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Entries in Scale Models (21)

Sunday
Oct232011

Buena Vista Street Model

This week, while visiting the walled city of California Adventure, I took the chance to study the Buena Vista Street model. The model shows us what we can expect from DCA's upcoming new "Main Street". It looks fantastic. And compared to what was there before, it looks like the greatest park improvement in Disney history.

This is a rare occurrence. Disney takes something they originally considered to be "hip" and "attractive to the young crowd" and they spend millions to convert it to be something far more "traditional Disney". And we traditional fans should rejoice.

The "Storytellers" statue maquette on display was also a sight to behold. This will be the counterpart to the "Partners" statue at Disneyland. You'll notice in the fourth photo a small Walt and Mickey statue close to the front of the park. The most recent Imagineering presentations confirm that the Storytellers will be located in the mini plaza in photo 13 of this post.

 

Hooray California Adventure for doin' these things. I tell you, that Little Mermaid ride is also something wonderful. I loved it to death. Here's to fixing life's little mistakes.

 

Related posts:

Swiss Family Treehouse Model
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [ PART 2 ]
Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups
A Look at the Progress City Model- Then and Now
2 Fantastic Disneyland Scale Models
LEGO Disneyland

 

Saturday
Oct012011

WDW Before Opening Day 1971

Walt Disney World opened 40 years ago today. Here we bring you photos of some of the work that went on before Opening Day- October 1, 1971.

On the left (below) you see the foundation of Cinderella Castle taking shape and the utilidor tunnel being built under what would become the castle moat. Now on the right you see the same tunnel but covered in dirt. What looks like a trench next to the covered tunnel is not actully the tunnel. I imagine it was the last bit to be filled in or was used to access something. Notice the underground offices, shops, utility access, storage, etc. behind the castle foundation. This area exists today under Fantasyland.

 

Below you see the back end of the castle with views of restaurant construction and what is now the Castle Suite.

Looks like a fancy tool for inserting strands of hair into this Jungle Cruise lion. In more recent years I remember using a needle with half its eye cut off with the point inserted into a wooden handle.

Notice the maquette of the gorilla holding the rifle next to the full size figure of the same gorilla.

Check out the guy in back of the station wagon filming the elephant on its way to the Jungle Cruise.

Anyone know exactly where this yellow building is today? I always figured it was in downtown Orlando but really, I have no way of knowing.

UPDATE: Thanks to comments by World Famous Dave Ensign and Cousin Orville we have the location of the "yellow building". Seen here is the building in Plant City (as predicted by Dave) at the corner of Highways 39 and 92. The photo from Google Street View (as found by Cousin Orville) shows the building today almost exactly how it looked 40+ years ago. Mystery solved!

Speaking of where things are today... below we bring you a little bonus. A quick search on Bing Maps shows us an old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus submarine at backstage Epcot of all places. And right in front of it, an old Jungle Cruise boat. Yep, still hanging around. Used now and again for special events.

Before any of the above photos were taken, this model was built:

Click to enlarge and look closely. Clearly on the right you'll see the never-built Thunder Mesa. Look in the background. Behind John Hench on the right, is that a model of the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station? Towards the center it looks like a rather large model of the Contemporary. And to the far left, a tiki bird!

Happy b-day, Walt Disney World. You haven't changed a bit.


Thank you, The Story of Walt Disney World Commemorative Edition for the great pics. All photos ©Disney.


Related posts:

Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
Disneyland in 1955
EYE CANDY: National Geographic Aug '63

 

Thursday
Nov112010

Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups

The Model

When this scale model was presented for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, I remember looking at it for the longest time. The detail was great but more interesting to me was the fact that this was the first time I’d been able to study the layout of the 1955 park in that way– all at once.  Until then we had some simple maps, some photos, and video footage but the model gives a different perspective.

The model was initially installed in the Opera House on Main Street on a flat surface.  Today you see it on an angle closer to the front doors.

The Ideal Disneyland?

Is 1955 Disneyland the way I’d like to see the park today?? Nope. I would like to go back and visit during that first year for sure, but it wasn’t ideal..... The idel time would be sometime around 1967.

Nonetheless, this model takes us to a great time in Disney park history. Better than DCA in its first year?? There's something to think about.  

The Close-up Photos

I ran across these on Flickr and as it turns out they were taken by Andy Castro of Dateline Disneyland. Excellent work.


Related posts:

2 Fantastic Disneyland Scale Models
Disneyland in 1955
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
1967 "New Tomorrowland" Broadcast
Disneyland Skyway in Your Backyard