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  1. #1

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    Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    I was recently catching up on the past 5 or so years of E Ticket Magazine back issues (I was going through a rough time back then and let my subscription slip and only now am filling the holes) and one of my fave issues is the one detailing the Mine Train ride in its original 1956-1960 brief versiona dn the much more elaborate 1960-1976 re-theming....

    And I know my subject is abit harsh but it did make me wonder what went wrong. Obviously--not a lot, the ride lasted a long time and I think still holds fond memories for people.

    Stil, as the magazine details, it was meant to be Frontierland's "traveling" ride the way Jungle Cruise was for Adventureland and the Submarines were for Tomorrowland. But it never really seemed to get that iconic status that Jungle Cruise had since year one and *still* has--and to an extent the SUbmarines still do too. I don't think it was just because it was replacedin thew 70s--earlier than the Submarines closed) and replaced by Big Thunder Mnt which is such a beloved ride--Disney World nev er even seemed to have *any* plans to build a Nature's Wonderland ride--and ion the E Ticket article Tony Baxter mentions that by the 70s the ride was sadly neglected--you could see audioanimatronic birds falling apart in some of the trees etc, this ws largely because attendance was so low it wasn't seen as wise to spend a lot of money on it (there were plans to revamp the ride in the mid 70s--Marc Davis did many comical animal sketches for it but eventually ti was decided it was smarter to build the Thunder Mtn especially as DIsneyland needed another thrill ride). Maintaning hundreds of moving animatronic animals outdoors too--while it's done in the Jungle Cruise--musta needed a lot of work

    I guess I'm curious cuz to me this feels like one of the ultimate lost Disneyland rides. From the description it was the first ride (pre Tiki Room) to really feature audioanimatronics--and when in good maintanence it had a LOT--from fish jumping out of lakes, to bears, to rattle snakes... It feels liek the perfect complement to the Jungle Cruise--taking that voyage thru the river jungles of the world to a train ride thru the land wonders of southern America. And Walt seemed to love the ride and be very involved. I'm a sucker for audio animatronic heavy rides with big landscapes and the images and short video clips I've seen of the bears catching fish, etc and the Rainbow Caverns finale are spectacular. Yet even in the 60s peopel seemed less into it than they ever were with the Jungle Cruise... (granted the Jungle Cruise with its "Savages" and foreign animals had more exotic appeal)

    Does Youtube have any major videos? People here have fond memories? I love Big Thunder and it's cool that they incorporated elements of the Mine Train into Thunder but I am sorry I never got to experience this...

    Also the E Ticket articles was nearly ten years old--anyone have a list of what remnants remain from the mine train? At Bug Thunder Ranch walkthru can you still see the fish jumping in the lake? I was very sad to read in a later E Ticket (it's oibviously been a while since I've gotten to go to California) that Cascade Mountain itself, a highlight of the rock work built for the ride, was finallyt aken down as its water was deemed too hard and expensive to maintain--what's in its place? do people have pics of that area without it now? It seemed such a natural part...

    Thanks guys

    E

  2. #2

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Eric,

    This guy has an interesting site about Mine Train http://www.keeline.com/MineTrain/- He's got quite a few photos of the attraction if you scroll down to pictures. Pretty cool stuff.


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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Extinct Attractions has a whole DVD dedicated to the ride, including ride-throughs:

    http://01508f4.netsolstores.com/inde...PROD&ProdID=15

    This ride ranks high among us old-timers as a "most-missed" yesterland attraction. Part of the reason it never achieved the popularity of the Jungle Cruise, I'm sure, is that it had a recorded narration. Half the charm of the JC is the live, wise-cracking skipper. And the subs were simply unique. No one else had an extended, underwater voyage like that, whereas something comparable to the mine train was at Knotts Berry Farm, and Disneyland itself had a couple of other trains where you looked out and saw stuffed animals (DLRR) and charming tableux (Casey Jr.).

  4. #4

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    It had a recorded narration, but at least for the first years, it was up to the discretion of the driver to use the recorded spiel or to provide it themselves.

    The Mules were reported to be very stubborn (of course) and didn't always do what they were supposed to, sometimes stopping at random, and often times leaving little presents on the trail. I believe I read somewhere that it was becoming more of a concern that guests might get hurt and slap down lawsuits so they nixed the Mule Pack in 1973.

    Without the Mule Pack, and with the declining state of the desert flora & fauna (including the animatronics), the Mine Train ridership declined heavily until it was decided to do away with in entirely in favor of something thrilling: a roller coaster.

    A few years back, Keeline's site had (not sure if it's still there) a transcript of an interview with one of the original ride operators, a member of the Order of the Red Handkerchief. He went into great detail about the decline and fall of the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland.

    If I were to have any attraction back at Disneyland, this would be the one. If I could go back in time, that would be the ride I'd visit first. No question about it.

    Disneyland isn't the adventure it once was, without that desert and the Rainbow Caverns.
    "Say, uh, ever hear of the devil's paint pots? Real mystery of the desert. Bubblin' pots of mud in all kinds of colors."

  5. #5

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    It's nice a few remnants have remained (though less and less now with Cascade gone)

    What and where is Keeline's site?

    E

  6. #6

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neverlandtink View Post
    Eric,

    This guy has an interesting site about Mine Train http://www.keeline.com/MineTrain/- He's got quite a few photos of the attraction if you scroll down to pictures. Pretty cool stuff.

    Here

  7. #7

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by avromark View Post
    Here
    Is that your site?

  8. #8

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    The only thing I remember well about this ride is the very hot seats in the summertime!
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  9. #9

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Here's a Mine Train memory. There was a "Dentist" office in Rainbow Ridge, and a recording emanating from that window of a man howling in pain. It went on and on, and finally ended, followed by a voice saying, "There, that didn't hurt a bit, did it?" or words to that effect.

    A typical bit of Disney frontier humor.

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by HBG2 View Post
    Here's a Mine Train memory. There was a "Dentist" office in Rainbow Ridge, and a recording emanating from that window of a man howling in pain. It went on and on, and finally ended, followed by a voice saying, "There, that didn't hurt a bit, did it?" or words to that effect.

    A typical bit of Disney frontier humor.
    Haha. I have that audio on my iPod.

  11. #11

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by HBG2 View Post
    Here's a Mine Train memory. There was a "Dentist" office in Rainbow Ridge, and a recording emanating from that window of a man howling in pain. It went on and on, and finally ended, followed by a voice saying, "There, that didn't hurt a bit, did it?" or words to that effect.

    A typical bit of Disney frontier humor.
    Is that the Dentist effect that can now be heard off of Main Street? Or is that something completly different?
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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by ragrobyn View Post
    Is that the Dentist effect that can now be heard off of Main Street? Or is that something completly different?
    Ahh. You beat me to it!

  13. #13

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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    As wonderous and beautiful as the scenery and such was, the ride simply became antiquated compared to newer rides in the park. Plus Frontierland just wasn't as popular as the other lands. If the ride had somehow been tailored for fantasyland, odds are it would still remain in some form today.
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    Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by ragrobyn View Post
    Is that the Dentist effect that can now be heard off of Main Street? Or is that something completly different?
    I've never heard that one, believe it or not, so I can't say if it's the same.

  15. #15

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    Sad Re: Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland (and Cascade Peak) what went wrong?

    As I understand the Mine Train just wasn't popular enough, and Big Thunder Mountain needed a place to go. It is really too bad though, this was probably the greatest attraction ever to have been placed in Frontierland, and if it had had a live narration probably would still be.

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