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Entries in Tomorrowland (36)

Tuesday
May142013

Tomorrowland '67 [Part 4]

In Part 3 we explored little-known details about the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland and its upper-level Progress City. Now we turn back the clock even further to a time when the Carousel of Progress was going to have an OMNIMOVER RIDE! This wonderful concept has been right under our noses for years yet we never hear anyone talking about it. Let's gather some concept art and make sense of this great idea. 

After the success of the Carousel of Progress at the World's Fair, Disney pitched a concept to General Electric that included a ride system similar to the system later built for EPCOT Center's Spaceship Earth. The vehicles were to be called "G.E.M.s" or "General Electric Mobiles" (above). How would an entire ride system have fit into the Carousel Theater?

Take a look at the first image in this post and next image below. We've seen these pieces of concept art in various books over the years. The image below has been on display on Main Street at Disneyland for the last few years. But have you ever noticed how the lower level of the Carousel of Progress building is without walls? It's an open-air architecture. The rotating Carousel Theater appears to be on the upper level. Yep, that was the plan.

Disney planned for a switchback ramp on the exterior of the building, much like the one at World's Fair. Guests would have walked from ground-level up to an upper-level queue before boarding the attraction. Audience members would have exited their theater seats after Act 4, then entered a boarding area in front of them.

The following concept art by John Hench has always intrigued and fascinated me. I have often heard and read that this piece represents the speedramp that was built for Tomorrowland '67. You know, the ramp that took the audience from the lower level to the upper level of the building. It's often assumed that the vehicles in the rendering were Peoplemovers. The vehicles are actually "G.E.M.s" and this all takes place on the upper level of the building.

From the upper level, the ride vehicles would have taken passengers on a slow downward spiral towards a Progress City model, as seen in the next piece of concept art. The model city would have been below the Carousel Theater. In fact, it would have been well below the upper level. The center of the model would have been at basement level.

FUN FACT: A basement of sorts was built under the Carousel of Progress building (now the Innoventions building) and is still there today. I would often enter this basement area from a staircase backstage on the far east side of the building not far from the men's locker room. The locker room was on the back side of the Grand Canyon Diorama. A long basement hallway would lead to the Alpine Gardens (now Pixie Hollow) near the Matterhorn. The basement area and hallway look a lot like Magic Kingdom's Utilidors.

The following artwork is a detail from a broader Hench rendering of the General Electric Pavilion at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. The concept of the zig-zag roofs over various full-scale (or almost full-scale) show scenes was to be included in the omnimover attraction at Disneyland. Not only would guests have traveled closer and closer to the scale Progress City model, they would have experienced up-close views of G.E.-living at its best. 

Show elements would have been similar to G.E.'s "Medallion City" exhibit in their World's Fair Pavilion.

We learn something interesting about the proposed G.E.-sponsored building in the next image, courtesy of the great Tomorrowlounge 67 website. The building was to have an open center, like a donut. This would explain the palm trees in the images 1 and 5 of this post. Would the model city in the center of the donut have been exposed to rain and other weather? Perhaps the model city was protected. Perhaps it was gradually revealed to ride passengers and not visible from the boarding area. I can't be certain.

Another interesting thing we learn from this next piece is that a different People Mover track layout was planned. See how it doesn't stretch down the middle avenue from the rocket tower towards the entrance of the land? Sort of like Magic Kingdom's Peoplemover layout. Also, it appears to travel all the way over towards what is now the Storybook Land queue.

Here I've prepared a set of cross sections representing both the proposed attraction and the attraction that was actually built.

 

At some point the idea of an open-air lower level was changed to a walled-in lower level. You'll notice the Carousel of Progress show is still on the upper level. It looks like the Peoplemover track was to exit the north side of the building but look how it comes out of the building on the lower level, unlike the version that was actually built.

Why did this magnificent concept never come to pass? My guess would be... money. Isn't it always money?

There are still plenty of mysteries surrounding this Carousel of Progress/Progress City ride. What was it going to be called? What else was it going to include? If you have more information on the subject, please let us know. Email us at Imagineering.Disney@gmail.com.

 

Related posts:

Tomorrowland '67 [Part 1]
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 2]
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 3]
1967 "New Tomorrowland" Broadcast
America Sings
THEN AND NOW: 1964-65 New York World's Fair
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It

 

Sunday
Apr212013

Tiny Submarine Voyage + PeopleMover Model

After having such a great time making a tiny Jungle Cruise model, I decided to make a tiny model of a couple of other favorite attractions.

This time around I chose start with the wooden box. Filled it with a block of floral foam and began to carve.

The texture of the foam made for nice rock details. I painted all the rockwork a dark color then dry-brushed a highlight color over the outermost surfaces of the rocks. Painted the water and let it dry.

I then cut and painted a styrene strip to look like the guide track that Disneyland's old Submarine Voyage (and it's replacement, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage) used to keep the subs on course.   

Began adding Woodland Scenics Realistic Water to the lagoon.

Using various StripStyrene styrene strips, I shaped the back end of a submarine. The styrene is easily joined using any brand of general purpose plastic solvent cement. I like Plastruct Plastic Weld. TIP: Hold any two pieces of styrene together and brush the solvent along the seams. No need to add solvent between pieces before joinging. Solvent isn't a glue. It actually melts the styrene pieces together then evaporates away.

I chose to paint the submarine the original gray color, much like I wanted the early striped Jungle Cruise canopy in the last model.

Applying generous amounts of green paint to will allow plenty of turf to stick.

I then sprinkled on a thick layer of modeling turf onto the wet paint. Dumped it off once dry.

More styrene strips for the construction of the PeopleMover track.

Tiny little baby PeopleMover cars. Isn't that CUTE??

PeopleMover Construction Update: In response to some question posted below, here's the process I used to construct the PeopleMover cars. After attempting a few different things, I found this to be the most successful. Join a thin strip to the bottom of the thicker strip you plan on using for your cars. The thin strip will help keep everything together. Follow each step below. As for the little roofs, I suggest cutting those separately. 

Added pretty bushes.

 

I wanted some good detail and depth in the the lagoon water. I added small plants between layers of water. After each thin layer of water dried, I colored little details directly onto the dry surface of the water using brightly-colored Prismacolor markers. Marker ink is inherently translucent which added a great effect.

Started adding pretty little trees. Trimmed them like I was Mr. Miyagi. Purple sewing scissors required.

Adorable and life-like little Woodland Scenic Fine-Leaf Foliage trees.

Once the PeopleMovers were painted (VERY DIFFICULT) and were solvent-ed to the track, the model was complete!

Up on the shelf it goes, right next to this project and of course this project.

I'm so tired. But I can't stop at two. Maybe one more. My wife has requested I make her favorite ride exterior. I can't say no... This is the first time she's ever asked me to make ANYTHING Disney-related for her. \

Also... Am I the only one who wishes they'd just classify the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage as a Fantasyland attraction? Wouldn't that solve the whole "non-futuristic singing fish don't belong in Tomorrowland" argument?? They already "moved" the Matterhorn from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland a few years after it was built for similar reasons. Just do it, Disney. (Then fix Tomorrowland.)

 

Related posts:

Tiny Jungle Cruise Model
Mars
 and Beyond Robot
EPCOT City Model [Part 1]
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
Mechanizing a Miniature Main Street Electrical Parade
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [ PART 2 ]

 

Sunday
Sep162012

Walt Disney World in 1971 [Part 1]

October 1 marks not only the anniversary of the opening of EPCOT Center (1982) but the openings of Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World (1971) as well. We present some wonderful color photos of Magic Kingdom taken by a construction worker in 1971. These photos come courtesy of Nomeus of www.flurbex.com who is the grandson of man behind the camera. These photos are exclusive to ImagineeringDisney.com.

North end of Main Street.

An almost dry moat. Look at the freshly-installed sea serpent topiary.

Tomorrowland spires with a man on top! That's Nomeus' grandfather.

Tomorrowland opened in 1971 without the PeopleMover, Rockettower Plaza, Space Mountain, or Carousel of Progress which would all be visible from this angle today.

Grandfather walking on an unfinished Tomorrowland roof.

A view of the parking lot east of Main Street. Town Square and main entrance on the far right.

Backside of Main Street East.

Grand Prix Raceway. Anyone know what that is on the overpass?

The caves of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You'll notice the Skyway line and pillar. The grass hill on the left wasn't there for long. It became the second home to the Fantasyland Art Festival in 1973. Later it became the Enchanted Grove stand. Today it's called Cheshire Café.

More 20K! No water yet.

More colorful 20K. In the background you can see the top of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Can you imagine walking around every morning watching the place come to life?? 

 Everyone who wasn’t on the construction crew was invited to visit the Walt Disney World Preview Center. Today you can still drive by the building which is currently home to the Amateur Athletic Union. It’s located at 1910 Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Downtown Disney.

A big thanks to Nomeus and his family for the photos. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we share more of these gorgeous photos.

 

Related posts:

WDW Before Opening Day 1971
WDW Construction: Magic Kingdom
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
Bin Laden Mansion Minutes From Walt Disney World
20K- 1979
20K Lagoon- 1982