Friday, July 30, 2010

Greetings from The Art Corner at Disneyland!

Let me start this post by saying that I don't consider myself a big Disneyland pin collector. I'm being specific here when I say "Disneyland." I actually own more pins from Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris than I do from the original Disney theme park that I grew up with. Maybe it's because I buy more souvenirs in general when I visit other Disney parks, than I do from the park that's right here in my own backyard.

Well, on a recent visit to Disneyland, I discovered that there had been a special "pin event" about a week before Disneyland's 55th birthday on July 17th. Attendance at the event was limited and after paying to go to the event, attendees could have first crack at a wide array of limited edition pins. About a week after the event, the remaining pins were placed into a couple pin selling locations in the park. I wandered into one of those pin locations during DL's birthday weekend and found just one "regular" pin that I liked, but when I went to pay for it, I discovered the "limited" edition pins behind the counter and ended up buying more than I had planned. Below, are four of those pins (plus a bonus pin.) All of these pins are mounted on replicas of postcards that were once sold at the Art Corner in Tomorrowland.

This first pin features Mickey Mouse as an astronaut.

Here's the actual postcard that the pin is based on. Note how the TWA logo has been removed above. Oh, and there will be some glare from the cellophane wrapping on these pins since I didn't open any of them!

Next, we have Jiminy Cricket.....

The words, "from the Art Corner" have been removed from the reproduction.

Here are Chip and Dale giving a great big "HELLO!" from Disneyland. (The actual pin is just Dale.)

The original postcards have a little bit more detail going on.

The last one from this set features Lady and the Tramp.

Once again, "from the Art Corner" is missing. Also the paintbrush has been removed from Lady and Tramp's mouths.

Here's what the back of all four original postcards looked like. Oh, and all of these can be found in the book, "The Nickel Tour" (on pages 208-210.)

There was also a large postcard that the Art Corner used to sell that featured Donald Duck riding on a train. There was a dial on the side of the card that let you change the hat that he was wearing. The sign in the foreground also changed.

A pin version of this postcard was released for DL's 55th and it also has the dial on the side. I did not purchase this particular pin....I "borrowed" the image from ebay!

According to this sign in Downtown Disney, pin trading has been going on for ten years now. Gee, and I don't even own a lanyard!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Viewliner In The Sky & Second Anniversary!

While strolling the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel and checking out the soon to be removed waterfalls, I came across this artwork in the lobby of one of the hotel towers. There were two other pieces of concept art for Tomorrowland that I had previously seen either in books or in the Disney Gallery, but I had never seen this particular piece before. I wonder how long this "Viewliner on a monorail beam" concept was being considered before the final "Mark I" design came about?

Well that's it for today....sorry for such a short post! Oh, and today marks the second anniversary of my blog!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Disneyland's 26th B-day - A Trip Report From 1981

It's time for another vintage trip report! The date was July 17th, 1981 and it had been 8 months since I had gotten my driver's license and drove to Disneyland for the first time. Actually, by now I had already driven myself to the park several times, but this was a special day because it was Disneyland's 26th birthday. It didn't matter that they weren't doing anything special at the park like they had the year before for the park's 25th birthday. Just the fact that it was July 17th made it special enough for two huge Disneyland fans like myself and my friend, Alvin.

We'll start out with the entertainment guide that was being handed out at the main gate. The Fox and the Hound had just been released that summer and was being advertised on the back of the guide. There was also a special Fox and the Hound Electrical Parade unit that was featured in the parade for that summer only.

Pearl Bailey was appearing on the River Stage in Frontierland! She was the voice of Big Mama in The Fox and the Hound and she sang "The Best of Friends" in her Rollin' River Revue. She was fantastic!

The map portion of the guide folds down for more entertainment info. Hey, it's the "Small World Character Parade"....we have to see that!

This was the only thing special that was done to acknowledge the 26th birthday. Cast members were given these tags to wear along with a carnation. After playing dumb and asking several cast members, "Hey, how can we get one of those?", a cast member in the Candy Palace took hers off and handed it to me saying that I could have her tag and that she just wanted to keep the carnation! This was a major score at the time for a Disneyland fan and collector like myself. Remember, there was no eBay back then!

So we're starting out the day the way that we usually began our visits to the entering Tomorrowland first (after Main St., of course). Tomorrowland was the coolest of all the lands and it was my very favorite land from childhood all the way up until 1998 when they, uh....oh never mind! I see the handiwork of Mary Blair off in the distance.....but where is E.J. Peaker? And you have to love the ameoboid bowl planters at the entrance (which were once actually fountains....REALLY!)

After riding Space Mountain (because we always went on Space Mountain first back then), we'll take a spin on the Tomorrowland Autopia. The PeopleMover track is overhead, and this yellow car appears to be driving itself through the course.

Wheeeee! A ride on the Skyway and YOU ARE THERE!

After passing through the Matterhorn, I took this shot of a bobsled racing below us on the Fantasyland side.

Now we'll take a ride around the Rivers of America on the Columbia Sailing ship. Big Thunder Mountain can be seen in the background. It would have been only two years old here, but even then I would have traded it in to have Nature's Wonderland back!

We have reservations for the Golden Horseshoe Revue. We can't miss that!

They've seated us in the balcony! By the way, these pictures were all taken with my Kodak 110 Instamatic Camera and this particular photo was taken using a handy dandy Kodak Flip-Flash. Hey, where's Betty Taylor?

Now it's time for the Small World Character Parade. What IS the Small World Character Parade, did you ask? It's a parade featuring the Disney characters dressed in costumes from around the world. And of course the Small World Theme song plays in different languages throughout the parade. (These three parade photos have been shown here on my blog previously, but I'm running them again since they were from this visit.)

I'm not sure which country Snow White and Dopey were supposed to be from, but Snow White is wearing a wreath of flowers in her hair and an embroidered apron of some sort. This was one of the earliest uses of the newly designed Dwarf costumes. Prior to this they had used the very large disproportionate costume heads.

Hmmm, these four don't seem to be wearing anything special. I do remember there also being a Latin unit and the dancers and the characters were wearing ruffled sleeves....sorry, no pictures of them.

A shot of the Castle always has to be taken when you're at Disneyland, right?

Here's the old Alice facade. I kind of like the vintage attraction poster on the cover of the book instead of what is there now, but that's just me.

Last up on this trip, we'll take a ride on the original version of Snow White's Adventures (Scary!) Watch out for the Witch!

I hope everyone enjoyed this vintage Disneyland trip report from July 17th, 1981!

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Knott's Calico Log Ride - 41st Anniversary!

Today happens to be the 41st anniversary of Knott's Berry Farm's Calico Log Ride. My family went to Knott's that Summer of 1969. I was only four years old, but I do remember standing in the crowd and watching the logs go down the flume one after the other. Everyone was fascinated by this. I don't remember how long the line was, but I did not get to ride it that would be one more year before I would get that chance.

My dad took all of the vintage photos in today's post and I took all of the current ones within the last month or so. This first photo is from that trip my family took to Knott's in the Summer of 1969. The Log Ride would have been only about a month old here. Look at all the fresh lumber used on the flume and the loading station. Also note the employees on the mountain. There is one sitting next to the flume at the top of the drop. I remember there always being an employee stationed there in the early years. I assume this was to make sure everyone was sitting down before the drop, but in later years the employee was replaced by a recording that would say quite loudly, "Sit down over there!" There is another employee standing on the rockwork just to the right of the flume and another standing at the bottom of the drop (visible between the two men's heads on the right.)

Here is the view while standing in the same spot today. There is actually a real pine tree in there among all the fake ones and it has now grown so big that it blocks the view of the mountain from this angle and most of the flume too.

Here are two more "Then" and "Now" shots.

In order to get a clear view of the opening at the top of the mountain and the drop, you now have to stand over by the train tracks in Calico Square. There's that pine tree again. I'm surprised it's still there given Knott's current track record with trees. (By the way, the sappling that replaced a 40+ year old tree next to the Cable Car Kitchen/Pink's earlier this year, has already died!)

Now, let's actually go on the Calico Log Ride. Before boarding, riders see this plaque which hangs over the loading area. I thought the Log Ride was built and run by Bud Hurlbut!

Here we go up into the saw mill! This photo was taken in 1970.

I tried to recreate the shot that my dad took 40 years ago.

My dad turned around very quickly and took another shot looking down the lift...... I did the same.

Here's another shot from 1970, taken while floating along past Fiesta Village. For some reason, I have very clear memories of those stationary boats in Reflection Lake.....and the monkey cage which can just barely be seen over on the left. For a better view of the monkey cage (click here) for another great photo from Gorillas Don't Blog.

Here's a current pic taken from the same spot. No comment. Really! But of course, I am dying to make one!

Happy anniversary to Knott's Calico Log Ride! May it still be standing in another 41 years!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Disneyland Hotel: Part 3 - The Old Marina Buildings

We're going to continue with the "Disneyland Hotel" theme of the last several weeks. Today, we will be taking a look at the old Disneyland Hotel Marina buildings that are still standing today. They have been outlined in yellow on the postcard below (again, courtesy of Don Ballard....thank you!!!) In addition to these, there are two more buildings that can't be seen in this photo because they are blocked by the hotel tower.

Those two hidden buildings can be seen here in this 1968 concept art from Don Ballard's website and book, showing the then-proposed Marina area.

Here is the artwork again, but I've circled the structures that are still standing today. The buildings circled in red and green are currently restaurants, and the building circled in blue had a very large addition made to it in 1980 as a part of Seaports of the Pacific shops expansion, and is now part of the hotel's video arcade.

Below, is the green circled building which is Croc's Bits 'N Bites (Hosted by Nestle.) The menu here consists of fast food.....Burgers, Fries, Chicken Nuggets and Nestle ice cream treats.

Just to the right of this structure is the larger building which was circled in red. When this restaurant first opened back in 1969, it was called the Shipyard Inn. Today, it is called Hook's Pointe and features a variety of fresh seafood entrees.

Here's a vintage aerial shot showing both structures. Note the red phone booth in the lower right hand corner that is also visible in the current shot above (it looks as though it was moved just a few feet closer to the building at some point.) The long structure with the rusted metal roof is now the Lost Bar. We'll see a current shot of it in just a minute. The building in the bottom left corner is the same one that is circled in blue in the concept art above. When the hotel added The Seaports of the Pacific Shops, a "pagoda top" was added to the roof of this building.

Here's another shot of Hook's Pointe, taken from the other side of the building (what used to be the Marina side.)

And here's yet another vintage aerial shot.

This next photo was taken standing where the hotel's Marina used to be located and also the future site of the hotel's new water slides.

Compare the shot above with the one below from Don Ballard's collection. On the left is the former Shipyard Inn (Hook's Pointe) and on the right is the structure that we saw with the Pagoda added to the roof. Also note that the sliding glass doors and balconies have all been eliminated from the Sierra/Dreams Tower. This is part of an ongoing renovation to all three towers.

Let's move on now to the remnants of the old Seaports of the Pacific Shops. In recent years half of this building was converted into a very large glassware shop called Euro Gifts & Collectibles by Arribas Bros. (They also run the glass blower shops on Main St. and in New Orlean's Square and have a small stand in Downtown Disney.)

This is the south side of the glass shop, which we saw in my "Hotel Waterfalls" post. The path on the left leads down to the area with the waterfalls and cave.

This photo was taken from inside the shop, looking out at the waterfalls. Just look at that beautiful old tree (soon to be grass) outside the window!

Here we see the exterior again. There is a water feature around the base of the building.

Water spews out of these sculptures and into a pond. The pond then spills over into the waterfall area below it. Once again, I highly recommend going to see this area before it all goes away!

Continuing around the building, we end up at the rear entrance. This half of the building has been converted into a video arcade.

Now moving around to the north side of the building, we see the section that has been converted into The Lost Bar.

Here's a vintage publicity photo from Daveland for comparison.

And a couple more current shots.

Note the interior of the glass shop in this next photo compared to above. The shop has already been permanently closed and it's stock has been cleared out. Just to the right of those windows is another entrance to the arcade. This section of the arcade dates back to when the Marina was built and once again, is the building we saw with the Pagoda addition on the roof. It may not be too recognizable now from the outside, but the inside is all wooden posts and beams with a wooden "deck" floor.

And of course, I have to mention the mini-Jungle Cruise remote control boats that sits next to these structures. For more photos of these, click here for my Adventure Thru Inner Jungle Cruise post from 2009. I gave the post that title because the people in the boats very much reminded me of the little people in the "miniaturized" Atomobiles of Adventure Thru Inner Space.

Now for some good news and some bad news.....but mostly bad. As mentioned in previous posts, the hotel waterfall area, the Koi ponds and the old Dancing Waters arena are all going to be removed and replaced with pretty much nothing. The old Seaports of the Pacific shops (the glass shop, the arcade, and the Lost Bar) and Croc's Bits 'N Bites are also all slated for demolition. If you look at the concept art below from Disney, it shows a building simply marked, "Restaurant and Bar" in the exact same spot as the Shipyard Inn/Hook's Pointe building. I asked a cast member from management yesterday if that building was going to be removed and a new one built in it's place. Unfortunately she did not know for sure, but she did know for sure that the other structures would all be removed.

The one little ray of hope here, is that maybe this 40 year old building will be allowed to remain standing. Disney has announced that the new "restaurant and bar" will be done in the style of the old Tahitian Terrace from Adventureland. If done correctly, this could be a truly wonderful addition to the hotel. Of course, I would rather see something like that return to it's former location in Adventureland, but still....there is potential here for something great. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!