Sunday, June 12, 2011

Follow That Tree

Nothing captures my interest in something at Disneyland faster than somebody telling me it's been around since Opening Day and has been relocated to a new spot. This excerpt from the October 14, 1982 Disneyland Line is a classic example:

This beautiful ficus, located in front of the Pirate Ship since opening day, was temporarily removed. It will be relocated in the new Fantasyland.
Now, checking the available photographic evidence, it appears this ficus did not appear in front of the Pirate Ship until the Skull Rock improvement of 1960. I suppose it's possible that the tree was on property Opening Day, but Disneyland World of Flowers did not mention it at all. Still, if present in today's Disneyland, the tree would have been on site for over fifty years and that's impressive enough. I was unable to find good enough photos of the tree trunk online, so I made it today's mission at the Park to confirm that the tree still existed on site.

You can see the ficus off to the left of the Pirate Ship entrance:

Pay no attention to the destruction in the following shots; you're supposed to be focusing on the tree!:

Tranquility:

One last shot of the tree in situ at its original themed location:

The destruction around the ship has started and the ficus has been pruned:

Remember, your focus is the tree:

No more ship, but the tree stands!:

Most people avoided taking a picture of the tree; for these Skyway riders, that was one of the few things left to photograph:

But the demands of the future Dumbo the Flying Elephant required the tree to move. It was first removed from the ground (presumably for the first time in 22 years)...:

...and boxed...:

...so it could be moved...:

...out of the way by the Mad Hatter for a couple of months:

At least 24 people supervised its new permanent placement in the Mad Tea Party queue:

The wooden fence affords the ficus a small level of protection from the construction vehicles:

From the Skyway:

Pictured here as queue construction is beginning:

And here it is as the first New Fantasyland Guests saw it:

And while the fencing has changed, you can see it's still the same tree there today:

I don't ride the Mad Tea Party often, but I'm sure it's a great shade producer:

You can see I was not the only one admiring the tree today:

You need a wide angle lens with this tree now:

I hope this tree remains at Disneyland for at least another fifty years--and that each of you climb it on your next visit. Here's to arboreal adventures!

11 comments:

Westcot2000 said...

Good detective work!

I was sort of expecting that it would turn out to be the Randle Charles tree.

Lizzy Tex Borden said...

Awesome post...

TokyoMagic! said...

Fascinating! I love trees, so I'm glad that it survived the FL remodel....but they should have left it and the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock right where they were and found another place to stick Dumbo!

Thufer said...

That just may be the best most heart felt tug, enduring post regarding the history of the park I have ever had the privilege to read and look at. Thank you so much for that. I agree with you; another 50 years for this important 'park' landmark.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Excellent post! Its reads like a mini-documentary - nice work!

I like how the queue line wraps around the tree now! I need to touch this tree on my next visit...

Man those deconstruction photos are fascinating - was someone documenting the tree or just a coincidence? And where did you get these pics?

Anonymous said...

terrific!

Eric

dfan07 said...

It's interesting to note the changes between 1983 and now. The Mad Hatter sign was on the wall instead of hanging, and the lanterns on the tree are different. Even the design on the trash can changed (though it's in the same spot).

Baby-O said...

I really enjoyed reading this post about the tree. My family rides the teacups every time we're at the park. Now I will definitely appreciate the tree's beauty and rich history.

Thanks for the great history lesson.

JG said...

Wow, I was standing in line under this tree not long ago, admiring it. I knew it could not have been in the current spot from the start, but it is so mature and wonderful.

Now I know.

The Alice queue has some wonderful trees too, are they also relocated? There are none in those places in very pictures.

Toontown needs trees like this, as does Paradise Pier.

JG

Imagineering Disney said...

FANTASTIC. The destruction shots are the best I've seen of this particular Fantasyland project.

Chris Disney said...

I'm so glad other people admire the little things like I do! I see so many beautiful trees in the park and wonder how long they've stood there. I shall touch this tree on my next visit lol. Thank you so much for the historical photos and putting this together! :D