Sunday, July 17, 2011

Disneyland 56th Anniversary Less-Than-Spectacular, Pt. 1

While others battle it out over whether July 17th or 18th is the actual opening day for Disneyland, I will forge ahead with a short series celebrating some of the lesser known/successful parts of Disneyland's past. The lessons learned from these short-lived adventures helped build the next generation of attractions, causing guests to return in droves some 56 years after the initial bunch walked through the turnstiles.

Before Finding Nemo, before the Submarine Voyage, and before the Motor Boat Cruise, Disneyland had the Phantom Boats. Looking like something out of Batman, their mechanics were unreliable at best, and guests avoided this attraction like the plague.

How about getting a closer look at that Pepto Bismol colored Phantom Boat at the dock?

Too bad these couldn't have been painted black; surely they could have gotten Adam West, Burt Ward, and Yvonne Craig to add some life to this attraction! Oh wait—that trio is at least a decade away. Sorry...

The Phantom Boats were redesigned and this "attraction" became known as the Motor Boat Cruise.

Running on a track, the Boats were truly a snoozer, especially since they lacked the scenery provided nearby at the Storybook Land attraction. They were finally removed in 1993 and replaced with a smoking area. What a slap in the face!

Walt was enamored with futuristic transportation, and the Viewliner was his first real attempt at Disneyland to create something new and exciting.

Truth be told, the Viewliner was basically a car re-engineered to work on a train track. Looking like a futuristic toy, the Viewliner has the dubious distinction of being the shortest-lived attraction at Disneyland.

Unsatisfied with something so standard, Walt set his sights on The Monorail and the rest is history. The Viewliner "left the building" on September 15, 1958.

Of course, the most famous faux pas of 1950's Disneyland is the Mickey Mouse Club Circus. It appears that guests didn't come to Anaheim to see clowns or elephants (other than Dumbo!), they wanted to see Mickey Mouse and the world of Walt Disney.

Here's a shot with Vesey Walker and The Disneyland Marching Band posing near the circus tent:

The person who labeled this photo on the back didn't quite get the name right:

Stay tuned for more Less-Than-Spectacular Disneyland, 1960's style!

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jedblau said...

Great post! That first show of the Phantom Boats looks like the alternate version of the Skyway poster that was never-produced.

Major Pepperidge said...

Ya gots some nice pitchers there!

(verification word is "undies"??)

Connie Moreno said...

Love it!!!

JG said...

I just found some great pics of me in a Flying Saucer...I still remember that ride, but don't really miss it.

The boats and the viewliner are a revelation, these were both gone before I got there.

Thank you Dave, always interesting.


Kristina said...

Great post! Fun to see the vintage attraction poster of the Jungle Cruise, before it was vintage (in the phantom boat picture).