Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve At Disneyland - 1996

Today we have two photos from the 1996 New Year's Eve party at Disneyland. Walt was sporting what I like to call a "trash hat." The park used to give these hats out to guests on New Year's Eve. I call them trash hats because they were made up of shrink wrapped scraps of paper and cellophane. I wonder if they still pass these out? On this particular night, someone had managed to get over to Walt and place one of the hats on his head. Funny or sacrilegious? You decide! 

The photos today were taken the year of the Disneyland New Year's Eve "Flower Trampling" incident. We were in a pretty safe situation....and so were those poinsettias seen around Walt and Mickey, because this was actually "the eye of the storm." Things stayed calm in the dead center of the Plaza where we were located while everyone was going crazy around us. I mentioned the incident in my Disneyland Millennium New Year's Eve post from two years ago. Here's the part about the flower trampling: 

"The last New Year's Eve that I spent at Disneyland was in 1996 and it was so unbelievably crowded that I haven't attempted it since. It seemed like the entire park was packed into the Plaza for the midnight countdown and fireworks. Afterward, it was complete gridlock in the Plaza and surrounding areas and it was taking forever for the crowd to dissipate. People got very impatient and eventually just started climbing over railings and trampling flowers to get out of the area. It was a little scary!"

According to the clock on the Castle, the previous photo was taken at 11:23 (and 02 seconds!) It really doesn't appear to be that crowded around us.....but it was! Oh, and you can see two people in the crowd wearing their "trash hats."

Here's a close-up of the signage on the Castle. This was actually taken earlier in the evening as shown by the clock.

Well, I will not be going to Disneyland tonight for New Year's Eve....and you can't make me! I'll be spending the evening at a much smaller-scale event. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year! (To see some Disneyland New Year's Eve ephemera from 1980 and 1981, click here.)


Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa's Village: Part 8 - Miscellaneous Images, Souvenirs, and Links

It's time for the final part to my Santa's Village series. Today we will be looking at some miscellaneous images from the park. First up, we have "The North Pole." Guests to Santa's Village could see, touch, lick and be photographed next to this "North Pole" that happened to be made up of real ice. I wonder if this thing was turned on 24 hours a day or if once the park closed, the plug was pulled and it was allowed to defrost? This was located just inside the entrance to the park. Santa's house can be seen in the background.

Here's a better view of Santa's house. We actually saw this building in yesterday's post. This view of it shows Rainbow Man on the far left (rockin' his rainbow bell bottoms) and the Lollipop Lady, as well as some elves and possibly Cinderella or Alice. I would say that she's Alice because of the blue dress and white pinafore, but we saw her riding on Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach a couple days ago, so who knows....they may have intended for her to be Cinderella.

Not only did Santa have a home at Santa's Village, but the Easter Bunny did as well. Or at least, he had a nursery there. I'm pretty sure he lived there too because we have seen him in plenty of Santa's Village pics....and where else would the Easter Bunny live anyway?

Here's the Mechanical Toy Factory, which is listed on the map as just "Toy Shop".....not to be confused with the Mill Wheel House/Toy Shop. I do get the names of those two locations confused. They seem to have changed names over the years. They were definitely two separate buildings. One had a waterwheel on the front of it and the other had this mechanical gear or cog on the facade.

This postcard is just labled, "Gift Shop."

There is a "Gift Shop" listed on the map, but I'm not sure if this "Pixie Flower Stand" was part of the Gift Shop or if it was located in one of the other shops on the property.

This was the Coaster Bobsled Ride. I wonder what happened to this little ride?

Visitors to Santa's Village could also ride Santa's Candy Cane Sleigh Ride.

The Candy Cane Sleighs operated year round whether there was snow on the ground or not. They were pulled by only four "not-so-tiny" reindeer.

Once again, here is that Santa's Village map from the late seventies/early eighties. I've circled the attractions and buildings that were mentioned above. It looks like over the past week, we have taken a close-up look at everything listed on the map except for the "Pebble Candy Mine", which I have yet to find vintage pics of, and the "Old 99 Train." Who knew that Santa's Village had two trains?

We also did not take a look at the "Barn", the "Burro Ride" or the "Animal Pen", but we certainly did see plenty of animals pictured in the vintage postcards! And speaking of Burros, here's a postcard showing "Bim, The Playful Burro." Cute!

Below, are some miscellaneous items I found for sale on eBay. The first is a group of five black and white photos from 1957. One of the pics shows a goat in a sleigh with a kid (no pun intended). Another pic shows a burro (Bim?) coming right up to some guests and trying to drink out of their cups. I thought the animals were shown out in the open on the postcards because those were publicity shots, but were some of the animals just running around loose in the park?

Vintage pics of the park often show kids wearing these buttons. This one is available on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $18.00. I wonder if these were given out or if they had to be purchased?

This S.V. magnet has a Buy It Now price of $22.00.

And here's a really interesting item. It's a record album of Christmas songs sung by the students of the Claremont High School Vocal Music Department. There doesn't appear to be a date on it, but based on the student's clothing in the cover photo, it looks like it was probably taken in the fifties or sixties. And that building in the background is Santa's Toy Shop. It originally had a Buy It Now price of $99.99, but it can now be yours for the reduced price of $49.99. Aren't these prices kind of steep? Maybe that's why the items have been listed for over a week now and have not been snapped up.

Here are some links for more information on Santa's Village:

Santa's Village History - for a fascinating history of the men behind Skyforest's Santa's Village and the world's first "theme park chain" (AND the first suspended monorail in the United States.)

Photo Essay: Santa's Village Theme Park Abandoned - for Sandy Hemmerlein's "Avoiding Regret" blog post recalling what it was like poking around the old abandoned Santa's Village site.

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California - for information about the new location of Santa's Village's Crooked Treehouse, the Guard Shack, the playhouse version of Santa's House and many of the park's concrete mushrooms. (The Flower Fields are currently closed and will be open to the public from March 1st thru May 13th of 2012.)

The Santa Ana Zoo in Santa Ana, California - for information about the new home of Santa's Village's Magic Train (now the Zoofari Express.)

I think we'll end this series with another pic of the spinning Christmas Tree Ride, just because it looked so cool!

So long Santa, and so long Santa's Village!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa's Village: Part 7 - Crooked Tree House, The Magic Train & More!

Hey, it's not all doom and gloom for Santa's Village! Some parts of it went on to have a life beyond the Skyforest park and are now entertaining the masses at other Southern California locations.

This Santa's Village is located in a children's playground at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, California (near Legoland).

Through an auction that was held after the closing of Santa's Village, they were able to acquire many of the park's cement mushrooms and also the park's Guard Shack. I wasn't able to find any vintage images of this structure, so I'm not sure where it was originally located. The Santa's Village in Dundee, Illinois (same owner) had an almost identical structure that stood in it's parking lot.

Does this little playhouse look familiar? We saw it a couple days ago in a vintage postcard.

Here's that vintage image again. See it in the lower right corner of the pic? It's rotated around in the postcard so we're looking at the other side of it.

It was actually supposed to be a miniature version of Santa's house. The full-sized version can be seen below. The playhouse even had the clock hanging out front with the months on it instead of hours. A great vintage shot of it can be seen here on Gorillas Don't Blog.

Here's another beloved structure from Santa's Village that can also be found at The Flower Fields, The Crooked Tree House.

This is how it looked when it was at Santa's Village. If I were a kid, I would much rather go down that longer, taller, metal slide! Are there any metal slides in parks anymore? Oh well, at least the structure still exists!

I've circled the original location of The Crooked Tree House in green on the map.

And here's roughly where it would have sat in the aerial photo. I've also circled the location of The Magic Train in blue because now we're going to be taking a look at that attraction.

It was a train......and it was magic.

It was......The Magic Train!

Today.....not so magic. least not at the old Santa's Village site.

HOWEVER, this little gem also continues to have a life beyond it's 43 years of service to Santa's Village. It can now be found at the Santa Ana Zoo in Santa Ana, California (a few miles southeast of Disneyland). This train was actually built by Bud Hurlbut of Knott's Calico Mine Train and Calico Log Ride name just two of his incredible pieces of work!

The train was acquired by the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo in November of 1998 and brought back to the Hurlbut Amusement Company in Buena Park (across the street from Knott's Berry Farm) and completely restored. A new train station was built at the zoo and the attraction opened in 1999 with a new name, the Zoofari Express. In 2005, the 50 year old engine underwent a conversion from a gasoline powered engine to battery powered. At this time a new train was brought in to cover for the original engine while it was being refurbished. Today, both trains are running at the Santa Ana Zoo, so if you go to the zoo to see the Santa's Village train, it's the one with the #1030 on the engine. The newer train is engine #1036.

Well, I have one more part to this series and then we'll be done.

I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all my readers, commenters, lurkers and followers! (And a big "thank you" too!)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa's Village: Part 6 - Cinderella & Alice

Let's go for a ride in Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach! Just enter through the brightly painted castle turret!

The coaches may be long gone, but yep....that turret is still standing today. This is the view from behind it. See the blue wooden railings on the other side? Those are the multicolored railings visible in the vintage postcard above.

There's those blue railings again. The Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach entrance is just out of view on the left. That tree trunk-shaped structure once served as the entrance to the Alice In Wonderland attraction. Hey, where are the caterpillar ride vehicles?

This attraction was actually a walk-thru.

And now you can just enter through one of the broken glass panels.

What a trip, huh? Maybe someone else should try to reopen this place? I read somewhere that local residents are still hoping that someone will do just that, but I don't know what that is based on exactly. Maybe the fact that someone was attempting to do it 10 years ago is giving them hope that someone else will come along?

Here's the location of these two attractions.

We'll end today with a close-up of Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach. Who's that riding on the back? Why it's Rainbow Man! Did I hear someone ask who the heck is Rainbow Man?

Well, here's a better photo of him posing along with the Lollipop Lady. It kind of sounds like a seventies variety TV show, "Lollipop Lady & Rainbow Man"! Sort of like "Pink Lady and Jeff".....hey, whatever happened to that group anyway? I wonder if Rainbow Man ever stood in for Santa?