Friday, July 31, 2009

Tom Sawyer Island: In the beginning...

An excerpt from The Disneyland News, illustrated with early concept art:

Tom Sawyer Island to Have Old West Fort, Secret Cave

Great names from American folk lore and history will be brought alive this summer with the official opening of Tom Sawyer Island in the Rivers of America in Frontierland.

The Island, until now inaccessible to Disneyland’s visitors, will provide a slice of living Americana with the recreation of “Injun Joe’s Cave,” “Fort Wilderness” at the very edge of civilzation and the “Burning Cabin,” a building erected by a hardy settler who took the risk of going alone into unprotected Indian lands to make his homestead.

Also on the Island will be fishing piers for young anglers who wish to try their skill with the River’s well stocked fish supply. Bait and tackle will be available at the piers.

Transportation to the Tom Sawyer Island will be as unique as the Island itself. “Huck Finn Rafts” will ferry passengers from either the Mark Twain dock or the Keel Boat dock. The Keel Boats will also provide transportation as will Indian War Canoes. The canoes, replicas of the waterways transport of the Indian nations, will leave from the new Indian village to be constructed on the opposite bank of the river.

The Island itself is to be a “walk-through” type exhibit. Visitors will climb Lookout Peak or tour Injun Joe’s Cave. Inside the Cave will be tunnels leading to “rooms” hung with dripping stalactites. The floor will show a gaping “Bottomless Pit” through which cold air will blow up from an unknown source.

Polished rock, “Jungle Gym” type climb-throughs will provide children a test of imagination and skill.

The whole of the cave’s interior will be painted and decorated to carry out the story of Injun Joe’s secret hiding place as it was described by Mark Twain in the Huck Finn stories.

Meanwhile—some of you may remember the contest I ran recently to give away a futuristic juicer; Matt from was the winner and sent this way cool photo of Alice with her new acquisition:

Many thanks to Matt for sending me this awesome photo!

Don Ballard over at was kind enough to point out the location of Building #7 at the Disneyland Hotel, featured in my entries earlier this week.

More from the Disney Family Museum; today it’s a peak into Gallery 3: New Horizons: The Emergence of the Walt Disney Studio (1928 to 1940)

The success of Mickey Mouse let Walt Disney expand the newly renamed Walt Disney Studios and improve the quality of Studio animations, so he embarked on a series of ambitious projects, including the “Silly Symphonies,” one-reel shorts that let him experiment with images, music, and story lines.

In the following years, the Studio created the first Technicolor cartoons, introduced a multiplane camera to create the illusion of depth in animated films, and developed distinctive styles of movement and personality in their characters. Also in this period, Walt and Lillian’s family grew to include daughters Diane and Sharon.

The continuing success of Walt’s cartoons led to a revolution in the art and technology of animation. Vintage artifacts, animation art, character merchandise, and family photos chronicle the creative explosion of the 1930s, Walt’s sudden world fame, and Diane and Sharon.

See more vintage & current Tom Sawyer Island photos at my regular website.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tell-No-Tales Thursdays: Jack Sparrow @ The Costurera

To avoid the fate of Carlos, Jack Sparrow hides behind a few of the dressmaker’s (headless) mannequins. Some friends I was with at the park alerted me to the fact that if you looked/photographed the Jack Sparrow audio-animatronic figure at the Costurera just right, it looked like he was wearing a dress. After a few attempts, I finally got it.

And then without using a flash:

This little vignette was sandwiched into an existing scene when Imagineers added a few touches from the movie to the Anaheim attraction. See more Pirates of the Caribbean (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disneyland Hotel, 1957: Pt. 2

2 more from the same batch. Sure could go for a Helen Grace candy right now! Although the original hotel is full of 1950’s mod-charm, it sure does lack the branding and cohesive (albeit overdone) theming present at the hotel today.

Lady, put that cigarette away! Hopefully her son doesn’t follow her bad example. And in front of building #7!

I’m sure many of you have noticed the survey on the Disneyland Railroad Stations that had been languishing up there for weeks. Not surprising that the Main Street Train Station was a guest favorite at 52% of the votes, with the Frontierland Depot coming in at 35%.

The Disneyland version seems more authentic and not quite as artificial as its Orlando counterpart:

I also love the Main Street Station, but something about that Frontierland Depot that like almost as much. Sure wish it was possible to see the inside of the Depot like in the early years of the park! I’ve always thought it was the coolest little structure!

See more vintage & current Disneyland Hotel photos at my regular website.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Disneyland Hotel, 1957: Pt. 1 & Disneyana

Contrary to chat-room whining, Pirates are nothing new at Disneyland. Heck, even the Disneyland Hotel had a Pirate’s Den! Displaying my inner-geek, I am throwing in a close-up of the tram signage.

No superstitions here with this young lad; he had no problems at all staying in building #7.

In a little cross-blog-promotion, be sure to check out Kevin Kidney’s entry on the Birthday Cake Room in Disneyana. I always look forward to his entries, as they have some of the rarest and coolest stuff around! In a semi-recent survey, Disneyana was voted as the favorite retail shop at Disneyland by Daveland Blog readers. With its mix of art & collectibles and some of the friendliest staff around, this is truly my favorite place to shop at Disneyland.

A recent shot of the Birthday Cake Room ceiling:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Hotel photos at my regular website.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Disneyland Year 5: August 1960, Pt. 5

Like all of my series must do, this one has come to a close. We finish out in Frontierland today, starting off with the rip-roaring-raging fire over at the Burning Settler’s Cabin. Naturally, I’ve included a crazy-sick closeup of the settler with the arrow through his chest.

The peaceful Indian Settlement along the Rivers of America is still there today; compare and contrast these two images:

Last one is another beauty of the Mark Twain, the most photographed Riverboat in the world!

See more vintage & current Frontierland photos at my regular website.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sailing Through Sundays on The JC: Another Interlude

Stuck in the rainforest a little while longer, I am including this list of boat names and their “descriptions.” While you are downloading that, feast your eyes on these great 1955 shots of Schweitzer Falls & The Back Side of Water, courtesy Kevin Kidney.

Hey, don’t try this at home under the faucet—you might hurt yourself!

Meanwhile, in other news: the other day I mentioned the cool auctions over at Swann Galleries. Here’s another way cool item that you JC fans should check out:

Here’s the auction link. The auction is coming up soon on August 5. Check it out now!

See more vintage (and current) Jungle Cruise photos on my regular website.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Disneyland Year 5: August 1960, Pt. 4

Howdy, Pardners—thanks for joining me in Frontierland today! On the left-hand side of photo #1, you can see the banner proudly proclaiming the newly updated Mine Train attraction known as Nature’s Wonderland, just above the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade.

Over on the Rivers of America, Cascade Peak is thundering its majestic waterfalls, adding to the beauty of your Mark Twain Riverboat journey.

I know I’ve said it a million times before, but it sure is good to see the keelboats in action! Here’s one passing by Fowler’s Harbor.

Back at the Disney Family Museum, more great material has been released just to get the anticipation building for the opening. Here is the corresponding written material from the archive:

Gallery 2 - Hollywood (1923-1928): Walt arrived in California in 1923 hoping to find work as a director. But when he received a contract for his own work, he launched Disney Bros. Studio with his brother Roy. By the end of 1924, Walt was focusing on story development and directing and was no longer working as an animator. After several business setbacks, Disney created Mickey Mouse, which established Disney Bros. Studio as the leading animation studio in the country. With the third Mickey Mouse film, Steamboat Willie, Walt joined the vanguard of the talking-picture revolution by creating an animated film with synchronized sound. Both Walt and Roy Disney married during this period, Walt to Lillian Bounds, a studio inker.

Original artwork, including the earliest known drawings of Mickey Mouse, will illustrate Disney’s sensational success with his character. Other exhibit highlights include business correspondence between Walt and Roy, the move to the new Hyperion Studios, where Disney created four of its great animation features, and Walt’s meeting with and marriage to Lillian Bounds.

See more vintage & current Frontierland photos at my regular website.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Disneyland Year 5: August 1960, Pt. 3 & Disney Family Museum

Migrating over to Fantasyland, I have 3 semi-standard (as opposed to deluxe) shots for you, starting off with the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Our intrepid 1960 photographer must have had the shakes; probably should have had a little lunch before snapping this one.

Up next is the craziness known as the teacups. Probably why he had skipped eating so far, so as not to create a mess in all of that spinning! Anyone know if the official looking guy in the hat and tie is a cast member or just a somewhat stuffy-looking guest?

Ending the Fantasyland portion of this series with a nice steady shot of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant. Our photographer must have had a tuna boat to calm his shakes in between shot #2 & shot #3. I really dig those plumed hats; that shocking purple feather really sticks out here!

Meanwhile, over in San Francisco, the Disney Family Museum is finally coming to fruition. I was recently sent some of the publicity materials for it. The museum opens October 1, and its website goes live on August 1, which is when tickets will go on sale. Here is a preview of some of the exhibits:

Gallery 1 Beginnings: Walt Disney’s Early Years (1901-1923)

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901. In 1906, his family moved to a Missouri farm, where he had an idyllic early childhood and first learned to draw. The farm failed, and in 1911 his family moved to Kansas City, where he rose at 3:30 am to deliver newspapers on his father’s paper route and fell in love with vaudeville and movies.

In 1917, the family moved to Chicago, where Walt created cartoons for his high school yearbook, took classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and tried to enlist in the U.S. Army. Rejected for being underage, he joined the American Ambulance Corps and arrived in France as World War I ended. When Disney returned to the United States, he settled in Kansas City and got a job at a commercial art studio.

In 1920, while working at an ad company, Walt discovered the fantastical world of animation and immersed himself in the young medium. While keeping his day job, he began making Laugh-O-gram ad reels and animation shorts with artist Ub Iwerks. Laugh-O-grams Films soon went bankrupt, and Walt, at age 21 moved to California. Walt’s early drawings and mementoes from his childhood, as well as cameras similar to those he used in Kansas City, will be highlighted in the Museum’s first gallery.

For all you internet social community crazies, the museum’s Facebook page & Twitter stream are up and running:

Here are a few more way cool photos from the collection:

And a rendering of the museum itself:

To download a factsheet on the museum, click here.

See more vintage & current Tomorrowland photos at my regular website.