Monday, June 6, 2005

Take Me Back to Yesterland

Tracy, Teresa, Don, David and Tommy, 1996Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show a picture of the place you wish you could be right now. Vacation spot, old neighborhood, a friend's house -- wherever it would nice to be right this instant, grab a picture from your archives and show us.  - JS

Well, gee.  There's no question where I want to be.  This month is Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, and I'm dying to go.  And we will, somehow.  We'll find a weekend and rush over there.  But that's not really what I want. 

I want to go to Yesterland.

In an ill-regarded Doctor Who story called "Delta and the Bannermen," a time-traveling tour bus attempts to take interstellar tourists to the Disneyland of the 1950s.  Yes, please!  I want to take a Rocket to the Moon,  watch the guy with the jet pack take off, and see Satchmo, the Mouseketeers, Davy Crockett and Zorro perform live at Disneyland.  But that's not all. I also want to visit an Indian Village, watch Wally Boag at the Golden Horseshoe, and ride one of the Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules and on the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train through Frontierland.  Over in Tomorrowland, I want to ride the Astro-Jets, the PeopleMover, the Rocket Rods, the Phantom Boats and the  Flying Saucers, see the CircleVision 360 film America the Beautiful, tour the House of the Future, have an Adventure Thru Inner Space, and celebrate a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" on the Carousel of Progress.  None of those attractions are there any more, and they existed at different times in the park's history.  But I want to see them, or, in some cases, enjoy them again. There are plenty of other defunct attractions I'd like to experience, but those are the main ones for me.

I didn't get to Disneyland for the first time until at least the late 1970s, and my earliest photos are from 1986 or 1987.  So I missed a bunch of stuff completely, and my photographic record of the attractions I did get to enjoy before they were gone is woefully incomplete.  But here's what I found:

Big Thunder Ranch, circa 1986Big Thunder Ranch:

Big Thunder Ranch was basically a Western-themed petting zoo at the edge of Frontierland, with goats and horses and a barbeque.  It took up some of the real estate formerly used by the Mine Train before it became the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Big Thunder Ranch was replaced by the Hunchback of Notre Dame Festival of Fools stage show, which I really loved, in 1996.  Then the Festival of Fools was replaced by...nothing.  The area is nominally Big Thunder Ranch again, but used only for company picnics and such.

The Festival of Fools, 1996

the surviving but disused keel boat.Mike Fink Keel Boats:

One of the keel boats tipped over in 1997, injuring some passengers, and so they discontinued the ride rather than try to fix it up.  This is kind of a shame, even though the keel boats were just one more way to travel on the Rivers of America, along with the rafts and the canoes, the Mark Twain and the Columbia.   I'm not sure, but I think the keel boats were the actual ones used in the Davy Crockett episodes about Mike Fink, played by Jeff York.  Mike's boat, the Gullywhumper, was still anchored along the river as of 2003, but it will probably never carry passengers again.  It is, after all, the one that had the accident.  Davy's boat, the Bertha Mae, was auctioned off in 2001.

Submarine Voyage, 1996Submarine Voyage:

John and I were on this the very last night it was in use.  Sure, the effects were silly and dated, in need of renovation and upgrading, but it was still cool.  Early on, they used to have live mermaids, but that was long gone by the time I first got there.  Last time we were at Disneyland, we looked down at the lagoon with regret, and took pictures until a cast member shooed us away.  The good news is that it is going to be redone as a Finding Nemo-themed attraction.  I hope they do it right!

Skyway to Fantasyland, 1986Skyway from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland (and vice versa)

The rumor is that this was discontinued because it would have been a pain to make it wheelchair accessible.  Phooey.

Now, you may be wondering why I used that picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle at the top of this entry, if it's all about stuff that isn't there any more.  Sleeping Beauty Castle does indeed still exist at Disneyland, although this year it's a different color.  But that particular photo was taken in 1986, when I went to Disneyland with Tracy and Teresa Murray, Don W. , David J. and little Tommy B.  Tracy has since died. It occurs to me that if I could go to the Disneyland of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and so on, I could also theoretically go there with people who have since left the planet.  I could also theoretically meet people who have since left the planet.  So maybe I'd pick up Mom and Tracy, Shiori and Dan, and make a real once-in-a-lifetime trip of it.  And I wouldn't come home until I had Walt Disney's autograph.



ryanagi said...

The People Mover and Carousel of Progress are at DisneyWorld in Orlando. The past lives on. LOL  

rap4143 said...

Thank you for the photo vacation :)

gaboatman said...

Wow, I feel as though I'd been there myself.  Thanks!  Sam

deabvt said...

Ah, the memories!!

fdtate714 said...

I used to love the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at WDW.  I kept thinking that they were going to revamp it and reopen it, but they never did.  Pity.  

I think a lot of parks removed their Skyway-type rides after the Six Flags accident.  A car broke loose in high winds and killed a couple of people many years ago.

sakishler said...

I sure hope they do the submarine ride right too. That's just right behind the Haunted Mansion on my list of all-time favorites. Of course, the silly and dated effects were exactly what held its appeal for me. Yay for the giant squid.