Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Gates of Frontierland

The Frontierland Gates are a favorite part of the park for me. Expertly themed, they give a grand entrance into the old west. The first shot shows how they looked on July 18, 1955, the first day that all guests could enter Disneyland. Looking a little spartan, the roughly hewn log stumps added to the authenticity of the early frontier look...and gave a reason for the lack of landscaping!

Flash forward to July 1959, and the same angle looks a lot more lush. Whether it be New Orleans or a Haunted House, it is a well-known fact that Walt liked his exteriors squeaky-clean. Leave the darker elements for the insides!

Zooming in you can see one of the cast members keeping everything spic and span.

Today, the entrance to Frontierland looks very similar to what it did over fifty years ago. The biggest change is probably the phony timbers that supposedly keep guests from falling into the waters below it. I have to all the years that the park has been open, has this really been a problem?

Two explanatory signs on the gate help give some history to Frontierland. Next time you are at the park, take the time to read them and get a better perspective of what Frontierland is all about. What you see inside of the gates is more than just some randomly strewn props.

You can see 7 of the 13 flags on this particular side of the fort. Right near the phones and the ATM. Oops. There goes my Frontierland buzz.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Frontierland photos on my Frontierland web page.


Major Pepperidge said...

I love the detail of the little family, all the girls wearing those paper souvenir hats!

JG said...

Spot on, Dave. "Expertly themed" indeed.

Some of this light touch survives today in the music in this area.

I rested on those benches for a while and noticed the soundtrack here is a sparse instrumental treatment of traditional American "real" music, Yankee Doodle, Johnny Comes Marching, etc.

Turn around from the last picture and walk about 200 feet into Frontierland, and the music track subtly changes until in front of the Golden Horseshoe, we get "Cowboy movie themes", High Noon, Good Bad Ugly, Rawhide, etc. in a more lush instrumental style, still no lyrics.

I marvel at the care going into selection of these tracks and the placement of the invisible speakers, the tracks are heard just far enough apart that they do not conflict or overwrite, but it seems there is always appropriate music playing everywhere you go.

Thank you.


outsidetheberm said...

Really like that top photo, Dave. The three tall pine trees must have been brought in from the same location - same height, trimmed identically for the move. Wonder where they originated...

The musical transitions are a nice touch, too. However, last time I noticed, the one piece of music that seems out of place is the 'Blazing Saddles' theme. Not sure a comedy theme works very well with such a historic backdrop! Maybe it has since been changed.

Connie Moreno said...

WOW!!! What a cool post! I love looking back and forth at those photos and comparing them. Awesome!