In the window of Trolley Treats confectionery store on Buena Vista Street, is a model of Rock Candy Mountain. It was Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats who worked on concept art for the mountain back in 1957, and while the project was never built, the idea will live on in the whimsical model that guests can enjoy in the front window of the candy shop.
The first ever oddity of Disneyland
Disney as you know has a rich 65 year history and in that history so many amazing things have come and gone but today we'll look at the weird and the bizarre. If you've ever been over into Disney's California Adventure (DCA) and walked down Buena Vista Street, you may have come across trolley treats - the candy shop on the right across from Starbucks. You may have stopped and looked in the window and wondered to yourself, what am I looking at? Where did this come from? This window has a mountain full of candy in it. There is a backstory because we know everything at Disneyland has a backstory and is all connected. Nothing's by random.
We're going to look at what was originally going to be the first ever expansion of Disneyland: Rock Candy Mountain. Imagine going into Fantasyland through Sleeping Beauty's castle working your way around King Arthur's carousel, only in the background not seeing Casey Jr or the Storybook Land Canal boats but seeing a giant mountain made out of candy. Rock Candy Mountain would be a mountain made full of candy, chocolate, gum drops, marshmallows and a candy waterfall!
Imagine waterfalls of chocolate pouring over the side of a mountain. How could you resist? When Casey Junior Circus train and the Storybook Land canal boats opened they didn't have any sort of real landscaping, this was going to be the first ever expansion of the park. The miniature buildings hadn't been put in yet.
Only concept art exists by famous Disney Imagineer Claude Coates.
There's lots of little details. From the Casey Jr platform imagine walking up onto the path on the edge of a mountain just to ride Casey Jr. The sign has been made out of lollipops and a canopy. To the right we see a friendly water tower that's going to fill our steam engine back up with water.
There's an orange waterfall and a pink waterfall. Casey Jr would load, from this awesome platform adorned with lollipops, we would go through a tunnel and begin our journey around Rock Candy mountain. Walt's original idea was the mountain itself to be built out of crystal rock candy so it would look transparent and later decided that would be next to impossible to clean.
To the left is a candy cane bridge and probably the incline that would take us up Rock Candy mountain and slowly work our way back down the the circular tracks.
Imagine getting into your Storybook Land canal boat and slowly drifting into a tunnel working your way to Emerald City because the story line was, as you enter Rock Candy mountain you're going to work your way to Oz where Dorothy is enjoying her birthday party. Imagine the different vignettes you would have floated past to work your way to this birthday party celebration. Let's drift through as we make our way to Dorothy's birthday celebration.
L Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900 which meant that Walt Disney would have been among the first generation of kids to grow up with the story. When the rights to the novels were up for sale, Walt purchased them all which meant he suddenly had the ability to create any project he wanted, utilizing the characters from the world of Oz. Except he couldn't do anything with the origin story so Walt began development on a project which was set to star almost all of The Mouseketeers. It was going to be about Dorothy having to return to Oz to somehow help the Cowardly Lion who was under a spell and he become evil and a corrupt ruler.
As Walt was looking at expanding the park, he was already thinking three steps ahead. Disneyland was built in 1955. Sleeping Beauty hadn't been released yet but Cinderella had. It would have been expected for him to build Cinderella's castle in the heart of his new park. Walt being a profound promoter knew that putting Sleeping Beauty's castle in the park would help promote the film. He was spending a lot of money and time on so He wanted to use Disneyland to promote a future projects.
He wanted to use the interior of Rock Candy mountain to promote the Rainbow Road to Oz, a movie that he wanted to work on to continue telling the story of the Wizard of Oz. Now there's very very little concept art, from this their plan was to extend the tracks and the ride paths for both the Casey Junior Circus train as well as the Storybook Land Canal attraction and both the train and the canal boats would go in and around the mountain. Guests would get to see different scenes and characters from The Wizard of Oz with the through line being that all of the characters were preparing for a birthday party for Dorothy. The grand finale of the ride was actually attending Dorothy's surprise party.
Walt's hoped to adapt The Wizard of Oz into a feature-length film reportedly after Snow White. However trying to get Snow White to happen was too slow to secure the rights to The Wizard of Oz, which meant that MGM got the rights to The Wizard of Oz and made the movie. For better or worse the project was canceled and didn't go any further than a couple of production numbers aired as previews for the Disney TV show. Now all of the time, money, resources and actors that were going to be into the Wizard of Oz project ended up being in Disney's Babes in Toyland.
Below you'll find rare images of the concept.
Walt heard of a Skyway system being tested in Switzerland in the fall of 1955, and naturally had to have one. By November of 1955, Walt figured out where the ride would go, and had the Von Roll Iron Works engineers work with designer John Hench to create the attraction. Walt purchased a used 1947 Type 101 Sidechair #5, which was one of the Von Roll prototypes.
Opening ceremonies were presided over by Walt himself and Dr. Walter Smidt, the Swiss Consul General of Los Angeles. There were 42 round gondolas that could carry 2 guests at a time, seated in fiberglass patio chairs bolted into the floor. Moving at a slow and steady 4 mph, gondolas were dispatched approximately every 9 seconds.
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).
In 1959, the Matterhorn was added in the path of the Skyway, complete with 2 holes for the gondolas to pass through. The original round buckets were replaced in 1965 for the Tencennial Celebration. Each bucket was now able to carry four guests. The grips on the cars also changed; the original 10 sheave rollerbatteries and the entire tower in Tomorrowland were removed. During the Fantasyland remodel, the towers there were beefed up with extra supports at the urging of Von Roll Tramways.
On April 17, 1994, a 30 year old man jumped from the Skyway, landing in a tree, relatively unharmed. The Skyway was removed 7 months later in November, partially because it was too costly to make safety upgrades. People also threw objects and spit at guests below as they went overhead. For the final ride, Mickey & Minnie made the last crossing as guests watched below. When the Skyway closed, the holes in the Matterhorn were filled in and the supports were dismantled within weeks.
Another reason it closed was because the ride was in technical violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. It was very difficult to load and unload mobility-impaired guests (guests had to step up when boarding and down when de-boarding), and this usually required having to stop the ride. Furthermore, wheelchairs could not be loaded onboard because the vehicles were too small. Approximately 150 million guests rode the Skyway.
The Disneyland railroad sweeper train makes one last circle tour only picking up park guests on the way, then everyone disembarks at the Main Street station. This train leaves at closing.
Sweeper trains are based on the number of order of which trains come out on the line on a particular day. The first train out on the line in the morning is usually the first train off the line for the night. The second train follows out soon after the first train when coming out on the line for the day, but stays out for a longer time about 30 minutes prior to part closing.
The last train to come out for the day is usually the last train put away for the night. That is the train that normally sweeps. The train departs Main Street around midnight and returns between 12:15 - 12:30 depending on the engine pulling the train and depending on how busy the stations actually are.
The PeopleMover, sometimes referred to as the Goodyear PeopleMover and WEDWay PeopleMover, was a transport attraction that opened on July 2, 1967, at Tomorrowland at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Guests boarded small trains that ran on elevated tracks for a "grand circle tour" above Tomorrowland.
Attraction type: Transportation
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Imagineering
Designer: Walt Disney Imagineering
Speed: 7 mph
Vehicle type: Propulsion
Riders per vehicle: 16
Rows: 2 (Per Car)
Riders per row: 2
Duration: Approx 16:00
Propulsion: Motorized wheels embedded in track
Host: Jack Wagner (1977-1982) B.J. Ward (safety voice) (1982-1995)
Sponsor: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (1967-1981)
The attraction's vehicles were always moving. Passengers boarded and alighted by a large speed-matched rotating platform inside the station. The trains were not powered by motors within themselves. Rather, they were pushed by rotating tires embedded in the track once every nine feet, each of which had its own electric motor.
Each car included its own sound system which broadcast a continuous audio commentary and soundtrack, relative to the train's location. The commentary pointed out Disneyland's attractions along the way as well as announcing promotional items.
The tour continued from the center of Tomorrowland through a few of Tomorrowland's buildings, for a look inside, and over Disneyland's Submarine Lagoon and Autopia areas, before returning to Tomorrowland.
The attraction used an updated WEDway system based on the WEDway used for the Ford Magic Skyway at the 1964–65 New York World's Fair. When Disney asked Ford Motor Company to continue sponsorship by sponsoring Disneyland's new PeopleMover, they declined, because Ford was reluctant to support technology that appeared to replace the automobile. Goodyear was then approached to sponsor it, and accepted. The wheels used in the WEDway system were replaced by Goodyear's tires. The PeopleMover's logo was then fashioned after Goodyear's logo, sharing a similar typeface. Goodyear sponsored the PeopleMover from its opening until December 31, 1981. However, Goodyear's instrumental "Go Go Goodyear" advertising jingle still served as part of the attraction's soundtrack until at least 1990.
The PeopleMover closed in August 1995 since Imagineers thought the ride was past its time and no longer a prototype, but rather a place to rest one's feet and also as part of Michael Eisner's program to save money by shutting down expensive and classic attractions. It was replaced by the short-lived Rocket Rods in 1998.
A few of the retired PeopleMover cars were used in other parts of the resort after its closing. Three cars from train #45 used to sit outside the Team Disney Anaheim building, but they were removed in 2007. One of the cars from train #45 is now in display at the cast members cafe called the Eat Ticket. Another car from train #45 is now in the hands of a local resident. Two cars were repainted with a blue and orange grid to resemble a blueprint (along with Rocket Jets vehicles and the front of a Mark III Disneyland-ALWEG monorail train) and placed in the queue display for Rocket Rods, which later closed in 2000. These were later sold on Disney Auctions after Rocket Rods closed.
The checkout counters at the Little Green Men Store Command in Tomorrowland resemble PeopleMover cars and the store has former Rocket Jets vehicles retrofitted as merchandise shelves. The store also had Skyway buckets hanging from the ceiling when it was the Premiere Shop.
In 2000, almost five years after the attraction's closure, an updated version of the Autopia attraction opened. The old on-board audio music from the PeopleMover served as the background area music in Autopia's queue from 2000 to 2017.
The ride track infrastructure which served both the PeopleMover and Rocket Rods still stands unused in Tomorrowland. The track, however, is still being maintained, as it was repainted in 2005 along with the rest of Tomorrowland, and foliage over the Autopia area was trimmed away or removed from the track. In September 2010 at D23's "Destination D" event, then-president of Disneyland Resort George Kalogridis said that while there may be plans to bring back the ride, the park would not be able to return the attraction to its original form due to stricter regulations. Kalogridis stated "Everyone understands the passion everyone has for it." He additionally stated, "Hang in there.
The Disneyland Monorail was the first daily operating monorail system in the Western Hemisphere. It is celebrated its 60th anniversary June 14, 2019.
Enjoy incredible, one-of-a-kind views on this classic 2.5-mile, 13-minute round-trip journey.
Fly over Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, past the majestic Matterhorn Bobsleds. Glide over Grizzly Peak, Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land in Disney California Adventure Park. Zoom through Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Downtown Disney District.
Built at Disney Studios. Based on Alweg monorail systems and concepts.
Built by Walt Disney Imagineering/WED Enterprises
Built by Dynamic Structures
Catch a ride inside Disneyland Park at the Tomorrowland station right above Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
Guests with valid theme park admission can skip the Main Entrance by boarding the Monorail at the Downtown Disney District station—and travel straight to Tomorrowland! Trains run approximately every 10 minutes.
The Disneyland Monorail track was expanded in 1961 to transport guests to and from the hotel, making it the only monorail in the country to cross a public street.
Attraction type: straddle-beam Monorail
Designer: WED Enterprises
Height: 41 ft
Speed: 30 mph
Vehicle type: Monorail Trains
Riders per vehicle: 120
Duration: 11 minutes
Vehicle names: Monorail Red, Monorail Blue, Monorail Orange
Track gauge: Single straddle-beam
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".