05 February 2013

The Expanded Tomorrowland

Today, much of the talk in the Magic Kingdom is focused on Fantasyland and the revitalization of this cramped corner of the park. Forty years ago in 1973, however, all eyes were on Tomorrowland which was undergoing a massive ramping up. There were quite a number of concept art pieces from this period, particularly focusing on Space Mountain, but this aerial shot of the land has always been near and dear to my heart.

So, what did Walt Disney Productions say to whet the imaginations of shareholders in 1973? Let’s find out!

“A major development program involving the construction of five new attractions in Tomorrowland will increase the theme park’s operating capacity to 70,000 rides-per-hour, equal to California’s Disneyland, by early 1975. This goal, which took fifteen year to accomplish at Disneyland, will have been reached in only three years at Walt Disney World.

“RCA and General Electric have confirmed the confidence of American industry in our project by joining Coca-Cola, Goodyear, Monsanto and Eastern Airlines as sponsors of attractions in Tomorrowland. Major businesses have long recognized the Disney theme park as creating an effective atmosphere for communicating with the general public.

“Designed by the Disney ‘Imagineering’ staff at WED Enterprises, and now being constructed by Disney’s own Buena Vista Construction Company, the expanded Tomorrowland will reveal a ‘world on the move’ filled with unique transportation for both land and ‘space.’

“Dominating the area will be the 1973-foot high, RCA-sponsored ‘Space Mountain,’ where guests will board their own ‘rockets’ for a dizzying ride through ‘outer space.’ Upon entering the circular ‘Space Mountain,’ which is wider in diameter than a football field, visitors will feel the illusion that they are looking out from a space station. Then, during their ‘rocket’ trip through the cosmos, guests will be ‘bombarded’ with meteors, comets and whirling galaxies. The grand opening is scheduled for late 1974.

“More than 45 million people have seen the General Electric ‘Carousel of Progress’ at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair and at Disneyland. The attraction is now moving to Walt Disney World, where it is scheduled for opening in early 1975. As in Disneyland, guests will be seated in one of a series of six theatres which revolve around a hub of four stages – a sort of ‘Audio-Animatronics’ time machine making a nostalgic visit to the ‘latest’ of American homes in four eras, form the gay nineties to the world of today. The final act has been redesigned to incorporate the life styles of the 1970’s, and the most recent innovations in home appliances from General Electric.

“Also scheduled for opening in early 1975 is the ‘WEDway PeopleMover.’ This continuously moving system will transport guests along a 4,571-foot elevated guideway in 32 five-car ‘trains’ powered by a new Disney-engineered and designed linear motor. This pollution-free propulsion system has no moving parts. Instead it creates a magnetic field which ‘pushes’ the trains along their route. The system hay easily be adapted for use in shopping centers and downtown areas.

“Completing the ‘new’ Tomorrowland will be the popular ‘Rocket Jets,’ mounted atop the ‘PeopleMover’ station and whirling 60 feet above the ground, and an expanded Goodyear ‘Grand Prix Raceway,’ on which four cars running side-by-side are able to simulated actual racing starts. The Raceway re-opened for the Christmas season.”

What about you? If you were looking at this preview artwork in 1973, which piece of Tomorrowland would really get you excited to visit the expanding land of Tomorrow?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd be really excited by the fact that someone at Disney actually cared about Tomorrowland for itself, and not as a place to shove characters that had no other place in the park.