The narrator for the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland was an old sourdough, and many guests who enjoyed the attraction in their childhood lovingly remember his folksy spiel. But the narrator's heavy use of "old west" slang made it difficult for some guests to understand what he was saying, and this lead to some difficulties for Disneyland management.
Today, Disney is used to handling letters, phone calls, editorials, and fire-and-brimstone pulpit pounders claiming to have found a secret message, dirty joke, or piece of evidence for some conspiracy or other in a Disney product -- the brouhaha over the supposed encouragement of polygamous bestiality in The Lion King for example, or the belief that Peter Pan encouraged children to "get high." But in the ‘60s, they were unprepared for what was a relatively small uproar over the Mine Train spiel.
Complaints about the spiel came from three camps:
Feminists who believed that the narrator was condescending to women
Animal rights activists who thought that he was insensitive to animals
Scientists who accused him of spreading inaccurate information on geological, biological, and paleontological topics.
Disneyland responded with a press release in which they explained that all of the protests were due to misunderstandings of the spiel. Attached to the press release was a copy of the spiel "translated" into standard English. A quick glance at the original and translated spiels in the table below shows how easy it might have been to misunderstand the original, and how baseless the accusations of wrongdoing on Disneyland's part were.
Howdy, folks! Wel-come t' th' li'le minin'
town o' Rain' Bo Ridge, th' gate-a-way ta nature's wund'rland.
Hello, guest! Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow
Ridge, the gateway to Nature's Wonderland.
As'n we head fer th' wilderness, a c'ple a ever luv'n
sug-gestions -- please'n
stay seated atoll times an' keep yer hans and arms insideda train. Th'animals
get a mighty hankrin' for grub, and might'n chew somethin' right off'n ya! And, uh, no smokin' please, 'less you brought 'nuff
fer everyone. Chewin's
Before we begin our journey into the wilderness, I have a couple
of suggestions for you: Please stay seated at all times and keep your hands
and arms inside of the train. Wild animals are often hungry and may try to
take any food you are carrying. And no smoking please, it is unhealthy and
embers may cause a forest fire.
Now, b'yond these thar hills here lice nature's
wund'rland. Uh -- yer apt-a see'n
a whole lotta wil'life,
so keep a real sharp hun'er's eye an go ahead'n fire on what'ver
Beyond these hills lies a beautiful area colloquially referred
to as "nature's wonderland." Here you will most likely see quite a
number of creatures in their native environment, so please keep a careful
As we're a-comin' outta
this here first tunnel, we'll be enterin' Be-ver Valley. Look'ns like tha
be-avers are a-buildin' 'nother
dam. Yessir, they're really busy as'n a -- well --
busy as'n a be-ver!
As we exit this first tunnel, we will be entering Beaver Valley.
It appears that the beavers are hard at work building another dam. Indeed,
they are as busy as the proverbial beaver.
Them thar lit'le
mar-mots over'n th' tunnel must be a-whistlin'
at all-a yuh pretty gals, 'n' I can't say I blame 'em!
Nice gams thar, hu'ny!
The little marmots over the tunnel must be whistling while they
work, and I can't say I blame them!
If'n yuh never gone 'neath a
waterfall afore then get set, 'cuz we're a-comin' up onna Big Thunder, th' biggest
falls in all-a these here parts. Yuh don' hafta worry tho', unless'n th' wind changes an' yer wearin' a skirt! H'lo thar 'gain, lady! Them
thar other two falls thar, they call th' Twin Sisters -- I
reckon that's cuz they're all-a-ways babblin' jus' like th' women
folk are a always a-doin'!
If you have never ridden beneath a waterfall before, then you
had better prepare yourself because we're approaching Big Thunder, the
biggest waterfall in this part of the country. There is no need to worry,
however, unless the wind changes. The other two waterfalls are referred to as
the Twin Lions, most likely because they're always roaring -- pun intended.
We're a-comin' in'na
B'ar Coun'ry now, folks, anna while we're a-crossin' th' ol' treskel
yuh gotta sit real still.
No tellin'n she might'n
co-lapse an' be sendin' us all-a
a wat'ry grave!
We are now approaching Bear Country, ladies and gentlemen. While
we ride across the old trestle bridge, you should take care to stay safely in
your seat to avoid any unfortunate accident.
Yuh know, b'ars're on'na
th' mos' play-ful animals thar is. Lazy, too!
All they wanna do's lay around 'n' scratch 'n' fish
'n' swim - that is, when they ain't sleepin' or eatin' some'n! That's, when'n they ain't a-sleepin' away th' day like'n my lazy ol' wife!
You might have heard that bears are some of the most playful
animals in existence. They are lazy as well. Many bears spend an inordinate
amount of time relaxing, scratching themselves,
scratching themselves, and catching fish. Of course, they do not pursue these
activities when they are asleep.
Yuh know, nature's
wonderland's awful pretty, but some'n'times she canna be a mighty rugged place ta
live. Out here'n th' wild-er-ness th' struggle fer sur-vival leaves only th' strong, 'n' some'n'times th' lucky er th' one that's got'n th' gun.
You might also have heard that nature's wonderland is particularly
pretty, but at times the wonderland can be a particularly rugged place to
live. In the wilderness the struggle for survival sometimes makes it
difficult for those who are neither strong nor lucky to survive.
Say! Look'n that thar
bank 'cross B'ar Creek, thar.
Now'n thar's a real
struggle fer sur-vival.
Two stags 'r' battlin' fer
them thar cow elk. Maybe'n
you folks can tell me, though, does gittin' two
women folk mean yer th' winner,
or th' loser, Hmmm? Never could figure that 'n' out,
and I gotta couple'a my
own back home anna al-a-mony
paymen' like'n yuh wouldn' believe!
Indeed -- direct your attention to the bank on the other side of
Bear Creek. There you will see a particularly striking example of a pair
animals struggling for their survival. Two stags are attempting to settle a
disagreement revolving around a pair of female elk. Perhaps one of you could
tell me if the real winner of this encounter will be the male who ends
victorious or the female intelligent enough to stay out of the fight. I have
not been able to arrive at an answer myself.
As'n we pass
through ol' Nat'ral Arch
Bridge, yuh kin see th'
great livin' desert down'n
below. Yuh know, th'
desert's a dry place, 'n' full-a some purty mean varmints. Yuh gotta be careful-a sidewinders, wild pigs, 'n' even mount'n lions, 'n' I don' mean law'rs.
As we pass through this old natural arch bridge, you will be
able to see the Living Desert below. You might be interested to know that
although the desert's a dry place by definition, it's
home to a number of temperamental creatures. For example, you need to be wary
sidewinders, wild pigs, and mountain lions.
But th' desert's got 'er be'uty, too, an' I see yer stil' thar,
lady! Th' yeller streaks a-runnin'
through them sandstone cliffs 'r' called Coconino; th'
red, we call them supai. Don' ask me why, tho. I'm 's igner'n't
as a city gal.
But the desert has a great deal of beauty as well. For example,
the yellow streaks running through these sandstone cliffs are called
Coconino. The red streaks are called supai.
Unfortunately, I am unable to tell you what those terms mean.
Now, ahead'a us, folks, is'n a giant sa-guaro cac'us for'st. Th' desert heat some-n-times gets to yuh
som'n mighty, 'n' makes these here cac'us take on strange shapes, like animals, 'n', some'n'times even cac'us!
Ahead of us, ladies and gentlemen, is a forest of giant saguaro
cactus. As you look at these wonderful specimens, please keep in mind that the
desert heat can make cactus appear strangely shaped. If the cacti begin to
look like animals or people, I would suggest that you come to peace with the
fact that this is just an illusion and forgoe
searching for any Freudian symbolism.
Aha! Look'n down thar
on yer left. Them wild pigs
is'n caught up with old Mr. Bobcat. He's inna kind-a a sticky situation,
what with'n him stan'in onna cac'us 'n' all!
Indeed! To your left is a bobcat which has been
"treed" in a cactus by a number of wild pigs. That is certainly an
unfortunate situation from the bobcat's perspective.
Say-uh, ever hear o' them thar devil's
paint pots? Real mystery o' th' desert, those. Bub'lin' pots o' mud'n all kindsa colors.
Have any of you heard of the Devil's Paint Pots? They are
considered a mystery of the desert, although they are nothing more than pools
of mud heated by underground thermals.
This's geyser coun'ry, too. All-a geysers 're
named fer women folk 'cause -- uh-oh! There she
blows! Sure glad y'all brought yer rain-coats! But look'n out now! We don' never know when she's gonna go off. That's'n why we
call 'er Ol' Un-faithful.
Look out now! You folks'n them thar
last cars be ready -- she's a-threatenin' agin! Jus' like'n a woman!
Those same thermals are responsible for geysers as well. Indeed,
one is erupting now! I certainly hope that you brought rain gear with you.
Take care, it is impossible to predict with precision when a geyser is going
to erupt. That is why certain people who live in this are have taken to
calling that particular geyser "Old Unpredictable." Please pay
particular attention if you are riding in one of the last cars in this train,
as it is certainly possible that the geyser will erupt once again.
Y'know, I hear
tell a long time 'go them di-no-sa'rs roam'd this here area. 'Course, all yuh
find now's cactus, snakes, 'n' coyotes. And some'n'times
th' sun-bleached bones-a an
ancient an'mal. Now yer
hair may'n be sun-bleached, but yer
no ancient animal, are ya, lady? Woo hoo!
Scientists have discovered that millions of years ago dinosaurs were
native to this area. Of course they are extinct, but their remains can be
found in this area at times, which is a boon to paleontologists.
There'n's th' voice o' th' desert, th' coyote. Now folks we gotta git through Balancin' Rock Cannon.
Look out thar! They're a-startin'
t' tumble like'n a waitress onna
I hear a coyote. I also see that we are going to pass through
Balancing Rock Canyon. The two are not related, but you should keep an eye
out for falling rocks in any case.
Watch that wild-cat, lady! Oh -- heh heh -- glad he stayed up there! That's one cat'd like-a git his paws'n a li'l mouse th' likes-a you!
There is a wildcat which seems to be looking at the train, but I
am happy to say that he is staying in place. Wildcats are known to attack
full-grown deer more than ten times their size and weight, although they
usually do not emerge from the encounter in particularly good shape.
Yuh know, las' trip a moun-tain li'n show'd up right over that thar tunnel, jump'd down'n ate-a kid. Ay, there'n's
one now! So yuh better all'n
be real quiet ifn' y'don'
wan' yer giblets ta be
I have seen mountain lions in this area before, and indeed there
is one now. I suggest that silence is in order.
Now we're goin' deep inta th' earth to view th' dazzlin' Rain-bo Caverns. You'll see giant stalag-a-mites,
stalac-a-tites, 'n' colorful falls on ever' side.
Say, if yuh look real careful, you'll see Geyser
Grotto, th' Witches' Cauldron, 'n' even where my
ex-wife endered up!
We are entering an underground cavern now so that we can take a
look at the impressive Rainbow Caverns. Here you will see giant stalagmites,
stalactites, and colorful waterfalls on both sides of the train. If you look
carefully, you'll see Geyser Grotto, and a particularly interesting formation
referred to as the Witch's Cauldron.
Well, I see'n's we're a-comin' back ta Rain' Bo Ridge agin. I hope y'alls enjoyed yer trip inta nature's wonderland.
We are now returning to Rainbow Ridge. I sincerely hope you all
enjoyed your trip through nature's wonderland.
Please stay in yer seats 'till I git th' train stopped, will yuh? An' then jus' lift up th' jump
seat'n th' middle 'n' th' door'll come ri-open.
Please remain seated until the train stops. At that time, lift
up the "jump" seat in the middle and the door will open
Now, ta find'n
th' exit, folks, jus' head right for th' front of th' train. An' if yuh got a moun-tain lion sittin' next to yuh, don't feed
him! Just give'n 'im a
good one onna head an' take'm
ta get a nice coat made.
To locate the exit, ladies and gentlemen, proceed toward the
front of the train. In the extremely unlikely case that there is a mountain
lion sitting next to you, please do not offer it food. Instead, direct it out
of the train and back toward the desert.
Well, thanks fer ridin'
along, 'n' come on back agin when yer out in these here frontier parts. An' bring a jug a somethin' fer yer driver, will yuh? Do that'n I'll do th' next one with'n my teeth in. So long!
I certainly appreciate you joining me for this ride. Please
return for another ride at a later date. Goodbye.