On this day in 1953, Disney Imagineer Marvin Davis finalized what’s known as the “hub” layout for Disneyland.
Marvin was among the small group of early WED (Imagineering) employees working on Disneyland. Once the location of the park was determined, Marvin was tasked with designing the layout and organizing Walt’s many ideas into a singular site plan.
The starting point for Marvin was the early drawings Harper Goff had completed for the Mickey Mouse Park Walt envisioned at the Disney Studio. When that concept expanded and a new location was chosen in Anaheim, new plans were required. Walt’s was ever-present in this process, offering new ideas, suggestions, and tweaks to Marvin’s plans on a daily basis. Marvin later said he worked up “133 different drawings and designs, because we had no idea where the Park was going to be or anything to begin with.” According to Disney Legend Joe Potter: “Marvin had a great knack for putting Walt’s ideas into form.”
Two of the concepts Walt wanted to see in the park’s design were new and innovative at the time. First, Walt wanted a single park entrance to ensure guests had a good orientation or starting point for their visit. Second, he wanted the various themed lands in his park to be arranged like a wheel with a central hub. Walt believed this would allow guests to naturally rotate through each land. He also thought it would allow parents and grandparents to reduce the amount of walking required by allowing them to rest in the central hub area while younger kids explored the different “spokes” or lands in the park.
Shortly after the park opened, Marvin concluded: “I think we were pleased with the overall Park plan, the way the single entrance street worked, and the hub. The general flow of traffic was as we expected, and it worked. People saw everything we wanted them to see.”