Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Disneyland - Crowded Adventureland - The Treehouse - and A Dry "Rivers of America"

Today I will share with you (again) one of my favorite water elements in Adventureland---the flowing stream under the Swiss, uh...Tarzan's Treehouse. The short video snippet above was shot on April 6, 2010 during a recent run to the Park with my fabulous (and patient) family. They have put up with me through many a trip to the Park and to Walt Disney World. Only true Disneyophiles (and their spouses, children or significant others) can understand what that is like.

Anyway, to truly understand the connection I have to the Treehouse waterway (pictured below), you must place yourself, circa 1985-87, at the turnstile to the old attraction (long before that enormously out of place extra tree stump and rope suspension bridge had sprouted up in the midst of perhaps the tightest walkway in all Disney parkdom---see photographic proof of what I mean below).

First, here is a a photo taken on the bridge in front of Pirates, photographed facing directly toward what would have been the "old" Treehouse entrance:
The opposite (or left) side of this pedestrian walkway (as shown in a photo taken again from the Pirates bridge looking eastward into Adventureland toward Main Street) is an equally mangled traffic jam of a pedestrian "pinchpoint," to wit:A photo alone does not do justice to the issue, so here is a short video to aid in your understanding:

Simply put, the crowds in this area are enough to send one to the old infirmary (if you know what I mean):
Anyway, as usual...

I digress.

My point is that, as evening fell over the West Side, the pedestrian traffic in front of the Treehouse and throughout Adventureland would dwindle as folks headed over to Main Street to get seats for the Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show.

The lone cast member standing at the Treehouse turnstile, became an early version of the "Wal-Mart greeter" of the West Side---waving to and chatting with guests and fellow cast members passing by, including sweepers, managers, other attraction operators and outdoor vending types.
An earlier post on this blog shows fellow 80's cast member Jackie Lacey manning (or womanning?) the turnstile position. It is from this position that I spent many an hour greeting, chatting, waving, b.s.-ing, and generally just getting paid to be at Disneyland.
Rough gig.
Doesn't come close to a day behind the desk as a litigator, let me tell you.

Did you know that the Swiss Family Treehouse was based upon a real fig tree that grew along West Street in Anaheim back when Walt decided he wanted a treehouse attraction for the Park? Take a moment to view this link: Forgotten Orange County, The Original Swiss Family Treehouse.

Permit me to close with some shots of the "Rivers of America" as they looked on April 6, 2010. Hmmm. Perhaps these amount to some sort of metaphor for the current state of America?
Oops, as the great Spears was oft to posit, I did it again.
I hate it when that happens.
Here you see the "riverfront" by the River Belle Terrace:
And here: is the Mark Twain's landing---absent a few million gallons. See? It is not that deep.
Here is the general area pictured above---only with water. Makes a difference thematically.
Lastly, here is a view of Tom Sawyer's Island from over on Thunder Trail---looking southwest toward New Orleans Square there in the distance.
I hope you have enjoyed today's "Jungle Is 101."
This blog has been brought to you today by the letters "E" and "R" and the letters "A,D,O."
This program has been made possible by the Carolyn Ahmanson Foundation, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by readers like you.

All four (4) of you.




Alissa said...

I really adore the letters chosen for this post. During the dreadful time where Midterms and Spring Break peak attendance meet, E and R are my best friends! A, D, and O, however, are like a mirage in a desert of downtimes and crazy long SAP lines.
Nice post today. I really hate the random (and completely unnecessary) tree in the walkway. That whole area is such a pain, especially during Fantasmic!

Anonymous said...

Howdy, Mike--came upon your little Jungle outpost a couple of months ago and just really, really enjoy it. I grew up in Fullerton, so I feel like I grew up in Disneyland. Never worked in the park--left before I was old enough--but there's not a bigger Disneyland fan in sthe state of Tennessee. Thanks for the fun respite from the crowds on other sites!

Wayne Campbell, Mt. Juliet (Nashville)

Kevin Kidney said...

Mike, you and I are on the same wavelength this month...

I also want to add that the fig tree on West street is still alive and bigger than ever. It's truly an Anaheim attraction in itself, and I tell as many people as I can to go see it for themselves.

I continue to love your blog. It's like home to me.

Mike said...


Girl, you know what I'm talkin' about. Especially during Spring Break. Good luck getting an ADO!


Glad to see that a Fullertonian can be successfully transplanted into Tennessee soil! You have come to the right corner of the Internet if you want to get away from the crowds. Sometimes we get 2 or 3 readers a day round these parts. Glad to hear you were one of them!


What can I say? You are my hero. I think your art is fabulous and it blows me away to see someone from my generation who has found a way to make a living and still keep connected with the Park! If you ever run across some Disney folks, put in a good word for old Mike! I'd love to get back to the Park in some capacity! Keep up the good work! By the way, I loved the picture of you in the Treehouse costume---I checked out your site as you suggested. It is a small world after all. Looks like we were definitely feeling the same "Swiss Family" vibe this month!


Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

Great post as always!

I never knew about the fig tree on West Street! What a cool piece of Disneyland history.

Here's another bit of trivia for you. I'm pretty sure that picture of Jackie (at the entrance of the Swiss Family Treehouse), was taken very early AM one morning, when some Adv/Front Cast Members were filming a video to be shown at an banquet dinner. It was a Thriller parody, directed by Cast Member Jerry Whitfield. Not 100% sure on the name.

I remember seeing another Cast Member produced video titled (I think), "The Jungle Cruise Movie." It was filmed before I started in '84, and again was shown during a Cast Member banquet dinner. I wish I had copies of them. Lots of fun, full of inside jokes.

Keep those stories coming. :-)

Jon Woods

Anonymous said...

While a full day's manning the SFR Treehouse was not exactly a fast way to while away the time, it was interesting to see the mass of humanity walk by. Plus I had the benefit of hearing that song over and over...can still hear it playing as I type this. Anyway, the most enjoyable part was in closing the attraction, locking the turnstile, doing the final count and walking through the Tree to do the visual check and having the place all to myself thinking that I could easily spend the night in the bedroom...once the music was turned off. Oh well, great memories once again. Thanks Mike.