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.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".