Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last weekend I was able to catch the new Fantasmic show on the Rivers of America, and although the Dragon is not quite ready for prime time, it was still extremely enjoyable! If you are looking for an interesting or plausible plot, then keep moving. If you want to enjoy fantastic special effects and an amazing light show performed on the water set to some of Disney’s best music, then sit back down and watch Fantasmic. The whole contrived thing about Mickey’s imagination...c’mon, give me a break. Who comes up with this crap and actually has the nerve to call it a story?!? There is no way that the audience watching this show for the first time could figure out the "plot" on their own. Yet, visually it is spectacular, as is the music. Seeing the Mark Twain and Columbia sail by, chock full of your Disney favorites...it is one of the coolest things you can see at Disneyland. These photos are presented in the order of the program —but of course.

It definitely does need one more piece of “oomph”' without the Ursula float, it does seem like something is missing. The upcoming Dragon will surely be that missing piece. See more Disneyland Fantasmic photos at my website.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Disneyland: The First Summer, Pt. 6

I hope you readers don’t mind getting a double-shot of the Jungle Cruise! These photos from the first summer make up in rarity what they lack in clarity. Shot number one is of the Nile Princess boat and a closeup of the fun souvenir construction helmet that little tykes could purchase.

The lanai, visible from the dock:

This African Bull Elephant was charging so fast that it was impossible to get a steady photo!

The Ancient Shrine is being invaded by the swinging monkeys that were eventually removed:

Another swiftly moving animal, the charging Rhino is comin’ right atcha’!

And the natives, hiding behind the log, waiting to hit unsuspecting guests with their spears:

See more Disneyland Jungle Cruise photos at my website.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sailing Through Sundays on The JC: The Dock

Today’s post shows the dock area, where the excitement builds as you board your boat; which will it be, the Amazon Belle? The Congo Queen?

TECH SKIP: Please burn this picture. Seriously, burn it. While I am very proud that the J.C. turned 50 I would rather not have proof of that abomination! I loved the plaque by the ticket office "Class of 55", and the actual Congo sign... but that's it. I specifically remember how the canvas cover wasn't actual fabric. It was more like patio furniture, with lots of tiny holes. We had to pull it off every time it rained because the water would collect and then start dripping down on everyone. Best memory was when it stalled in the rainforest. Everyone was soaked by the time we got them out.

USC TUBA: The USC contingent was pleased to see the Jungle Cruise had received its donation.

TECH SKIP: Way before my time... notice the small front light though and the bullhorn. Not sure if they had mics at first, come to think of it.

USC TUBA: No one ever spoke of the dissapearing crew again.

Notice the back of City Hall in the upper right-hand corner:

In this closeup, you can see guests eating at the Plaza Pavillion and watching the JC:

TECH SKIP: Notice the fluorescent exterior light. Also they have the cushions in the rack. I started a short time after Indy opened so I never knew the old Candy Stripers. Oh and the gun is on the side... can’t do that these days. USC TUBA: Haven’t figured out if this is an actual costume or just the unfortunate result of a Jungle Cruise “Banana Ball” hangover.

Kevin Kidney sent some extremely cool shots, including this view of models from 1954 showing original boat designs:

Two from June 1955, one month before the park opened, showing the boat installations:

An ad from 1961 touting the new and improved JC:

And a May 1963 LA Times column showing an elephant being lowered into the river. Matterhorn1959 featured this photo in his blog the other day; I superimposed his photo (which is obviously better quality than the newspaper version) so that you could see more detail. Be sure to check out his blog, as he has all kinds of cool DLand stuff, too!

Last but not least, here is a pic of the skipper I owe a huge thanks to for sending me these photos, Kevin Kidney. And if you don’t know who he is, you must have slept through all the 50th Anniversary Merchandise releases (your bank account is probably a lot phatter, too).

Any other skippers that would like to contribute material can email me at dvdpicasso@aol.com.

See more Disneyland Jungle Cruise photos at my website.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Disneyland: The First Summer, Pt. 5

Dig the 50’s fashions as we savor a few Kodachrome images of the Sleeping Beauty Castle from the summer of ’55. The little brothers in the dark socks and semi-matching t-shirts look so fabulously retro, as if they just stepped off the set of “Spin & Marty” or “Leave it to Beaver.” What was it about this time period? My parents also dressed my brothers in matching tops, as if it were a prerequisite for others to know that they were related in some way.

Dumbo zips by overheard in Fantasyland:

As you can see from this shot of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, not everything was finished and ready to go on opening day. Even this restaurant was getting a few additional cosmetic touches as guests enjoyed the other attractions.

At least Casey Jr. was in operation!

See more Disneyland Fantasyland photos at my website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Disneyland: The First Summer, Pt. 4

Back to the first summer at Disneyland, 1955 and we are still on Main Street U.S.A.; silent screen cowboy William S. Hart is the featured act at the Cinema. The Wooden Indian stands guard in front of the Tobacco shop, and the trashcans look extremely temporary. The park hadn’t quite gotten around to the famous themed trash containers that it is now known for.

A few shots of the Swift Market House, including a closeup of the windows on East Center Street.

I leave you off in Tomorrowland, amongst the long line of guests standing by the Moonliner, waiting to see the Rocket to the Moon attraction.

See more Disneyland Main Street U.S.A. photos at my website.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tell-No-Tales Thursdays: Dead Driver!

This has always been one of my favorite scenes from this attraction: the skeleton piloting the ship, with the wind and the lightning going like crazy. I captured this one back in 1993, using a flash. Obviously, this was before I repented and mended the ways of my youth.

This next shot I took in January 2003:

May 2007:

Now that I no longer use a flash, trying to capture this scene just as the lightning hits can be very challenging!

See more Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Disneyland: The First Summer, Pt. 3

Through the underpasses (which one will you choose on this fine 1955 summer day?) we stumble into Town Square. The Horse-Drawn Streetcar is the perfect to cruise up and down Main Street U.S.A. to see what shops and wares are available to the Disneyland guest of days gone by.

Closeups of City Hall and its next-door neighbor, the Fire Department:

A somewhat similar contemporary view of the same spots; nice to notice that the patriotic bunting is still used:

See more Disneyland Town Square photos at my website.