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  1. #31

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    The last time I went on the Calico Mine ride at Knott's was in 1993 and as I recall then, there was one cave scene but I don't think it had much water in it, I think it was fairly dry. And I think it was rather bright in comparison to the dark Rainbow Caverns. I just watched a Youtube video of it and it is nice for what it is, but they are using a lot of color spotlights, and fluorescent paint on the stalagmites. If Knott's really wanted to, they could build effects more like the Rainbow Caverns by putting in more water features using fluorescent water and black lights alone. They have the enclosed building already built; they just need to add the water features and black lights.

    The "tribute" during the first lift on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, again is nice on its own terms. But it doesn't remind me of the Rainbow Caverns either. They are using a lot of spotlights, colored lights on the water rather than fluorescent water, colored lights on the stalagmites, and even projected moving and spinning shapes on the surface of the water. Nothing like the technique of the Rainbow Caverns which used black light exclusively. And, the daylight that spills in from both ends of the first lift of that ride tends to spoil the effect a little too.

    The one thing in Disneyland now that reminds me of Rainbow Caverns is an effect on Splash Mountain, I think about halfway through, there are some green droplets of water that are squirted up a couple of feet by small fountains, and a blacklight makes the fluorescent droplets glow vividly.. the first time I saw that I was instantly reminded of the glowing water in the Rainbow Caverns.

    One other thing I recall about Rainbow Caverns was how opaque the water was. You couldn't see the bottom of any pool or channel. They must have used tons of the coloring agent. I originally thought it was milk, that they had added color to. I didn't understand for several years how they created glowing color milk. I learned about black lights mainly from Disneyland and I begged my parents for a black light of my own, and finally I got one for my 9th birthday. I also got a set of 6 tempera paints in fluorescent colors. Of course one of my first projects was to try to recreate the water effect from Rainbow Caverns in my backyard at night, by pouring bowls of water mixed with the fluorescent tempera over little channels I had dug and lined with foil, and illuminated them with the black light. I realized quickly how much coloring agent it required. They must have used huge amounts of the fluorescent pigments to give it the rich colors and opaque, milky look.

  2. #32

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post

    The one thing in Disneyland now that reminds me of Rainbow Caverns is an effect on Splash Mountain, I think about halfway through, there are some green droplets of water that are squirted up a couple of feet by small fountains, and a blacklight makes the fluorescent droplets glow vividly.. the first time I saw that I was instantly reminded of the glowing water in the Rainbow Caverns.
    As I mentioned earlier .. that's the "Laughing Place" segment of Splash Mountain. Just after the dip-drop.

    It's the best recreation of the effect Rainbow Caverns used. Too bad that portion of the ride goes by too quickly.

    Sadly ... for as big as the internet is ... there are no pictures of the Laughing Place room in Splash Mountain. I vaguely remember a pink sign .. like the one used in Rainbow Caverns. (I could be wrong) ..

    This is interesting. This is someone's own interpretation of the Laughingplace cavern in CGI. It's so long ... it would take an enormous showbuilding bigger than PotC to show this. With one OBVIOUS nod to Rainbow Caverns,already shown in this frame:





    The tribute in Big Thunder doesn't really come off like a tribute at all. It's just it's own "cave" scene. If they were trying for that .. it's not exactly convincing.

    After browsing pics and video for Big Thunder ... I came up diddly ... on that brief bat cave just as the ride starts. And while I'm thinking Laughingplace has a pink sign - aka Rainbow Caverns ... I seem to recall the same thing for the bat cave scene too. But I can't find a thing for either ride to verify it.
    Last edited by Tomorrowland_1967; 02-21-2011 at 01:11 AM.

  3. #33

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Supposedly, Tony Baxter consulted with Claude Coats when designing Big Thunder, but to me the result seems so different in the overall look and feel from Rainbow Caverns, that I wonder if Tony felt he had to do something that was different from what had been done before.

    I still feel that the right thing to do would have been to build the mountain part of Big Thunder on the northern outskirts of Frontierland, even beyond the berm or straddling the berm if necessary, have the Disneyland Railroad go through it if necessary, and use the old Pack Mules loading area for the boarding area for Big Thunder, and the Pack Mules route to get the train out to the mountain and back. They might have even been able to squeeze the Big Thunder track through the Rainbow Caverns as well, for a slow section. Then they could have reopened the Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland, and we would have both the Mine Train and Big Thunder in operation today, with the Rainbow Caverns still there. In my opinion that would have been a better use of the real estate than what they ultimately did.

  4. #34

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Disneyland has always separated itself from other parks in the way they did things. Always so unique. Especially through its first three decades.
    The Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland was one of the many elements of the park that made it so special. And one of the attractions that stands out to me the most from my childhood. I was about 12 when it, sadly, closed. I really like Thunder, and remember how exciting it was when it first opened.
    However, MTTNW was just....incredible. And so Disney!

  5. #35

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post

    I still feel that the right thing to do would have been to build the mountain part of Big Thunder on the northern outskirts of Frontierland, even beyond the berm or straddling the berm if necessary, have the Disneyland Railroad go through it if necessary, and use the old Pack Mules loading area for the boarding area for Big Thunder, and the Pack Mules route to get the train out to the mountain and back. They might have even been able to squeeze the Big Thunder track through the Rainbow Caverns as well, for a slow section.
    Fixed that for you.

    As the DLRR's third diorama.

    This fixes Safety issues of a walk-thru in the dark ... be it a walk-thru attraction, or queue.

    And this way .. you figure ... whatever the Frontierland expansion covers ..... spills both from in-stage to backstage .... So therefore .... the berm/DLRR is going to have some tunnel to deal with.

    Make that tunnel Rainbow Caverns diorama.

    That's one option.

    But I prefer whatever ride ideas they are currently hashing out behind closed doors ... to include a "Rainbow Caverns" scene as part of whatever they have in mind. Whether at the start of the ride, middle, end. Just as long as the ride vehicle chugs through slowly to take it all in.
    Last edited by Tomorrowland_1967; 02-20-2011 at 09:39 PM.

  6. #36

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Been waiting so long for someone to post color shots of this ride. I only rode once, when I was a kid of 4 or 5. Thanks so much for sharing these!
    "The old man's gonna knock on the sky. Listen to the sound."

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  7. #37

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomorrowland_1967 View Post
    This was posted a while ago ..... Always deserves a mention ..................

    Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland

    Plus .. the guy who's doing this I believe is a poster here ..... And if I remember Bob Weaver has made some contributions (?). Anyway ...... sooooo cool.

    I would imagine .. the most illumination that could be seen .. went something like this:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_csdueNlBcB...00/Caverns.jpg

    Even the purple haze against the rock is probably not exactly accurate for the real Rainbow Caverns. But this is probably as close as one could get.

    In other Disneyland attractions .... I believe the closest any other ride comes to this effect is the bat cave just prior to Big Thunder's first lift, and the "Laughing Place" portion of Splash Mountain. Laughing Place is probably the closest recreation of the effect. The shame is you pass through it in the blink of an eye. The great thing about the Mine Trains .... you had plenty of time to enjoy the sights!!

    wow. that is so interesting. thanks. i wish they could bring this back.

  8. #38

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomorrowland_1967 View Post
    Fixed that for you.
    That would have been nice, but would have required moving the Rainbow Caverns. I was trying to think of a solution that would have worked for them in 1977, and the idea of tearing down, then rebuilding it would probably have been just laughed at by the "powers that be" at that time. Now that it's gone, if they want to rebuild it, of course that sounds much more feasible.

  9. #39

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    That would have been nice, but would have required moving the Rainbow Caverns. I was trying to think of a solution that would have worked for them in 1977, and the idea of tearing down, then rebuilding it would probably have been just laughed at by the "powers that be" at that time. Now that it's gone, if they want to rebuild it, of course that sounds much more feasible.
    I too would have preferred your original idea. I was just thinking "after the fact" .. since Natures Wonderland was destined to be wiped out .. no matter what.

    As you know .... Discovery Bay was thought up throughout 1976, and then pitched "officially" in October of '76. Before Nature's Wonderland took the big ax - come Jan 2, 1977.

    So ... Tony Baxter was eying those 5 other acres of Natures Wonderland's 7 ... as Big Thunder was to be built on just 2 of them.

  10. #40

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheThirdFloor View Post
    I would love to see a version of this come back! Something the entire family can do together, rather than have the grandparents sit with the small ones on a bench while everyone else rides Big Thunder.
    Wow! Now this is a great post. For only having 4 posts since you signed up, you knocked a grand slam with this post.


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  11. #41

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    AWESOME thread! I've seen those publicity photos dozens of times but NEVER anything like this. This attraction is one I would LOVE to see in person. Rainbow Caverns is such a mystery. Thank you!
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  12. #42

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    Maybe someday they will build a new version of it, somewhere in the parks. Nature's Wonderland took up 7 acres, so that's a lot of real estate to dedicate to one attraction (and when the Pack Mules were retired in 1971, the Mine Train was the only attraction in those 7 acres from 1971 to 1977. If they built a similar area now, it would undoubtedly have to be a "mixed use" area, with a slow ride, a thrill ride, a walk-through exhibit or something like a "dig for gems" interactive area, plus the obligatory restaurant, gift shop, and maybe even a small stage.

    They could have had a chance to do something like that in the early stages of DCA, but dedicated and themed to the natural wonders of California (Big Sur, Point Lobos, the redwoods, the Calistoga geyser, Yosemite Valley waterfalls, Lassen Volcanic geothermal, Ancient Bristlecone Pines, Mount Whitney, Death Valley and so forth). Obviously they didn't, and it doesn't seem like there would be enough room in DCA now. There were some rumors of expanding Frontierland to the north, so that's one possiblity, or when they build a third park maybe they could consider a new "Nature's Wonderland" type of area with multiple attractions running through it. There was one proposed design posted on this forum last year by one of the members that was very appealing.

    I don't think they should try to recreate the original Nature's Wonderland area, despite how fun, interesting and beautiful the features were, and the fact that Walt himself had a big part in its design. Times have changed and many of the kids today would not appreciate the original Nature's Wonderland attraction as much as us kids did back then. Animatronics seem, to me at least, to be a little passť now; I can't see kids getting too excited over a fake bobcat or rattlesnake or bear or whatever. The original would not be high-tech enough for today's spoiled sophisticated kids.

    And there was not much in the way of visceral thrill: no speed, spinning, bumpiness, crashes or splashes. The tremendous amount of water in Big Thunder falls made a loud sound and the fine mist it created was kind of a thrill, going on that trestle over Bear Creek was a mental thrill, and the narrator made it worse by suggesting it was about to collapse; Old Unfaithful geyser would mist the people in the last car with a fine spray (actually refreshing on a hot summer day) and the wobbling rocks of Balancing Rock Canyon made us uneasy; we knew they were designed to do that, but what if they failed anyway? These were mental thrills and mild compared to today's theme parks with their extreme visceral thrill. So many of today's kids might consider Nature's Wonderland boring if it was reconstructed today... but I'm sure some kids today would appreciate its beauty, character and humor.


  13. #43

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    I absolutely adore anything related to the Mine Train and Rainbow Caverns. Thanks for posting these great pictures, Regions. And thanks Bob as always for sharing your recollections and thoughts. The music played in the Caverns in and of itself is so surreal and haunting. I can only imagine what it might have been like travelling thru those caves. Here's hoping they come back someday when Frontierland is expanded.
    Last edited by Princess Victoria; 02-21-2011 at 05:45 PM.

  14. #44

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    This has been one of those attractions that I've always found interest in even though it was built and bulldozed before I was born.
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  15. #45

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    Re: Rainbow Caverns with the Lights On

    I think it would be neat if BTMRR could be extended somehow to incorporate Rainbow Caverns (or perhaps "Coates Caverns"?). Maybe after the "splashdown" at the current end of the ride, the tracks could go off and into a building someplace. Not sure if there's enough space to do that, though.

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