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Entries in Tomorrowland (39)

Saturday
Apr032010

Atop Cinderella Castle

 
A few years back I would occasionally be asked to go to the top of Cinderella Castle to check on and/or photograph something.  As you can imagine, the views are amazing.  I felt like that guy in old videos on top of a tower during park construction taking time-lapse and still photography.  How cool of a job that would have been.

A vew to the north from just above Cinderella's Royal Table.

I had assumed in earlier years that there was a nice little elevator to the top of the tallest spire with a room for Tinkerbell to relax in until the fireworks.  Of course the spire is far too narrow for any such thing.  There is however an elevator that goes to what is now the Castle Suite, which was then a small office and small storage space.  From there a door leads to one level of rooftop on the east side of the castle facing Tomorrowland.   Metal ladders bolted to the ground and walls lead you from one level of rooftop to the next.   


A small wooden door at the base of the tallest spire opens to a tall narrow shaft with another metal ladder leading to the top of the spire.  Harnesses are required if you wish to ascend to the highest point of the castle.  At the top of the very tall ladder is a wooden door which opens to a small wooden platform hardly large enough for two people to sit on.


It's great to sit up there and take in the views.  You can see for miles.  It was a joy to see the Magic Kingdom and distant Epcot all at the same time. 

Wednesday
Mar172010

1967 "New Tomorrowland" Broadcast

Was Disneyland ever better than it was when "New Tomorrowland" opened in 1967?  I suggest that this was Disneyland in it's prime.

See more images at our new Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Imagineering-Disney/410687656424

Stunning Herb Ryman rendering of Tomorrowland 1967. Click for high-res version.

"Tomorrowland was rushed together in less than six months for the July 1955 opening of Disneyland.  Although significant additions were made in 1959 (Submarines, Monorail, Matterhorn), Walt Disney decided to start fro scratch after the New York World's fair in 1964-1965 and create a New Tomorrowland.  Soft yet symmetrical shapes and sculptured reflective surfaces reaching skyward symbolize human aspiration, while constant movement manifests the ceaseless activity envisioned in a city of the future." -The Art of Disneyland by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon

This broadcast with it's great instrumental music and the 1960's narrator voice and all that amazing footage just takes my breath away.

"Even today’s household word, astronaut, had not been coined."  How great would it have been to be the guy wearing the jetpack. Such great footage of the "Atom-mobiles" in Adventures Thru Inner Space.  The WEDWay People Mover had such great views of the Tomorrowland.  The view of the Character Shop (today's Star Trader) is fantastic.  The Flight to the Moon shots are great.  What an age.  (And nothing was painted gold). 

Friday
Mar052010

The Era of Big and Tacky

Is the era of oversized fiberglass objects over?  I think so.

I can appreciate a well-sculpted, well-painted, larger-than-life object used as a design element as much as the next guy… but where is the line drawn?  It started in the mid 90’s.  I’m not quite sure what started the trend, I only remember these things started to pop up everywhere.  We've seen very few of these recently.  Think about it.  The American Idol show would have had an 80 foot microphone stuck to the building if it opened in 2002.  I, for one, am happy to close this chapter in theme park history.


Top Ten List of Big and Tacky
.


10)  Carousel of Progress Sign

A big gear to go along with the 1994 redesigned Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland.  In an attempt to make the land a little more industrial (for some reason), these huge gear shapes were implemented, including the pastel-colored shapes on the Carousel building itself.

 

9)  California Adventure’s Big Orange

Something about bees flying around the inside of an orange and you are the bees, sitting in revolving swings?  If you didn’t get a chance to hang out in this thing, I’m not sorry to announce it’s no longer there.  The rendering on the right depicts "The Silly Symphonies Swings", to replace the orange.

 

8)  Sorcerer’s Hat

No, it’s not “Sorcerer Mickey’s hat”.  The hat in the famous Fantasia short belonged to the actual sorcerer, not to Mickey Mouse.  Mickey was the lowly apprentice who stole the hat.  Ok.  This is one of the biggest of history’s big and tacky pieces.  Big enough to intentionally cover the view of the Chinese Theater (for some reason) and big enough to house a pin gift shop.

 

7)  Aerosmith Guitar

Well-crafted and hideous at the same time.  At least it’s at Hollywood Studios, right?  Probably part of the attempt to “reach the younger crowd.”  Awesome.

 

6) Astro Orbitor

A terrible entrance to a once beautiful land and a destroyer of the aesthetics of a once beautiful Hub.  But it's shiny.

 

5)  Pink Cinderella Castle Cake

I love this one.  Even the most mindless lover of anything Disney can agree that this is a big pink nightmare.  Ok, there are people who actually miss it.  I must say there is one redeeming quality to this big, partially inflatable, fake candy-covered, cake castle-  it was always intended to be temporary.

 

4)  All-Star Resorts

Wow.  This is the Holy Land for lovers of big and tacky messes.  And for high school groups needing on-property rooms for $79 a night.

 

3)  POP Century Resort

This is higher on my list than the All-Stars for one reason-  large wording on the side of the hotel buildings such as “Far Out!”, “Cool Dude”, “Awesome”, "Radical", “Groovy”, and other classy terms written 40 feet long.  It really is “awesome”.

 

2)  California Adventure’s Post Card Entrance

This is number 2 on the list because it involves AN ENTIRE ENTRANCE TO A THEME PARK.  And no one really notices what it is- it’s suppose to look like a thousand foot post card.  It’s being removed soon as part of the DCA revamp, and thank you for that.

 

1)  Mickey Hand on Spaceship Earth

A big giant joke.  “It will make kids like Epcot more.  Uhh huh.  Yeah.  This makes the top of the list because it desecrated one of the greatest theme park icons of all time.  I remember everyone saying “They can’t take it down 'cause it will affect the structural integrity of the big ball.”  WHAT?  The “big ball” had no problem standing on it’s own for 2 decades before Mickey’s hand came along.  Oh and take a look… it only looks like it’s connected but it doesn’t even touch SSE.  Thank you for taking this Disney World landfill.

 

Note:  The reason DHS's Toy Story Mania (with all the big toys everywhere) did not make the list is for the fact that the story is about small objects surrounded by seemingly large objects..