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Can't sleep so....Good morning! This day in Disney history, June 14th, 1958Alice in Wonderland opened in Fantasyland. In addition, in 1959: three major attractions were christened! The Monorail, The Matterhorn Bobsleds and The Submarine Voyage! 1958:Alice and Wonderland was the only Fantasyland dark ride built between the park's opening and the redesign of Fantasyland in 1983, when Pinocchio's Daring Journey premiered. The presence of two rides based on the film is unusual in that Walt Disney said he regretted making it because it “lacked a connection to the audience's hearts.” ::gasps:: I whole heartily disagree! I LOVE Alice! How about you? For some reason Alice was never duplicated at any other park, making Disneylands even more special!
As previoulsy mentioned in 1983, Alice was updated as part of an overall refurbishment of Fantasyland, as the Upside-Down and Oversized Rooms were eliminated and the Mad Hatter's unbirthday scene was moved to the very end of the ride. A new narration track by Kathryn Beaumont, the original voice of Alice, was recorded. To create more unified theming in Fantasyland, the Mad Tea Party attraction was relocated at the rear of Fantasyland to a spot adjacent to the Alice in Wonderland ride that same year. Alice in Wonderland, however, did not reopen until 1984, one year after the rest of the new Fantasyland opened.
Grand Opening parade July 14th, 1958
July 28th, 1958 (look at the lovely track without rails!)
I don’t know about you but I can’t WAIT until Alice reopens!Do you have a favorite scene from this attraction?
Moving along, 1959: The opening of the ALWEG Monorail Mark I. The day was celebrated with a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting that included the then Vice President Nixon and his family.
At this time the Monorail ran on a .8 mile track around Tomorrowland. It was the first daily-operating monorail train system in the Western Hemisphere. The German ALWEG company developed a working monorail prototype, which caught Disney’s eye in 1957. He worked out a deal with ALWEG in which his designers would develop a monorail using ALWEG’s basic design as the starting point.
Bob Gurr, designed Disneylands' version, a sleek train with a rocket-ship nose, stainless steel side panels, and the famous front bubble top. The Disneyland Monorail’s appearance was a completely different from the plain, functional design of ALWEG’s prototype (or ALWEG’s later Seattle Monorail, built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair).
To watch a short clip with Disney Legend Bob Gurr on Creating the Disneyland Monorail:
In June of 1961, the Monorail track was extended to 2 1/2 miles, Disneyland Hotel guests were then able to board the Monorail at the hotel and begin their park visit in Tomorrowland.
Do you like the Monorial? When was the last time you were on it?
Also on this same day in Disneyland, The Matterhorn Bobsleds, opened!
Modeled after the Matterhorn, a real mountain in the Swiss Alps it is the 1st roller coaster to use cylindrical rails and urethane wheels (standard in the roller coaster industry today). Built by coaster builder, Arrow Dynamics and WED Imagineering.
The mountain was originally a dirt mound created from what was removed to make the moat around Sleeping Beauty Castle. First named Holiday Hill and then Lookout Mountain, Park Operations staff continually had to keep a look out due to its unofficial status as “Lover’s Lane.” Teehee..
The Matterhorn was conceived by Walt during two trips he made to Switzerland. Walt wanted to figure out a way to hide the unsightly Skyway pylon, what better then a 147' high mountain?
Supposedly, Walt sent a postcard featuring the Matterhorn back to the states with the caption, “Build this.” Walt was discouraged by Joe Fowler when he wanted to “make some snow and have a toboggan ride.” Difficulties in creating the snow and drainage were solved by using steel, wood, plaster, and paint. Disneylands Matterhorn is a 1/100th replica of its Swiss namesake and the tallest structure inside Disneyland. What was Walt’s response when he first saw the completed attraction? Legend has it that he said, “It’s 10' too short.” HA!
I found a couple construction photos for you, thanks Daveland!
It wasn't until 1977/1978 that the Matterhorn was refurbished to add the Yeti (Harold) and instead of being 1 car, 2 cars were joined, which basically doubled the attraction's capacity.
To watch a clip from the opening ceremony:
Do you like this attraction? Do you have a favorite side, and why?
In addition, The Submarine Voyage, is officially dedicated (even though it's been open since June 6th).
According to Disney Parks blog: “Following an introduction by Admiral Charles C. Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Mildred Nelson, wife of the chief machinist on the the first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, christens sub D-301, appropriately also named “Nautilus.””
Another E ticket attraction, the Subs cost $2.5 million dollars to create. 38 Riders were able to enter the 8 half-submerged mini-submarines at a time. Each 52' long sub cost about $80,000 to build were each 52 feet long, weighed 94,000 pounds, and could go about 1.7 miles per hour!
The Disney-designed subs were built at Todd Shipyards in San Pedro, California (same place the Columbia was built if you remember from my post from the 4th of this month). The fleet was originally named after the U.S. Navy's atomic submarines: The Nautilus, The Seawolf, The Skate, The Triton, The Ethan Allan, The Patrick Henry, The Skipjack, and the George Washington.
Sitting on small fold-down seats, guests leaned forward to peer out through port holes on either side. The subs moved around a track in the mermaid lagoon and gave the illusion of diving by having bubbles rise around it while the captain intoned commands over the loudspeaker. Guests saw an underwater volcano, lost treasure, a "graveyard of lost ships," the legendary Lost Continent of Atlantis, a treasure chest of gold, mermaids, a sea serpent, and passed under icebergs at the “North Pole” during their 9 minute voyage. "REAL!” mermaids actually swam in the lagoon for a brief period. They eventually stopped doing this as young men kept jumping in the lagoon to them. SMH LOL
During the opening ceremonies, there was even a water ballet of mermaids!
“Look closely at this rare color picture and you’ll see Hayley Mills, Roy O. Disney and Diane Disney Miller in the background. The man pictured between Walt Disney and Vice President Nixon is Meredith Willson, composer of the smash hit musical, “The Music Man,” which was still in its first theatrical run on Broadway at the time. Mr. Willson was an invited guest of Walt’s who was seated behind the vice president. During the television taping of this special parade, host Art Linkletter says, “What do I see down there? Meredith Willson, would you come up here for a minute?” Mr. Willson then came to the front of the reviewing stand. Art continued, “I want to hear from an expert. You’re ‘Mr. Music Man,’ what do you see coming up the street?” To Mr. Wilson’s apparent amazement, what he saw was an all-brass band including 76 trombones, marching down Main Street, U.S.A., playing his signature song from “The Music Man,” “Seventy Six Trombones!” Mr. Willson could be overheard saying, “I’ve been saying it all afternoon, but Walt Disney, when he does anything, he does it right, doesn’t he? Listen to that!”
“As this incredible band approached the reviewing stand, Art led Mr. Willson to a small platform in the middle of the street, telling him, “Come on up here Meredith!” The drum major handed his hat and baton to Mr. Willson who then conducted the band to the finale of the song as the crowd roared from one end of Main Street to the other.” Cool right? :)
Thanks so much for reading and watching! I realize this was a rather lengthy post! I tried to only add the most interesting information I could dig up! Hope you all have a SUPER Saturday!