Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Simple Life of Casey Jr. and Storybookland

Life can get pretty complicated on occasion. There are ups. There are downs. Sometimes it seems like a thrill a minute as the saying goes. When things seem on the verge of going out of control, sometimes quiet is a gentle place of respite. Such is my story about two Disneyland classic rides that date back to 1955 - the Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybookland Canal Boats.

The two rides basically occupy the same area toward the back of Disneyland's Fantasyland. This past week they both closed down for refurbishment until sometime towards the middle of November. Apparently someone thought it was a wise idea to add some pathways around the Casey Jr. train track for maintenance workers and guest evacuation. Safety is big in Disneyland these days or so the state of California keeps telling them. So the two rides quietly close down with barely a whimper in Disney fandom. Oh, but Indiana Jones Adventure closed down at the same time and there's plenty of fist shaking out there even though the huge ride badly needs attention and repair. The IJA thrill is gone while the quiet of two legacy attractions falls by the wayside.

Last year I wrote about how members of my own family thought the Storybookland Canal Boats was the most boring ride in the park. I'll remove the word boring and insert quiet. There are no thrills in the gentle boat ride through the world of storybook miniatures and well manicured topiary. Both these rides came from Walt Disney himself and for that reason alone they are keepers. But there is something to be said for simple rides in a lovely setting that many people just find nice and relaxing. No, everything doesn't have to provide a thrill. Quiet is its own reward.

Nobody is counting down the days until these rides re-open again. Their closure is not causing anyone to second guess their trip plans. Not being able to take a ride on either of these attraction is a "deal breaker".

But with their closure, a little piece of Disneyland's heart is missing. Even if you never went on the rides they certainly were pleasant to look at - a lush oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy Fantasyland. No, these are not major attractions by any stretch of the imagination but Disneyland certainly is a nice place for having them.

Before Casey Jr. closed last week, MiceChat's Andy Castro took a final video look at the train ride from the back end of the caboose. Nice. (fun fact: Walt Disney wanted only horses for his carousel ride. Most older carousels have fixed stationary pieces where people could just sit while going round and round instead of going up and down on some kind of animal. So King Arthur's carousel is made of up from a few different carousels purchased by Walt Disney. Walt used the horses and constructed the Casey Jr. train cars from unneeded odds and ends from the carousel collection)

Here is Andy's video

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