Last week we discussed the design dilemma that accompanied Walt's dream project.
One of Walt's crazy ideas about replacing Holiday Hill was to just put some snow up
here and somehow turn this into like a toboggan ride or a sled ride. Admiral Joe Fowler pointed out that Anaheim is too hot for snow and it's going to melt and create flooding.
That didn't stop uncle Walt! He eventually figured out how to put snow in this location. A Disney cast member walked up and saw Walt sitting on a bench inside of Tomorrowland and he was staring up in an empty sky. The cast member asked Walt what he was staring at and Walt replied "my mountain".
Needless to say Walt had a vision and even though a thrill ride went against his early design principle: everything should be accessible to every guest.
Eventually Walt would find his vision of a mountain in 1958 when he visited the set of Third Man on the Mountain. As a result there is snow today inside of Anaheim every single day of the year and it's also one of the tallest structures inside of Anaheim. Matterhorn is one of the few attractions that's visible from outside the berm where guests going up and down Harbor and over on Highway 5 can catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn and its snowy peak as it rests above as the tallest lookout of Disneyland.
Walt Disney would be inspired by The Matterhorn over in Europe and both the monorail and the Matterhorn are two things that Walt Disney was inspired to create by traveling through Europe.
Walt sent a postcard of the Matterhorn from Europe and it read: build this. Admiral Joe Fowler said fine we'll build it but it has to do something to justify taking up both space and budget from Disneyland. So the idea was not just one roller coaster but to build two inside!
Stay close for part 3.
One of the original women on the Disneyland design team was Miss Harriet Burns, the creator of the Matterhorn model and sculpture. The history and design of Disney's first mountain, the Matterhorn and the world's first ever tubular steel roller coaster.
Walt Disney's vision for what he wanted Disneyland to be was absolutely so unique and so special for the time. It's a template that still holds up today not only in Disney Parks but theme parks all around the world. And like everything with Disneyland it's a little jigsaw puzzle, an incredibly small theme park located in the city of Anaheim which wasn't a city when Disneyland opened. It was farm country but a city accidentally sprouted up all around it. Because it is a jigsaw puzzle every piece of the puzzle somehow has to fit into the one next to it.
Everyone knows how small Sleeping Beauty Castle is by comparison to Cinderella castle in Orlando. The idea was to make Walt's Castle, the original Disney Castle, feel as tall as possible. Therefore they took all the ground around to create a mound for it to set on. After All Disneyland was built inside of one year! In 1954 this Orange Grove would transform into Disneyland now visited by millions of people all around the world and it was done on an incredible budget.
If you dig out all of the earth to create the moat around the castle and also pad it up on a pedestal, there's a lot more dirt left over. Two stories of dirt which became Holiday Hill, place some benches a little bit of flowers and slight design decoration and now you have a lookout point.
Walt Disney absolutely hated Holiday Hill! It was just a pile of dirt in his park and not exactly what he envisioned. He knew he could do better as always held himself to a higher standard.
Along the way trying to figure out what to do with this parcel of land, he came up with some pretty crazy ideas. If you notice the monorail pedestals in front of the Matterhorn are extremely short compared to the ones that are on the back of the Matterhorn to make the peak of the mountain feel even taller.
We'll discover Walt's design solution in part two.
This attraction is original and exclusive to Disneyland CA.
Prior to the Caterpillar car, Imagineer Claude Coats had proposed a ride vehicle made out of the various playing card soldiers from the film, with the front-facing card donning a similar facial expression to what is worn by the aloof Caterpillar now. Walt Disney disapproved this concept, suggesting instead a vehicle modeled after the Caterpillar. Upon completing the design for the new Caterpillar car, Coats was informed by Disney's legal department that he needed to apply for a patent for the vehicle. Coats attempted to convince them that the patent belonged to Walt Disney, who had suggested the vehicle's design, though the department insisted that it was Coats who was ultimately responsible for the look of it, as he had actually drawn the car.
Coats applied for the patent on May 8, 1959, and it was approved by the United States Patent Office on January 12, 1960. It is designated as patent #187,036 and had a term of 14 years. A few days after the patent was approved, the legal team returned to Coats and told him to sell his patent to them for $10, which he did. Coats' son, Alan Coats, still has the original patent paperwork in his possession.
The original ending looped down, down, down until the end.
In the updated version, the vehicles leave the ride building's second floor and descend down a winding path on a giant vine past the ride queue, before heading to the final scene at the Mad Tea Party. After the Mad Hatter and March Hare sing "A Very Merry UnBirthday", Alice proclaims that it is her unbirthday too. The White Rabbit ducks as a giant unbirthday cake with a dynamite candle explodes and the ride vehicles exit to the unload area.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".