Saturday, July 21, 2012
As the Author of Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality, I had access to thousands of images and concept paintings from Imagineering. The book include 500 pictures of the park and 250 WDI renderings, all showing lands, rides, park shops and restaurants which WERE built at DLP, but what you may not know if you don't own the book yet is that it also include pictures of what WASN’T built but envisioned by DLP Imagineers, in two words the "Disneyland Paris that never was". In this article, I will tell you more about a less known angle of the book – and a very interesting one – the part of it which talks about the Disneyland Paris wasn’t built. And I think you’ll find that many of these ideas were really good and should have been built!
In the first image above – that you will find in the book’s first chapter – you’ll see a “winter” version concept showing the Fantasia Gardens, in front of the Disneyland Paris hotel located at the entrance of the park. Disneyland Paris imagineers have drawn a small frozen lake on which guests could have ice-skated.
On the next image below – done by Disney legend Collin Campbell – you’ll see Imagineer Eddie Sotto’s design of the 1920′s Main Street concept. In this version, Main Street would have had an elevated tramway and the train station would have looked just like the one in the movie “Hello Dolly!”. The Emporium was to be behind the elevated train station so exiting guests would be let out into the upper floor of the store and trickle down. The Gas Station was to be where the Firehouse is currently located. And the reason why a Service Station was put into the project was because in the 1920′s the transition from horse-drawn streetcar to automobile had already been made and the automobile had won.
A year after Michael Eisner had declined this 1920′s design, he said to Eddie Sotto that he should have done the 1920′s idea anyway because it would have been understood better in Europe. But, by then it was unfortunately too late…
The painting below was created by Nina Rae Vaughn. Behind The Town Square East block of buildings, Eddie had envisioned a private restaurant for the sponsors of the park. This idea was first pioneered with Club 33 at Disneyland and this one had a secret entrance underneath the railroad station that would lead to a hidden terminal, and in that terminal there would have been an American-style streamlined locomotive train complete with dining cars, inspired by the famous “20th Century Limited”. Imagineers thought this could be the most unique private restaurant in Europe.
Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle is acclaimed as one – if not THE – most beautiful castle of all Disney Magic Kingdoms, but did you know that others concepts were also envisioned? In the first one below, a remarkable Herb Ryman painting on which you’ll also see the elevated tramway on the right. Herb had designed a DLP castle close to the original one at Disneyland…
…On this next rendering by Tim Delaney you’ll see a very different castle concept, a futuristic one!
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a great DLP Adventureland roller coaster ride with an Indy theme, but some of the scenes envisioned by WDI Imagineers were unfortunately cancelled, like the great one below in which the train would have entered a tunnel through the mouth of a giant stone head!
Talking about this Indy temple, another rendering that you will find in the book, reveals that DLP Imagineers had envisioned not one but TWO temples, with two different coaster tracks. Look closer at the artwork below and you’ll see the second temple in the back.
In Fantasyland, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth is a Disneyland Paris exclusive, and guests must find their way through the maze to reach the Queen of Hearts castle. In which they can climb to the upper floor and have a unique view of DLP Fantasyland. But, what was also envisioned was to have a slide for young kids to go back to the “ground floor”, and children would have exited the slide by going through the mouth of the Queen of Hearts! Actually, the slide – without the head of the Queen of Hearts – was built and was operational for a few months after opening before being permanently closed because children were hurting themselves at the bottom of the slide.
DLP Discoveryland as well had others concepts than the one currently built. On this next artwork, you’ll see a very different Tomorrowland entrance than the one which currently exists.
But, of all the Discoveryland concepts that never were, the most spectacular would have been Discovery Mountain, a unique new version of Space Mountain! On the first artwork below you’ll see a great Tim Delaney painting showing Discovery Mountain at night. The transparent tube on the left would have been a direct access tunnel from Videopolis. If you visit DLP, you can still see on the upper floor of Videopolis, giant circular windows which are the same ones through which the transparent tubes would have linked Videopolis to Discovery Mountain.
Inside Discovery Mountain, guests would have found not only a unique Space Mountain ride but also the Nautilus submarine floating in a lagoon with a restaurant inside Captain Nemo’s Grand Salon, access to Star Tours, former Cinemagique attractions and also a “Journey to the Center of the Earth” attraction. The Journey to the Center of the Earth attraction would have been totally different than the one built at Tokyo Disney Sea. In fact, it was the first free fall ride designed by WDI, before the Tower of Terror concept! All of Discovery Mountain would have been a giant tribute to Jules Verne.
So, you see, in addition to hundreds of gorgeous pictures of the park, as well as WDI artwork and a great text, telling all the story of the making of the park, the Disneyland Paris book has even more to offer than you might have thought. All the renderings you've seen above are of course include in the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book, and if you don't own the book yet, you now understand why it is such a great book, as it not only tells you the story of the making of what actually exist in the park but also shows never seen before concepts of the DLP "that never was".
And, good news, as until August 30 i do a special summer offer on the book which not only include a 20% discount on the regular price but, also, each one who will place an order will receive a special gift - and it's a great one! Below, you can see a video showing the whole book and to know more about the book and how to order and send your payment please go HERE , or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org , or use the Paypal one-click purchase button below, right under the video!
Artwork: copyright Disney
A little update about Shanghaî Disneyland today with an interesting info coming from the official SDL website. At last D23 Expo Tom Staggs revealed that there will be a Fantasyland boat ride which will go or start from under SDL "Enchanted Storybook Castle" before moving outside for a slow cruise in SDL Fantasyland. The very first rendering showing one of the boats was shown, is now posted on the SDL website and thanks to a closer look at the caption we can learn interesting details about this particular scene which will in fact be happening in the finale of the "Fantasyland boat ride": "In a secret chamber beneath the castle, fountains of light ( will ) leap and dance in shimmering pools, surrounding the boat with magic, music and color". This should make a nice finale.
Also, as revealed last week by Doris Woodward, senior director and producer, Shanghaî Disneyland castle "will be the biggest among Disney's castles worldwide. Instead of being home to any single princess, the castle in Shanghai will be home to all of Disney's princesses, including Snow White and Pocahontas". Good to know, but where exactly these princesses will be located in the castle? We can learn this with a look at the caption of the picture below: "In the heart of Enchanted Storybook Castle a magnificent winding staircase that leads guests on a " Once Upon a Time Adventure", featuring the Disney Princesses". In two words, it will be located in the upper floor of the castle and it is supposed to be a walk-through and not a ride. Don't know yet if each princess will be an audio-animatronic or if the whole thing will be just a Princess meet and greet...
Talking about Shanghaî Disneyland, Screamscape had a good scoop last week when he posted a SDL map which seems to be the real thing - although it's impossible to know if its the final version of the SDL project or not. Unfortunately for you - but fortunately for WDI - the picture is not sharp enough to see the attractions titles. Still, Screamscape succeeded to find interesting infos and we can see a bit more of the track of some SDL rides like this Fantasyland boat ride which will have some twist and turns like the Jungle Cruise ride have except that this one is located in the heart of Fantasyland and have a Fantasyland theme.
On the same map we can see that a Toy Story Land has been added, and that's not good news. Don't get me wrong, i don't dislike Toy Story Land, but not in a Magic Kingdom. What i specially don't like about it is the visual intrusion of the RC Racer half pipe coaster ride as well as the Parachute Drop towers. What i also don't like in TSL is that almost each time it was added to the park it was for cost reasons, to save money. It was the case of course at the WDS where a Toy Story Mania was previously envisioned exactly where TSL was finally built, and for the reasons we know about DLP they've built instead Toy Story Playland. Okay, it was also a good way for the WDS to have three new little attractions instead of one, but TSL was also costing much less money than TSM. At Hong kong Disneyland where there is a Toy Story Land too it's a bit different. Basically it seems that the HK administration wanted to add several new rides and mini lands and don't exceed a certain amount. And that's one of the reasons why the great Pirates of Caribbean land was cancelled, because the cost of it was not allowing to have others and different rides/lands. So WDI came with the Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Manor concepts and needed a third one which ended to be Toy Story Land. As i've been told a while ago that some cuts had to be done in the Shanghaî Disneyland original concept this might explain why - again for money reasons - Toy Story Land has been added. TSL is very successful everywhere it's built, that's not the problem, but i still think it doesn't have its place in a Magic Kingdom.
It's not enough clear on the SDL map to be sure but on the left of Fantasyland, behind the castle, i think that the building on the very left, close to TSL, might be the one for Peter Pan's Flight as i know the ride will be at SDL. Would WDI Imagineers have the good die ago create an "expanded" and longer version of the ride? That would be a good idea.
That said, a closer look at the Adventureland part of this SDL map reveal a huge Adventureland and what seems to be a big Pirate land too with, as we know, a new version of the POTC ride and may be, too, a POTC stunt show. Screamscape think that the pirate boats that we have seen on previous renderings located in the Adventureland lagoon might be used for this stunt show and if it's right it's not a bad idea. I don't know if you remind the free pirate stunt show which was played in front of the Treasure Island Hotel at Las vegas - in which a huge pirate ship was even sinking at the end - but if you've seen it you know that there is something good that WDI could do with a POTC stunt show located in the lagoon.
That's all for now about SDL and those of you who have never seen this Las Vegas pirate stunt show - which was not created by WDI - can discover its original version on the video below posted by gregman01.
Pictures: copyright Disney
Friday, July 20, 2012
Since i've published the Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book ten years ago i can't count all the readers who asked me to do the same kind of book about Tokyo Disney Sea. For sure i'll love to make one, but unfortunately so far it's not on the program. That said, i have a good news for you as a great ibook about TDS has just been released on the iBooks Store and so far it's the best book ever done about Tokyo Disney Sea! (two others pictorial books were published in Japan but are out of stock). It's an iBook for iPad only, so it's only for iPad owners - lucky iPad owners, in this case!
Edited: If you don't own an iPad the iBook is now available as a PDF file HERE!
James Hilger, a really talented photographer went twice at TDS in 2011 and came back with plenty of gorgeous pictures of the park. You'll find in this iBook 132 pictures with a chapter for each land, and even one on the beautiful TDS Miracosta Hotel. And, although it is definitely a pictorial essay on Tokyo Disney Sea each chapter also have some text, so it's definitely closer to a book than was my TDS Wallpapers app which also included beautiful pictures of Tokyo Disney Sea.
Each chapter have a great opening page...
...and from that point you can either "turn" the pages just like you do in a book or access directly the page you want by choosing it at the bottom of the page.
Most of the pictures are "full page", but not always, and on other pages you'll find two or three different pics which will pop up in full screen mode just with a tap on them.
As i've said the quality of the pictures is fantastic, most of them were shot either during the famous "magic hour" or at night and James succeeded to find different angles than the one we've seen already on others TDS pictures. And the result is just beautiful, really.
As you can see on the screen captures above and below each picture have a caption but James did things intelligently and when you tap on the picture the caption will disappear, so you'll be able to enjoy each pictures in all their beauty.
This iBook is called "Tokyo DisneySea In Photographs" and you'll find it HERE on the iBooks Store for $12.99 which is a fair price for such a beautiful book on the most beautiful theme park in the world. No need to say that i strongly recommend!
Note: James TDS iBook is now on sale on the iBooks Store for each country. Please read James answer in the comments. Also, very good news for those who don't own an iPad as you can now purchase it as a PDF file HERE!
Pictures: copyright James Hilger
Four hundred minutes! That was the waiting time a few days ago for Toy Story Mania recently opened at Tokyo Disney Sea! I think that the previous record for Cars Land opening last month is probably beaten...
That said, we are at TDS and even when it's not opening days the wait times are incredibly high. I remind you that you can find the link to the great reports that i've posted recently on this new DisneySea addition in the right column, and be back tomorrow as i will introduce you to something else, also great, about Tokyo Disney Sea!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Apparently Disney intend to produce a Peter Pan prequel movie - and i mean a real movie, not animated. As the Deadline web site revealed recently: "Disney has hired writer Jesse Wigutow to adapt the best-selling children’s novel, "Peter and the Starcatchers", the 2004 book published by Disney’s Hyperion which gives the backstory for the iconic Peter Pan character.
Co-authored by Dave Barry and Ridley Pierson, the book has become a hot property, with the current Broadway adaptation having just nabbed nine Tony Award nominations, including Best Play. Peter and the Starcatchers is the first in a series of books by the authors, giving franchise potential to the project". According to The Hollywood Reporter it's Gary Ross (Hunger Games) who should direct the movie.
I didn't read the book, but may be one of you did and can let us know in the comments how good it is - or you can read reviews about it on Amazon HERE.. And of course we will also keep an eye on this upcoming movie.
Picture: copyright Hyperion
Here is a bloody good news for those of you fans of Disney Animation: Pierre Lambert next gorgeous book will be all about famous Disney classic animated movie Sleeping Beauty ( "La Belle au Bois Dormant", in french ) and will be released on October 29. For those of you who might not know who Pierre Lambert is, he's the one who did the previous large size books about Pinochio, Mickey Mouse, Snow White, the Jungle Book, all done with the participation of the Walt Disney Studios who provided the original cellos, artwork, etc...
The result is a series of gorgeous coffee table books - it will be difficult to beat Lambert books in terms of quality for books about Disney Animation - and all of them are a must-have for any Disney animation fan. In a previous article done when the Jungle Book book was released i told you how good they are and i'll be you i wouldn't miss this new one - and specially this one because Sleeping Beauty was the most "stylized" of all Disney classics and this should help to have a book even more gorgeous than the previous ones.
Note that this 220 pages book will be published by another different publisher - i think it's the third time that Pierre Lambert has to find a new publisher - and the new one is called Editions de l'Ecole Georges Méliès. You can pre-order the book on Amazon HERE, if you wish.
Pictures: copyright Disney, Editions de l'Ecole Georges Méliès
There was a short celebration last Tuesday for Disneyland 57th birthday. All characters joined on DL Town Square and the whole thing lasted not more than five minutes. I found two videos for those of you who were not there, and the first one was filmed by SoCalThrills.
This next video was filmed by the good guys of dapsmagic.
Videos: copyright SoCalThrills, dapsmagic
Monday, July 16, 2012
Here is the part two of my article in tribute to Disneyland 57th Anniversary, always with the participation of Walt himself, thanks to Jim Korkis, Disney historian and author of the great "The Vault of Walt" book, who very kindly provided me these rare interviews of Walt in which he talks about Disneyland. If you've not read it yet the part one of this article is HERE.
This first interview of Walt was done by Hooper Fowler for LOOK magazine, January 1964.
Fowler: How often do you go to Disneyland now, Mr. Disney?
Walt: Oh, I might average once a month. Most of my interest in Disneyland is planning and improving it, and I do a great deal of that here at the studio. So I only go down to check on things now, to see what ought to be done for the coming year. It’s pretty hard to get around Disneyland when people are there. I mean, they’re friendly, they’re wonderful, and I love to meet them, but I can’t stand still long because I’ll…oh, I don’t mind giving autographs. I think it’s wonderful that they do want your autograph. But when I’m at Disneyland, if I stop to sign one autograph, before I can get that signed, there are some more up there, and it accumulates quite a crowd, and it always makes it awful hard to get away.
So when I go through Disneyland today, I walk fast, and it isn’t much fun. So I go down with my staff when Disneyland is closed, and we go through everything. Or I go down when there is a big crowd, a very big crowd, and I walk very fast and watch every part of it and find out where we need to improve our crowd control conditions to make it easier for people to get around and our shade areas and all the problems that we have in the summer when we have the half million plus people a week.
So, mainly my interest in Disneyland has been building that thing, in keeping it alive and keeping it fresh and keeping it successful by doing these things. So most of my fun comes from that end of it.
Above, Walt watching a DL worker in Main Street. Below, Walt checking on of the Peter Pan's Flight vehicle.
Fowler: Will there ever be another Disneyland?
Walt: I think there will only be one Disneyland as such. Now that doesn’t mean that in some areas we might not develop certain projects that would be compatible to that area, that might very well tie in certain historical themes of the area of things like that and we are considering things of that sort. Most of the people coming to Disneyland, the big percentage is coming west of the Mississippi and more or less the Pacific coast. The great center of the population is east of the Mississippi and it’s possible that we could go to these areas with certain things without in any way depreciating the individuality of Disneyland itself. But there will only be one Disneyland as such. It’s quite a chore to keep Disneyland going. It’s like a big show you’ve got to keep on the road, you know. You’ve got to keep it fresh and new and exciting. And when people come back, you always want to have something new they hadn’t had a chance to see before. And we feel a keen responsibility to the customer there. They aren’t customers, we call them paying guests.
Above, a great aerial view of Disneyland, circa 1960. Below, a beautiful shot of Fantasyland more or less at the same time.
This next interview of Walt was done by journalist Pete Martin for the Saturday Evening Post, Summer 1956.
Pete Martin: Let's talk a little about Disneyland and how it's so different from other amusement parks.
Walt: It really takes a person more than a day to see the park without exhausting themselves. And as I get these new things in, it's going to take more time. It's one of those things that people who come in here for the first time and everything's there and they sort of make a hog of themselves, you see? Well, a lot of people come back the third time and just like to sit and listen to the band, see the horses going around. I like to go down and sit by the river and watch the people.
Above, a picture of the Mark Twain sailing on Frontierland river, in the early days of Disneyland.
Walt: Chewing gum sticks up things so we don't sell it. And peanut shells. We sell the unshelled. But shelled peanuts, they just crumble them and throw them all over the place. And nothing with round sticks. People trip on them. The ice cream bars got flat sticks and I won't sell any of this spun candy because the kids get it and get it all over everything and people get it on their hands.
No liquor, no beer, nothing. Because that brings in a rowdy element. That brings people that we don't want and I feel they don't need it. I feel when I go down to the park I don't need a drink. I work around that place all day and I don't have one. After I come out of a heavy day at the studio sometimes I want a drink to relax.
Above, Walt, relaxing on a bench of Disneyland Town Square.
Walt: When it comes to Disneyland, I feel I've given the public everything I can give them. My daughter, Diane, says that I spend too much time around the house talking about how I can give them more for their money when they come to the park. You've got to build. You've got to keep it clean. You don't want to walk in a dirty toilet. I won't have 'em. My toilets are spic and span. And you know another thing, I have to have police so there's no child molesters there. I've got plainclothesmen. They can leave their kids to run around and I have safety inspectors. It's run in a high class manner and I have a high class clientele. The people who go to the park are from all walks of life but they look like solid Americans. That's pretty high class.
Above, Walt with Richard Nixon and family at the opening of the Disneyland Monorail. Below, Walt with India prime minister Nehru, at the end of the 1950's in a Jungle Cruise boat.
Pete Martin: One of the things we should cover is to knock off that rumor that Disneyland's expensive to come to.
(Even in 1956, Walt was getting complaints about the high cost of getting into Disneyland. An adult ticket cost a dollar--nine cents of which went directly to taxes--and a child admission cost fifty cents. On top of that, people bought individual tickets for rides. Walt introduced the concept of ticket books so you got more rides for the money you spent on the book than if you bought each ride individually.)
Walt: Oh, no. Not at all. That's an old hat thing. You hear it from some people because they don't know what else to say.
By the time this article comes out, I'm raising it to two dollars because I'm adding all these new rides. And to extend my ticket book to take care of the rides, I'm putting this to ten rides for two dollars. Figure it out. It averages twenty cents a ride, doesn't it? It would cost an adult three dollars and a junior two dollars and fifty cents to get in and get ten rides. If they don't want that, they can pay their buck and pay their fifty cents for their kid and they can come in. They can sit on the park benches, take up the space, dirty up my toilets, litter up the street. They can do all of that if they pay their dollar-fifty. They can ride as they want to. They can sit around and hear my band; they can visit my free shows. They can do all that and more for their dollar-fifty.
Above, Walt in the locomotive of the Tomorrowland Viewliner. Below, Walt in a vehicle of the Mine Train through Nature Wonderland attraction.
Walt: You can't go in a state park without paying that. See, you've got to pay something. You pay so much a head or so much a car to go in a state park. We even have to pay government tax on admission. So it's really ninety-one cents to get in. Now that's what it amounts to. You can't go to the circus for that. I tell you the complaint about the prices are malicious. Los Angeles is made up of a lot of different characters. How do I know they might not be more interested in some other thing like Marineland? Or some other type of amusement that is competitive. We are competitive, too. Who knows? But there's no foundation for some of these complaints about price. When people make that remark to me, it just sounds to me like they heard it somewhere and they don't know what else to say. How can they compare Disneyland prices with anything else because there is nothing else like it.
Well, you take you children to Disneyland and for a dollar and a half they get in and spend a whole darn 13 hours if they want to. Now, if you want to go in and buy them expensive toys or you want to buy them bathing suits or your wife happened to go along and sees a wonderful woolen skirt that costs $30. Well, people come out and spend all that money. But they don't think twice of going down to Bullocks Wilshire and spending that much on a skirt. If you go into a Broadway Department Store, you can go in and spend $25 or $30. I'm not insisting people buy things but I want to give them the opportunity.
Above and below, Walt with audio-animatronics of the Jungle Cruise.
Walt : So I have to keep improving on ideas. On the jungle ride, I want to get more animation in the animals. I want to really fix it. My monkeys have gone to pot. And I want new monkeys. I'm going to take them out Monday because I'd rather not have them in there looking like that.
Above, probably the most famous picture of Walt at Disneyland. Walt is entering Fantasyland walking through Sleeping Beauty Castle - and not exiting to Central Plaza as sometime it is thought. The picture was shot by Renie Bardeau the same photographer who shot Walt's final photo at Disneyland that you've seen at the end of the part one article yesterday.
To end this Disneyland 57th Anniversary tribute, i've found for you on Youtube this film done in celebration of Disneyland first 25 years. Called "From Dream to Reality", you'll hear in it the voice of Walt and you will also see rare shots of Disneyland construction. The film was done in 1979 and was sold at Disneyland gift shops around the park in 1980 during the 25th Anniversary celebration.
Again, Happy 57th Anniversary Disneyland! And don't miss Jim Korkis fantastic book "The Vault of Walt" available on Amazon, in which Jim weaves timeless tales and fascinating secrets about the "lost" world of Disney thanks to over thirty years of his personal interviews with Disney animators, Imagineers and associates as well as long forgotten documents and many years of research. It really is a must-have!
Pictures: copyright Disney, National Geographic
All my thanks to Jim Korkis for these great interviews!
It's Disneyland 57th Anniversary today and to celebrate the event here is a great tribute with the participation of Walt himself, thanks to Jim Korkis, Disney historian and author of the great "The Vault of Walt" book, who very kindly provided me rare interviews of Walt in which he is talking about Disneyland. I'm posting the part one of this article today, and you'll get the part two tomorrow, both with great pictures of Walt in the park.
This first interview of Walt Disney was done by Fletcher Markle on September 25, 1963, for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, “Telescope” television series.
Fletcher: Where did you originally get the first notion for Disneyland?
Walt: Well it came about when my daughters were very young and I…Saturday was always Daddy’s day with the two daughters. So we’d start out and try to go someplace, you know, different things, and I’d take them to the merry-go-round and I took them different places and as I’d sit while they rode the merry-go-round and did all these things…sit on a bench, you know, eating peanuts…I felt that there should be something built…some kind of an amusement enterprise built where the parents and the children could have fun together. So that’s how Disneyland started. Well, it took many years…it was a…o, a period of maybe 15 years developing. I started with many ideas, threw them away, started all over again. And, eventually, it evolved into what you see today at Disneyland. But it all started from a Daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them too.
Above, Walt in an Autopia car with his daughter and his grand son. Below, Walt talking with children in Adventureland, near Jungle Cruise.
Fletcher: Who goes to Disneyland? What is the ratio of adults to children as part of the plan of fathers and daughters?
Walt: Oh, it’s four adults to one child. That is we are counting the teenagers as adults. But of course, in the winter time, you can go out there during the week and you won’t see any children. You’ll see all the “oldsters” out there riding all these rides and having fun and everything. Summertime, of course, the average would drop down. But the over all…the year round average…it’s four adults to one child.
Above, a rare picture of Walt on a Disneyland mule, along with two children. Below, Walt in a Main Street car.
Fletcher: What was the initial cost of Disneyland that first saw the light of day?
Walt: Oh, it goes back so far. I had different cost estimates. One time it was three and a half million and then I kept fooling around with it and it got up to seven and half million and I kept fooling around a little more and pretty soon it was twelve and a half and I think when we opened Disneyland it was seventeen million dollars. Today, it’s going on forty-five million dollars.
Above, Walt with the parrots of the Tiki Room.
Fletcher: I understand that the next step beyond the audio-animatronics birds (in the Enchanted Tiki Room) has been to do the same kind of programming with human beings.
Walt: Yes, with human beings. Not going to replace the human being…believe me on that. Just for show purposes, because now you take Disneyland down there. We operate fifteen hours a day. And these shows go on…on the hour. And my Tiki bird show goes on three times an hour and I don’t have to stop for coffee breaks and all that kind of stuff, you see. So that’s the whole idea of it. It’s just another dimension in the animation we have been doing all our life.
Above, Walt looking at a Pirates of Caribbean audio-animatronic, with Imagineer Marc Davis and WDI sculptor Blaine Gibson. Below, Disneyland marquee, circa 1960.
This next interview of Walt was aired on NBC in 1966.
NBC: Walt, why did you pick Anaheim as the site for Disneyland?
Walt: The Disneyland concept kept growing and growing and it finally ended up where I felt I needed two-three hundred acres. So, I wanted it in the Southern California area, there were certain things that I felt that I needed, such as flat land, because I wanted to make my own hills. I didn't want it near the ocean, I wanted it sort of inland, so I had a survey group go out and hunt for areas that might be useful. And they finally came back with several different areas and we settled on Anaheim because the price of the acreage was right. But there was more to it than that. And that is that Anaheim was sort of a growing area. The freeway projection was such that we could see that the freeway would set Anaheim as sort of a hub. Well, that's how we selected Anaheim.
Above, Disneyland Main Street Station in the 1950's, and the parking lot behind where is now Disney California Adventure.
NBC: Do you feel Anaheim has lived up to expectations?
Walt: In every way, the city fathers have been wonderful. They've given us wonderful cooperation right from the start and they are still cooperating.
NBC: What has been your biggest problem?
Walt: Well, I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life - it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true. From the very start it was a problem of getting the money to open Disneyland. About 17 million dollars it took. We had everything mortgaged, including my family. We were able to get it open and for ten or eleven years now we've been pouring more money back in. In other words, like the old farmer, you've got to pour it back into the ground if you want to get it out. That's been my brother's philosophy and mine too.
Above, Walt and WED Imagineer John Hench in front of the Carnation Plaza model. Below, Walt in front of It's a Small World facade during its construction.
NBC: What plans for the future do you have at Disneyland?
Walt: There's a little plaque out there that says, "As long as there is imagination left in the world, Disneyland will never be complete." We have big plans. This year, we finished over $20 million in new things. Next June, I hope, we'll have a new Tomorrowland; and starting from the ground up, building a whole new Tomorrowland. And it's going to run about $20 million bucks.
Above, a view of Disneyland New Tomorrowland in the late 60's.
NBC: What steps have you taken to see that Disneyland will always be good, family entertainment?
Walt: Well, by this time, my staff, my young group of executives are convinced that Walt is right, that quality will win out, and so I think they will stay with this policy because it's proven it's a good business policy. Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, keep it friendly - I think they're convinced and I think they'll hang on after - as you say, "after Disney."
Above, the very last photo taken of Walt at Disneyland by Renie Bardeau, staged by publicist Charlie Ridgway, showing Walt in the fire engine in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle.
I'll see you tomorrow for the part two of this article, always with rare Walt interviews about Disneyland, but in the meantime Happy 57th Anniversary Disneyland! And don't miss Jim Korkis fantastic book "The Vault of Walt" available on Amazon, in which Jim weaves timeless tales and fascinating secrets about the "lost" world of Disney thanks to over thirty years of his personal interviews with Disney animators, Imagineers and associates as well as long forgotten documents and many years of research. It really is a must-have!
Pictures: copyright Disney
All my thanks to Jim Korkis for these great interviews!