Tuesday, October 05, 2010
1500th Post - It’s A Celebration, Pt. 5: Fantasyland
This land is the heart of Disneyland; it’s the land where the classic Disney animated films actually come to life, and the guest is put front and center into those beloved tales. Sure, Orlando’s castle is much bigger, but I prefer the scale and design of the original in Anaheim. So do these lucky kids from July 18, 1955 who got to witness the drawbridge being lowered for the public on the park’s second day of operation.
Crossing over the moat through the castle...how many children’s hearts begin to race with anticipation at what could be on the other side?
How adorable is this little tot? Take note of all the souvenir headgear in this shot:
This first vintage poster celebrates 3 Fantasyland staples:
The King Arthur Carrousel, circa April 1958—
The Mad Tea Party, circa August 1968 (love the little girl’s head flung back from sheer joy of the spinning motion)—
And Dumbo, circa March 1956 (is he wearing lipstick?)—
Fantasyland is known for its “dark rides,” thus named because the attraction vehicle takes you into a building that is mainly dark. As originally designed, each attraction was filled with painted scenes and characters that utilized black-light effects. The irony of the dark ride is that they are based on children’s animated Disney movies, yet most of them scare the bejesus out of kids under the age of four.
Alice came a little after the others, but she has always been a popular one.
These 1960 twins look as if they came from the dark.
Besides Alice, there’s also Snow White:
Pinocchio (joining the rest in 1983):
Before Pinocchio, The Mickey Mouse Club/Fantasyland Theater was in this location, showing cartoons in an air conditioned environment:
If you really want to scare the crap out of a tiny tot, just take them on the mind-blowing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride:
No contest though for the most popular dark ride in Fantasyland: Peter Pan’s Flight.
You’ll note that granny hesitates to get on this attraction when she sees the evil twins are already on it.
Although not a dark ride, Storybook Land is another way that guests can immerse themselves into the treasured tales that Disney animation brought to us on the silver screen:
The same scenes can also be viewed by guests from The Casey Junior Train:
Note the Matterhorn under construction in the background of this one:
Speaking of the Matterhorn, since 1959 this tubular steel rollercoaster has thrilled guests both young and old:
Just down the way from the Matterhorn is “it’s a small world.” Originating at the 1964 World’s Fair, guests either love it or hate it.
I love what it stands for...I’d just rather not have to ride it and listen to that song over and over again.
The Motor Boat attraction somewhat straddled Fantasyland and Tomorrowland during its many yeras of operations and different titles. Here’s one of the earliest configurations back when it was called The Phantom Boats:
And as The Motor Boat Cruise in 1990—look Ma! No hands!
For eating options, Fantasyland has never really been known for a wide array of tempting choices, BUT...it can claim to have been the home of one of the most beloved restaurants ever at Disneyland: The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant.
The Tuna Boat was so tasty that this man gave up his right hand just to have one!
Even Walt looks intrigued by this creation!
The Skull Rock waterfall provided a lush tropical retreat for those who dined here:
Mabel & Madge are ready to take your order, circa 1968:
FANTASYLAND TODAY: Still fun, still colorful, and still a place where children (and adults, too) can visit the world of fantasy that Walt Disney helped to create. About the only real casualty of note that I can think of would be the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship (now replaced by Dumbo)...
...and The Fantasyland Skyway. The station itself still remains as an empty reminder of what used to be there.
Despite those losses, it is still a place where dreams and wishes can come true.
Next up: TOMORROWLAND! View more vintage and current Fantasyland photos on my regular website.