Friday, April 20, 2012

TPE: Fantasyland Dark Rides

I love the dark rides; they are probably my very favorite thing at Disneyland. The Mansion. POTC. And of course, the originals: Peter Pan, Snow White, and Mr. Toad, with poor little Alice trailing behind by a few years.

Hands down, Peter Pan is my number one dark ride, and the first one I run to when I go to the park (as long as I can beat the hoards of kids who want to do the very same thing!).

To be able to travel back into time and experience all of these attractions in their original form would be so cool for me.

To be able to get photographs of the, what an exclusive that would be!

I would especially want to see Snow White in its original format, when it was somewhat scarier and also sans its heroine.

Can you imagine the nerve of Alice horning in on Snow's territory in this May 1961 photo?

And perhaps I could get some better shots of the loading queue murals...

as well as the attraction itself.

In the meantime, these will have to do.

Mr. Toad...who knew that reckless driving could be so fun?

I have a few shots of the loading queue mural...

and even the switchboard console!

Unfortunately, not a single interior view. Sigh...

Alice is the last of my "original" Fantasyland dark rides; just like Mr. Toad, not a single interior view in the bunch.

Thanks for joining me on my vintage trip through the Fantasyland Dark Rides!

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


Janey said...

I'm the total opposite. Most of the dark rides in Fantasyland actually terrify me! And often I find myself skipping most of the attractions here, except for the few times we stand in line for Peter Pan or, when going to the park with my dad, ride Mr. Toad, since it's a favorite of his. One time, my niece and myself got a car on Snow White, with my mother and sister behind us, or so we thought... After exiting the ride, we turned, expecting my mom and sister to be in the next car behind, except they weren't! The next car was empty! Knowing how much I was terrified on the ride (even as the teenager I was at the time) and it being a slow day, they were able to convince the ride operator to play a joke on me, asking to allow the car behind us to go empty, while they took the following car.


Daveland said...

Janey - I'd say your mom owes you a few years of therapy for that trick!

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm probably in the minority here, but while I love the 1980's updates that were done to the exteriors of the FL dark rides (with the exception that we lost those wonderful loading area murals), I have never been a huge fan of the interiors. I liked the originals just the way they were. Just look at those pics of Hook and Smee. What was wrong with those figures?

Anonymous said...

Alice was and is the best overall, but Peter Pan is close second.

I like the interior/exterior aspect of Alice, and the flying sensations of Peter Pan (one of my earliest park memories).

Remarkable collection, Dave. thanks for sharing it with us.


jedblau said...

These really are special photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

Douglas McEwan said...

When I was a child, back in the 1950s, my brother and I referred to the Fantasyland Dark Rides as "The Four Musts," because we had to ride those when we went to the park, regardlesss of anything else. My favorite was usally which ever I'd bee on last, but my brotehr ws clear that Alice in Wonderland was his favorite.

We used old shoeboxes at home to make our own cardboard models of the dark rides, trying to get the track layouts as accurate as we could remember them.

Much as I loved the original rides, the versions from my childhood, I think it's clear that the 1983 updates and enlarging (and creation of the 5th "Must," Pinnochio's Daring Adventure) are clearly improvements in most every way. Why should later generations of kids see the old, cheaper, outmoded ones forever just because we older folks want our own childhoods to remain intact? Let's face it, the 1983 New Fantasyland was pretty much what Walt would have built if he'd had the money, the time, and the technology. Were Walt to return and see it, I believe he'd say: "Great job of 'plussing' Fantasyland." Walt always loved "plussing," and he always embraced cutting edge technoilogy.

Great collection of stills in this post. How could I not love seeng Richard Nixon clearly labelled a "Toad," which he certainly was? Thank you.

Douglas McEwan said...

Janey, your anecdote is hilarious. How I wish my won mother had had that much wit.

TokyoMagic! said...

Well for me it isn't about nostalgia. I was there on opening day of the "New Fantasyland" and I couldn't wait to see the "plussing" that had supposedly been done to the old FL dark rides. I just didn't think the interiors were improved enough or were as spectacular as the big build up that Disney gave them prior to opening. About the only thing that improved on Toad was the ending....the rest is still mostly plywood "flats." Sure Snow White was added to her attraction, but she is a static figure. They had been bragging about all the A.A.s that were being added to the old dark rides and then Snow White herself is basically just a statue. Plus that attraction is lacking an ending (especially when compared to WDW's or Paris' Snow White attractions) The Witch is attempting to crush the Dwarfs with a boulder and the next thing you see is a sign reading "And they lived happily ever after!" I will admit that I did like Peter Pan's updates, but I was majorly disappointed with the new Pinocchio attraction. It's longer than the others and it seems like it didn't really need to be. Why couldn't some of that space have been given to Snow White to add a "real" ending. Plus Pinocchio is still a wooden puppet in the last scene of that attraction.....why isn't he a "real" boy like at the end of the movie? I just feel that if Walt Disney had been around for the remodel, he wouldn't have allowed such oversights.

Daveland said...

Chris - I hate to admit it, but I did like WDW's version of Snow White better. Even sadder as it's being demolished! The one at Disneyland (as you pointed out) seems very choppy at the end, like a film that has had an important scene edited out. Only Toad and Peter Pan have a real sense of magic or wonder throughout. For me, Pinocchio is a snoozer just like Pooh.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that's not a fan of the Pinocchio attraction. It definitely could have been done better!

WDW's Snow White attraction is THE best S.W. attraction of all the parks....even better than Tokyo DL's! I am very sad about it closing.....and for what....just so it can be turned into a princess "meet 'n greet!" They could at least keep the track, gut the rest of the space and come up with a new dark ride themed to maybe Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, etc. What a shame!

Unknown said...

I had a friend who worked at the Tinker Bell toy shop in Disneyland in the 1970s. She used to tell of how she'd have to listen to endless repetitions of "Okay everybody, let's gooooooo..." coming from the Peter Pan ride. Must have been especially enhancing to the Fantasyland work experience.

Mark said...

Looks like Richard Nixon in one slide.

Steve said...

My wife and I loved the entrance murals so much to Peter Pan, etc., that I took a picture of them and my wife did an embroidery from them. They always remind me of a fun time!