BACKSTORY (July 17, 1955—Present): Inspired by the True-Life Adventure film series from the Disney Studios, the original title of this area was to be True-Life Adventureland. The ornamental masks and tribal decor along the gates and throughout this land were mainly created by Oceanic Arts in Whittier, run by Bob Van Oosting and Leroy Schmaltz. Robert H. Carter did the actual carving for many of these tiki inspired creations. The Island Trader Store, a South Seas-style store run by Eli Hedley, featured lamps, masks, and more from Oceanic Arts. At one time, Adventureland had its own Shooting Gallery. Bryan, one of my faithful readers contributed this info: The BB pellets were constantly ricocheting off the targets and flying off into the guests behind the shooter. Also, the targets had to all be hand painted every night at close of business. It wasn't cost-effective and by 1984 it had become a legal liability. The manufacturer of the rifles, responding to customer demand, invented light-gun rifles that didn't require so much target painting at night. Disney saw the cost-effective advantage in this.
Attractions in this area include Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones Adventure, Tarzan’s Treehouse (formerly Swiss Family Robinson Tree House), and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. With the addition of Indiana Jones Adventure in 1995, the Jungle Cruise/Indiana Jones area now has a 1930’s theme.
Here is the text from the Live Narration of a Guided Tour, circa 1962 (previously started on this page):
This is Adventureland. Although our smallest land, Adventureland is also one of the most exciting, with its exotic plants and flowers and gift shops featuring unusual imports from many tropic regions of the world. The unique big game shooting gallery offers to test the skill of all you big game hunters. It's hard to believe that just a few years ago this was all a large orange grove. Now, in this dangerous area of Adventureland head hunters and wild animals roam alongside the crocodile infested waters. So with the experienced guide of the jungle let's begin our journey down the dark and dangerous jungle rivers of the world.
Thanks to our couragious guide, we've all returned safely from our Jungle Cruise. You might be interested in knowing that the animal sounds in our jungle are actual recordings of true jungle sounds, with different sounds for both day and nighttime. In the evening hours the birds in Adventureland retire and the frogs and crickets awaken to provide a musical chorus to the night air. Here adjoining Adventureland is the new Tahitian Terrace. Adjoining the Terrace is Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, an outstanding Adventure in eating and entertainment.
To resume your vintage tour, please go to the Treehouse page.
Former cast member Ken S. has graciously shared his memories of the Adventureland Shooting Gallery:
The Adventureland Shooting Gallery was always a favorite of mine when we’d visit the Park. There was really something special about using actual shot and hearing the ‘clink’ on the target and watch (hopefully) the target drop. The attraction was painted nightly to refresh the look of the targets, be they skulls, rhinos, birds or other jungle-oriented animals.
On private party nights (my Dad worked for Douglas Aircraft and later McDonnell Douglas and those nights were so special), the Gallery wasn’t included in the pass, so I’d have to shell out 25 cents for a round.
My joy of the attraction ended somewhat when I found myself assigned to working the Gallery in 1972 for the Summer…my rookie year in Operations as a permanent “C” status. One would have thought that having achieved that status, this work could have been given to a seasonal, but I suppose I was low man on the totem pole. Marv and Marty Torrez (twins) always seem to be the foremen.
Working an 8 hour shift involved 45min—1 hour stints working the line. Three cast members were on the line at a time covering 5-6 air rifles. The work involved the manual loading of 16 lead round shot into a gun, receiving 25 cents or a C coupon from the next guest in line and standing back monitoring the use of your area, asking all to keep their gun within a 30 degree range to mitigate ricochets. The rifles at and near the ends were the most responsible for ricochets and we watched those very carefully. Needless to say, a day’s work on your feet in the shaded heat and crowd, hearing shots, feeding the rifle breaches using your very sore thumb, and facing ricochets curbed my enthusiasm for the attraction. How I longed to do a spiel on the Jungle Cruise.
And that makes me think back to safety. It was not uncommon for guests (or me) to be hit from lead shot. Eye safety consisted of wearing one’s own eyeglasses…which I always did. Ear protection was provided but not required. Some didn’t care for the plugs and used cotton. And those ricochets could travel beyond the Gallery and into the crowd passing by. At least once or twice a week I’d have a tap on the shoulder and a guest would hand me a piece of shot that hit them between the Gallery and Jungle Cruise.
Life certainly was different then. Most took the hits in stride. I don’t recall seeing a serious accident, but there was the occasional “hit” that required Security and a Nurse to come from First Aid.
Of course the Gallery has been gone for years and the one in Frontierland is now electronic. It’s fun, but not the same. Can you imagine the liability today if those attractions were still operating in the same manner?
I met Harper Goff when I was 13 years old, and WWII had just started. He lived in Studio City, California. At the time, my father worked for Premier Oil & Lead Works, a quality paint company. They were developing an infra-red paint, which to the best of my knowledge was designed to fool (enemy) cameras loaded with infra-red film. Harper was designing ways of camouflaging airplane factories on the west coast, notably Douglas, in Santa Monica, and Lockheed, in Burbank, California. And so they met. We visited them often. His wife was a beautiful soft spoken lady. We called her Flossie.
From the moment we met, I was fascinated with his stories and banjo playing. I got to see the camouflage models of a city he built on ping pong tables. I still have the original photos. He had built scale model ships of every class ship in the Japanese Navy, and stated he thought they were superior to ours. He treated me as the son he never had, and therefore went out of his way to do things for me he needn't have done. He gave me what I believe was his original banjo—what I would give to have it today! I have no idea what I eventually did with it, but I learned very quickly I had no talent for music.
At Christmas he gave me a model kit of one of our aircraft carriers, in a custom designed box, complete, just as though I had purchased it at a hobby shop! However, (another excuse) the hull was a solid block of hard pine, and I did not have the tools to shape it with, so that project was doomed. I cannot imagine how many hours he must have spent on that kit.
We moved away when I was eighteen, but when I was married and had three small children, we visited him at his home in Palm Springs. I could tell that three small children weren't really his thing, but we nonetheless had a nice visit.
He also flew with Walt Disney to Florida to pick out the spot for Disney World and Epcot Center.
In the 1980's, we were fortunate enough to live in a mobile home park in Ventura, CA, and just happened to be living a few spaces from Walt Disney's personal pilot, Chuck Malone. He often took me up in one of several planes which he was rebuilding at the time. Also a fascinating gentleman!
(July 17, 1955—Present) BACKSTORY: The Adventureland Bazaar has been a popular shop since opening day. From the March 2, 1978 Disneyland Line newsletter:
The Adventureland Bazaar, A Marketplace of Friendly Smiles
Adventureland is known as a land of mystery and intrigue. It's a land of lush tropical surroundings and outdoor bazaars, where excitement lurks around every corner and goods from the Asian and African continents tempt passers-by. Yet there's not secret to the success of shops like those in our Adventureland Bazaar--it's the winning combination of exotic merchandise and a top-notch team of Hosts and Hostesses.
Guests walking through the Bazaar are easily awed by the wide range of imported merchandise neatly displayed in its three shops. Located in the left-hand corner of the Bazzr is the Advnture Traders shop, which specializes in merchandise from the Hawaiian Islands. In the center of the complex is the Magic Carpet shop which offers guests a wide selection of wares from India.
The third shop which composes the Bazaar is Far East Imports, where jade jewelry, oriental carvings and other products imported from the Far East can be found.
According to Adventureland Merchandising Buyers Donna Scarnecchia and Susan Cleave, the main merchandising philosophy of the Bazaar, as well as throughout Disneyland, is to create for our guests an atmosphere which makes them feel they're actually shopping in the Far East, India or Hawaii. One of the ways in which this goal is accomplished is by, as Donna puts it, "merchandising looks, which means keeping like merchandise together so that it has more visual appeal."
Helping to maintain this "look" along with assisting our guests, are, of course, the Bazaar's Onstage Cast. Working under the expertise of Working Leader Sue Wuchner, the Adventureland Bazaar crew includes regulars Cindy Diemert, Pam Doyle, Stephanie Alex, Annie Pruett, Bob Fulton, Steve, Hayden, Lance LaVenture, Jody Coffee, Yuki Sechi, Sandy Nagamoto, Patty Flynn and a supporting cast of many more.
Due to the intriguing nature of Adventureland and its shops, many interesting situations can arise. Such an incident took place in Far East Imports recently, when an art instructor from Japan recognized one of his creations displayed on the shelf. Hostess Yuki Sechi recalls seeing the man burst into tears when he saw his clay Hukata dolls. As she asked the man what was wrong, he told her that he was overwhelmed with happiness to see a piece of his artwork on sale at Disneyland.
It's that kind of international renown that keeps attracting visitors to Disneyland and shops like those in Adventureland Bazaar--and it's the smiles and courteous service of our Hosts and Hostesses that keep bringing them back!