Monday, March 26, 2012

TPE: Riding The Pack Mules

I love having choices, and Disneyland gave you that in spades. Guests weren't limited to the train ride if they wanted to view the scenery of the Nature's Wonderland attraction; instead, they could ride a Stagecoach, a Wagon, or even a Pack Mule. Today's post focuses on those not-so-loveable little rascals, the Pack Mules.

Guests took a 10 minute tour of the Disneyland Frontier; originally there were 2 packs, consisting of 1 lead horse and 9 mules. The ride was so popular that Disney increased the herd from 50 to 75, paying $50 each for 25 more of the temperamental animals in May 1957. Feed cost for the entire group was only $15/day—what a value!

Blonde Bombshell Jayne Mansfield even took a spin on the Pack Mules, circa September 1957:

The Mule Pack (1955-1956) was renamed The Rainbow Ridge Mule Pack (1956-1959), and then Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland (1960-1973).

Walt and his granddaughter Tammy took a ride on the Pack Mules as photographers captured the moment.

Tammy seems a bit unsure about this particular attraction.

What a great overhead view of Rainbow Ridge, from September 1963:

It should come as no surprise that my very favorite images of this attraction are the ones that come from my family album, documenting a surprise trip in honor of my oldest brother's 8th birthday.

Can you believe mom still has that sweater?

As popular as they were, the mules were a bit temperamental, and became a thing of the past. Can you imagine the lawsuits they would spawn today?

See more vintage Disneyland Pack Mule attraction photos on my Pack Mule web page.


Major Pepperidge said...

I don't think I ever rode the pack mules... I wish I had, and wish that there were photos of the event!

olddisneylandfan said...

I have fond memories of the Pack Mules. Unlike today's attractions, it was easygoing, sweet, almost sedate. You had plenty of time to observe, smell and experience your surroundings. When I was a little guy, I thought I was really riding out into the wilderness. I last rode Mules in high school and still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Losing the Mules, like losing Nature's Wonderland, diminished a bit of Disneyland's soul.

Chiana_Chat said...

Rainbow Ridge at its peak - looks great in a bunch of those pics. Never noticed the sod-roofed log cabin before. Proof it was well enjoyed: lots of smiles! That last makes me feel like hitting the trail. :D

And your mom still has that sweater?!

JG said...

I remember a mule ride, but it might have been Knotts, or maybe both. It was still fun.

Thank you for the family pics, so special.

My Mom had a very similar sweater too. I remember that so clearly.

Thank you, Dave


TokyoMagic! said...

Awwww....I love the family pics! Thanks for sharing those.

I rode the Burros at Knott's on several occasions, but never the Pack Mules at DL, darn it! :-(