I made a guest post over the at the Everything Mickey blog. The focus was a families 1959 trip to Disneyland. Even I was surprised at some of the gems in that collection.
As I researched further I realized that the pictures were taken within weeks of the opening of Tomorrowland in 1959. Four rides has just opened, Autopia, Submarine Voyage, the Matterhorn, and the brand new Monorail. The pictures focus heavily on this area and with pictures of and from the Skyway.
Chicken of the Sea restaurant at Disneyland. Later renamed to Captain Hook’s Galley
As we discovered in the past, Walt Disney had a sizable presence at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair, where he perfected the technologies that would be used to build many of the rides at Disneyland. The same technology with updates is still in use at Disneyland, Disney World, and all of the other Disney parks world wide.
Disney was already a household name by that time though. Disneyland had been opened for just under a decade, and Walt Disney Studios had been producing shorts and films starring Mickey Mouse for over 30 years.
As we saw a couple of days ago, in 1964 Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress opened at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows. It was built as the prime feature of the General Electric Pavilion. This picture was taken in 1965 towards the end of the Fair.
Vintage photo of the Walt Disney Carousel of Progress while at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
After the World’s Fair was finished, Disney’s Carousel of Progress was moved to Disneyland in Anaheim California. It remained there from 1967 until 1973. At the behest of General Electric, who were still sponsoring the ride at the time, it was then moved to Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom and opened in 1975.
On the surface, this attraction looks dated and boring. But the attraction is one of the best showcases of Walt Disney’s “Audio-Animatronics” technology and has been updated five times to keep it up to date. I almost bypassed it last time I was at Disneyworld, but for some reason still went in. I’m glad I did as it was a great nostalgic look at yesterday (just like this blog,) and for a 60+ year old attraction, still holds it’s own quite well. If you pay attention the attraction still talks a lot about modern conveniences, built by General Electric of course, such as stoves, refrigerators, tv, etc.
The last section, redone in 1993, shows a modern family home with kids playing video games on the TV in a virtual reality simulator. Funny thing about technology these days, even that is out of date.
The Disneyland Skyway was a gondola that took riders over the park from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland. These pictures were taken May 1968 by an unknown photographer.
It was built in 1956 and closed in 1994 due to structural faults in the supports at the Matterhorn.
Not being familiar with Disneyland in those years, I’m not sure what building this is. Probably a gift shop though. Amazingly few people though. Perhaps it was a school day?
And one of my favorite rides for some reason, only slightly changed now. Autotopia was Walt Disney’s vision of the freeways of the future. Ironically the traffic jams at the end of the course eerily predicted the future quite well. This is the only original surviving ride. Every other one has been massively updated, while this one has only seen a change in the car styles and the looks of the “roads.”
Looking at older pictures of Disney I’m surprised by how the park looked then and now. While it was state of the art when it was built, by today’s standards it looks down right shoddy. The modern Disney is nothing like that at all, but perhaps has gone a little too far in the other direction. What is your opinion?