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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- More Instore for Tomorrow

Though Tomorrowland was just completely redone, it still recieved new rides.

America Sings was added in 1974 to pay tribute to the opcoming American Biccentenial. America sings replaced Carousel of Progress in the rotating building. It was another Audio-Animatronic show which showcased songs from various points in American History. It was a big hit, and lasted years after the Biccentenial celebration ended.

America Signs was closed in 1988 not because it lost popularity, but because another attraction went over budget and they needed the Audio-Animatronics for other another attraction. They are currently found in another classic Disney attraction...

Mission to Mars also replaced Flight to the Moon in Tomorrowland in 1973.

In 1974, construction on Space Mountain also started. Although it was built in Magic Kingdom first, the attraction actually dates back to 1967. The idea for Space Mountain came around when Walt Disney wanted a roller coaster type thrill ride to energize an ever aging Tomorrowland, originally called Space Port. Space Mountain took 2 years to build an opened to a huge crowd on May 27, 1977, along with a new restaurant, theater, and Starcade.

Space Mountain became one of the most popular rides in Disneyland, and in 1995 a soundtrack was added to enhance the ride. Much father down the road, Space Mountain would go through a heavy refurbishment and a fe changeovers. But that comes later down the line...

Tomorrowland has always been a land of unrest. So it's no surprise that more changes were instore for Tomorrowland.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- Bear Country

Disneyland was doing very well, and continued to enjoy enhancements and expansions. New Orleans Square was a success, but something was a little odd: Frontierland wrapped around the perimeter of the new land, connecting to the Indian village. But in 1971, the Indian Village where for years tourists enjoyed Indian tribal dances and stories, was removed to make way for yet another brand new land- Bear Country.

If you haven't noticed, all the new lands did not end in "land" like Frontierland ot Tomorrowland. It sort of keeps the prestige of the original lands. Today, hardly any new lands end in "land", keeping the nostalgia of the original lands.

Anyway, Bear Country opened up in March of 1972. This area featured a restaurant, a shop, an arcace, and the signature attraction, The Country Bear Jamboree. The Country Bear Jamboree was a show that featured only Audio-Animatronics, like the Enchanted Tiki Room, only the performers were bears. The Country Bears was also an attraction Walt designed. The attraction was intended for a ski resort that Disney wanted to build, but the deal fell through. It is commonly known that Walt one day was looking at concept art for the Country Bears with Marc Davis and laughed because he really liked the pictures. As he left, Walt turned around to Marc and said "Goodbye". Walt never did this and Marc was fearful that Walt's health would futher deteriorate. It was the last time Marc saw Walt. A few days Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966.

The show then went to the newly opened Walt Disney World, where it was a hit. The show was then duplicated at Disneyland in Bear Country. New shows were also produced, such as the Country Bear's Vacation Hoedown and Country Bear Christmas -Special.

The show eventually closed and was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. But, many believe the show hasn't disapeared from Disneyland forever...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- The New Orleans Square Story

In the 10th Anniversary show, we were given sneak peeks at New Orleans Square, which was the first new land to be added to Disneyland since opening day. Today, it is the home to two of the most popular Disneyland Attractions. It's also the location of one of Disney's greatest entertainment venues. And for these reasons, it remains as the favorite land for many Disneyland-goers not to mention exclusive to Disneyland, only.

But it's evolution is almost as interesting as the evolution of Disneyland itself.

First, let's take a trip to Adventureland. In 1963, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room opened. Inside, Audio-Animatronic birds, flowers, and tiki gods entertained guests. For the time, it was very hightech. This innovation would be used highly in New Orleans Square.

Around this time, a majestic New Orleans-type house was constructed in Disneyland. This mansion had a sign on the front of it's gates- a want ad for ghosts. Little did Disneyland park-goers know what was happening inside. And Walt didn't know either.

Soon, this part of Frontierland was gutted and the railroad tracks were moved to allow for constuction of the brand new land to begin. Foundations were layed but worked stopped. This was due to the World's Fair, reported in a previous update. And for 2 years, this construction area sat empty and closed of to the public. Inquistive minds climbed the Swiss Family Treehouse to see what was going on.
But really, the ideas for New Orleans Square dated back to when DIsneyland was first invisioned. Walt wanted a Haunted House, and planned one for Main Street. This idea was eventually scrapped but never totally disappeared.

The Haunted Mansion went through various stages. It was initially concieved to be a walk-through tour, but the ideas grew bigger and bigger. The Haunted Mansion would still sit dormant while Walt worked on other things, like Tomorrowland and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In the late 50s, Walt wanted to do a Pirate Wax Museum. So when he wanted to build New Orleans Square, he saw it as the perfect location for the walk-through. Construction stopped during the Worlds Fair with the rest of New Orleans Square. After the Fair Walt came bak and decided to do a pirate boat ride with Audio-Animatronic pirates wrecking havoc on a Caribbean seaport. Design started, however the ride was to big. So WED planned to have the majority of the ride outside the railroad tracks in a building. Therefore, guests would have to travel under the tracks to get to and from the showbuilding. They would do this by plunging down a waterfall, then climbing up one. Pirates would also be the home to the Blue Bayou, which would be a great restaurant in the actual pirates ride overlooking the Bayou.

While construction on Pirates of the Caribbean began, planning for the Huanted Mansion started back up. Stories included a muderous pirate who moved here, killed his bride, then hung himself. There was also talks about doing a "Museum of the Wierd". Many aspects from each story were incorperated into the mansion, where guests would tour a "retirement home" of sorts for ghosts.

New Orleans Square officialy opened on July 24, 1966. Though the 2 big rides were not opened, and neither was the Blue Bayou, people strolled through the streets and felt as though they were actually in New Orleans.

There was one last roadblock- on December 15, 1966, just a few months before Pirates opened to the public. Therefore, it was the last attraction Walt Disney exclusively worked on. Pirates would open to the Public in March of 1967, and from Day One is a hit. Not to mention my personal favorite attraction in any Disney theme park.

The Haunted Mansion would not open unti, 1969, three years after Walt Disney's death. It was the first attraction completed without the help of Walt, and helped prove to the Imagineers that Disneyland could still succede even without the man who dreamed it up. The opening of the Haunted Mansion spiked attendence incredibly high, probably because most people wanted to see what was inside it ever since they saw it 6 years ago.

Today, New Orleans Square is one of the most renowed lands in Disney theme park history. And the Dream Suite as well as Club 33 are also pretty cool, too! Both were designed to be used by Walt Disney, but after he died, the front part, which was to be Walt Disney's own apartment was office space while the back part became Club 33, an exclusive membership area for people. Later, the front area became the Disney Gallery, later to be replaced by the Dream Suite, where Walt vision of the Suite could finally be realised- special guests could stay there during th Year of A Million Dreams. (I actually had the privelege of eating in both Club 33 and staying a night in the Dream Suite. It was Fantastic!)

*Note: All concept art in this column are Copyright Disney. No copyright infringement intended.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- A World on The Move

Everyone knows how much Walt loved trains. Actually, Walt loved transportation in general. Now his park had not only had a steam train and a monorail, but various vehicles transporting guests down Main Street. Not to mention a large fleet of submarines.

And now with Tomorrowland becoming less and less futuristic each day, Walt needed a new concept for the land. After all, when Disneyland opened, Tomorrowland was the least complete of all the offerings at Disneyland. No amount of flags could hide this. Now Tomorrowland would be constructed how it was supposed to and be enjoyed by all.

The Tomorrowland retheme was put on hold for a while, as Walt planned doing things for the New York World's Fair. At the fair, he was able to make imrovements on his new Audio-Animatronics. These robots were so advanced, that they could perform life-like movements as realistically as a human or bird could move. World's Fair atractions, like the Carousel of Progress, it's a small world, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln would so find thier place in Disneyland. Also perfected at the World's Fair was the Ominmover system of transportation, which would be featured in many rides and used in the PeopleMover system that Walt was in love with.

After the fair, Walt turned his attention back to Disneyland, doing various things in the park. I will save the others for their own column, because each idea deserves it's own column. Now, here's a little more about Tomorrowland.

Adventure Thru Innerspace was the first attraction to utilize the Omnimover system. In the ride, you were "shrunk" to microscopic size and were able to see atoms. This was yet another ride by Monsanto.

The original Tomorrowland was gutted and completely rebuilt with new buildings and scenery. With the opening of the Carousel of Progress, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the new PeopleMover system overhead, plus various other motion rides like the Submarine Voyage and the Monorail, Tomorrowland was themed to "A World on the Move". This theme would last For just over 30 years, until Tomorrowland was once again "Futurised" while new attractions were added and older ones taken out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dianeyland: One Man's Dream- Disneyland's 10 Anniversary Show

In 1965, Disneyland turned 10. And it proved to be a big hit, with new expansions and new rides added to the park. And the biggest expansion was coming, with a brand new land added to Disneyland.

But let's save that for down the road. Today, let's celebrate Disneylands birthday by watching something I'm sure you all have scene: Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color's Disneyland 10th Anniversary Special.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- The First Major Expansion

Disneyland was a hit. But, after a while, things seem to get repetitive. And of course, Walt wanted to build things he could not build before due to a lack of money.

So the first Major Disneyland expansion was introduced in 1959. The Disneyland-Alweg Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Submarine Voyage were intorduced to Tomorrowland.

The Disneyland Monorial began as a simple elevated train ride around Tomorrowland and was the first daily operating system of it's kind in the western hemisphere. He loved this form of transportation, and soon continued it to the new Disneyland Hotel. A station was built there and people could ride between the hotel and Disneyland. Throughout the years, the monorail would largely reamined untouched while Disneyland grew around it.

Walt was inspired to build The Matterhorn Bobsleds after going to Switzerland and making Third Man on the Mountain. With the new skyway that connected Fantsyland and Tomorrowland, there was a need to hide the tower that held the Skyway up. And, it covered the astetically unpleasing Holiday Hill. Disneyland's Matterhorn is a 1/100th Scale, making Disneyland's 147 feet tall and the park's tallest minature. The Matterhorn became the first tubular steel roller coaster, which would become the most popular form of coasters. In later years, it would officially become part of Fantasyland and become home to the Yetti.

Last but not least, the Submarine Voyage took people underwater to discover "liquid space". Now Disneyland had one of the largest operating submarine fleats in the world. The ride would take guests underwater and underneath the North Pole. Real mermaids were also featured in the lagoon, but were removed when men kept jumping in to get them. The ride closed in 1998, but repopened with a new Finding Nemo theme in 2007.

As you can see, today, all 3 attractions are quite popluar. And just like Disneyland, 50 years later, they continue to delight a new generation of guests, as well as the older ones.

But still, age was cathcing up with Tomorrowland. The "futuristic" year of 1986 was still years away but advances in science were cathcing up fast. Now, Tomorrowland would need a brand new theme.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- The Disneyland Hotel

So, Walt Disney proved everyone wrong, Disneyland was a success, yadda yadda yadda...

But Walt just didn't want a theme park. He knew that people would be tired from traveling to get to Disneyland, so he invisioned a hotel at Disneyland where guests could stay so they didn't have to travel so much in one day. Unfortunately, Disney was out of money.

That's when he talked to his friend Jack Wrather who was not only a oil millionaire but also a film producer. Not to mention he also owned hotels in Vegas and Palm Springs.

At first, Jack refused. But Walt sweetened the deal: Jack would own and operate the hotel and be able to affiliate it with Disneyland by using the Disney name for 100 years. So it was settled and the Disneyland Hotel opened across the street from the hotel it was named after. It opened in October of 1955, but held an official grand opening in August of 1956.

Over the years, the hotel kept expanding. New buildings were added as well as shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. After the monorail opened, it's track was diverted to stop at the Disneyland Hotel, allowing guests to enter the park via monorail. Decades later, the iconinc 3 Towers that we know today would be built.

Walt periodically tried to buy it back from Jack, but never was able to. The Disneyland Hotel would remain out of the hands of the Disney Company until a new Disney leader would help bring the Disney Company back from the brink of bankrupcy.