Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost Imagineering: Rock Candy Mountain

One of the more famous Lost Imagineering concepts from the early years of Disneyland was Rock Candy Mountain, a structure intended to be part of the Storybook Land miniatures, with interiors accessed by way of the Casey Junior Circus Trains.  Claude Coats drew up the initial design.  Author and Imagnineer Randy Bright provided this background on its development in his 1987 book Disneyland: Inside Story:
Another unusual structure planned for Fantasyland was a giant "Rock Candy Mountain."  John Hench, assigned to the project, gathered his henchmen and went to work, creating a large skeletal structure for the table-top scale model of the mountain.  They planned on a kind of solidified marshmallow cream for the snow and chocolate for the rock outcroppings.  They accumulated a staggering array of real candy bars, gum drops and other sweets, and applied them to the model's surface.  But the more they worked, the more unappealing it began to look.

"It was positively nauseating," said Hench, "and, worst of all, because our building didn't have air conditioning, the whole mountain began to melt.  We had to leave the door open to ventilate the place to get rid of the odor.  It was like a dying candy factory.  Then the smell began to attract dozens of birds, flying in and out of the building, pecking away at our mountain."  As tenacious at Walt usually was about pursuing ideas, he quietly abandoned his "revolting" Rock Candy Mountain.
One interesting disparity among Disney historians concerning Rock Candy Mountain, is the time-frame of its development.  Based on the structure of his book, Bright seems to imply that the concept was developed prior to the opening of Disneyland.  In The Disney Mountains, author Jason Surrell dates the development of Rock Candy Mountain to 1959.  The recent D23 Disney Undiscovered Calendar cited "early 1957" as the time when Imagineers began their work.


Cory Gross said...

I'm sure it must have occured to them to not use actual candy, so I wonder what exactly the thought processes involved here were ^_^

Anonymous said...

I heard this was originally the idea for what became the Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland.

Unknown said...

I had heard the same thing as Anonymous did. Would there have been two hills/mountains side-by-side (Rock Candy Mountain and Holiday Hill)? How do these two relate in their history & locations?