pepperidge said...

Kel, ah, you were one of those lucky people who got to take a break during the day and go back to the hotel! I was always jealous. But… it never worked out. I’ve mentioned before that there are some rides that I always wanted to do twice, once in daylight, and again after dark. The Mark Twain at night was one of my FAVORITE Disneyland experiences, and once Fantasmic! became a thing, it was mostly unavailable (though I did do it once when Fantasmic was being redone). And the Jungle Cruise at night is great too. You make good points about the Haunted Mansion and “Pirates” being different experiences, even though they are indoor dark rides. Do you still have your Captain EO visor?

Lou and Sue, I’m fine with a movie being good for little kids, but I also feel like there is a way to make movies that appeal to kids on one level, and adults on another. “Captain EO” doesn’t manage to do that. I guess they were counting on the magic of Michael Jackson to shepherd grownups through, but (sorry) his acting is just too bad. “Cool pictures from friends”, ha ha! I can’t deny that MJ was a talented singer/songwriter/dancer, and I do like some of his songs. But I can’t count myself as a “fan”. Oh, I didn’t know you saw “Alien Encounter”! I love the thought of a truly scary Disney attraction!

Bu, I feel like MJ was so affected by his lifetime of superstardom (starting when he was a little kid), and by his abusive father. I guess it isn’t a surprise that he was not as “normal” as we might have hoped. It’s too bad he didn’t have a support system to be there when things got bad and to keep him moored. I know somebody who had a direct and lengthy encounter with MJ, and let’s just say that his behavior left me feeling very negative after hearing about it. Again, I do have sympathy for him up to a point. Maybe when you reach that level of stardom, there’s never going to be anybody to sit you down to have a word - and would he have listened anyway? Kind of like Elvis toward the end.

DrGoat, GREAT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Looking back, the 80s were pretty great, though I’m not sure I realized it at the time. Maybe it’s the “rose-colored lenses” phenomenon.

Melissa said...

Heavenly shades of night are falling; it’s twilight time. Twice in my life I’ve had the good fortune to live in the eastern shore of a lake, and enjoy some amazing sunsets. I’ve done a bunch of shows at an outdoor theater that had even better views of the lakeside sunsets, and sometimes they’d schedule shows so intermission would be right at sunset. The owner/artistic director would come out onstage, ask the audience to turn around and look, and say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the light show is included in the price of your ticket.”

Something as natural as a sunset looks even more spectacular juxtaposed with the rockets and futuristic architecture of Tomorrowland.

Sue, loved your review of the Captain EO movie. Now I’ve got “We are here to change the world” stuck in my head. The “story” and “acting” are really just there to set up the musical numbers.

Nanook said...

@ Bu-
I experienced a MJ "sighting". Probably back in the late 1980's/early '90's, at the Pasadena Convention Center during a 'collectors show' of some sort. I knew a few sellers there, who mentioned that he was supposed to be in attendance (incognito, naturally). While walking through the hall, I had forgotten all about it, but took notice of a lone chair, facing towards the visitors' side of the display booths. It was occupied by a man, dressed in an oversized baseball jacket, baseball cap, and wearing a pair of dark glasses. Bingo. I think few people figured out it was him, and certainly he was not being bothered by anyone, and merely interacting with the dealer whose booth he was at. Undoubtedly his bodyguard wasn't far away, but I didn't spot him.

That sort of life can't be fun for very long - if at all.

JG said...

Dr. Goat! Good to hear from you!

Hope your wife is feeling better. Give her my best.



That pinkish - orange California sunset looks dramatic against the white Rocket Jet tower and the mostly white architecture of Tomorrowland. ( well actually color DL TECH 16 ) growing up I have some strong memories of Disneyland “ after dark” but the majority of my childhood visits we left the park around dusk / nightfall for the drive back home to San Diego.

Kel said...

@Lou and Sue - Thank you! I'm here often, but don't always comment. :)

@Major - I don't have the visor anymore. I think the lights broke a long time ago and it was thrown out. As of today, I can "buy it now" on Ebay for $250!