Hello Friends and Family,

Mexico and California, 1972, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Sleeping Beauty Castle is, as most of you know, the heart of Disneyland and has been so since the beginning. With the park closed during the Corona-virus pandemic, Disney decided to spruce up this iconic treasure with a new paint job. For me, the original design and paint job are just fine for this magic kingdom.

Main Street is where we all go for souvenirs, drinks, and snacks — all in an environment that could have been transplanted from any small town in mid-west America.

Tomorrowland looked so mod back when Disneyland first opened but this photo makes it look a bit dated. The PeopleMover was fun at the time, taking riders around this futuristic part of the park at a leisurely pace. It was closed in 1995 but I understand the elevated tracks remain in place. The area to the left has been updated — isn't that where Star Tours takes off from? That ride is still futurist. It is based on a real flight simulator — with the motion of the space vehicle coordinated with a creative space video provided by George Lucas. It is as close as most of us will ever get to experiencing real space travel. Yep, the PeopleMover was pretty tame by comparison.

Here we see the Matterhorn — a bobsled ride in balmy Southern California. The "snow" is simply extra heavy white paint with glass beads added to provide sparkle. The bobsleds are simply roller coaster cars that zoom around mostly in the dark but do watch out for the Abominable Snowman who will scare the bejeesus out of those riders who have forgotten about the warnings posted in the waiting line area.

Also note the Skyway, a gondola lift ride that actually went through Matterhorn mountain. I say "went" because it closed in 1994 due to metal fatigue. Even Disneyland is not immune to the ravages of time and the elements. I loved it both because of the relaxed aerial views of the park but also because it serlved as a short-cut between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland (formerly an insider's tip).

Here we see a view of a mountain village as seen from the Storybook Land Canal Boats. The ride begins through the mouth of Monstro, the whale that swallowed Pinocchio. The gentle cruise takes riders past miniatures of scenes such as the homes of the Three Little Pigs, London Park from Peter Pan, the cottage and the mine from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and many other fantasy scenes. Yes, it is more exciting for the kids but a great way for adults to relax for a few minutes before the next high adventure activities.

Sitting in the lagoon is Captain Hook's Galley, modeled after the Jolly Roger from Peter Pan. I did not know until I looked up background information that it actually was a restaurant. Skull Rock and waterfalls were added as a backdrop for a new seating area in 1960. Surprisingly, the restaurant was sponsored by Chicken of the Sea. I wonder if that meant that most of the menu items were planned around canned tuna.

And who does not remember the Mark Twain Riverboat? Even those who have never been to Disneyland have seen it on television. It offers a pleasant 12-minute journey around the Rivers of America complete with accompaniment from a historic country-style band. This is a relaxing diversion from the hectic rides such as Star Tours, the Matterhorn, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

When Disneyland was young, there was a vibrant Indian Village. The attraction even included real Native Americans performing traditional dances and interacting with visitors. By the norms of the mid-20th century, Disneyland’s Indian Village was authentic and respectful. Interpretive signs described how the parts of the village represented different Indian Nations and how the structures would have been used. The Native American cast members were encouraged to share their cultures with park guests. The ceremonial dances and craft demonstrations were genuine. Eventually, the Indian Village seemed to lose its appeal — kids preferred thrill rides, etc. and the village was closed in 1971. All that was before my first visit — these few teepees were the only remnants.

In a small clearing, there was a settler's cabin on fire with a dead settler in the yard, killed by an Indian arrow. I read online that "In the 1970s, the entertainment industry became increasingly aware that their often simplistic portrayal of American Indians could be offensive. At Disneyland, the settler lost the arrow and became the victim of evil river pirates." Eventually, the flames were extinguished and Mike Fink moved into that same cabin.

Docked at a landing on Tom Sawyer Island is a period-authentic log raft that transports folks over to the island — that, of course, offers a number of attractions for kids to get out and explore both physically and with their imaginations.

It's a Small World is an indoor boat ride that transports passengers through a series of scenes containing an amazing assortment of [according to Wikipedia] "300 audio-animatronic dolls in traditional costumes from cultures around the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity, and singing the attraction's title song, which has a theme of global peace." Those dolls are all dancing to the ride's theme song which will resonate through your brain for hours (maybe days) after one trip through the attraction. I'll even bet that some of you now have that "earworm" stuck in your head already — and will hate me for even mentioning it.

Here he is — the author and photographer (who is rarely photographed), taking a break from all the attractions Disneyland has to offer.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com