Nods to the Past
Photo of Max, Buff, and Melvin
Max, Buff, and Melvin are now in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Do remember Max, Buff, and Melvin? They performed in Disneyland’s Country Bear Playhouse (1972-2001), home of the Country Bear Jamboree, the Country Bear Christmas Special, and the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown. The former Playhouse is now the home The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

“Zeke and Zed and Ted and Fred and a bear named Tennessee” have left the building. But Max and Buff and a moose name Melvin are still hanging out (or simply hanging) in the former Playhouse. They weren’t left behind accidentally. They were deliberately reinstalled when Pooh Bear’s ride replaced the Country Bears’ show. Guests are not supposed to see them; they’re hidden above and behind the ride vehicle as it enters the “honey heaven” room.

The return of Max, Buff, and Melvin is an example of a Disneyland tradition. The idea is to honor an earlier attraction or landmark with a reminder placed in a new attraction. Some of these “nods to the past” are obvious. Others are well hidden. And I’m guessing that some nods are so well hidden that they’re known only to the Imagineers who are responsible for them.

Photo of the projector room
The projector room in the queue for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
Photo of the Eeyore sign in Indian Jones Adventure
There’s an Eeyore sign in the darkness, high up in the projector room.

Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye didn’t replace an older attraction. The show building sits in Disneyland’s former parking lot—specifically in the Eeyore section. Even that warrants a nod.

Talk about hidden! The Eeyore sign is way up in the darkness of the projector room. If you see a guest shining a flashlight into the rafters, take a look and you may see Eeyore too.

Photo of a Midget Autopia car in the current Autopia
There’s a nod to the Midget Autopia in the current Autopia

When the current version of Disneyland’s Autopia opened in 2000, the ride included a nod to one of the earlier Autopia rides. This nod is out in the open. A car from the Midget Autopia is proudly standing on a pedestal next to the track. The Midget Autopia ride was actually located next to the Storybook Land Canal Boats, not at location of the current nod.

Photo of Nods to the Past
The gramophone at Tarzan’s Treehouse plays a familiar tune.

If you ever visited the Swiss Family Treehouse, a catchy, repetitive organ melody might still be etched in your brain. It’s the Swisskapolka, a tune originally heard in Walt Disney’s 1960 film, Swiss Family Robinson.

In 1999, the Swiss Family moved out, and Tarzan moved in (after a thorough remodeling). Tarzan and the Swiss Family must have had a similar taste in music.

Actually, the Imagineers included a gramophone emitting the sounds of—you guessed it—the Swisskapolka, as nod to the previous attraction.

Photo of a Star Tours informational sign
This picture doesn’t show the nod to the past, but there’s a good one on the ride.

The queue for Adventure Thru Inner Space featured Monsanto’s Mighty Microscope, the imposing design element that “shrunk” guests in their Atomobiles at the beginning of their journey. Children who went on the ride are unlikely forget the Mighty Microscope, especially if they actually believed they were about be shrunk.

Star Tours opened in 1987 at the former location of Adventure Thru Inner Space. The Might Microscope was gone... or was it? The Imagineers included a brief glimpse of the Mighty Microscope in the Star Tours film. Right before escaping from the maintenance bay into the star field, as your Starspeeder 3000 approaches a mechanical arm that almost clobbers it, you can see the Mighty Microscope across from the mechanical arm.

Photo of an abandoned Mine Train
Here’s some of what’s left of the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland

Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between a deliberate, respectful nod and the simple, cost-saving reuse of an old attraction as a prop.

An actual engine from the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland sits at the edge of the Rivers of America. It’s been dressed up as a wrecked, abandoned train. Marmots pop up from the oar cars. The recorded narration on the Mark Twain riverboat tells us, “It looks more like a family of restless marmots have taken over that wrecked train.” I wonder if those are the same marmots that were part of the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland? In those days, the Mine Train narration was, “Them little marmots over the tunnel must be a-whistlin’ to all you pretty gals. I can’t say I blame ’em.”

I’d like to think it’s a deliberate nod—and a smart, economical way to dress things up by reusing, rather than disposing, relics from old attractions.

Another example of this is the Gullywhumper, now permanently moored as a prop along the Rivers of America. The Gullywhumper had been part of the Mike Fink Keel Boats ride that transported guests until 1997.

I’ve probably missed many other nods to the past. Is there anything in Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters that honors CircleVision 360? Has anyone noticed an artifact in Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port that pays tribute to Mission to Mars? Does the Starcade pay homage to Crane’s Bathroom of Tomorrow?

Click here to discuss this page on the Yesterland Discussion Forum at MiceChat!

Disneyland ’66 Brochure
Submarine Voyage Construction

© 2007 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Last updated April 16, 2007.

Photo of Max, Buff, and Melvin: 2007 by Mike Barnes.
Note: Mike Barnes did not disrupt the ride to take the photo of Max, Buff, and Melvin. On January 15, 2007, Mike Barnes wrote, “We got stuck on The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh yesterday during a breakdown and, while walking through the ride to exit, I was able to take this pic of Max, Buff and Melvin still hanging around the building.”
Photo of the projector room in Indiana Jones Adventure queue: 2000 by Allen Huffman.
Frame capture of the Eeyore sign in Indiana Jones Adventure: 2003 videotape by Allen Huffman.
Photo of a Midget Autopia car in the current Autopia: 2005 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of the gramophone at Tarzan’s Treehouse: 2006 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of a Star Tours informational sign: 2000 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of an abandoned Mine Train: 2002 by Allen Huffman.