Thursday, April 17, 2008

iasw, Devlin-Style, June 1969, pt. 2

Before we begin with the interior shots from June 1969, here are 3 from a Devlin trip taken in January 1968, some similar to yesterday’s posting, but taken with a 35mm camera instead of a 126. For you non-camera geeks, that's a good thing. Shot #1 also shows a train at the Fantasyland Depot. What a great way to sell this attraction; you hear the music and see the interesting exterior as you ride through on your Santa Fe excursion car. I am sure many have made a mental note, “Let’s come back and see what that’s all about.” Same thing occurs over in Frontierland as the train passes through a musical portion of Splash Mountain. Back to iasw, shots #2 & #3 from the Devlins show more topiary treats.

And finally, some interior shots of varying quality showing iasw from June 1969:

This morning, as I did my daily reading of Disney blogs, I came across yet another lament on the impending changes that have been rumored for iasw. Can I stress rumor enough? Probably not. Nobody from Disney has officially honored or given credence to these leaks, most from a guy with a combover; in fact, they have bent over backwards to deny them and reassure iasw fans that any changes made during this refurbishment will honor the Blair Legacy, which seems to be one of the hot spots that has set so many off. What a marketing bonanza this has been; in the short term, many will ride this attraction for the first time just to see what all the buzz is about; and there will be many who will ride it for the umpteenth time to examine with a microscope each little detail. Does this figure have the exact same color on her dress as it did before? Didn’t that one have 1 more button on it before? I think I am dreading this almost as much as the current mud-fest going on right now. I envision a ton of blogs posting before and after photos, comparing the most miniscule detail and pointing a finger back at the current Disney corporation, saying how they have ruined Walt and Mary Blair’s memory and that they just don’t care about the fans or World Peace or anything of value today. Personally, I think Mary Blair was an incredibly talented the 2 dimensional form. Other than the fanciful exterior, this attraction has never worked for me. The inside is akin to entering Las Vegas for the first time; an overload of sight and sound. That song that sticks in your head and refuses to leave; over and over again in every key imaginable. The explosion of color; the slightly creepy dolls/animatronic has always left me cold. One of my coworkers, a brilliant photographer and creative graphic designer, refuses to go on it. She hates it that much. Yet even so, I respect the opinion of those who worship it, and do hope that they will like the result of this refurbishment. Disneyland is a special place, and I hate to read so much anger being directed at it, especially over a ride that is supposed to symbolize World Peace. How ironic. And to think it all started here.

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Major Pepperidge said...

I guess I can understand people "not liking" IASW, but I am baffled about how someone could "hate" it! That's a pretty strong negative reaction. However, if I had never experienced it when I was a kid (and listened to the Storyteller record over and over) and went on it for the first time today, who knows... maybe I would hate it too.

Davelandweb said...

Major - On our annual trip to the park, the staff and I actually enjoy going on iasw just to see the pained look on her face...which we have even captured on film. I've even called her from my cellphone while on the ride so that she could hear the music. I know...what a cruel cruel person I am.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Thanks for saying what many of us feel. I wish the online community would get 1/8th as nuts about getting a new PeopleMover as they do about rumored IASW changes!

I heard that a few years back IASW was possibly going to be closed or massively redone, all those IASW fans (fanatics’?) should look at the glass as 1/2 full, it could be a Pixar ride!

Btw; I always liked the outside better too...

La Vida Creations said...

Amen on the music and images of this ride haunting me!!!
I'm the person Dave referenced above (Yes, I refuse to ride). Thanks for outing me!

I fully enjoy Disneyland, but the homogenized cultural experience of "It's a Small World" actually saddens and angers me each time I've been forced to ride it. Maybe it's the result of too many cultural critique classes in college.

On the other side of the "experience"... the visuals and audio inside this ride are totally Vegas to me---overdone and incomplete at the same time.

I'll opt to wait this ride out and get a Tinkerbell Twist while others endure it.

I would enjoy the exterior if I could look at all the wacky shapes and such on mute ;-)

hauntedone999 said...

granted the rumors do hit the disney community hard, but WDW's redo a few years ago went very well. personally i have no problems of the human disney characters making an appearance in the attraction(peter pan, wendy, alice) although Lilo and Mulan(in warrior garbe) have me abit ill from what ive seen from HKDL now mulan in her kimono would be cute and lilo in her hula class outfit would blend in alot better. the oly thing i hope for is that the roof gets fixed and some of the characters(i.e. the norwegian geese) get put back in

Anonymous said...

iasw has never been my favorite ride, by a long shot. But it's definitely a classic and I can't imagine Disneyland without it. What I probably object to most about the new changes is the continued effort to tie EVERY classic attraction to Disney movies and merchandise. Of the park's best attractions, very few were originally based on movies. Today, however, POTC and Tom Sawyer's Island have become ads for Johnny Depp merchandise, and "marketing synergy" plans are already being hatched for the Jungle Cruise.

I'm not spewing bile here. I'm just sad that Disneyland has found even more ways (if that's possible) to be crass and commercial.

I also think the history of the Worlds Fair is important, and they're tampering with one of the major remaining artifacts.

Davelandweb said...

Anonymous - Not to pick on you, but you have raised a point that many have spoken of...the crass commercialism of Disneyland and how the park wasn't originally that way. On July 17, 1955, 100% of the open attractions (with the possible debatable exception of the Carrousel) in Fantasyland were based on Disney movies. Main Street was made possible by Corporate Sponsorships in every single store; Tomorrowland had Monsanto, The American Dairy Association, and Crane sponsorships to name a few, as well as an entire "exhibit" that used sets from the Disney movie "20k"; Frontierland had sponsorships/restaurants from Swift's, Frito Lay, and Pepsi, and plenty of Davy Crockett stuff (the popular Disney TV Show). Adventureland had the Jungle Cruise, which could be tied to the True-Life I guess I am always baffled that people view "Old" Disneyland as less commercial than it is today.

CoxPilot said...

Well Dave, I just HAD to weigh in too. (not that I'm any expert, but just have and older perspective).

Your right about commercialism; it's nothing new. What is different is the general public. Back then, we all knew it was a sales pitch, but accepted it as good old American capitalism at it's best, and it was AMERICAN to enjoy "stuff". It was enjoyable and fun because it was well done, and we applauded Walt Disney because he used the profits to create amazing things for his public, and we were all in on it.

Today; people seem to think that if it's a commercial enterprise for profit, it's a rip-off no matter how great the final product is, or how much it benefits everyone. (Pessimism seems to be a cult these days.) And heaven forbid, it makes someone money. Even if it were not so great, it's still a lot of fun. There is, and was, lots about Disneyland that I did not think so good, but I was a GUEST of Walt Disney and accepted his hospitality in whatever form it was presented.

Creative people come in all kinds and shapes, and all kinds of (or lack of) creativity. Disneyland is not a museum, nor is it perfect, but an attempt to balance nostalgia, creativity and commercialism.

Disney is not a trick. It is what it is. Thank Goodness that a LOT of people like what it was, and is.

Anonymous said...

I love that ride. It's fun! To me, it's very 'theater' in a way. Very camp with the sets and designs. Everything is getting too realistic in terms of movies, animation, entertainment in general. I like that this looks very 'fake' and costumey. = )

Also, I think Disneyland
has always been commercial...and I agree that the people themselves have changed. There is no sense of class anymore, especially in America, so everything seems so fake anyway. Everything is expensise, I know, but I just look at is a different way; I just think if they make more money, they will be able to do more things for the park.

Just marketing and corporate sponsorship have changed. Everything is all about right here right now instant gratification in your face advertising, so it does take away from the magic of it all. I just ignore it and have a great time. = )

- Vishaal

anonymous guy dave disagreed with said...

I'm not saying DL hasn't always had some rides tied to movies. But there were always many attractions (including many of the best, IMHO) that were purely a Disneyland-only experience. (Not just a ride-through of Disney film properties.) If Disney wants to add new rides based on new movies, I'm fine with that. But I'm not a fan of revising classics to become marketing tools.

Alternately, if they MUST make EVERY attraction an ad for DVDs, then I should be able to enter the park for free, right? All that product placement should pay for it, the way ads pay for radio and TV shows.

Yes, there's always been a lot of sponsorship at DL, but most of that sponsorship was pretty low key. I mean, does the Tiki Room feel like one big ad for Dole to you? Do you fly through an asteroid field of giant M&Ms on Star Tours? (We'll ignore, for the moment, much of early Tomorrowland, which even Disney admits was pretty bad, and which was quickly replaced.)

BTW,... Just wait until they replace the snow monster on the Matterhorn with audio-animatronic versions of the High School Musical cast. :-)

Anonymous said...

Paging Davelandweb, paging Davelandweb...

Davelandweb said...

Anonymous - Since you leave no name, and your message is baffling, I can only assume you are wondering what happened to the comments that were posted last week. I did not remove them; not sure if it's a Blogger thing or if someone hacked in. To sum up what I said: your comments show that you have little concept of business and what it takes to run the park. Probably not even worth typing a reply to.

KINGCRAB said...

Good article, Dave.

It peeves me to no end that most people refuse to comprehend and always insist that everything that Disney does these days is for commercial reasons only. What a dumb logic, if you ask me!

Changing an attraction does not mean that they're trying to make it into marketing tools. Just about everything they do is for entertainment purposes and for entertainment purposes only.

It's attitudes like that that make me so hateful of such anti-Disney sites and blogs like Re-Imagineering, MiceAge,, etc.

Bashing the Disney company like that and even going so far to bash Imagineers, artists and even Disney veterans like Marty Sklar and Dave Smith are behaviors that only hurt the Disney fan community and give it a bad name in the long run rather than help it.

Davelandweb said...

King Crab - You are preachin' to the choir. I also love how these Disney "fans" cried out about the loss of the Disney Gallery when it was announced that Walt's ORIGINAL plan was being constructed there; an executive suite. Now, when changes are announced for iasw, these same "fans" are crying out that Walt's memory and vision are being desecrated. Gimme a about convenient logic...