The Submarine Voyage & the Real Mermaids

The submarines opened in the summer of 1959.

There were 8 of them each named after a submarine in the 1950's nuclear program: Seawolf, Skate, Ethan Allen, Patrick Henry, Nautilus, Triton, Skipjack, and the George Washington.

They each held 38 passengers and were 52' long. The ride took 9 minutes and it carried you under the North Pole, past a giant sea serpent and in the early days there were even real mermaids that could be seen for 4 hours a day on the rocks in the middle of the lagoon.

Here are some construction shots:

Here is the entrance which doesn't look much different today:

Here is the inauguration:

And a couple of vintage shots of the subs at the station:

This is a great overhead shot showing how colorful it used to be:

There aren't a lot of older under water shots to be found:

And now a word about the mermaids.
They held auditions for them at the Disneyland Hotel and the requirements were that you had to be between 5' 4" and 5' 7" (this cuts me out) and had to be able to swim.
Looking at the pictures I assume an unspoken requirement was also that you were thin enough to fit the costume. This would also leave me out.

Here are a few pictures of the auditions:

And here are some of the lucky winners in action:

And finally today I found this great video:

Hope everyone has a really great weekend!

The Phantom Boats & Motor Boat Cruise

The Tomorrowland boats opened in July 1955 in the lagoon that would eventually become the submarines.
Very few people rode them and a month later they were redesigned and rechristened the Phantom Boats with tail-fins any Cadillac of the time would be proud of.

Apparently the 14 boats had a poor mechanical design and they would often overheat and leave riders stranded in the middle of the lagoon. They briefly tried adding a pilot to the boat but that couldn't overcome their problems and in 1956 the attraction got the dubious distinction of the first permanent Disneyland attraction that was closed.

You can see the train the background:

And here you can see the autopia to the right:

Don't you love the "Keep off the Grass" sign?

Art and Diane Linkletter when they were using boat pilots:

Aerial view from the buckets:

In 1957 The Motor Boat Cruise opened in a nearby lagoon. It was  "B" ticket ride and now the boats were on a track with no steering or acceleration. Cast members wore little sailor outfits and the ride remained basically unchanged until the Gummi Bears were added briefly in 1991 until the rides closure in 1993.

An oldie of the loading dock:

The viewliner goes right over your head:

 This isn't the best shot but I love the way it looks so vintage and you can see that the boats were named after characters:

Have a great day!!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Back in the saddle again!!
This time on Dumbo!

Originally this ride was based on the alcohol induced pink elephants from the movie with the working title of "10 Pink Elephants on Parade" going so far as to having the original ride vehicles painted pink.
Walt objected saying he didn't want his guests riding on something themed to a hallucination and ordered them to be repainted grey.
Here is a picture of the original concept art:

The original ears moved which as you can imagine created all sorts of mechanical problems so new molds were made without hinges. You can see the older version in this picture:

Timothy Mouse stands in the center twirling around. He originally held a training whip until this was later replaced with a feather. It has since changed back to the whip.

Here's a good early shot with the Skyway station being built in the background.

A good black and white aerial shot:

I had a hard time finding older shots in color:

Love this one... with girls all dressed up!

Have a great Sunday and stayed tuned!!

The House of the Future

The House of the Future opened in Disneyland in 1957 right next to the Circorama.
It was one of 2 free attractions sponsored by Monsanto. Hall of Chemistry being the other.
It was a walk through tour of a 1280 sq ft house filled with plastic furnishings and polyester clothes. It also boasted new and exciting modern appliances like dishwashers, microwaves and intercoms. It was made from eight prefabricated plastic sections with large windows and anchored onto a concrete earthquake proof foundation. The house consisted of a middle square (kitchen and bathroom) with 4 "wings" (master bedroom, children's room, dining room and living room).

It lasted 10 years until Monsanto went on to sponsor Adventure thru Inner Space. The house was so indestructible that the one day demolition ended up taking two weeks because the wrecking ball could not damage it. It had to be cut apart with hack saws. Some of the support pilings are still visible in Neptune's Grotto and the landscape, waterfalls and walkways are still there.

This is Disney's publicity shot:

This is the floor plan:

The next few shots are of construction:

I love these 2 with the castle in the background:

Opening day complete with band:

Some shots of the exterior:

The Enchanted Tiki Room

Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room opened up June 23, 1963. 
It was the parks first air-conditioned attraction.
It was originally sponsored by United Airlines, but changed to Dole soon after.
Dole Whip anyone??

It was slated to be a restaurant where animatronic birds sang to guests as they dined.
The "magic fountain" was intended to be a coffee station and the kitchen was shared with the Tahitian Terrace and Plaza Pavilion. That idea did not pan out.

Since it was under separate ownership than the rest of the park, there was a small admission fee. 


Here is one of the early brochures:

A very early picture:

I couldn't pass up this picture of the 60's kids:

This is the terrace before they closed the whole area in: