Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Small World Plaza, May 1981

I know, I know, "It's a Small World? Again?". I can't help it, folks. There's a lot of photos of that attraction. But at least this first one features a fanciful choo-choo that looks like a giant toy (or Christmas ornament). Nearest to us, guests could purchase frozen treats to enjoy on a hot day. An ice cream bar (from Carnation) sound pretty tasty! Further back, you can see a few souvenirs, such as a display of sunglasses for people who realized that the paparazzi was on to them. "Ever since I got an 'A' on that math test, they won't leave me alone! Those vultures".


There's that fa├žade, in all of its white and gold (and now shades of blue) glory. I do still love it, in spite of how many pictures we've seen.


34 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

I always loved the themeing on that little ice cream train. It was so much nicer than just a generic cart on wheels. If you look above the sunglasses, you can see some shelves, displaying dolls. They were dressed in various outfits from around the world. I think they were considered a more "pricey" souvenir, but now I would like to know just how much they were.

I never minded the addition of the blue on the Small World Clock, but I am glad that it returned to it's original white and gold colors. I never cared for the "Easter egg" colored version, from the 1990s. I also like how open the Small World Mall/Plaza used to be. Today, there is too much "stuff" junking up the area, not to mention the sea of strollers which can usually be found there, now.

- Tokyo Mele (Kalikimaka)!

JB said...

Major, I think the wheels on the choo-choo are just for show and don't actually do anything. Mainly because they aren't touching the ground! That's such a nice looking concession stand (as Tokyo said), with the awning, the colorful train cars, and the gold trim; which compliments the gold trim on the Small World facade. Makes ya wanna buy something!

I bought a frozen, chocolate-covered banana at the Park once. The thing was so frozen you could use it to pound nails. I waited awhile for it to thaw out a bit, but I think I ended up just eating the chocolate and ditching most of the banana.

The lighting is perfect in the second photo. The highlights and shadows of the facade really make the shapes stand out.
I think this photo may have been taken by our friend (who's photos you showed many years ago) who has a 'thing' for asphalt and slurry; since his photos all prominently featured blacktop; like this one. I suppose today's photographer had to choose between getting a lot of asphalt, or getting a lot of sky. He chose asphalt.

Thanks for the pretty pictures, Major.

Tokyo, another clever name!

- Jingly Babushkas (Is that a thing?)

TokyoMagic! said...

Jingly B., if you sew bells onto a babushka, it's definitely a thing! I wonder if anyone has tried to market something like that? You could be the first! ;-)

Chuck said...

I love the little girl in the Mickey ear hat and Mickey Mouse sweatshirt in that first photo. The late afternoon lighting really makes the details in the Crump-Blair facade stand out.

JB, that’s actually a technology demonstrator for WED’s mag-lev train concept, which explains why the wheels don’t touch the ground. Frustratingly, while it worked, they had even more difficulty selling this concept to a commercial user than they did the WEDway PeopleMover system and it ended up being repurposed as an ice cream vending stand.

MIKE COZART said...

I agree with Tokyo Magic regarding the clock colors ... and upon reflection I don’t think I even minded the “sherbet” version of the 90’s ..... HOWEVER it was very badly faded during much of its existence as the multicolored version ran into the Pressler era ( ERROR) and sadly was neglected. The whole excuse for the new color scheme was supposedly to help draw attention to the area and focus on the new TOONTOWN entrance . You’d think that if you wanted to really draw focus on Toon Town you’ll want all the cartoon buildings to have the bright colors and have surrounding structures around Toon Town to be muted or less colorful.

As a kid I loved the Fantasyland Ice Cream Train. I still do despite it being long gone. We always got the frozen bananas from this concession. It was supposedly duplicated for Tokyo Disneyland , but I’ve been unable to find photos of it in the Tokyo park .

Stu29573 said...

The main problem with the ice cream train was that it kept rolling away...usually right after guests had paid their money and before they got their chocolate covered banana. Marketing and and piracy are separated by a hair thin line...
I still have no idea why WDW Small World was built with such a frumpy entrance. I'd say a good quarter of the experience is checking out the huge piece of art before boarding. At WDW you got...an awning. Now, of course, you get an awning and a very small clock, that does very little. Much better!
Fun pics today!

Stefano said...

When I was a child the ice cream train was an attraction, especially when the employee slid back the panel and a little cloud of dry ice mist emerged. Also I appreciated the trees behind the Small world facade, with the illusion that there was nothing but forest there and your boat would be enveloped in this giant building block display.

The first photo shows my second favorite Disneyland flaw, after the Sleeping Beauty Castle dent. To the right of the "it's a small world" sign is some circular gilded filigree work within a square. The top half is all right, but something happened to the bottom half which looks melted down and squished around. This is seen in the earliest postcards of the attraction, even on the record album narrated by Winston Hibler.

JG said...

I’m with Tokyo and Mike on the colors. Blue is almost a neutral, but the Spumoni scheme took the Ice Cream Train a couple stops too far. Gold and White is best, symbolic of the unattainable paradise of universal friendship. Major, I never tire of IASW, in any color. Thank you.

I may be the only one who thinks the train was a little odd, however. The maglev concept clearly didn’t work since fueling it with ice cream made it too energy-intensive. Still, it is nicely themed and better than a plain old cart. I share a distaste for frozen bananas and never ordered more than one, JB.

Stefano, you are a veritable fountain of flaws, now I’m going to spend hours looking for this detail. Thank you.

This area in front of the attraction seemed simultaneously too big and too small, and like they never really figured out what to do with it. The modern improvements seem fussy, but as parade viewing, it draws off a crowd from the West Side so I can ride Pirates without a wait.

JG

"Lou and Sue" said...

Stafano, I see it! The Paint Dribble!
Stefano, how did YOU first discover The Dent? We’re dying to know more.

Nanook said...

@ Stefano-
Do you mean THIS or THIS-? Perhaps it's an optical illusion...

Thank you Daveland.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Nanook, it shows up in both. Sort of a goofy offset pattern. (If I’m looking at the right thing.)

Stu29573 said...

Ok, I flat out don't see anything. I DO see that the spire on the far tower in Nanook's second pic is falling over...

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I am mixed on the ice cream train; it’s cute, but has a sort of “Six Flags” look to it. Maybe I’m being too critical. Man, those dolls are tough to see! I’ve seen some Small World dolls that came in boxes that I always assumed were from the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, but as a rule I don’t buy dolls - even Disneyland dolls! - so I have never pursued collecting them. I’m with you, I didn’t care for the Easter Egg paint job, though it might have actually been one of the considerations back when they were designing the ride for the park. Mary Blair did tons of paintings of a proposed exterior, often with wildly different color looks.

JB, it’s possible that the train was up on some sort of risers during its use as a vending cart, but used to roll at one time. Maybe? Just a guess of course. I have a weird thing about bananas… I can eat a fresh banana and be perfectly happy, but I don’t like bananas IN things. So frozen bananas are out for me! I had a girlfriend (well, a date anyway) who got one, and she had the same problem, it might as well have been made out of concrete. We often see those “sky or asphalt” compositions, and I do wonder if it is a product of the viewfinder on whatever camera the photographer was using?

TokyoMagic!, ball babushkas will be the next big thing for hip teens, YOU’LL SEE.

Chuck, yes, that cute little girl in her mouse ears is a great detail! I wish we had a mag-lev Monorail, it would only take five seconds to make the entire circuit. There would be almost no wait!

Mike Cozart, the funny thing is that Toontown also experienced issues with colors fading, you’d think that at some point they would have learned their lesson. This is why I suggested that everything in Disneyland be painted a nice battleship gray. Even if the paint fades, who would know? Brilliant! I think that TokyoMagic (or somebody) shared photos of that ice cream train as it looks in Tokyo Disneyland, but I could be mistaken.

Stu29573, I’m sure the Disney Company has seen your idea for a vending cart that rolls away before the guests can get their item, and they’ve made a note of it. Think of the savings, and all that extra profit can go toward another vacation home for the CEO. I admit that it has always seemed weird to me that some of the attractions in Florida are much less fancy than the Disneyland counterparts, I’m sure it was a money thing.

Stefano, I sure loved dry ice when I was a kid, we always got some for Halloween. We always felt like mad scientists! I love those trees atop the Small World building too, I wonder when they were removed. I’m not sure I am seeing the melted and squished part you are referring to… but now I will want to look for it in future pictures! I don’t have my IASW album anymore, but maybe I can find an image of one online.

JG, I think (but am not sure) that a souvenir guide showed IASW with a multicolored facade years before it was actually painted that way. Which makes me believe that somebody behind the scenes wanted it to look that way for many many years. the Mag-lev used negatively polarized tachyons, so energy use was no problem. I see that I am not the only person who is not crazy about frozen bananas! I’ve always thought that the plaza in front of IASW is way too big, though there are times when I’m sure it is packed with people. It just looks too empty and sterile sometimes.

Lou and Sue… you always want the SCOOP!

Nanook, interesting, the filigreed “rosette” really looks pretty “off” especially in that second photo (they must have used the same mold for casting those, since that one is in a different location).

Lou and Sue, if they pulled a faulty or damaged casting and then bothered to gold-leaf it, I am really baffled. “Nobody will notice. Not even Stefano!”.

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, look at the Nanook's second link; the round gold thing to the left of the image (near the top left) appears to be messed up somehow. Like it's missing pieces or something.

Chuck said...

I'm positive I'm looking at the same thing Sue is, because the same round pattern shows up in both of the photos that Nanook linked (although they are of different parts of the facade), and it sounds like that's what Stefano is talking about, where the top of the circle is symmetrical and the bottom half isn't, with sort of an asymmetrical "web" along the bottom arc. It kind of looks like it may be an attempt at a stylized peacock. Kind of. Maybe.

Chuck said...

Major, I just found a night picture of the facade from the 1960s at Daveland that shows it lighted in multiple colors. I wonder if that was the inspiration of the guidebook illustration you saw.

Chuck said...

...and it might have been more useful to you and everyone if I had remembered to include the link!

https://us-east-1-02820030-view.menlosecurity.com/c/i/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZGF2ZWxhbmR3ZWIuY29tL3NtYWxsd29ybGQvaW1hZ2VzLzYwcy84X1NtYWxsV29ybGQuanBn

"Lou and Sue" said...

On that new discovery (though not new to Stefano), that pattern looks like ‘tatting’ —in Nanook’s links— a handmade lace pattern. Am serious.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, it isn't a peacock, it's a turkey.

Major, you may be right about the polychrome facade, years ago, I bought a reproduction of one of those MB sketches of a wildly colored facade, so that idea has been in the mix from the start. There was also one in shades of blue.

I wonder if Rolly Crump was responsible for the white/gold exterior scheme? I'm sure it came down more due to maintenance than any design or programmatic notion. The colored light projections and the holiday overlay make it jazzy enough, and they go away so we can get relief from the monotony of all that excitement.

JG

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
That link doesn't work for me...

Stu29573 said...

Ok, now I see it. I think the artistic term for that is "wonky." In this case it would be "Mid Century Wonky." There have been examples of "Wonky" as far back as the pyramids (Egypto-wonky).
So, it's not a bug, it's a feature...

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, if you look at the big archway in the first photo that Nanook linked to, it has a repeating pattern of similar asymmetrical “rosettes”. Maybe a stylized peacock, as you said? Impossible to tell from these pix.

Chuck, while the link doesn’t seem to take me to a photo (it’s not you, it’s me!), I have seen photos of the IASW building with colored lights. In fact, I have one from Mr. X that I should share, while it is not over-the-top colorful, they were definitely going for a multihued effect.

Lou and Sue, “tatting”. The art of tattoos. Just kidding! My mom used to have piles of old lace bobbins that she got at a farm sale in Pennsylvania, not sure if she still has ‘em. They looked like they were made of ivory, but might have been celluloid.

JB, Heritage Auctions has sold a number of Mary Blair color sketches of IASW, they almost all show geometrical shapes that resemble what we got, though some sketches are more representational. I believe that some of those paintings have gone for over $100K! I’ve heard that Mary Blair was the person who liked white and gold, but of course Rolly Crump was responsible for much of what used to be considered Mary Blair’s work, so… WHO KNOWS.

Nanook, ah, I thought it was just me.

Stu29573, I am really baffled by that assymetrical shape, whether it is a turkey or a peacock or the flying spaghetti monster. I’m sure there are modern photos that would show them much more clearly, but I won’t have time to look for quite a while. That’s my excuse.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I can’t open Chuck’s secret link, either.

JB said...

JG- No, no, no! It wasn't the ice cream that powered the train, it was the dry ice! Not only did it keep your frozen banana hard as a hammer, it also kept the cart levitated.

Nanook, well, the flaw (or whatever) is definitely there; not an illusion. The question is whether it's deliberate or not. Pieced together sort of like a stained glass window, maybe.

Stu, haha. Yeah, I saw that too. I bet we're the only ones.

Major, here in Soviet-Bloc Disneyland (we call Leninland) all things battleship gray: ice cream cart, ice cream, bananas, chocolate, even Mickey Mooski.

Major, I was a dry ice fiend as a kid as well. Besides watching it bubble and fume in a glass of (colored) water, I loved to hear it 'scream' when you pressed a knife, fork, or whatever against it. We also used it to make carbonated root beer, using Hires root beer extract, sugar, and water. Just plop in the dry ice and let it do its thing.

To all, about the 'dribble', I don't think it's a peacock or a turkey. Even the top half isn't symmetrical where it connects to the rim. I think Sue is correct about it being an example of lace tatting. Why Disney felt the need to include tatting in the facade, I have no idea.

Major, I'll be sure to pass along your info on Mary Blair sketches to JG. ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

JB, it’s a small doily after all...

Anonymous said...

There is a legit Rolly Crump story of that (left/west) peacock panel being installed backwards. Bugged him to no end, but no more time or money to fix it.

Chuck said...

Sorry, all - I guess they have added further layers of security to the work network and external links pass through some sort of filter that end up giving me a link that doen’t work anywhere else.

This is the picture I was trying to link: https://www.davelandweb.com/smallworld/images/60s/8_SmallWorld.jpg . Daveland says it’s from the late ‘60s (and I believe him).

Stu29573 said...

Ok, dry ice story: When I was the manager of a one hour photo place our paper and film would come packed in dry ice. We found that if you put a tiny piece of dry ice in a plastic film container and snapped the little rubber lid on, it would slowly build up pressure until it popped like a firecracker! It was usually between 1 and 5 minutes. We had those things hidden all over the lab! Good times!

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the "Fresh Baked" Vlogger has a video today on the re-opening of IASW with the holiday overlay.

Apparently the "canals" leaked water inside the building during the holiday re-fit and damaged a lot of behind-the-scenes equipment.

Anyway, the video has a good view of the rosette in the first link above, and it has the same oddness in film taken yesterday. So whatever is wrong, is still wrong.

On closer examination, the two rosettes appear to me to be almost the same, there are nine round elements and two "other" pieces, the one on the east (right) is oriented with the two other decorations at the bottom, and the west one (left) looks like it is rotated about 15 degrees clockwise.

To top it off, I watched another video taken from the DLRR and there might be another one of these rosette motifs on the wall that runs North-South at the east end of the facade. It's hard to describe, but there is a "wing wall" that is perpendicular to the train track and the main facade that has the same gold and white and decorated look, it screens the parade route. Now I want to look for more photos that might show that area, the rosette looks the same as the east one in the linked photos above.

So that's how my day went.

JB, LOL, is there anything dry ice can't do?

JG

Bu said...

Ahhh…the train…lots of memories that I have shared before, but perhaps worth repeating. This was a coveted location. These carts were fixed and were plugged in, and you didn’t have to push them to the site. Just as an FYI: the other carts were anything but plain, and each one was designed separately for its location only. There were similar ones, but no two were exactly alike. The train was elaborate, but the kids would scale the sides like Hans and Fritz scaling the Matterhorn. “Please do not allow your children to climb the train”. The paint shop probably appreciated this more. Some of the kids would make it to the top and dance around almost falling into the open chasm of ice cream boxes. I think I know this vendor, she became a sweeper later in her DL life. You can see how thrilled she is there. This must have been an early morning or a slow day with only one of the wagons open. This joint was a cash cow. One vendor decided to have a very prosperous day, change her clothes, go out of Harbor House … never to be seen or heard from again. You would easily make thousands of dollars in a shift. Since you didn’t have to push a wagon back, everyone was saying “anyone seen XYZ?” …. “Nope”. She’s probably in Mexico now. She was a party girl, and she was the first to suggest “drinks at Hojo’s”…every night… the only dry ice in this wagon was hot days as it was self propelled. Then it was topped off at the end of the night and locked down with a very elaborate and clunky locking device. If it was slow, we would watch the caricature artist draw…one surly lead “THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME”….and then the artist would finish another “SEEEE….THEY ALLLLL ARE THE SAME!!! PEOPLE ARE STUPID TO BUY THOSE!!!” She had a mouth like a sailor, I am paraphrasing for the kids reading this. That sign is the one I suggested be at ALL the wagons…eye height people!! Let the guests SEE the sign…don’t hide it! (Too much money)…I tried. We would pelt employees in the walk in freezer backstage with frozen banana “spoils”….these are the ones that guests returned because “it was bad” or whatever. We would have to keep even the stick to account for them as inventory. Beware if you go in the feeezer and a group grabs that spoil box…I was pelted many times over, and then you learn to always have a freezer mate to avoid 3 against one. You would NEVER get away with that today…the leads were in on it, supervisors were doing spreadsheets in their offices. We froze a small world baby too…”what happens when you freeze them?”…talk about heavy and hard as a rock…the shenanigans in that department- and this was the tame stuff!!! The Carnation guy would bring us all kinds of other treats like those cone things, and big sticks, and kool a koo bars…all the things that they would sell everywhere else and not to Disneyland. He loved us because we could unload his truck in about 10 minutes…those boxes would fly in the air and it was a science to stack them all, rotate stock, etc etc. in the end, we were super productive really smart people with a great sense of fun, and a blind eye was turned to most hi-jinx. Thanks for the rabbit hole down memory lane!

JB said...

Haha! Bu did his Bu thing again. My mouth was half-open (with a slight smirk) the whole time I was reading your Disneyland memory dump.
Did you (or someone you worked with) really get hold of one of those Small World figures and freeze it?! Was it an 'extra' that wasn't needed, or perhaps in need of repair?

Thanks for the entertainment, Bu.

Bu said...

Yes. A doll was found (somewhere…maybe even in the trash…it wasn’t in good shape and was stained and gross) but it wasn’t a full audioanimatronical…it was all latex…must have been an extra in the scene of “A” player singing dolls…somebody threw it in back of the truck…then it was alllll downhill from there….full latex is heavy…that doll was one heavy kid…and all latex wiggly…she went from the freezer to the balloon room and was put on a stick…after a few days she/he was gone…”those darn kids!!!” …I’m sure that was mumbled by someone …we got bored quick, we were on to the next thing….

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, have you used your voiceprint identification?

JB, I’ve played around with dry ice a little bit, and yes, it was very cool to make your own carbonated beverage. You can also seal sliced watermelon, grapes, and other fruits in a cooler with dry ice, and the fruit will become fizzy!

Lou and Sue, that reminds me of a song.

Anon, so it IS a “peacock panel”??

Chuck, ah, that photo is very similar to the one I mentioned (from my friend Mr. X), I really have to start sharing those scans one of these days. I’ve had them in a folder for literally years. BTW, I think Mr. X’s photo is from around 1972 or ’73.

Stu29573, a few years ago and Disneyland CM put a plastic soda bottle (or water bottle) with dry ice inside a trash can. It exploded with some force - and he was fired. Hope it was worth it.

JG, oh that IASW holiday overlay. I guess it is impressive, visually, but I guess I’m an old fuddy duddy and only want to see the original versions. I guess at least they haven’t done the “Jingle Cruise”, thankfully. Maybe those rosettes were made in a Mattel thingmaker. I was commenting on how those rosettes all look the same, so if there was a mistake in their production, they just used them anyway.

Bu, I had no idea there was so much drama in the lives of the ODV employees’ lives. I can only imagine how kids would want to climb that train, considering how rowdy a kid at Target can get if the parent isn’t the type to discipline. Cool that you know that vendor! Wow, thousands of dollars, well it IS a good location, where so many families are funneled - in two directions. I think I bought an ice cream bar from there once. No frozen bananas though! While I have no doubt that being a caricaturist is a tough gig, I have to admit that the few that I have seen are formulaic at best. My sister had one made, and she is holding a tennis racket because she told the artist that she played tennis, which she didn’t. For some reason that made her laugh! It sure sounds like you had some fun as a CM, who knew that people were throwing frozen bananas at each other behind the scenes??

JB, I wasn’t sure if Bu meant that he somehow got his hands on a REAL Small World figure??

Bu, wow, amazing at what they used to throw out, when they probably could have at least sold the thing for a few hundred bucks. Maybe it wasn’t worth it to them? I know a person who has some INCREDIBLE ride artifacts that he literally pulled out of dumpsters. Stuff from the Submarine Voyage. “Atoms” and a miniature Atomobile from “Adventure Thru Inner Space”. And so on.

Dean Finder said...

Never had a frozen banana, but I did eat a rock-solid Mickey ice cream sandwich one time. We were at the MK for one of those hard ticket late-night events. Tickets included unlimited snacks, but no carts had any allergy-friendly ones for my wife. I started taking an ice cream sandwich from every cart we saw out of spite, and apparently got one straight from the freezer at one point. I think I finished the night at 8. I wouldn't recommend it, though.