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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Rare Look at the New Tomorrowland of 1967 Press Kit

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...




On what is believed to have been Walt Disney's final visit to Disneyland (October 14, 1966), he hosted the heroic men who had been recognized with the nation's highest honor for valor in combat: The Congressional Medal of Honor. Walt is pictured following the event with two key members of his Disneyland executive management team, Jack Sayers (L) and Charles Dargan (R). The photo was taken outside of Disneyland's Main Street Opera House by Col. Charles P. Murray and is among the last known photos of Walt Disney ever taken at Disneyland (and yes… he is signing an autograph).




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





As Disneyland historians and Disney Avenue readers know, when the Park opened in 1955, Tomorrowland was given short shrift due to budget and time constraints. Before 1967, the land had gone through a long list of attractions that either closed quickly, were only tangentially related to the world of future, or both. These include: Phantom Boats, The Court of Honor, the movie A Tour Of The West in the Circarama theater, the 20K Leagues exhibit, Kaiser’s Aluminum Hall of Fame, Richfield Oil’s The World Beneath Us, Crane’s Bathroom Of The Future and the Flying Saucers.




Walt Disney poses with guests in the original Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland, 1956

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)




Cover




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.




Preface




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.”




Page 1

Page 2




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.




Page 3




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.




Page 4




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.




Page 5

Page 6




Adventure Thru Inner Space


One of my favorite rides as a child in the 1970s, this Monsanto-sponsored attraction is addressed via eight sections. 1) “Into A Snowflake” describes the basic plot as “travelers step aboard Atomobiles and enter the huge Mighty Microscope." 2) “Miracles From Molecules” which is the post-ride area that is essentially a sales floor for Monsanto, 3) The “Mighty Microscope” is the very prominent on-queue replica that was 37 feet long and 12 feet high which also features an “electronic tracking board” measuring 33 ft X 16 ft to show guests their eventual trip into the atom. 4) The “Atomobiles” are “a WEDway Transportation System, developed by Disney’s WED Enterprises, Inc.” They travel on a 681-foot track, rotate 360 degrees, and carry 3,275 guests per hour. 5) The “World Clock” near the pavilion’s exit is 12 ft high and displays the location of 90 Monsanto facilities. 6) The “Theme Music” is also called Miracles From Molecules although the Sherman Brothers who wrote it are not mentioned here. Paul Frees who narrated the ride is also not mentioned. 7) “Concept and Design” is credited to “a collaboration between Walt Disney and Dr. Charles Allen Thomas of Monsanto." 8) The “Monsanto Pavilion” is a new 21,733 sq ft building.




Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

Page 10




America The Beautiful


This attraction ran originally from 1960 -1966 using 11 screens before being reinvented in “Circle-Vision” as part of the new Tomorrowland. Traditionally we think of this as sponsored simply by AT&T but the true sponsor listed is quite elaborate — “Presented by the Bell System, American Telephone and Telegraph, and Associated Companies. Hosted by Pacific Telephone Company.”  

America The Beautiful gets the most space in this WED publication at four pages. 1) The “Filmed Presentation” allowed guests to “enjoy the grandeur and excitement throughout the United States." 2) “Circle Vision 360” is the presentation method — “Totally surrounded by the mammoth, 80-foot-diameter, 18-foot-vertical screen, guests are seemingly in the middle of the action when they experience this amazing realistic adventure that has been filmed by Disney crews from moving vehicles, a cruising ship, and a low-flying plane." 3) “Across America” mentions that viewers will see places and people from all over the country. 4) “From Mountains To The Sea” covers in detail the movie’s opening which included Mt. Rushmore, Grand Tetons, and the Statue of Liberty. 5) “Picturesque New England” is the next stop of the movie followed by 6) the “President’s Homes of Mount Vernon and The White House”, 7) Gettysburg and the Lincoln Memorial for “Civil War Remembrances, 8) West Point and Annapolis for a “Military Tribute”, 9) a tour of multiple states from the “Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico”, 10) then to “Old South” 11) the “Western Frontier”, 12) the “Majestic Mountains” of Zion National Park, Yosemite and Sun Valley, 13) Alaska, the “Land Of The Midnight Sun”, 14) San Francisco which is on the “West Coast”, 15) the “Pacific Paradise” that is Hawaii 16) and the “Epilogue” which is a compendium of locations.




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.




Page 11

Page 12

Page 13




Carousel of Progress


In a 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. 




Page 14

Page 15

Page 16




Flight To The Moon


From McDonnell Douglas comes this “totally new space adventure”. Its predecessor, Rocket To The Moon, was the most visible ride in the early days of Tomorrowland due to the large “Moonliner” rocketship in front of the show building. Rocket To The Moon was sponsored first by TWA and then by Douglas which merged with McDonnell the same year as the new Tomorrowland opened.


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.




Page 17

Page 18




PeopleMover


While still in existence at WDW today, the Disneyland PeopleMover closed in 1995, not quite making it to 30 years after it opened in Anaheim as part of the new Tomorrowland. The ride is described as “A Wedway Transportation System Presented by Goodyear." It is also called “a unique new concept in “Intermediate transportation." I had not heard that term before but it refers to “road vehicles used on hire for flexible transportation, which do not follow a fixed timetable” according to the reference guide AccessEngineering.








The top feature that the document highlights about the PeopleMover is that it is “Completely Automatic." In the mid-1960’s, the novelty of automation, especially for the home, is still impactful although to a lesser degree than in the mid 1950s. Ironically, the Disneyland attraction that most symbolized automation, and a world of Tomorrow, was Monsanto’s House of the Future which closed in 1967.

The next part of the PeopleMover’s design covered is that the vehicles are motor-less “eliminating the chance of one vehicle stalling the others... "No cogs, conveyor belt or similar types of devices are used.” Other features of the cars described in the document are that they: never stop running, are always available, have doors that are self-opening (more automation), make no noise, and do not require waiting.








High capacity is also a selling point as the system consists of 62 four car vehicles which each car sitting up to four adults or six children – enough to service 4880 passengers per hour. The main station for the Peoplemover is three levels tall, has a total area of 16,600 square feet, and has the Rocket Jets on the top.  As part of the queue, passengers are provided an overview of Goodyear’s areas of business.


The Peoplemover’s 15-minute journey travels throughout new Tomorrowland for ¾ mile.  The cars go inside several of the area’s new attractions such as Adventure Thru Inner Space, Progress City, America The Beautiful, and The Character Shop.







Page 19




Rocket Jets


The Rocket Jets are the focus of the next section of the document but they were not a completely new attraction.  From 1956-1966 the Astro Jets / Tomorrowland Jets was a popular ride that is renamed Rocket Jets as part of the new Tomorrowland. The older jets went up 36 feet high but the new jets go up 60 feet, while the tower rises 85 feet.









The 12 jets are controlled up and down by its passengers who board at the Space Platform, which is on the third level of the People Mover station.  Each ship is 8 feet long and can hold up to two passengers.  The color scheme is “authentic white with orange nose-cones and gold and black-stripped trimmings and have glowing jet exhausts”.  The ride’s capacity is 600 per hour.     




Page 20

Page 21




Tomorrowland Terrace


Presented by Coca-Cola this dining and live entertainment era has very little truly futuristic about it but the Disney press folks do their best to extend the World of Tomorrow feel in the two pages dedicated to it.











For example there is the “atmosphere of the future” which is comprised of “a colorful modern-design planter”; “theme planters that rise to form a colorful canopy for an ascending stage filled with performing musicians”; “climate control engineering [which] has eliminated the need for exterior walls”; “When the sun goes down Tomorrowland Terrace is transformed into a totally-new atmosphere [as] its white ceiling becomes a sparkling galaxy of 450 tiny blinking lights”; “new food preparation techniques include an infrared gas-fired conveyer-broiler”; and “the chairs are especially designed for the restaurant by the WED interior design staff."








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.




Page 22

Page 23

Page 24




WED Enterprises


The final section of the New Tomorrowland document covers WED Enterprises itself – its formation, designs at Disneyland / World’s Fair, and creation of transportation systems & audio-animatronics.








It also describes upcoming WED projects including Mineral King, EPCOT (still as an actual city), and Disney World.  There is also an in-depth article on the creation of Audio-Animatronics and their use in multiple attractions.





Page 25




Conclusion


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."




Page 26




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.)










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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.

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