Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cascade Peak 101

Recently The Disney Corporation publicity machine released news that the Railroad will be opening "this summer" and talked about the five new waterfalls that would be featured along the way. Trotting out a little history, it will be nice to have these new water features, as the loss of Cascade Peak has been a sore spot for many a vintage Disneyland fan. For those of you who have never heard of Cascade Peak, here's your 101 course. Located near the Mark Twain dock, this July 1963 image shows the Nature's Wonderland Railroad cruising around the mountain and its thundering waterfall.

Thundering is right; this is no mere trickle like the current Schweitzer Falls at the Jungle Cruise. Take a look at this May 1963 shot. That's water pressure!

Another closeup from October 1962:

A shot of the entire peak from November 1967:

A rare shot from March 1960 showing its construction:

Of course over the years the waterfalls took their toll on the manmade mountain, and in an era of Disney Corporation cheap, the decision was made to level it. Cascade Peak was no more in 1998. So I say "hurray" to the return of waterfalls along the Rivers of America.

More vintage Disneyland Cascade Peak photos at my main website.

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Stu29573 said...

I loved the falls! The weird thing is that as a child I never noticed that they made zero geological sense. Still. maybe that was part of their magic! I'm interested to see what the new falls will look like (and be named).

Fifthrider said...

Walt himself knew the importance of dynamics that cross over each other. Schweitzer falls and Cascade Peak were just two examples. In more recent times I've observed Disney prefers to keep dynamics separate from each other, in a box, contained to their own attraction and never crossing over with others. I miss that. Based on the artist concept sketches for the new falls along the DLRR I'd welcome these falls too. If you're going to take one thing away ( track length ) might as well give the public something nice in return. ( Besides, the "Indiana" dog house can only get so many laughs until you just need something new. )

Chuck said...

I had the same thought that carried over well into adulthood. I was 26 before I realized "wait a minute..." I guess it was because I was so familiar from childhood with what Cascade Peak was supposed to look like I never stopped to consider why a mountain would actually look like that.

Cautiously optimistic about the new falls and genuinely impressed with the idea of a hidden "submarine pen" for Fantasmic! boats. Also hoping that this means that the Ft Wilderness site on TSI won't be needed for a changing room anymore and we can get a fiberglass clone of the old fort in its place.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Dave. A good history lesson for the forthcoming opening.

Remember the mine trail spiel about the brooks named for the seven sisters because they were always babbling? Or was that at Knotts?


What Chuck and Fifthrider said.

I suspect that the rock walls and waterfall design is at least partly intended to screen Star Wars Land from the railroad and distract train passengers from looking over their shoulders away from the river.


Anonymous said...

JG...those sisters were babbling on Cascade Peak. It was always a thrill to operate the train on hot days enjoying the coolness of Big Thunder's spray when going underneath it. Cascade Peak fit so well into the forced perspective of Frontierland that the place just doesn't look right without it today. I hope the new falls along the River work. It could be spectacular. KS

Anonymous said...

Dave...when I saw the headline "101", I thought of its meaning in Park operating terms. "101' is code for not operational. So I immediately thought I would be looking at Cascade Peak with the falls off!! KS

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2, KS: Thanks for confirming that memory. I can remember that cool spray of water. Used to be two places to see the back side of water.