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Entries in walt disney (6)

Monday
Aug152011

Disney's "Project X" in 1966

It's easy to forget -- even for a Disney nerd like myself -- that before Walt Disney died of lung cancer in December of 1966, EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was supposed to be a real city. The code name "Project X" was given to the undertaking that would eventually become Walt Disney World, which today includes the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom parks.

The illustration above is an aerial view of Project X, while the image below shows the thirty story hotel that was to be the centerpiece of the city of EPCOT. Both are from the excellent book Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance, edited by Karal Ann Marling.

 

Thursday
Jan202011

Ford's Magic Skyway (1964)

Of all the major attractions at the 1964 World's Fair it seems Ford's Magic Skyway receives the least amount of chatter, ink and pixels in 2011. It wasn't moved to Disneyland like Carousel of Progress or It's A Small World, and it wasn't a sexy sequel like Futurama II. But it looked like quite the ride nonetheless.

Narrated by Walt Disney, fairgoers hopped into Fords on a journey from the age of the dinosaurs to the invention of the wheel to a "highway in the sky carrying you across the boundless night and out into time and space." The audio-animatronic dinosaurs and cavemen of Magic Skyway would be familiar to anyone visiting a Disney park today, as Epcot's Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy and World of Motion (R.I.P.) all look like they drew quite a bit of inspiration from this attraction.

At the end of the ride Walt's familiar voice proclaimed, "perhaps someday we'll be riding rocketships like those flashing overhead to anywhere in space. Perhaps someday we will drive jet-powered vehicles over weather-controlled highways in the sky like those spiralling tubes around you." Perhaps indeed.

For more on Ford's Magic Skyway check out the video below

The concept art above appears in Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Oct242009

Tomorrowland Is Trip Into Future (1955)

The July 15, 1955 Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA) ran a special section devoted to the Disneyland park, which was to be opened just three days later. A short piece devoted to Tomorrowland is featured below.

For those who'd like to read the entire 16-page special section, I've uploaded that as well. 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Monday
Mar262007

Walt Disney Explaining the Carousel of Progress to General Electric (1964)

Disney produced attractions for many companies during the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. One of these attractions was the Carousel of Progress for the General Electric Pavilion showing, "how life has changed through electrical energy." Below is a clip from a short promotional film Disney produced.

The film was not intended for the public but rather General Electric, who had not yet heard the featured song of the attraction, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

 

 


Also, unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Carousel of Progress will be entering the Smithsonian in 2009 along with the Enchanted Tiki Room but you didn't hear it from me.

 

See also:
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967) 19 March 2007

Sunday
Mar042007

Walt Disney and City Planning

"Imagineers said that when they were planning Tomorrowland, Walt would carry around books on city planning and mutter about traffic, noise, and neon signs, and he kept three volumes in his office to which he frequently referred: Garden Cities of Tomorrow by Sir Ebenezer Howard (originally published in 1902 and reissued in 1965), which promoted a vision of a more pastoral urban life; and The Heart of Our Cities and Out of a Fair, a City, both by an architect and mall designer name Victor Gruen, who urged the reconceptualization of the city as more ordered, rational and humane."

(excerpted from p. 608 in Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler)

Also, it looks like a new 2007 edition of Garden Cities of Tomorrow just came out.

Tuesday
Feb272007

Mars and Beyond (1957)

Walt Disney opens the Disneyland TV program Mars and Beyond by asking, "Will we find planets with only a low form of vegetable life or will there be mechanical robots controlled by super intelligent beings?"
"Even though scientists think Martian conditions are severe, they believe that if man journeyed to Mars he could survive here with moderate protection... life [on Mars] could be almost normal inside pressurized houses and pressurized cities."
"Today, as we face the problems of over-population and depletion of natural resources the possibility of Mars becoming a new frontier is of increasing importance in our plans for the future."
You can view a clip of the program here and you can find this program in its entirety on the DVD set Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond. The program originally aired on December 4, 1957 and was eventually released theatrically.