National Geographic : 1963 Aug
I took a short cut through Frontierland (pages 183-5) just in time to be caught in the middle of a running gun fight between a rootin'-tootin' sheriff and a Western bad man. Happily, they were using blank cartridges, or the slaughter would have been awesome. The Mark Twain, the stately white river packet, was just leaving her dock for a cruise on the Rivers of America. Across the water, I saw some energetic boys romping on Tom Sawyer Island, while others helped Indians paddle war canoes or rode the high-sided keel boats, the ones used in Disney's Davy Crock ett movie and television series. In Fantasyland (pages 188-9) I found my self face to face with larger-than-life-size impersonations of famous Disney characters: the Big Bad Wolf, one of the Three Little Pigs, Minnie Mouse (page 202). The Mad Hatter, his rubber jowls quivering, was trapped in a corner. He was having a hard time defending himself against a mob of children. The Most Marvelous Submarine In Tomorrowland, I boarded the submarine Skipjack, one of eight submersibles in the Disney fleet. It took me on one of the incredi ble journeys of the world, though it was made in a mere six million gallons of water rather than an ocean. The sub "went under" in a swirl of bubbles and sailed serenely (guided by sonar, the skip per said) through treacherous coral reefs ablaze with animated tropical fish. Giant tur tles dined on sea grass. Barracudas, sharks, and a dangerous moray eel loomed from the shadows. In a plunge to the abyss, we saw phosphorescent creatures of the deep. We passed through the hull of a sunken ship and glimpsed chests filled with gleam ing treasure. And, as the skipper explained that we could not expect to see mermaids since they were only figments of imagination, we nosed impolitely into a mermaids' boudoir (opposite). The sub visited the lost continent of At lantis, went under the polar ice cap, and finally passed what may be the largest sea serpent in the world. Certainly the largest cross-eyed sea serpent. When I talked with Joe Fowler, the retired admiral who is vice president for Disneyland operations, he said his former Navy col leagues are delighted with the submarines. One, a sub skipper, said, "That's the only time I've ever been on a sub and could see where I was going." "We were apprehensive that some guests 196 20th-century Transit, Monorail Train and "Nuclear" Sub Pass in the Night America's first daily-operating monorail train travels on a concrete beamway, attain ing 45 miles an hour on straightaways. Gliding noiselessly, it journeys 21/2 miles on a winding circuit through Tomorrowland to Disneyland Hotel, just outside the park. "Dive! Dive!" roars the squawk box of the Skate as it skims over its coral lagoon. The order sounds real, and it is-tape-recorded on a U. S. Navy submarine in action. Run ning on a submerged track, the vessel seems to embark into liquid space. Passengers peer through portholes at the drowned continent of Atlantis and a graveyard of ships. They hear the grunts, whistles, and clicks of fish and shrimp-again genuine sounds recorded in ocean depths. Snow-white mermaids with flowing tress es preen with mirrors and try on necklaces found in sunken treasure chests.