While visiting Walt Disney World this week I was able to steam on over to the Carolwood Pacific Railway Room inside the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Located on the ground floor just off of the lobby, the room is dedicated to Walt Disney’s first railroad which was located in the backyard of his home on Carolwood Drive
The Snow White and Her Adventures attraction was one of Disneyland’s original dark rides in Fantasyland, a new type of amusement park ride at the time. Later, the attraction was renamed Snow White's Scary Adventures.
On this day in 1952, the Burbank Review newspaper ran the headline “Walt Disney Make-Believe Land Project Planned Here.” For the first time, the general public read about Walt Disney’s plan to build an amusement park and call it “Disneyland.”
Did you know that Disneyland had a piano and organ shop on Main Street, U.S.A. from 1955 to 1968? The Wurlitzer Music Hall was a large shop on the south east corner of Main Street that displayed pianos and organs.
Today is the birthday of Disney Legend Ken Anderson, who was born in 1909. While Anderson is mostly known for his incredible animation portfolio, he was one of the many Disney Studio artists tapped by Walt Disney to work on Disneyland before it opened in 1955.
Today is the birthday of Disney Legend Harper Goff. A number of beloved Disneyland attractions, including the Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Golden Horseshoe Saloon, first appeared as concept art drawn by Goff. As one of Disney’s very first Imagineers, Goff began working on the Disneyland project even before it was called Disneyland or any land in Anaheim was acquired.
Following the advice of architects at Pereira and Luckman, Walt Disney knew early on that his park should only have one entrance and exit to help orient guests visiting the expansive and unfamiliar space. Funneling guests past a row of shops isn’t bad for business either. Walt decided this corridor would be, as described in documents presented to investors, a three-block-long commercial street with “the nostalgic quality that makes it everybody’s hometown.”
On this date in 1955 the Man in Space episode of the Disneyland television show premiered on ABC. An estimated 42 million Americans tuned in to watch the first of three “science factual” programs Disney would air on the future of space exploration. The show, which is currently available to stream on Disney+, would influence the development of Tomorrowland as well as launch the public’s interest in space into a new orbit.
These 1954 costume designs for Disneyland cast members were drawn by Renié Conley, an accomplished Hollywood costume designer. Walt Disney knew appropriate costumes for his themed lands were essential to the show he was presenting to his guests.
Ward Kimball, a legendary animator, Academy Award winning director, Imagineering consultant, trombonist, and train enthusiast, was born on this day in 1914. As Walt Disney put it “Ward Kimball is one person that I can truly call a genius.”