The park was opened on August 8th, 1971 as a small roadside attraction which initially just featured a Storybook themed walk through with concrete depictions of various fabled classics. The park's founder, Roger Tofte, felt that there was little a family could do in Salem and thus his vision was formed. The initial construction of the park was designed and built by Roger and his family and it would take seven years, after the purchase of the 20 acres of property, for the park to be opened to the public. He and his family are all still actively involved with the park's operations and have helped in the expansion of other attractions throughout the years. All of the music you hear throughout the park was originally composed by Tofte's daughter and the addition of the comedic stage performance was also inspired and built for his daughter Susan who writes and directs all of their performances. Roger's son Ken is responsible for the animatronic additions in the park which were added in the early 80's.
Our first order of business when we entered the park was lunch. They offer a variety of snack food items at very affordable prices. Below is a photo of my Dad, aka Granddad, sharing his ice cream with my niece Paige.
Me in front of the castle.
Like Disney there are little surprises around the corner, such as this alligator swimming in the moat of the castle.
There are several aspects of this park that bear a very familiar appearance to some of the attractions that are at Disneyland. It is pretty apparent that Roger Tofte was inspired by the Disney parks. The aura of kitsch is present throughout the park. Below is an example. Doesn't this forced perspective sleeping beauty look familiar?!
Inside the castle. Not pictured is the Maleficent artwork that again is very much comparable to the Disney counterpart. The lighting was not right unfortunately for a good photo.
Humpty Dumpty is definitely one of the park's most treasured concrete characters. Last year Humpty Dumpty lived up to his fable and fell off the wall (due to two guest's defying incompetence) however Roger Tofte proved what no king's horses and no men could do; he put him back together again. Well, a brand new one at that.
My niece Paige didn't know what to think of everything and at times seem to be in sensory overload. She definitely found some aspects of the park to be "too scary".
Just a small glimpse of the beautiful forest canopy that covered us for much of the day.
My mom, aka Tutu, and Paige.
Snow White's doorway was just perfect for Paige.
Animatronic Snow White and friends.
Dave doing his best to enjoy himself despite the pine pollen flaring up his allergies.
The Seven Dwarfs' Mine Cave. This was very pretty but again, hard to capture in pictures. That or I finally have another good excuse to get myself a newer camera.
The witch house is something that stuck with my niece. My mom told me last night at dinner my niece, out nowhere, exclaimed "the witch's house is too scary!".
Paige wasn't too fond of these animatronic bears either.
Tutu, Paige and Granddad!
My Dad and I in the "Crooked Old Man's House".
Paige also found this house to be "too scary".
Finally we came across something that made her happy. A huge slide!
Dave was the first brave one to venture down the slide.
Next was Paige and Granddad.
Followed by Dave and I.
And finally Tutu and Paige.
Tofteville, a western town.
Dave letting the heckling animatroic cowboy know who's boss.
Dave and Paige playing "make believe" boats.
I was not at all a fan of the caged killer whale. Seriously this needs to come out! As do all the real life ones....but don't get me started on that.
More of Tofteville.
The haunted house was all originally constructed onsite. There were rumors that the house was a real life haunted mansion that was brought to the property; however Mr. Tofte is quick to disprove this rumor stating that he built it from the ground up. We did not venture in as I knew, based on YouTube videos, that this was more of jump out at you and scare you kind of attraction which is something I'm really not a fan of at all. Besides, no haunted house will ever top the Disneyland Haunted Mansion for me!
Tofteville has a Hillbilly Shoot'n Gallery much like Disneyland's Shootin' Exposition. For 50 cents you have a chance to hit various targets for an animated prize.
The log ride looked like there was no avoidance in getting soaked. This would be great for a truly hot day but today was not that kind of day.
We then headed to the portion of the park that offers the kiddie size appropriate attractions. This psychedelic colored train was something else.
The train track simply circled some beautiful hand sculpted and painted miniature fairytale village figurines that were all made by Roger Tofte. Doesn't that castle look oddly familiar?!
Granddad and Paige enjoying the ride.
Next up was the "World Famous Kiddie Bumper Boats".
Followed by a comedic performance of " The Emperor's New Clothes".
Sadly Paige is still too small to enjoy some of the park's bigger rides. I can't wait to take her back when we can enjoy all of the attractions together. Below is the Ice Mountain Bobsled ride.
We ended the day walking through the Old Europe Village section of the park. I sadly didn't take more photos of this area. Think Fantasyland.
One of the main attractions in Old Europe Village is the Jolly Roger Water-Light Show.
We all had one more treat, ice cream, before heading home.
One last photo of Dave and I in front of the castle.
On our drive home we stopped in Eugene for dinner at McMenamins North which is home of the Kapu Hut. This is the closests tiki bar to Dave and I. It's a good three hour drive away unfortunately so we don't make it up here often. I ordered their ahi poke with wonton chips, a kalua pork slider, and a cup of their special tiki punch which was being served as a part of their special birthday menu as the restaurant was celebrating their 15th year in opperation. I sadly did not get more photos of the bar as we were in a rush to head home as it was getting late and we had a toddler in tow. We will definitely be back as I am still craving more of that ahi poke!
Here is one of the few photos I took of inside the restaurant. It's definitely worth a stop if you are ever passing through Eugene. My suggestions however, for the tiki bar are less african art, more exotic music (All I heard were top 40's pop music playing), offer a custom mug option with one of your drinks, and more artwork from the tiki community!
Till' Next Time,