Yesterland Storybook Land from the Skyway

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Fred M. Nelson, Sr., 1959

Cinderella’s Castle and the Skyway

Here at Yesterland, there’s a ride that provides an overhead view of the intricate miniature buildings and landscapes of Storybook Land—not the water-level view from the Storybook Land Canal Boats or the slightly elevated view from the Casey Jr. Circus Train enjoyed by Disneyland guests.


There are actually two such Yesterland rides—if you count the Skyway to Fantasyland and the Skyway to Tomorrowland separately.

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

Cinderella’s Castle

Welcome aboard Yesterland’s Skyway. Frankly, you won’t see much of the little cottages from up here, and Cinderella’s Castle loses much of the forced perspective that makes it look bigger than it really is from down below. But you’ll get a great overview of Storybook Land as a whole.

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1958, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Cinderella’s Castle

You can also take in the view beyond the berm of the park. This park is located in a primarily agricultural area. There are residential areas to the north. Good luck finding anything more that two stories high—unless you want to use “stories” to measure the height of the eucalyptus windbreaks that separate the orange groves to the east.

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

The French village at the base of Cinderella’s Castle

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1958, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Crazy Quilt Country

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

A different angle on Crazy Quilt Country

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

Storybook Land and beyond

There’s a good view of the queue for the Storybook Land Canal Boats from up here.

Storybook Land from the Skyway at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1958, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Monstro the Whale

Guests who don’t have a “D” ticket left in their ticket books can buy their ride tickets at a ticket booth that looks like a traditional red-and-white-striped lighthouse. Then they board a boat right in front of the gaping mouth and menacing teeth of Monstro the Whale from Pinocchio.

The little yellow barn near the canal is part of the Midget Autopia. If they ever get rid of the Midget Autopia, that might be a good place for the Storybook Land Canal Boats queue.


At Disneyland, the Storybook Land Canal Boats and the Skyway had a lot in common. Both opened within days of each other—June 18, 1956 for the former and June 23, 1956 for the latter.

Entertainment journalist Bob Thomas toured Disneyland while Storybookland was under construction. Here is his May 1956 Associated Press article, in its entirety for historical context:

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Walt Disney, who once labored over a mouse, can now move mountains. And he’s having the time of his life.

Nobody ever had a realm like Disney’s. His sprawling wonderland for the young and old, Disneyland, is now getting ready to celebrate its first anniversary, and Disney is supervising a million and a half dollars worth of improvements.

It’s an experience to tag along after the movie wizard—you have to hustle to keep up with him—as he surveys the park. He started in front of the city hall of the Main Street Circa 1890. Then away we go!

Disney strode straight through the towering castle of Sleeping Beauty and into Fantasyland. He walked into a construction zone where a huge whale gaped menacingly.

“This will be a canal boats of the world ride,” he explained. “The boats will be made to look like canal boats of different countries, and they’ll start the ride by going through Monstro’s mouth.”

Then he climbed up a small hill and viewed what the canal boats will see. Craftsmen were meticulously creating miniature villages from Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Three Little Pigs, Cinderella and other stories.

“Isn’t that Dutch village too low to see from the boat?” Disney called to a supervisor. The man adjusted a platform to simulate the boat level. Disney sat on it and assured himself the village was high enough.” But raise that bridge or it’ll be too much under the water,” he added.

Pressing into Frontierland, he explained the workings of the mine ride, which will take people through the mines and canyons of the old west and then through a series of spectacular waterfalls. The new topography, which will be used for the stage coach and mule trains, includes an unnatural natural bridge and numerous peaks.

“Let’s get that mountain higher,” Disney suggested to a foreman. “And broaden out the canyon.”

Disney took a swing around the riverways of the world, along which the steamboat Mark Twain plies. He gazed proudly at the huge boulders that dotted the shores.

Disney paused and explained why he was making all the additions: “This is how I conceived the park from the beginning—a place that will constantly grow.”

The Spring 1958 issue of Disneyland’s promotional Disneyland Holiday magazine used these words to describe the finished product:

Storybook Land, inside Fantasyland, is one of Disneyland’s finest examples of the Disney magic in artistry and the creation of unique and entertaining attractions.

A kingdom in miniature, Storybook Land presents life-like re-creations of villages, castles, houses and other buildings from the pages of fabled stories—scene after scene of painstakingly detailed settings.

If you’ve ever wanted to actually see, from close up, Geppetto’s Village high in the snow covered Alps; Kensington Gardens from the story of Peter Pan; the straw, stick and brick houses of the Three Little Pigs; and the Crazy Quilt Country from “Wynken, Blinken and Nod,” they’re all there—along with many more—in Storybook Land.

Gaily painted, picturesque European canal boats take visitors through the mouth of Monstro the Whale into this wonderful world.

The same Disneyland Holiday article even mentioned the Skyway above Storybook Land:

Fantasyland is literally alive with activity. From the Swiss Chalet, the exciting Skyway carries its passengers high above Disneyland to Tomorrowland. Below, the unique cars of Casey Jr. train huff and puff up hills and down, over bridges and through valleys.

The Skyway carried its final guests on November 9, 1994, but Storybook Land continues to delight guests five decades after it opened. Landmarks from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Frozen have joined the classic miniatures that received Walt Disney’s personal attention.

But why are the village and the Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast missing?


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Updated March 13, 2015.