|By Ted Linhart|
In 1967, Disneyland had one of its most exciting summers in history. A summer jam-packed with the Park's largest variety of entertainment, the most attractions it ever had and even a brand new, $23 million (over $160 million in 2017 dollars) Tomorrowland. In today's exciting new article, we'll take a rare look at the New Tomorrowland of 1967 Press Kit. If you enjoy seeing rare pieces of Disneyland history then you are going to love this one...
As recently featured on Disney Avenue, Walt Disney’s final visit to Disneyland was on October 14, 1966. That day he made a speech honoring men who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Among the things he said were “Tomorrow is a heck of a thing to keep up with." In its most literal interpretation, this statement is about Tomorrowland and how difficult it is to stay ahead of reality - a problem Disney still faces today.
|Herb Ryman’s famous concept art for the new Tomorrowland|
In today’s article, we will take a look at a 30-page brochure that WED Enterprises prepared for the press which covers the New Tomorrowland that was about to be introduced to the public in the Summer of 1967. This New Tomorrowland update would include multiple iconic rides, some of which are still in place today. It was also a time of great tumult and tragedy in the country with the Vietnam war and the protests against it raging, in addition to race riots and the fight for civil rights. For many, it may have been a tough time to imagine a better tomorrow but Disney’s leadership could see past those dark clouds and provide a silver lining for its guests looking to escape. With this contextual framework in mind, let’s step back into the past in order to go into Tomorrowland’s future…
|New Tomorrowland under construction|
|Walt Disney poses with guests in the original Tomorrowland|
|Tomorrowland, March 1956|
It wasn’t until 1967 that Tomorrowland truly became a cohesive section of the park with attractions that lived up to the name. To convey that message to the public, Disney needed the press to help spread the word. And for the press to help, Disney needed to help the press in return. To that end, the company created this information packet — “On Disneyland’s New Tomorrowland – A World On The Move”...
(Click on each page to enlarge)
The cover features a black and white picture of Herb Ryman’s famous concept art for the new Tomorrowland — although a color image like the one seen at the top of this article would have been much more effective to convey the bright promise of the future. The blandness of the B&W photo is heightened by the contrast with the crisp color of the WED logo on the bottom of the cover.
The preface of the booklet features a picture of a smiling Walt Disney with this quote about Tomorrowland, “A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievement … a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals: the atomic age … and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”
|Table of Contents|
The next page features the table of contents which can be seen on the printed list and the tabs that separate each section. This page also contains a paragraph written for the document’s target audience: “This information on Disneyland’s new Tomorrowland has been prepared for your use by the Public Relations Department of WED Enterprises, Inc. It is the purpose of this book to provide you with a quick reference index to the facts and figures on Tomorrowland’s attractions, adventures, and shows. If you have further need of additional information, please contact the WED Public Relations Department.”
Pages 1 and 2 contain an overview / fun fact of the new Tomorrowland. The “Major Exhibitors” are listed which include the Bell System, Coca-Cola, GE, Goodyear, McDonnell Douglas and Monsanto. The total circumference of Tomorrowland is listed as “just one-half mile” with a total area of five acres (227,500), more than 4 football fields. The highest point is the tip of the Rocket Jets at 85 feet above the ground. The architecture is described as a “study in pleasing textural contrasts… Structural lines convey an impression of constant movement in keeping with the ceaseless activity.” Audio-Animatronics utilized “space-age know-how to animate three-dimensional figures." The estimated cost is listed as $23 million.
The attractions that were unveiled with this update are summarized in the next section and they are: Adventures Thru Inner Space, America The Beautiful, Carousel of Progress, Flight To The Moon, Peoplemover, Rocket Jets, Tomorrowland Terrace, The Character Shop, Tomorrowland Bandstand. These would join the existing attractions that continued to operate which were the Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, Skyway, RR station, Autopia and Mad Hatter shop. You can read the summary descriptions in the photographs above.
The following page contains a description of the entrance to Tomorrowland which is broken down into four elements: 1) Two Sculptured Murals which are 40 feet high X 44 feet long 2) Sparkling Water Fountains that are 15 feet at their highest point 3) The Tomorrowland Mall which is near the entrance and under the Peoplemover 4) and the Corridor of Murals which feature two “colorful jewel-like ceramic tile murals, each measuring 54 feet long by 15 feet high.”
Now we get to the meat of the document which is the description of all the new parts of Tomorrowland.
Adventure Thru Inner Space
America The Beautiful
|America The Beautiful attraction poster|
The remaining sections address the other elements of the attraction aside from the movie. These include: 1) that this is a new version of an existing attraction, 2) the theme music is titled "The Talk Song", 3) the fact guests will get a history of the telephone, 4) the Circle-Vision theater, 5) the stereophonic sound from 19 speakers, 6) a display of “Communications of Tomorrow”, 7) an exhibit called “Voice Mirrors” where people could see themselves on video after recording themselves, 8) a demonstration of Picture phones, 9) “Weather Phones” to dial for hometown weather, 10) “Chatter Boxes” where the family can talk together, 10) “Kiddie Phones” which children can use to talk to Disney characters, 11) and the ‘Bell Pavilion” that houses the attraction.
We learn in the final two lines that America The Beautiful can pass 3000 guests per hour and that the show lasts 29.5 minutes — 17.5 minutes for the film and 12 minutes for the preshow.
Carousel of Progress
prior article for Disney Avenue, I wrote about a document that chronicled the move of the Carousel of Progress from Disneyland to Disney World. Here we have a document from further upstream in time officially addressing the opening of the attraction in Disneyland after it moved from the 1964 World’s Fair.
Below are some of the nuggets we learn from the description of the Carousel:
- The pavilion at Disneyland for the Carousel has six theaters which can hold 240 guests each, is 200 feet wide with 83,000 square feet and has a capacity of 3600 guests per hour.
- The preshow entertainment is called “Kaleidophonics” which is a “ten-foot-high transparent screen stretching the entire 40-foot length of the first stage [that] presents constantly changing constellations of shimmering colors, [and] stereophonic music." That music is a version of “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."
- The time frame of each act of the play is listed as “the late 1800s, 1920s, 1940s and present day." Later, the first time frame is more specifically listed as the “1890s.”
- The main characters are called “Father” and “Mother." While none of the other characters in the show are referenced by any type of name, the document does list that there are 32 audio-animatronic creations in the Carousel.
- The post-show area of “Progress City” is described as a “glistening jewel” with an “Electric Community of Today” — a scale model of a potential community that comprises 6900 square feet with 20,000 trees / shrubs, 4500 buildings, and 1400 streetlights. We also learn about the seven types of transportation systems that are visible with 2,450 vehicles.
- Before the end of the section EPCOT is mentioned since “Progress City” is based on a concept for that project.
- GE is mentioned repeatedly throughout the pages as it is the ride’s sponsor.
Flight To The Moon
The attraction moved into a new 25,300 sq ft “Spaceport” building complete with “Mission Control” and “Lunar Transports." It could hold 1620 passengers per hour with a ride time of 4.5 minutes for the pre-show and 9 minutes for the space ride.
The ride progress is outlined as follows:
- In pre-show area guests hear from the nine audio-animatronic figures that are part of “Mission Control”. During this section a UFO is sighted and alarms sound / lights flash but soon the threat passes.
- Passengers then head into the transport vehicle and hear the countdown to lift-off which is marked by “thunderous roar and vibration”.
- The ship then heads into outer space towards the moon where the engines stop and guests feel a sense of weightlessness via a rising motion in their seats.
- After the seats return to normal screens on the wall reveal the moon’s surface, workers and a lunar colony.
- They next head to the dark side of the moon and encounter a meteor shower but fortunately no one is injured. The ship then returns home to land at the Disney Spaceport.
The food at Tomorrowland Terrace is given futuristic names such as “Moonburgers”, “Tomorrowland Steak Sandwiches”, and “Jupiter Dogs." The Terrace is 17300 square feet large and able to accommodate 1500 guests per hour.
The final page of this in-depth publication has a quote from Walt Disney – “Science and technology have already given us the tools we need to build the world of the future. If we use them right now, we won’t have to wait to know what tomorrow will bring. I believe we will prove with Tomorrowland that today is the future."
Ten years after Disneyland opened, Walt’s dream of a depiction of the world of the future finally materialized but unfortunately he missed seeing it by only six months since he died at the end of 1966. The new Tomorrowland of 1967 was arguably the first significant overhaul of any Disney Park area and set the tone for many elements of Walt Disney World and Epcot over the next several decades.
|Walt Disney test-riding a PeopleMover on a temporary test track.|
To put all of this into prospective and get a real good idea just what it was like at Disneyland during this time in the Park's history, let's watch a segment from The Wonderful World of Disney titled From the Pirates of the Caribbean to the World of Tomorrow. In this segment, hosted by Marcia Minor, one of Disneyland's ambassadors at the time, we'll see the opening of a whole new Tomorrowland that you just read about. If you look closely, you'll even see Roy E. Disney, son of Roy O. Disney and the nephew of Walt Disney, traveling on the PeopleMover. Enjoy friends...
(For your viewing pleasure, please be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player prior to playing the video below.)
Ted Linhart was born and raised in New York City and works at NBC Universal where he is an SVP of Research for the company’s cable networks. Ted has a passion for television and has long been a collector of many items. He is also quite passionate about the Disney Parks and, in particular, Walt Disney’s view of the future which was cemented the first time he went on Horizons in 1985. Over the past several years, Ted has been collecting letters, documents, brochures and other ephemera relating to the history, construction, and evolution of Disneyland, Disney World and EPCOT. Ted started posting pictures of his collection via his Twitter account @TedonTV and followers started asking him to post more pictures online. That led Ted to create his blog Disneydocs.net where pictures of each of his items are archived.
You can find all of Ted's article here.