Monday, July 04, 2005

Magic Landing's Signs


First off, welcome one and all. Today's posting marks Magic Landing's 21st anniversary of its opening on July 4th, 1984. With that in mind, ask people who remember the park to come see the pictures posted here. It's guaranteed to show something someone remembers.

Few things in a long forgotten park mean more than signs that hang above buildings or objects. Magic Landing's ruins have few signs, markers, indicators of what was once there, so when I was able to find something with a name to associate with a location, I took it (picture wise). As you are going to notice, I am showing them in larger detail this time around, so be patient as they load (if you're on dialup, my sincerest apologies) because they are worth the wait. The first item shown here was actually found outside the park gates and is one of my most prized pieces.

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This is a tri-fold mailer that would have been gracing the mailboxes here in El Paso. When scouting the park a day before my photographic excursion, I came across hundreds of these mailers strewn around the outer gates as if someone snuck in, stole them, and discarded them in a hurry. I blurred out the phone numbers at the bottom of the flyer because they don't work (non working numbers) but in the future, well, lets just say that Jenny (867-5309) is still a great song, and a working number.

Taking a stroll from the front gates, we are walking along the Main Street and see many of the buildings still retain their signs.

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Signs like this Magic Card shop grace the boulevard and somewhat give a glimpse of what happened in the building. I am way too young to remember if there was a gift shop attatched to this, or if there was a magician on hand to perform acts of prestidigitation with playing cards in front of a small audience. If you know, send comments and help the rest of us learn.

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Anyone know if Victoria's Parlor was a soda fountain?

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What about the Yellow Rose? The sign that accompanies the door says that the door apparently is for "Magic Landing Host & Hostess Only". I wonder if this is where the performers, animal costumed performers & party organizers gathered for work. All of the doors & windows associated with the buildings were sealed.

As was mentioned in the previous Ruins post, This was the ice cream parlor that was at one end of the ferris wheel.

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Does the image of the elderly bird bring back memories? Yeah, it sent chills up my spine when I saw that. It's been nearly 2 decades since that bird was last used as an advertising mascot.

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**This sign lies about 50 feet from the entrance to the train station, and behind the Texaco stage. It's barely readable, but says "Sorry, if you aren't this tall, you cannot ride this attraction!" The area behind it is a pit, and after looking at an old satellite photograph of the park that was graciously emailed to me, I have found out that this is where the pirate ship once stood. Now filled with tumble weeds, not much is left of the ride or any markers.

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This was the sign that graced the train station. Is it me, or does the font associated with the instructions give you the impression of impatience? It's got that air of "I've told you already to not do that!" and kind of sounds condescending to the patrons. Then again, there might have been issues with over ambitious people wanting to jump onto the moving train like a trolley.

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This sign is to the right of the (above) pictured train station. It graces what's left of a wooden fence that allows entrance to the Texaco Theater stage & grassy knoll (now a dirt mound). It's ironic to me that this sign is still in the park. One of the last reported incidents at the park involved inebriated park patrons fighting with each other.

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Let's walk towards the back of the park, shall we? I had mentioned in the previous picture post that there were two rides remaining in the park. The water ride Buck Sawyer's Mill is the second ride still standing (100% inoperable) in the park.

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The planks I am standing on barely held my weight, and this is with me standing on support beams. The building to the right was the Piney Woods Cafe. It served many items including pizza.

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I searched the internet for any remaining Casabella Pizza places left in the United States and only found references to a parlor in Boston Ma. Little else is known about them.

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This is the cafe where you could get a Casabella Pizza slice. It's also where I found the animatronics from Castle Park perched in the corner of the dining area.

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I wanted to repost this picture in a larger size so you could get a better look at them. Their names from left to right: Skeeter the Rattlesnake, Tex Critter & Foxy Roxie. It just looks like the rattlesnake is destroyed, but when they come alive he springs back to an upright position.

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In the same building, there's a lot of things forgotten about & out of place. Take for instance, this interesting Forrest mural. Granted, it does match the name of the cafe, but in a park that cannot decide if it was going to be an old west town, a magical village or what not, this seems perfectly out of place with this Hodge-podged motif.

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This is one of the windows that's been boarded up. I took the photo, then in photoshop, I reversed & enhanced the image to bring out the menu that was etched into the window to the cafe/ pizzeria. Stupid me, I stood directly in front of the glass and got reflection in the photo.

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This is the sign that should have graced the entrance to the remote controlled boats at the other end of the park. It's currently being used to protect the windows at the Piney Woods Cafe.

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Leaving the cafe and heading towards the rear of the park, we come across the area where the paddle boats were. The Seaport Village was a place where you could get a refreshing bowl of fruit, take a paddle boat out on the water & have yourself a relaxing time watching the rest of the park operate.

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When tested, the wooden planks held my weight, so I took some other pictures. Inside the little booth were a pair of clipboards with papers still in them. Nearly lost to time, they were employee rosters with ride names, park area locators & shifts. Most of it was unreadable.

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There was a hornet's nest close to the door, so I exited quite quickly. Before I go, one last picture that was poignantly sad.

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This was in a small shed behind the Remote Control Boat shack, and to the side of Buck Sawyer's Mill. It was probably a sign that graced the park before any number of the parks sad, sad accidents.

So that's it. There are so many more pictures taken with another camera, but I haven't had time to compile & download those. I am still in talks with several people in town with photos of the park in its heyday. I won't lie to you, if I get them and find them unsuitable to post online, I will respect the owners wishes but still update and inform. If they hold answers to questions, I will post them. It will be an enjoyable undertaking, to say the least.

I also invite you to post comments. All comments are appreciated, and knowing so many people are interested in the park is comforting that the park will not disappear into the desert sand. If you happen to have any photos of the park, or know of anyone who does, email me -

**I would like to thank B. Navarro for sending me satellite photos of the park & will inform when I have a chance to resize the photo with captions to use in a future photo essay.


Anonymous Adam said...

Thanks for the photos!

The park looks very old now...

7/15/2005 2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7/15/2005 8:01 PM  
Blogger Colini said...

Great photos and blog...I moved to el paso after the park had closed, but your blog and posts on the el paso times forum certainly have sparked my interest...keep up the good work

7/26/2005 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good pictures I have been looking for an update on the health of the park for years. I dont remember much but I did visit the park when I was a very young. excelent work and great web site.

8/24/2005 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed there was a young magician performing in the Magic & Gift Shoppe.
His name was ReyRey

He now is a tenant of George R Dipp Jr's in one of his Office Suite Properties located near Lee Trevino and Pebble Hills, with his own business.

1/12/2006 5:31 PM  
Anonymous sophia said...

my brother has recently told me about
magic landing... i am now really interested in it. i see these pictures and i wish i could visit . i hope you update your website and very good work.

2/05/2008 9:28 PM  
Blogger marc30 said...

I started working at Magic Landing the first season it was open. My second position (after being the "Welcome Rabbit" was in the Magic Shop. At 15 1/2 (because season operations could hire young and pay less than minimum wage in Texas) I manned the Magic Shop. I spent most of my time playing with the bucket of magic tricks that were in the bucket. Coincidentally the changing room for the characters (all 3) was in the storage room of the Magic Shop and once and a while George Dipp (we changed his last name to another 4 letter word that starts with D) would run thru with a bag of cash. The accounting office (really the only office) could only be accessed through the Magic shop. These pictures are really bringing back some memories! I love it.

5/04/2009 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Fresh said...

It's site is awesome! I lived in El Paso from 1978 until 1982 when my father was stationed at Ft. Bliss. I grew up at Western Playland, but when I visited El Paso in 1985, I took a date to another Amusement Park off Gateway East. My brother, who still lives there, said he couldn't remember one but now I have proof! Magic Landing! Thanks so much for posting...It sure is sad to see hear and see what happened to the park as I had no idea. I had some nice times on that Ferris Wheel...

8/29/2013 3:57 PM  

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