29 November 2009

Getting Ready for the Show

We often discuss how exciting the late 1970s and early 1980s were for Walt Disney World with the forthcoming EPCOT Center, but that time period was also just as exciting for the Disney Company for another reason. Aside from opening their first non-Disneyland type park in EPCOT Center, they were also opening their first park outside of the United States, Tokyo Disneyland. With preparations for two parks commencing simultaneously, it’s no wonder there was so much excitement around the word Disney at the time.

In the March 27, 1981 issue of Eyes and Ears, the publication showed just a glimpse into what it was like preparing the two massive projects in the article Getting Ready for the Show. Following the handiwork of WED Show Production, the piece is a fascinating look into the world of attraction creation. While the article, seen below, is short, the photographs of the diligent men and women of WED Show Production are worth more than a thousand words.
There’s not one, but two major projects in progress at WED Show Production in the North Service Area. This group of hard-working cast members, part of WED Enterprises in California, is busily putting together the many elements which make up our special type of show for both EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.

The four audio-animatronic shows for Tokyo Disneyland that WED Show Production is responsible for are The Country Bear Jamboree, It’s a Small World, The Jungle Cruise, and The Haunted Mansion. This group is putting the figurines together, outfitting them with costumes, and preparing many of the props for these attractions, with some of the articles already being crated up for the trip to Tokyo!

Although the major work for the pavilions at EPCOT Center probably begin a little later in the year, evidence of some of the project WED Show Production is responsible for can already be found. This group will produce everything for the Mexico Pavilion as well as the Energy Pavilion. The Tree Fabrication Department will be responsible for all the trees and foliage for the Transportation Pavilion, the Land Pavilion, and the African Pavilion.

So the ‘Count-Down’ has begun … only 18 months remain before the opening of EPCOT Center. But the folks at WED Show Production are keeping up with the pace!

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