Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Magic Kingdom, September 1972

Today I am sharing the first scans from a beautiful batch of slides, photos taken by Lou Perry and scanned by his daughter, Sue B. These are early, and as is the case with all Lou Perry pix, they are extra nice!

Lou was obviously quite taken with the Swiss Family Treehouse, which (I understand) is on an island, and is accessible by bridge (please correct me if I'm mistaken). It sure looks great. Too bad this was an overcast day, but I guess we can imagine that a monsoon is on the way, and the Swiss Family will have to hunker down in their cave until the fierce winds die down. The lit torches probably kept tigers and pythons away, which is why I keep lit torches in front of my place.

Lou was taking lots of pictures of the Treehouse, because he was thinking of building one for his family back home. Unfortunately, "Disneyodendron semperflorens grandis" did not grow well in that part of the U.S.  I love the little cascade that runs down the hillside, handy for fresh water and to help mask the sounds of screeching monkeys.

Did I mention that you accessed the Treehouse via a bridge? It appears that this bridge is made from the wreckage of the ship that left them stranded. I have read the original story, and remember that the ship was called "The Electric Boogaloo". Unusual, but you can't argue with classic literature. 

THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!


JB said...

I wonder what that thing is on the trunk just above the waterwheel; it looks like a birdhouse. Maybe it's the Robinson's doorbell chime.
I think we see the Tropical Serenade (Tiki Room) tower in the background.

The Magic Kingdom's Treehouse appears to be even more grand and clever than Disneyland's. Not sure why the Robinson's needed a house in both, California and Florida. And how did they travel from one to the other?

Looking forward to seeing more of Lou Perry's Magic Kingdom photos. Thanks Lou. And thanks to Sue and Major.


Remember the WDW version was called SWISS FAMILY ISLE TREEHOUSE and is is on an island …. Even the Plaza Swan Boats circled it before continuing back into the plaza waterways. The WDW version is taller and wider … a more elaborate passage too … up … down … and out … HOWEVER … Walt Disney never explored this version … but only in spirit. THANK LOU- SUE and MAJOR!!

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, the Robinsons were bi-coastal. And in later years, they also had tree houses in Tokyo and Paris. If the castaways on Gilligan's Island could have a dental office and a car on the island, then I suppose the Robinson's could have had an airplane (made of bamboo, of course), to take them back and forth to their various houses.
Thank you for sharing these, Lou, Sue, and Major!

Chuck said...

More Lous photos! Always a treat.

The Florida Treehouse is accessible by both bridge and catapult, although surprisingly few guests choose the latter option. And I can say as I blame them; slamming into the trunk of the tree at those speeds is just like hitting concrete.

I read Swiss Family Robinson on the road during our first family vacation to Florida when I was 10. That made the visit to the Swiss Family Treehouse Isle that much more special, although the plot element of their second home, Rockburg, in a cave was a complete surprise to me. I imagined it looking a lot like Castle Rock.

JB, I just watched a 360° walk-through of the WDW Treehouse, and that little birdhouse thing looks like maybe it is supposed to be a bird feeder, or possibly a machine gun nest for the boys’ G.I. Joes.

Melissa said...

Lou certainly has a great eye for a picture. I was so fascinated on my first visit. It was like stepping into a dollhouse.

Chuck said...

Melissa, I did that once. I learned that balsa wood doesn't support my weight.

JG said...

These are great, but I looked at all of them before realizing they were not from Disneyland. Ha!

Considering the multiple benefits, I’m surprised more folks don’t opt for treehouse living.

I think I’ve shared scans of my childhood book of the Swiss Family, bought at Disneyland, if anyone is interested, please let me know.

Thank you, Lou, Sue and Major!


Major Pepperidge said...

JB, I believe (but it’s only a guess) that the thing above the waterwheel is supposed to be a bromeliad of some kind. Or a rogue squirrel. As for why the Swiss family needed two treehouses, well… I’m sure you’re like me and have at least three or four homes around the world. It’s so convenient!

Mike Cozart, it was actually called the Swiss Family Isle Treehouse With Special Guest Star Gilligan and With a Special Appearance By the Harlem Globetrotters. But most people just call it the Swiss Family Isle Treehouse for the sake of brevity.

TokyoMagic!, I used to have a treehouse in Monte Carlo, but I sold it to Ringo Starr. I’m thinking of building a treehouse in Oxnard!

Chuck, I hate to be “that guy”, but they use a trebuchet not a catapult. Actually, now that I think about it, I love to be “that guy”! I agree, when I read The Swiss Family Robinson (a volume that belonged to my mom when she was a little girl - I still have it) I was surprised how little time they spent at the treehouse. Monkey problems! That being said, the cave sounded pretty nice once they got it fixed up with throw pillows and a bumper pool table. Thanks for the link to that video!

Melissa, brilliant, a Swiss Family Treehouse dollhouse! Disney, pay Melissa millions of dollars right now.

Chuck, this is why I always build dollhouses out of depleted uranium.

JG, thanks to my eagle-eye and catlike reflexes and snakelike… um… well, something cool, I knew it was not the Disneyland treehouse. Also, Sue told me. And yes, you have shared scans of your book, I forget if you sent them to me or shared them some other way.

Nanook said...

@ JB-
"The Magic Kingdom's Treehouse appears to be even more grand and clever than Disneyland's".

Yes, the Robinson's always considered the Disneyland location their pied-à-terre.

Thanks to Lou and Sue.

Melissa said...

"Two treehouses" is funnier when you say it in a Jamaican accent.

Chuck said...

Nanook, ”…the Robinson's always considered the Disneyland location their pied-à-terre…”

My French is a little rusty, but they did what on the ground?

Chuck said...

Melissa, if you count the overseas ones, I think it adds up to four.

Chuck said...

So, “two, tree, four houses” in dat Jamaican accent.


I built a 1/87th scale model c.1978 for friends wedding present (they met working at Disneyland and he later proposed to his wife on the Swiss Family Treehouse ) in the back jungle vegetation, I inserted a actual leaf from the Disneyland treehouse. I later built 2 additional DL treehouse models for 2 Disneyland collectors. …. Unfortunately neither commission wanted the purple leaves from the attraction’s opening years. Maybe next time. You can view sone of the Treehouse model images at COZART DESIGN & MODEL blog .. I think the examples were the “1978” treehouse model construction.

There have been several toys for action figures and doll houses that were treehouses … NUTSHELL CREATIONS offered two dollhouse kits of treehouses … in 1” and 1/2” scale. GREENLEAF MINIATURES also offered a “fantasy treehouse “ dollhouse kit .

BIG JIM , PLANET OF THE APES …. Both had treehouses …. Weebles had a Mickey Mouse club treehouse and a family treehouse - which may have been done to resemble a Swiss family tree house. There were other treehouse toys for dolls like The sunshine family…. And there was the Kenner Star Wars Ewok treehouse vilkage playset in the 1980’s!!

JB said...

Chuck, surely the Swiss Family Robinson boys played with G.I. Johanns.

Melissa said...

I always coveted the Kenner Tree Tots Family Treehouse.

G.I. Johann has to maintain his neutrality, but he can drive his own Action Ambulance or use his Kung Fu Mediation Skills.

Mike, that model treehouse is incredible!

"Lou and Sue" said...

I have a question for Mike C....HOW did you get those original purple leaves? You are quite creative when it comes to gift ideas, I must say!

Thanks, Major, and everyone.


SUE?? I would have made purple leafs to match the original look of the treehouse had the clients wanted purple leafs … but they wanted the treehouse as is looked later in its life … so all three models used green leafs.

Only the wedding present treehouse model included a REAL Swiss Treehouse leaf hidden in it .. and it was green since the model represented 1978.

I’m not aware of any purple treehouse leafs in existence…..

"Lou and Sue" said...

Oh, OK, Mike...now I understand about the purple leaves.
But I still have a question:
How did you get an original leaf for the wedding-present-treehouse?



When the Swiss Treehouse was being converted to Tarzan Treehouse … those leaves were EVERYWHERE…. Disneyanna sold framed ones … there were lithographs of the 1960’s concept art by Sam McKim that came with a leaf in the frame … attraction poster reproductions with a leaf … at COMPANY D … the employee store you could buy leaves for a dollar each … and beaches … for I don’t recall. At WDI there was a Friday patio party celebrating the completion of the Tarzan Treehouse and Swiss treehouse leaves were given away and branches used as table decorations…..they were everywhere. They are out there … I’m sure many people forgot they had them long after the anger and burn of the Swiss treehouse change wore off.

Today I see them show up on EBAY from about 45.00 to 125.00 a leaf.


Thanks Melissa!!

I’ve done a model of Disneyland’s FORT WILDERNESS ( same scale as the treehouse models) for a collector that features some actual log slivers from the REAL fort in it and a model of the Tom Sawyer island “Old Mill” ( quarter inch scale) that use an origin roof shingle cut into pieces and used for the model’s roof and part of the water wheel trough support framing …

Today I’d be reluctant to saw up an artifact like the mill’s roof shingle for parts …

I also built a model of the Pete’s Dragon ( 1977) Lighthouse in 1/87th scale for a “Pete’s Dragon” collector that has actual soil from Morro Bay where the movie set lighthouse stood. A friend of mine walked the trail to the site and scooped up a few cups for me. It’s now a protected preserve so one couldn’t really do that today.

I’ve got some plastic tubs of soil and some plaster chunks from the demolished Cascade Peak to use on a future “Cascade Peak” model …..

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, they could make a little extra money by listing it on Airbnb!

Melissa, I say everything with a Jamaican accent.

Chuck, when natures calls…

Chuck, oh trust me, there are more than four.

Chuck (again!), ya mon.

Mike Cozart, wow, I’m going to have to go to your website to look at your Treehouse models! And those leaves are a generous gift, I’ve seen them go for a pretty decent chunk of money. I have one, it was given to me, but it’s kind of a neat little prop that I can store easily. To be honest I’m not sure which version of leaf I have, mostly because I haven’t done any research on it. I was wondering about a treehouse in Planet of the Apes, but I assume you mean the newer versions, I do seem to recall a huge treehouse of some kind.

JB, with lifelike lederhosen!

Melissa, a Kung Fu Grip would come in very handy on a desert isle.

Lou and Sue, I’ll bet most of those original leaves went right into dumpsters. It hurts just to think about it.

Mike Cozart, ah interesting, I thought perhaps some nostalgic Imagineer might have hung on to some of those original leaves, and maybe they did! Unless they blog or are on Facebook, nobody would ever know.

Lou and Sue, he raked them up during the Autumn.

Mike Cozart, that must be the kind of leaf that I have. Even up close it looks pretty good. Definitely plastic, but it has nice details and light transmits through it to some degree. Just imagine how many thousands of leaves there must have been! “Enough for everyone”. Maybe even more than the Main Street Electrical Parade lightbulbs. I’ve seen Treehouse leaves nicely framed with a bamboo-style frame, mounted against a woven palm-leaf background, I should do something like that.

Mike Cozart, my sister lives up near Morro Bay, and I’ve been out to the State Park where they filmed Pete’s Dragon - it’s a popular hiking spot. I’ve never actually walked out to what is labeled “Disney Point” on the map, but I’ve wanted to. I don’t think there is any trace of sets left, which I’m sure was part of the condition of being allowed to build there.

This one is from Sue, who has been having issues with her comments going through: I just typed another comment [twice] and it looked like it was posting, but then disappeared twice...I'll try, again...

Mike, thank you for the leaf info. I've been skeptical of the Disneyland items for sale (Matterhorn rock, Lagoon seaweed, Tiki Room orchids, etc.) on eBay, but am glad to know that some of it IS the real deal.
Now I want a leaf. Sue also said: I just read your last comment....NOW I want to buy that Matterhorn rock on eBay - and then have you build me a Matterhorn model. THAT would be super cool!

DBenson said...

Ideally a model treehouse should be positioned in from of a terrarium, so the upper reaches would have a view of a tiny jungle, complete with tiny plastic crocodiles.


MAJOR : I was referring to treehouse toys … Mego continued to release Planet of the Apes toys after the movies and during the TV series … I think lots of the toys were really based on similar things from the TV series like the treehouse and the auto garage ruin “jail”.

Sue … for Disneyland’s 50th and after a Matterhorn rehab Matterhorn “chunks” were sold at Disneyanna … with a certificate and a black padded box. At one point guests were no longer able to inspect the boxes because customers were wanting to go thru dozens and dozens of the boxes to pick out one they really liked … it was just too time consuming and backing up the lines for other purchases … so towards the end you got “pot luck Matterhorn debris” lol.

Anonymous said...

Darned if I wasn't there in September 1972 myself. Who knew? Perhaps we shared standing in line...or rubber shoulders some there. KS