BACKSTORY (1955—Present): Budget cuts/construction deadlines caused it to be finished last with Disney reluctantly changing it into a corporate showcase featuring Crane (“Bathroom of Tomorrow,” 1956–1960), Kaiser Aluminum (“Hall of Fame,” July 17, 1955–1960), Monsanto Chemicals (“Hall of Chemistry,” July 17, 1955–September 1966), American Motors, Richfield Oil (“The World Beneath Us,” July 17, 1955–1960), American Dairy Association Dairy Bar (January 21, 1956 to September 1, 1958) and Dutch Boy Paint (July 17, 1955–1963). One cost cutting idea used sets from 1954’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” as a walk-through attraction. Tomorrowland’s showpiece was the TWA Moonliner, derived from the “Man in Space” TV shows. Autopia gave visitors a future glimpse of the National Interstate System, and the Tomorrowland Boats gave guests...well, not much, as they were quickly rethemed within a year. Circarama was a 360° film previewed before the park opened on June 27, 1955. 1957 brought Monsanto’s “House of the Future,”. In 1959, the unveiling of three major E-ticket attractions (the first ones) ALWEG Monorail, Submarine Voyage, and Matterhorn (later changed to Fantasyland) were televised as the 2nd Disneyland opening.
By 1960 more than 20 million people had visited Disneyland. Walt was ready to expand, and he felt that the NewYork Worlds' Fair would be a good opportunity to test the east coast. The Ford Motor Company agreed to a Magic Skyway exhibit that would carry people through a dinosaur and Stone Age diorama (which morphed into the PeopleMover and the Primeval World Diorama at Disneyland). General Electric wanted to do a little PR cleanup from a price fixing scandal and contacted Disney to create The Carousel of Progress, which would show the benefits of electricity through the decades. Pepsi Cola and Unicef sponsored the creation of it's a small world (which came back to Fantasyland at the end of the Fair) and the State of Illinois supported Walt's efforts to bring the 16th American President to life with "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln." Walt's experiment was a success, as all four exhibits not only proved to be very popular, but boosted the sales of their sponsors (especially G.E.'s!), thus paving the way for Walt Disney World in Florida.
I was contacted by Traecy, who went overboard on the generosity scale by sharing these treasured images from 1958 which show her Dad's first visit to Disneyland at age 10 and a half. The family had just moved to Santa Barbara from New Jersey and they took his New Jersey Grandma to Disneyland. As Tracey tells it, “He remembered being enraptured and it felt like such a magical experience. The music was playing even in the parking lot, and he felt like he was in another world. He remembered being tall enough to ride the rides (he is the oldest boy in the photos).” Chris, the the little boy in the red t-shirt revealed many years later: “I remember this trip to Disneyland as the highlight of the year. I was five. After riding the spaceship ride I was aghast that my parents were sitting around the perimeter waiting for us kids to come out. They were sitting in the blast zone of the rocket engines!!!” The best part of this set of photos is that it appears that the numbers of the photos correspond with the day's progression, as their journey to the attractions makes total sense. Grab that popcorn and let's travel back to 1958!
Here is the text from the Live Narration of a Guided Tour, circa 1962 (previously started on this page):
ART OF ANIMATION
Here is the Art of Animation where you will see the various stages in the development of animation from the beginning of time to the very present. This exhibit will give you an idea of how Mickey Mouse and the whole Walt Disney tradition was born. It takes three years to produce a full-length cartoon feature. Here Disney artists and characters alike combine to show you the technical processes necessary for such an undertaking. You will also have an opportunity to meet the latest Walt Disney character - Ludwig von Drake!
AVENUE OF FLAGS
Here at the entrance to Tomorrowland, is the Avenue of Flags. Lining the path are the Flags of our United States arranged in the order of their admittance to the Union. On each flag pole you will find the name of the state, the date it was admitted to the union and its motto.
Here is the "World Time Clock" provided by the Timex Corporation and designed by the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. This clock tells the time of day anywhere in the world at a moment's glance.
To the left of the Avenue of Flags you will find the Monsanto Home of the Future. This modern home features such elements as a television doorbell, ultrasonic dishwasher, and a microwave oven which cooks a potato in three minutes. The Home of the Future is one of the many walk-through exhibits in Disneyland which you can visit after the tour without charge.
The Bell Telephone Company invites you to see the latest innovations in telephone communications and also the Circarama film "America the Beautiful." This unique motion pictures is projected on a 360 degree screen completely surrounding the viewing audience. "America the Beautiful" offers a breathtaking sight-seeing experience of our great United States.
Now that we have completed our rounds, I would like to thank you for joining our tour and for being such a wonderful group. I have enjoyed showing you the Magic Kingdom and hop you enjoy the rest of your stay here in the park. Remember to use your extra ticket for any one attraction in the park and also try to make it back to Frontierland for the Golden Horseshoe Show. The last performance will be at __________. Disneyland will remain open until _____ this evening.
If you have any questions, anything I might help you with before we part I'll be happy to assist you.
I would like to leave you with this thought. We began our tour in Town Square. There at the base of the flagpole is the Disneyland dedication plaque which reads, "Disneyland is dedicated to the dreams, the ideals, and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world." We sinerely hope that through your tour today you have shared in a part of this spirit.