Saturday, July 30, 2016

Disneyland's Spectacular New Tomorrowland of 1967

By Keith Mahne

In 1967, Disneyland had one of its most exciting summers in its history. A summer jam-packed with the Park's largest variety of entertainment, the most attractions ever and a brand new $22 million ($158 million in today's dollars) Tomorrowland. In today's exciting new article we'll explore all the wonderful things that came to Disneyland's Tomorrowland for the spectacular Summer of 67'. If you enjoy vintage Disneyland then you are going to love this one...

Realizing that Disneyland's Tomorrowland must be subject to constant change (are you listening current Disney management), Walt Disney and his staff began research in 1964 for a New Tomorrowland project costing $5 million more than the total initial Disneyland investment in 1955. The result was not only an entirely New Tomorrowland area in Disneyland, but a master plan providing space and opportunity for equally forward-looking adventures in future years.

New Tomorrowland under construction

The complete rebuilding of Disneyland's world of tomorrow follows Walt Disney's philosophy first expressed on Disneyland's Dedication Day in 1955, when he said Tomorrowland is "A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man's achievements...a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals: the atomic age...the challenge of outer space...and the hope for a peaceful and unified world." Watch Walt say these very words on that special day...

(For your viewing pleasure, please be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player at the top left-hand corner of the page before playing the video below if you are on a desktop computer.)

The Park's New Tomorrowland was a world on the move. It featured a interwoven network of unique transportation systems and imaginative conveyances that added to the space-age excitement, exploring science and the universe of the future.

In describing the project, the largest in Disneyland's 12-year history at that time, Roy O. Disney, Walt's brother and then-President of Walt Disney Productions, cited the New Tomorrowland as another example of the company's determination to move ahead without interruption by carrying out Walt Disney's plans in all areas: motion pictures, television and outdoor entertainment.

Roy Disney aboard the new PeopleMover

For six of America's largest industries, WED Enterprises (Imagineering today) had designed unique attractions to demonstrate that tomorrow's world could be built in the 1960s through the creative application of their current technology. As an entertainment showcase for science and industry, using entirely new techniques that provide excitement and direct participation by each guest, the new area included six major adventures designed by WED. They were...

1) America the Beautiful in new Circle-Vision 360 presented by the Bell System.

2) Flight to the Moon, a totally new space adventure presented by Douglas Aircraft.

3) Carousel of Progress and Progress City presented by General Electric.

4) Adventure Thru Inner Space aboard the Atomoblie, a presentation of the Monsanto Company.

5) The PeopleMover, a versatile new intermediate-speed WEDway transportation system presented by Goodyear.

6) Refreshment Gardens, a wall-less entertainment and restaurant center by Coca-Cola featuring a unique climate control technique.

All of the new attractions and their transportation networks were combined with four existing Tomorrowland classics, the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail, Submarine Voyage, Skyway and Autopia which combined to fill the area with action and movement. New Tomorrowland's $22 million ($158 million in today's dollars) cost brought Disneyland's total investment to $92 million ($658 million today) as compared to $17 million ($121 million today) on its opening day in July, 1955.

The fantastic New Tomorrowland wasn't all that was in store for Disneyland visitors in the Summer of 1967. Another new adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, thrilled guests with a cruise unlike anything the world had ever seen...and continues to do so to this day. Visitors couldn't believe their eyes when they saw nearly a hundred Audio-Animatronic pirates, battling it out with Spanish soldiers and pillaging port towns, all done in that world-famous Disney style of wholesome family entertainment.

Other highlights that Summer included four special entertainment-packed evenings held weekly: a Sunday night Hootenanny, a Disneyland Humdinger each Monday night, a new Vaudeville '67 celebrity review each Wednesday night and a Friday night Country Music Jubilee.

And so, if there was ever a perfect time to revisit Disneyland of yesteryear, it's without a doubt, the Summer of 67' and the New Tomorrowland. With a dozen new adventures and attractions, a whole new "land," and music and dancing every day of the week, what better time to be a Disneyland guest than this?!

To put all of this into prospective and get a real good idea just what it was like at Disneyland during this time in its history, let's watch a segment from one of my absolute favorite episodes of 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 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 at the top left-hand corner of the page before playing the video below if you are on a desktop computer.)


Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true everyday.

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