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08 August 2007 @ 01:12 pm
Cave Train to the Lost World  
While poking around the unexplored corners of the internet to research anything related to The Lost World, I happened to come across an interesting little tidbit...

It seems that, back in the day, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park had an attraction called "Cave Train to the Lost World" (it's still there, in an updated form, called the "Cave Train Adventure"). Here's how a historic walking tour PDF describes it:
The Cave Train to the Lost World opened with a prehistoric theme in 1961, built into an extensive engineered seawall construction project that reclaimed floodlands at the river. The Cave Train and the Autorama were both inspired by high-tech rides introduced at Disneyland, the world’s newest and most remarkable amusement park of the time.

The gist of it is basically a steam train ride into a cave, in which there are scenes of dinosaurs and cavemen. Apparently it did change significantly in the recent refurbishing between 1997 and 2000, resulting in a more garish, Flintstones-like dark ride experience. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find much about what it was like before that, when it was still Cave Train to the Lost World. There is a photo of the train itself now up in the "Non-Fiction" section of my Lost World site.

One kicker, though, is that line about Disney. Disneyland has Primeval World, a tableau of animatronic dinosaurs you pass by on the Disneyland Railroad between Tomorrowland and Main St. stations. That makes sense that they drew inspiration from Disney, except that the dates are all off...

While researching an article on the DLRR for my Voyages Extraordinaires site, I learned that Primeval World was installed in 1966, making use of the leftover animatronics and set pieces from the Ford Magic Skyway attraction that Disney developed for Ford for the 1964/65 New York World's Fair. This means that the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's train ride through dinosaur-infested swamps preceeded the Disneyland one by 5 years.