Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Yellow Monorail, March 1962

The Disneyland monorail looked like a friendly shark that you could ride on; in this case, a friendly yellow shark. I have two fun photos from 1962 featuring Monorail Saffron - the jolly Mark II unirail that we all love. 

There it is, a-waitin' at the station. It didn't need to steam up, or anything. The nuclear engines were quiet and efficient, propelling the Monorail much in the way common star drives are used today (to put it in  "layman's terms"). I like the tropical plants that surrounded the lagoon, sort of a precursor to the lagoon at WDW's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction. To our right is the funny little bandstand where The Yachtsmen (an excellent folk band) often performed. Hang down your head, Tom Dooley!

You know my philosophy: why take one photo when you can take two? This one captures a Skyway gondola, swinging wildly. Looks like fun.


K. Martinez said...

The second photo with the single Skyway bucket is great! Tomorrowland has always looked great up to 1984. After that, the bloom was off the rose.

Thanks, Major.


Beautiful!! The Mark 2 and Mark 3 Yellow have always been my favorite! For years a pilot cabin door to the Disneyland Mark 2 yellow was on display in a framed case in the Walt Disney World Monorail storage barn …. A gift from the Disneyland Monorail maintainence crew to the newly formed WDW Monorail maintainence team for good luck. I wonder if it’s still there?

Nanook said...

The Yachtsmen Quartet - everyone's favorite-! I always loved that cute little combo stage and fabulous, huge signage for the Submarine Voyage - the later iteration of that stage. And what can I say about God's most-perfect monorail-?

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Must be a fairly chilly day in Disneyland, lots of long sleeves and coats. If the slides were date-stamped "March" then they were probably taken in February, or earlier.

"Skyway gondola, swinging wildly", just like we always see in the posters and illustrations!

I prefer turmeric yellow over saffron. It's a more golden yellow. Plus it costs a lot less. Also, saffron has a medicinal, iodine-like taste.

Of course, in the Mark III Monorails, they switched to using dilithium crystals instead of simple nuclear reactors. I'm sure Mike Cozart can verify that.

Nice clear images of the Monorail, Major. I tried putting them side-by-side to see if I could get a decent 3D image... nope. I don't think the photographer moved a bit between the two photos, so there was no parallax and no depth.

Chuck said...

As JB has noted, the Mark IIIs were the first Monorails with true warp drive capability (which unfortunately attracted those meddling Vulcans), but the Mark IIs could still make 1/3 light speed on full impulse, making a trip to Jupiter in about 1.8 hours feasible once track was laid to that destination. The downside was the safety factor; the explosive force of an overloaded Mark II impulse engine was about 97.835 megatons. Well, that and no air conditioning.

Check out the double-stroller to the far left of both pictures, as unwieldy in 1962 as it would be today. Took the kids to WDW (not to “Disney”) once during the Stroller Age and it took us four days to figure out how to do it right. First two days we took our own SUV stroller, a monstrous, convertible, tandem Eddie Bauer thingy with adjustable sunbonnets and space for one kid to be sitting up while the other was sleeping (Number Two Son was only six months old).

That thing was a monster to get on and off the launches to and from Fort Wilderness and ate space that could have been used by other guests. We had a moment of sheer terror when we went to our stroller parked outside after eating at either the Crystal Palace or Casey’s Corner and somebody had stolen all of our stuff out of the stroller!!. Then we looked around and noticed that this wasn’t the only monstrous, convertible, tandem Eddie Bauer thingy with adjustable sunbonnets and space for one kid to be sitting up while the other was sleeping parked along that row of hedges. Apparently, somebody had taken all of our stuff and put it in the other look-alike stroller. Weird.

The third day, we were going to Park hop and decided it would be easier to rent a stroller instead of taking the monstrous, convertible, tandem Eddie Bauer thingy with adjustable sunbonnets and space for one kid to be sitting up while the other was sleeping. We rented a tandem stroller, which at WDW in 2004 had side-by-side seating like the stroller in these pictures. We discovered that while a stroller with side-by-side seating may have worked well at Disneyland in the off season in 1962, it was less than ideal for making our way through crowds on Sunday, January 4th, 2004. But at least we could drop it at the gate of one Park and use the receipt to pick up a new one at the next Park.

On our last day, we rented two single strollers, and that finally gave us the flexibility to be able to dart through the crowd at a reasonable pace and only marginally irritate non-stroller-wielding guests.

So, if I could go back in time to the start of that trip and give myself just one piece of advice, it would be this: “Rogaine.” But if I could go back in time to the start of that trip and give myself two pieces of advice the second would be: “rent one stroller per child.” If allowed a third piece of advice, it would be to look up an obscure blog on May 12th, 2006, and watch what happens next.

JG said...

Oh Monorails.

I remember thinking that these would become commonplace and an easy ride to everywhere.

Never underestimate the human ability to resist beneficial advancement.

These photos cover the angle where if you turned around, you could count 10 trash cans, yet none are visible in either pic.

I think I can explain two pics, no. 1 is carefully composed and focused, then just after snapping, our hero realizes he could get that Skyway gondola too, and so the second shot, maybe slightly less perfectly framed but with added Skyway energy. Truly a World On the Move.


DrGoat said...

Both beauties, but the second one has that bucket, at just the right forward moving angle. Swinging wildly, as JB put it. Desktop.
Chuck, I still have a small divot in my shin after a run in with a double wide stroller watching the fireworks in 2012 I think. Pushed by a way too angry, wrapped too tight young man. Got a few of us as he rudely rammed his way through the way too crowded plaza. Like Mr. Toad with a new motorcar. Almost came to fisticuffs with another park guest who almost got knocked over. Luckily a park security person evidently had been following this guy as he careened his way out of Tomorrowland, came up and gave the guy an ultimatum. That night ended with a cast member leading a bunch of us out through the employee gate and behind the Penny Arcade side of Main Street and adjacent to the Jungle ride. Neat to see the behind the scenes stuff.
Thanks Major, beautiful pics.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I thought that the first one was a better overall composition, but I do love that swinging Skyway bucket! Not sure what happened to Tomorrowland in 1984?

Mike Cozart, I’d like to believe that the Monorail door is still hanging on display, though I don’t get why WDW gets it. It belongs in Anaheim! Just like the “Progressland” model!

Nanook, that Monorail is almost perfect. Hear me out: what if it was bedazzled? Sparkly rhinestones everywhere! And maybe some LEDs!

JB, yes, it can get chilly in the early months of the year. “California” chilly, anyway! And you’re right, these could have easily been taken in February, or even earlier. As a painter, I tend to think in paint colors, such as “cadmium yellow light”, but turmeric is good too. Dilithium crystals are great, but why not use TRI-lithium crystals? They are one more lithium! And yes, no 3-D views, sadly.

Chuck, I’ve always wondered why the Enterprise doesn’t just go at warp 6 or 7 all the time (unless they are orbiting a planet or docking at a station, of course). Why go slow when you can go fast? You make a good point about pushing a double-wide stroller through crowds, and I assume that’s why a lot of double-strollers are now tandem-style. Funny about the “stolen” stuff, and a bit weird. Reminds me of when I was at the grocery store, and I left my cart at the end and walked down to get some cereal. Then I tossed my cereal into the cart and was pushing it around for a while until I realize that… it wasn’t my cart! D’oh! I went back to the cereal aisle to see if I could find the person whose cart I stole, I’m sure they were baffled as heck. I never did find them. And now I’m imagining you and your wife zipping through crowds like demons, just because you can.

JG, since L.A. does have a light-rail system that is still being expanded, I wondered what the advantage of the regular boring trains had over a sleek and cool Monorail? Maybe they just wanted to build what people expect, a boxy train that looks like it will get the job done, and NO FUN. I agree, I think photo #2 was much more spontaneous.

DrGoat, I used to read lots of accounts (on various Disneyland message boards) from people who had had literal run-ins with clueless stroller pushers. I get that a parent might need a stroller, but at least be responsible with the thing. I wonder what was up with your rude person? Maybe he got frustrated with people not moving out of his way. Who knows. Why were you led backstage? Was it one of those super-crowded nights, post-fireworks?

Nanook said...

"... what if it was bedazzled? Sparkly rhinestones everywhere! And maybe some LEDs!" PLEASE don't give them any ideas-! (At least you didn't mention 'gold' and 'pink'-!!)

DrGoat said...

It was the fireworks. It was super crowded. So crowded that the three of us had to hold hands just to stay in one place. We ended up on west side somewhere near the Coca Cola place. A cast member literally grabbed (gently) about 8 or 10 people and led us out through a gate that led us behind the shops with the Jungle Cruise on our right. Ended up outside the entrance tunnels no worse for wear and very happy. That crowd was literally elbow to elbow and huge. A not very happy crowd I might add. That was in 2012-14 I think. It was also our last trip to the park. Had a great time anyway.

JB said...

"once track was laid to that destination"... So crazy. What I like best about GDB. Well, one of the things I like best, anyway.
Chuck must've switched from his usual decaf to regular today. The words just kept coming and coming! ;-p

JG, "Never underestimate the human ability to resist beneficial advancement." So true. Here it is 2022, and we still don't have regular commercial flights to orbiting luxury space stations and moon bases; as promised in "2001: A space odyssey". We're stuck here on earth with our horse-drawn carriages and buggy whips. And "stone knives and bear skins".

Major, trilithium crystals? Now you're just being silly. Everyone knows there's no such thing as trilithium crystals. If they did exist, I think they would be four dimensional.

Yes, we have no 3D views.
We have no 3D views, today!

DrGoat, nice to hear that you had a great time even with the dense crowd. It gives us hope that the Park can still be enjoyed, even with today's crowds.

Anonymous said...

Major, I was thinking of a Disney proposal sometime in the early 60's where they tried to interest City of LA in building a monorail line in the center median of one of the freeways to connect the downtown to the Park.

There was some interest but the opposition of bus companies, etc. killed it. Even now, we see similar opposition to perfectly sensible proposals like extending BART to SFO and OAK etc. That finally got done, but took years, seems like a no-brainer to connect the subway and the airport, and still not done in NYC, I believe.

Dr. Goat, I was in the Park on one of those days in 2015 and it was truly disgustingly crowded. One thing I was always careful about with strollers and wheelchairs is where you are pointing those bumpers or footrests. Others not so much, I guess. At least you got to see backstage of the JC, which I would have loved.



I was glad when Disneyland finally put size restrictions on the giant SUV CONESTOGA WAGON size strollers . When you get to the parking trams , parking buses and security checks there are tapped outlines in the ground to see if your stroller is too big to enter. This policy partially came to pass because of guests complaints of their size and awareness of being pushed thru the thick Disneyland crowds. But the REAL reason this policy took place was the amount of stolen merchandise being wheeled out of “the happiest place on earth”. I still think the baby strollers are too plentiful and still too large. And I cannot understand guests who bring their giant “Sierra Nevadas” sized backpacks and “luggage supplies” into the park!! ??? People!! You are going into Disneyland- not The Alaskan wilderness for 2 weeks!!

Chuck said...

Mike, man, Merchandising has its fingers in everything these days, doesn’t it? ;-)

DrGoat, I’m sorry you got permanently dinged by a stroller at Disneyland. That guy sounds like a first class jerk. And unfortunately, it seems like the promotion rates to Jerk First Class are at an all-time high.

We went out of our way to try to not to be “that guy (and gal)” with the stroller. We really didn’t think through the ramifications of taking our giant stroller - you get used to having all of this toddler and infant support gear and neglect to consider that about every fifth person at the ark would be in the same boat - but we learned. After that trip, we bought a folding “umbrella stroller” that had pegs above the back wheels. Our oldest stayed small for years, and so his younger brother (they are 2.5 years apart) would ride in the seat and he’d jump on the pegs and hang on to the handles. We switched to a backpack diaper bag and life in crowded places like zoos and Cedar Point became so much deadlier.

Chuck said...

Autocorrect, you have bested me again.

“…so much easier.”

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, trust me, they have already considered THOSE ideas!

DrGoat, yes, that makes sense. The thing that amazes me is that I was once there when it was insanely crowded after the fireworks ended, and they did not funnel people backstage. It was probably the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had at the park, sadly. We had not planned on going home, but you could hardly move for all the people. It’s too bad you couldn’t have taken a few photos of the backstage area! I wonder if employees would have stopped you?

JB, I thought you liked GDB because of my political rants. I want to go to a luxury space station, like the one in “2001: A Space Odyssey”, with the zero G toilets. Now that’s entertainment! Then I would just stay in my room all day and watch “Dukes of Hazzard”. Trilithium crystals are four-dimensional, but I have special glasses that help me see in 4D.

JG, yes, I know that Walt was really hoping that the city of Los Angeles would use the Monorail, there’s a famous piece of concept art showing a Mark II going through downtown. Bus companies had enough pull to kill that plan?? I used to have to take the bus to school (believe it or not) when I lived in the Valley, and it was not horrible, but not great either. I’d much rather have been on a monorail!

Mike Cozart, I was glad that the park finally laid down some rules on the giant strollers too… they’d gotten to the point of parody. And the fact that the folks that used them could not seem to understand why they were inappropriate was kind of amazing. How blind can they be? Why not just drive your actual SUV around the park? Man, you have to be pretty bold to steal stuff out of a stroller, but I guess if you just watch it and make sure the owners are distracted, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard. Now I’m going to do it!

Chuck, to be honest I have not really had any issues with being hit by strollers, thankfully. But there have been times when a herd of strollers has made navigating a crowded park a lot more difficult. What we need is little baby-sized jet packs so that babies float on a cushion of 1000-degree air. I do kind of wonder how parents seemed to be OK at Disneyland for decades with just normal little strollers, and mom didn’t even have to lug a giant bag full of snacks and diapers. What did they do? Go to the Pablum Baby Station? Do they still have an area where moms and dads can take care of small children?

Chuck, that was the most awesome typo ever!

"Lou and Sue" said...

"Man, you have to be pretty bold to steal stuff out of a stroller, but I guess if you just watch it and make sure the owners are distracted, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard."

Major, I think the concern is more of the parents stealing lightsabers and coffee mugs from Disneyland. Though there may be some sickies out there who steal dirty diapers and baby formula from strollers. You never know.

FUN day, thanks all!


Sue: yes . It was shoplifting guests using the large rigs to carry stollen loot out if Disneyland.

Some frequent guests even had customized strollers that were being used to show off and not to shuttle children around. Two distinct strollers included a Jungle Cruise boat with striped canopy and a rear propeller that would spin as the “boat” moved along. Another was a Disneyland Monorail - it apparently had a air horn but I never heard it blow.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I would think that a doom-buggy-style stroller would be a hit, too. Need to start designing...

Anonymous said...


Bu said...

Oh dear: dirty diaper people...now I cannot erase that from my brain...JG: Subway to NYC airports...well...yes and no...to Kennedy: Subway to Jamaica (not the country) to AirTrain to terminals. It's not hard, but it's not easy either. Subway to LGA. "Nope"...you can get close and now "the new" LGA provides free bus rides to the station. Difficulty level: 9 out of 10. With big luggage: a very definitive "10". I take an Uber and suck it up. Subway to Newark: "Nope"...take NJ Transit to Airtrain to Terminal. Newark is expensive in a cab, and a $16 tunnel toll on top of the fare. It's usually about $108-122 to get to Grand Central. JFK: all regulated. So THAT all being said...we lament about $125 to go to Disneyland which is an all day affair of entertainment...OORRRRRR...you can have a "ride" in a hot smelly cab, baking in traffic for about 45 minutes to get to a very large Apple...to clearly spend more on the many "Lightning Lanes" the Apple provides you. So Disneyland sounds like kind of a bargain, right? On the subject of Lithium. I used to go to "Two Bunch Palms" Spa in the 90's. It was a hang out of Al Capone, and Meryl Streep (not at the same time). It's still there in Desert Hot Springs. They have a truly amazing hot mineral spring pool...which is super hot and is constantly being fed by magma heated mineral water. Weird thing is: you NEVER wrinkle...hours and hours...no wrinkles. You also get a deep sense of calm and serenity. Almost euphoric, with a hint of dopamine rush. They tested the water and it has very high levels of Lithium. Madge: "you're soaking in it"...yes...soaking in the medicated waters. Perfect vacay for your favorite bi-polar in your life. That lithium can propel an engine, well...quite amazing! Strollers: One word: "no". Yellow Monorail: "Yes". Swinging dangling buckets..."oh Hell to the yah!" I don't need a flight simulator, I need a bucket on a string! The Skyway presented by Colonel Sanders! Have a bucket in a bucket! Completely missed opportunity. I see the costume already...white suits and black ties for all. Maybe a bit cumbersome....

JG said...

Bu, we just take a cab back and forth to JFK.

TBH Heathrow isn’t any better. Gatwick is decent, trains straight to Victoria.


Nanook said...

@ Bu-
"The Skyway presented by Colonel Sanders! Have a bucket in a bucket! Completely missed opportunity. I see the costume already...white suits and black ties for all. Maybe a bit cumbersome...." Oh - the genius of this site-! Major - look what you started-!!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I thought you meant that other people would go in and buy souvenirs, and then unscrupulous guests would lift the stuff out of the strollers. But those dirty diapers are tempting!

Mike Cozart, I admit that I would have a harder time being mad at a giant stroller if the guest had themed it specifically to the park! I mean, that’s above and beyond. Pretty clever.

Anon/Sue, I’d love one that looked like the caterpillars from the Alice ride!

Bu, one of my last visits to Manhattan found us going home on Sunday. And it turned out that the subway did not stop at Jamaica Plains on Sunday for some reason. Not only were we surprised, but everybody else on the subway was surprised that they couldn’t transfer to the AirTrain to go to JFK. We were all standing on the street with our luggage like dummies, and some transportation department woman told us we could wait for a bus, but that it “might take an hour”. We were all beyond stunned! I mean, tons of people are finishing their vacations on Sunday! Luckily, Amy (who I was traveling with) walked up the street and found a cab company, we gladly paid them whatever it cost to get to the airport on time. I still tell her (years later) that when she found that cab company it was the greatest moment in history, and I think all of humanity would agree. Now I think I need to soak in those lithium springs with my close friend Meryl Streep. I call her “The Streepster”, which she loves.

JG, we had always done the cab thing, and it was fine, but we wanted to try taking the train/subway. Going into the city was fine, we felt like grownups. But the hiccup returning to the airport was no fun!

Nanook, I have to admit that I do like that idea. If only they could also make the buckets light up at night.