Nowadays, there is not much about Frontierland to write about. However, the early days of the area were pretty interesting, to say the least.

Street Characters

Buena Vista Street at California Adventure and Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have “street characters” who wander around the area in costume and act like people from the time period. Early Frontierland had street characters too, but they were nothing like the ones we have today. First of all, these street characters would carry around real guns in real holsters. They were usually playing the Sheriff or Sheriff’s Deputy. But still, can you imagine that? It did not even seem like guests even cared back then. It just seemed normal.

The Sheriff’s name was Sheriff Lucky. He was apparently a Frontierland staple during the early years. The Sheriff would sometimes engage in a staged shoot-out with the town criminal, “Bad Bart.” Traumatizing.

Speaking of Firearms…

Frontierland in the 1950’s was the host for at least one (if not more) shop where anyone could purchase a real gun. And when we say anyone could buy a gun, we mean it! Children had been known to buy actual guns at Disneyland, and then proceed to carry them around the park. Yepp. Obviously, this would never fly today. That is part of what made Frontierland so weird back then.

Davy Crockett…King of the Wild…Everything…Apparently

In 1954, the year before Disneyland opened, the Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier miniseries aired on television. It was part of ABC and Walt Disney’s Disneyland series, which helped promote the new park. Surprisingly, the miniseries became one of the most popular segments on the television show. Davy Crockett and the Wild West was all the rage back then. So just inside Frontierland, which was the area of the park the miniseries was promoting, was the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade and Museum.

The Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade and Museum displayed life-sized wax figures of Davy Crockett and George Russel. Well, technically the wax figures were of the actors who played them in the miniseries and movie, Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen respectively. Also on display were historical firearms…of course. It would not be 1950’s Frontierland without them, would it?

There were also Davy Crockett Keel Boats. The fun part about these was the fact that the original boats were real props from the series and movie! Yes, it was pretty cool until they realized the boats were not too sturdy. So, they were quickly replaced.

Miniature Horse Corral

After some budget cuts during the construction of Disneyland, Walt had to settle for a simple miniature horse corral. We do not believe guests were able to ride the horses. They were just on display. Fun fact: the first people to live on Disney Park property were actually these horse caretakers.

Pack Mule Rides

You might not have been able to ride any miniature horses at Disneyland, but you could ride a pack mule. The pack mules were lined single file and tied loosely together with a rope. They walked around a designated area with guests on their backs. You could only ride a pack mule if you were under 190 pounds, though. Rumor has it that 190 pounds was the exact weight of Walt Disney himself and that’s where this rule came from.

Nature’s Wonderland Cacti

As you drove through the Living Desert on the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland (originally called Rainbow Caverns Mine Train), you would notice some weird-looking cacti. And yes, if you are confused, cacti is the correct plural form of cactus. We looked it up. Anyway, some of these cacti were shaped like humans! Not only that, but some of them even had faces to complete the look! There were even a few shorter ones, seven to be exact, that the conductor joked looked just like the seven dwarfs. It may have been cute in the daytime but what about at night? Can you say…” creepy?”

Golden Horseshoe Revue

You may have heard of the Golden Horseshoe Revue. If so, it is probably because it holds the record for the most performances ever for a stage show. It went on for decades and decades, every day, three times a day! But that is not the weird part. The weird part was the dancers. There were women can-can dancers who performed as part of the show and it was not exactly (…what’s the word?…) modest. We probably would not think much of the performance today. But by the standards of the 1950’s, we are surprised the show did run so long with this segment. But it apparently was not much of an issue.

Casa de Fritos

There is not much that was too strange about the Casa de Fritos besides the fact that it was the birthplace of Doritos chips.

Tobacco Shop

Smoking may be banned at all Disney Parks now, but it was not always the case. In the early days of Disneyland, there were actually two different spots where you could purchase tobacco products. The first was on Main Street. The second was in Frontierland. If you would like to know where those shops were, look for the statue of a Native American. There are two in the park, both of which stand in front of the entrance to the former tobacco shops.

Go Fish!

The Rivers of America is a man-made river in Frontierland that still exists today. However, in the 1950s, guests could actually go fishing on the river. And yes, they would catch real fish. It sure sounds like a lot of fun in theory. But what happens when you catch a fish at a theme park but still have the rest of your day to spend at the park? You probably do not want to carry a stinky, dead fish around all day. So many guests just threw them away or stuffed them in lockers. And that’s why you cannot fish on the Rivers of America anymore. Gross.