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  1. #1

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    Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    An attraction within an attraction!


    This, along with Pirates of the Caribbean, in part because of nostalgic smells/familiar narrator among other things, is and will always be the most wonderful things at Disneyland, to me, which I hope to share some day with my own children.

    I suppose this thread is kind of half appreciation for the attraction and half interesting facts. Hope you enjoy!



    Although it is seen every single time you’re on the Disneyland Railroad between Tomorrowland and Main Street, it is seemingly hardly mentioned, for whatever reason. I see this as a positive and a negative. Negative being, ‘it’s so great…how could you not talk about it?!’ ha, and Positive being, I like to keep things I love to myself sometimes. I don’t want everyone and their mother making it lame by making fun of the animinatronics or seemingly outdated scenes/technology/audio. I also don’t want people hogging up the train so people like me can’t relax and enjoy the memories from our childhood and the good ol’ days. Anyways, for some reason, this has always been something at Disneyland that I will always love and I am extremely glad that WDW doesn't have it, haha.



    DID YOU KNOW?

    • Opening day was March 31, 1958 and Hopi Indian Chief Nevangnewa, 96, performed a ritual blessing on the inaugural train voyage, also celebrating the Fred G. Gurley engine’s first official trip through the park



    • The main theme of Ferde Grofé's "On The Trail," the third movement from his Grand Canyon Suite, is played on the train's sound system as guests enter the diorama on the train, followed by a very short clip of "Cloudburst”, for the snowfall scene and then back to “On the Trail”



    • The Grand Canyon Diorama was the lone attraction in that area for about 8 years until Primeval World was added.



    • The tunnel was previously just an area that needed to block guests from a backstage service area in the park.


    • The animals in the grand canyon scene are real taxidermic(stuffed/preserved) animals.




    • At the time of its opening in 1958, the diorama was the longest in the world at 306 ft., costing $367,000 to create as well as using 300 gallons of paint



    • 1966 ushered in the introduction of Primeval World, an expansion of the Grand Canyon Diorama including exciting Audio-Animatronic dinosaurs from Walt Disney's Ford Magic Skyway attraction at the 1964 New York World's Fair.




    • The whole attraction is voiced by none other than Thurl Ravenscroft, a familiar voice around Disneyland in popular attractions as well as in many Disney movies







    So anyways, I hope you enjoyed some interesting facts about one of the coolest places in Disneyland. Do you have any other little-known facts or do you share my enthusiasm about this small piece of Disney? Speak up!


    Caleb


    "Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning."

    "Adventure is out there!"


    22 times to Disneyland in one year, personal record.

    (Save the Disneyland Hotel Waterfalls too!)

  2. #2

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    I too love the two scenes. There is much detail in them and a lot of just awesomeness. It's a fun way to break up a train trip and I'm glad they have kept it there and looking nice. So many people just talk to each other and ignore that part, I watch it every time with joy.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Great retrospective with lots of cool pics I hadn't seen before, Caleb.

    A few things: The Gurley had been carrying passengers for three days prior to March 31st, so it really wasn't an "official trip." The Fred Gurley was just dedicated on March 31st. The small Indian in your photo is "Chico," the Santa Fe's "mascot."

    Also--there was no tunnel at all before the Grand Canyon diorama was built. Guests were able to see some of back stage as well as the parking lot.

    Sadly, I don't believe the Ravenscroft narration is used any more.

  4. #4

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    The dinosaurs have long been one of my favorites as well, and this section is part of the reason I can ride the railroad as willingly and happily as I do more "fancy" attractions like Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain and all the rest. The music in the dinosaur section I think is my favorite element of it, along with the giant insects and glowing-eyed iguanadons right at the start of the transition section between the Grand Canyon and Primeval World.

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Sadly, I don't believe the Ravenscroft narration is used any more.
    I don't think it is either. The voice is way to plucky to be Ravenscroft.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post

    Sadly, I don't believe the Ravenscroft narration is used any more.
    This is accurate, the descriptions are provided by whoever the current narrator for the whole round trip is (maybe Pete Renoudet?)

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Whenever I'm in Tomorrowland at night and we want to go home I always insist on going on the RR just to see the fantastic Dioramas. And to be honest some of the Animatronics in there (for being close to 50 years old now) look stunningly lifelike.

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Sadly, I don't believe the Ravenscroft narration is used any more.
    You mean after the addition of Primeval World? Corey Burton, perhaps?
    Caleb


    "Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning."

    "Adventure is out there!"


    22 times to Disneyland in one year, personal record.

    (Save the Disneyland Hotel Waterfalls too!)

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ozmacity View Post
    You mean after the addition of Primeval World? Corey Burton, perhaps?
    No, it isn't even someone sounding like him in recent years that I can recall: the train narrator is the same all the way around the park and not trying to do the Ravenscroft voice. Current one could be Pete Renoudet, who was also in Country Bear Jamboree and Carousel of Progress. Corey Burton stood in for Paul Frees on Haunted Mansion Holiday (Frees is the Ghost Host).
    Last edited by RegionsBeyond; 04-14-2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: fixed the first name...oops

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ozmacity View Post
    You mean after the addition of Primeval World? Corey Burton, perhaps?
    Thurl didn't do the original narration. His spiel came about sometime in the 1980s, if not the 1990s.

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Fun fact: The Santa Fe used Disney's Grand Canyon Diorama to advertise its own trains' route to the real Canyon.

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    One question: was the Grand Canyon Diorama the same length prior to the Primeval World additions?

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Yep--the length hasn't changed.

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    ozmacity,

    It seems we have the same thing on our minds today. While posting some new stuff in the African Cats thread in the movies section earlier, I started thinking about what topics I'd like the Disneynature crew to maybe visit in the future, and what popped into my head was the Grand Canyon - not so much because of the diorama at Disneyland, but because of the featurette that was released with Sleeping Beauty.

    Would love to see Disney revisit the Canyon and shoot a hi-def movie for the Disneynature series!

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    Re: Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World Attraction (The Best!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Yep--the length hasn't changed.
    Interesting. I too love this part of Disneyland, and when we end our trip it uis alway the last thing we go on. I LOVE IT!!!
    Dave

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