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Good morning! This day in Disney history, June 23rd, The Skyway to Fantasyland and Skyway to Tomorrowland opens. Along with The Enchanted Tiki Room and the re-themed Tarzans Treehouse.
1956:The Skyway to Fantasyland and Skyway to Tomorrowland. Walt heard of a system being tested in Switzerland in 1955 and of course HAD to have one! After figuring out where the attraction would be placed in the park, he purchased a used 1947 Type 101 Sidechair #5, which was one of the Von Roll prototypes who was based in Bern, Switzerland. When Walt and the imagineers bought the ride, it became the 1st Von Roll aerial ropeway in the USA!
Walt, and Dr Walter Smidt, the Swiss Consul General of Los Angeles, presided over the opening ceremonies. 42 gondolas carried 2 guests at a time over the park. They were dispatched about every 9 seconds and moved at 4 mph. The Skyway gave guests an overview of the park between two stations: one in Fantasyland (where the drive system was located) and the other in Tomorrowland (where 35,000 pounds of ballast kept the 2400' long cables taut).
In between was the peak, a support tower located on Holiday Hill (basically a mound of dirt, which later became the Matterhorn). In 1959 after the Matterhorn was added, guests rode through it!
In 1965, rectangular buckets replaced the original round buckets. The rectangular buckets were a familiar sight in the skies of Disneyland for almost 30 years!
Did YOU ever ride the Skyway? What did you think of it? Do you miss it?
Also on this day in 1963:The Enchanted Tiki Room (a favorite for my minis) opened to the public in Adventureland! According to davelandweb.com: “It was the 1st attraction to cost $1million+, first fully air-conditioned building and 1st to feature Audio-Animatronics developed by WED Enterprises. United Airlines was the 1st official sponsor, but later changed to Dole.”
Originally owned by Walt Disney (through WED Enterprises) the Tiki Room was to be a restaurant featuring AA birds serenading guests as they dined. The “magic fountain” was to be a coffee station (a storage compartment remains in the base) and the restaurant would have shared its kitchen with the now-defunct Tahitian Terrace (for more info about the terrace: http://tinyurl.com/mts76t7 and Plaza Pavilion Restaurant. Since ownership was separate from the rest of the park, a small admission of 75¢ was charged.
José is red, white, and green and speaks with a Mexican accent (Wally Boag) Michael is white and green with an Irish brogue (Fulton Burley) Pierre is red, white, and blue and has a French accent (Ernie Newton) Fritz red, black, and white has a German accent (Thurl Ravenscroft, voice of Hawaiian God Tangaroa-Ru near the entrance)
An AA talking Juan the “barker” bird was once located near the walkway to beckon visitors inside, but was removed when he caused enormous traffic jams of gawking guests. (Stickers please!)
Ticket Booth Roof from August 1966 (Note Juan the Barker Bird)
The birds all have real feathers with the exception of the chest area which is covered in custom-woven cashmere, allowing the figures to “breathe” in a lifelike manner (inspired by an employee at a planning meeting who wore a cashmere sweater which moved at the elbows exactly the way the engineers envisioned). To watch a few clips of historical footage from the Tiki Room: http://tinyurl.com/mkt2bcx
Walt Disney and Tiki Hostess Diana Lai, at the opening of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
225+ talking, singing, and dancing birds, flowers, the magic fountain, tiki drummers and tiki totem poles make this attraction a MUST SEE in my opinion. Hopefully all you lucky people in the park will stop by for a dole whip and birthday performance today!
Have you been in the Tiki Room? Do have a favorite song or part of the show?
Lastly, in 1999Tarzans Treehouse opens in Adventureland. Some of you may remember it as being Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which closed in March 8th, 1999.
Tarzan welcomes the first guests to Tarzan's Treehouse Joining him for the opening was an audience of Kosovar children, dressed in green shirts, which recently arrived in Southern California, as well as Cynthia Harriss, second from left, executive vice president of The Disneyland Resort, and Danton Burroughs, far right, grandson of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. (AP Photo/Disneyland,Glen Miller)
To take a climb and walkthrough of Tarzans Treehouse:
I've posted this in the past but this is an Interesting OC news story done about the original tree that inspired Walts version of the treehouse at Disneyland:
Do you like the the updated Tarzans Treehouse? Or do you prefer the original Swiss Family Robinson version?
Thanks for reading and watching! Hope you all have a Magical Monday!
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Splash Mountain REOPENS NOV 4
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh REOPENS NOV 4
it's a small world REOPENS NOV 10
Hungry Bear Restaurant REOPENS NOV 4
Big Thunder Ranch and Barbecue CLOSED permanently
Fantasmic! Jan 10-TBA
Disneyland Railroad Jan 10-TBA
Mark Twain Riverboat Jan 10-TBA
Sailing Ship Columbia Jan 10-TBA
Davey Crocket Explorer Canoes Jan 10-TBA
Tom Sawyer Island Jan 10-TBA
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