Sunday, 26 July 2020

325 Disneyland Mountains

Welcome to the show notes for the Disney Dream Girls Podcast, show number 325, for Sunday 26th July 2020. If you want to listen, whilst reading these notes, just click the player below or alternatively find us on iTunes, Libsyn, Stitcher Radio, or any good podcast catching apps.

On this week's show, share some on this day in Disney history and turn our attention to the Disneyland mountains.

Voices of Minnie Mouse
Today we remember Marcellite Garner (the original voice of Minnie Mouse), who passed away at the age of 83 on this day in Disney history. 
Marcellite Garner
Also, Russi Taylor, another performer, who was the voice of Minnie Mouse, sadly passed away at the age of 75 on this day in Disney history. 
Russi Taylor
Jean Shepherd
Born on this day in 1921, this voice-over artist has been heard as the voice of the father in Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress from 1993. 
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This is an easy first pick as it has a mountain in the actual title! It opened on 2nd September 1979, replacing Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. It snuggles into the theming of Frontierland really well; with a great backstory about Rainbow Ridge - a once-thriving mining town. The ride story is that these mine carts carried ore but the mountain was a sacred place for Native Americans so there was a curse!
Rainbow Ridge was abandoned following an earthquake but the mine carts kept chugging down the tracks - without any crew! Now, park guests are invited to take a ride on these possessed vehicles.
Thor's Hammer Photo Credit Whit Richardson
Where is the mountain? Well, the ride was themed to resembled hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. What is a hoodoo? Well, the word means to bewitch. And hoodoos are formed by deposition of rocks, uplift of the land and weathering, and erosion. 
The ride Imagineer was Tony Baxter and the ride designer was Bill Watkins. Baxter's idea was built on a previous one from Marc Davies (The Western River Expedition, which was going to be a western-themed pavilion in the Magic Kingdom that would have had a mine coaster ride as part of it.)

Not travelled on this? Well, thanks to The Coaster Views, here is a front seat ride:
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Again, this has a mountain in its title! The actual Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps - being precise it is on the Swiss Italian border in the Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps and is 4,478 meters tall (the highest summit in Europe). This mountain is a square-based pyramid (having five faces). Over 500 people have died trying to climb this mountain!
Photo Credit - Smithsonian Magazine
On to the actual ride, which opened on 14th June 1959 and was the first tubular steel continuous track rollercoaster. When the park opened, this area was used as a picnic area. The Skyway opened in 1956 and Walt Disney thought up the idea of a toboggan ride (originally with actual snow!) with a mountain to ride the skyway tower structure inside. 
Walt had recently been in Switzerland filming The Third Man on the Mountain (a film about a young man who wants to climb the mountain that his dad died on). The beauty of the Matterhorn led to it being the mountain selected for this attraction by Walt buying a postcard of the mountain, and he sent it to Vic Greene (an Imagineer) and said "Vic, build this. Walt."
The attraction has two tracks winding through the internal structure and every now and again, riders get glimpses to the world outside with large reveals. Over the years it has seen refurbishments - in the 1970s the addition of an Abominable Snowman (nicknamed Harold).
Photo Credit - LaughingPlace.com
On the attraction lookout for a crate labelled 'Wells Expedition' as a nod to the former Disney president Frank Wells. This is a fitting tribute as he was a keen climber having climbed 6 of the 7 great peaks of the world (Everest was the only one that he failed to reach as his expedition had to be cut short due to bad weather 3,000 feet from the peak). Wells sadly died following a skiing trip (with Clint Eastwood) in 1994 when his helicopter crashed.  
Can you think of any other mountain themed snack?
Here is a ride-along for those of you who have not have enjoyed this attraction thanks to Pixie Dust Disney Parks Fan Media.
The Matterhorn's last refurbishment was in 2015 (although the queue was remodelled in 2018). The bobsleds seat three riders and guests are fastened in with a seat belt.

Space Mountain
There is no actual mountain here but the ride opened on 27th May 1977. There are five Space Mountains across the Disney theme parks and this was the second of those to open. Each Space Mountains have the same exterior facade and Disneyland's version differs from the Magic Kingdom version as there is only one track and the ride vehicles are different. 
Space Mountain Opens - Photo Credit D23
On its opening day, six of the seven original Mercury astronauts attended (the seventh had sadly passed away). The ride designer was designed by Bill Watkins and John Hench was the lead Imagineer. Keep your eyes peeled in the queue for Bay 12 Command Module - Capt J Hench. Did you know the attraction goes 15 feet underground?
Lights on the ride-Hyperspace Mountain
In 1996, onboard music was added to the attraction and it has seen Ghost Galaxy overlay and Hyperspace Mountain.

Splash Mountain
Again, no mountain (but there is a hill) and this log flume attraction opened on 17th July 1989. This attraction will close and be re-themed to Princess and the Frog.
There are slight differences to the Walt Disney World version and interestingly this is the shortest of the three ride incarnations. In its current form, the attraction is based around the Uncle Remus stories and is linked to the Disney film - Song of the South. 
 Video credit LMG Vids
As we went into detail on the Walt Disney World show about Splash Mountain, we decided to keep this review short and simple.

That's about it for this week. You can find us @DisDreamGirls on Instagram and Twitter. We have the Disney Dream Girls page on Facebook as well as the Disney Dream Girls Podcast Family. If you wish to support us financially and keep the show advert free, visit us at https://www.patreon.com/DisneyDreamGirls and there you can find out the benefits of doing so. 

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