Today we continue our vintage tour through Disneyland by way of postcards, and we enter the dusty old west of Frontierland.
Frontierland has seen a fair amount of change over the years. When Disneyland opened Frontierland was actually the largest land, as it included the Rivers of America and a vast, winding railroad and pathways for conestoga wagons and stagecoaches.
I find it really interesting that I have two images of the Stagecoach, but none of the Conestoga Wagons, as both lasted only from 1955 to 1959.
The Pack Mules took their last guests out in 1973, and the Mine Train lasted until 1977, when the area was cleared to make way for the “wildest ride in the wilderness” Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which opened in 1979. However if those buildings in the background of the Pack Mules look familiar, it is because they are the very same ones that are there today.
The Mike Fink Keel Boats that sailed along the Rivers of America were the original two used in Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, and were free floating, meaning they were not on a track. The Keel Boats had a good run, lasting from park open until 1997, after the Gullywhumper capsized, marking the end of the attraction.
Fort Wilderness looms in the background of this canoe shot, and from 1956 to 2003 Guests could enter the Fort. But the years and supposedly termites took their toll on the fort’s hand hewn logs, and it was completely torn down and rebuilt in 2003. Today the Fort is no longer available to Guests and is storage for the nighttime show, Fantasmic.
When the canoes first started taking Guests around the Rivers of America in 1956 they were known as the Indian War Canoes with “Indian” Guides. But in 1971 they were renamed the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes with Cast Members wearing fringed attire and coon skin caps. It is the only “human powered” attraction at the Disneyland Resort, meaning “you no row, we no go” as the guides like to say. Additionally, the canoes are free floating.
The Indian Village with Ceremonial Dance Circle was there when Disneyland opened in 1955 and lasted until 1971 when it was closed to make way for Bear Country, later to become Critter Country when Splash Mountain opened in 1988.
And now I will leave you with some nighttime shots of the Mark Twain. Next time we’ll go south on into New Orleans…