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Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow(land) Part 3

Note: In Part 1 we looked at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland as it stood on Opening Day, July 17, 1955. Part 2 looked at the evolution and development of the land from July 18, 1955 through the end of calendar year 1964. Today looks at the ten year period between 1965 and 1974.

Tomorrowland actually saw very little done in 1965 for its tenth anniversary. Disney’s Imagineers were hard at work in other areas of the park, such as constructing New Orleans Square on the west side of the park. As well, Walt, when his health would allow it, was focusing attention on other projects, such as The Florida Project and abandoned Mineral King project. Additionally, plans were being set forth for the future expansion of the Tomorrowland area. As such, 1965 saw the addition of one “attraction” only, the third Monsanto funding exhibition, Fashions and Fabrics Through the Ages. Housed in the same building as the Bathroom of Tomorrow and Hall of Aluminum Fame, this textile-themed exhibit displayed women’s fashion from prehistoric animal skins to synthetic space wear of the future (which helped tie the attraction to the opening day Hall of Chemistry exhibit Monsanto was still sponsoring). The exhibit would run nine months, from March until December of 1965.

Monsanto Fashion and Fabrics Through the Ages

Monsanto Fashion and Fabrics Through the Ages

Following the closing of Fashions and Fabrics Through the Ages, a major remodel began in Tomorrowland. 1966 saw the saw the closure or removal of many attractions: Avenue of the Flags, Art of Animation, Art Corner, Yacht Club, Space Bar, Flying Saucers, Hobbyland, Flight Circle, and the 20000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit. While all these attractions left in the name of progress, the past did arrive in the land of the future through Primeval World. This addition, part of the Disneyland Railroad, debuted in Disneyland on July 1, 1966, after being on exhibit in the New York World’s Fair in 1963-64. The scene was inspired in part by the “Rite of Spring” sequence of Fantasia. Sadly, this would be the final Tomorrowland addition that Walt would experience before his passing on December 15, 1966.

dinosaurs

As Walt Disney promised on opening day, Disneyland would never be completed, and so, even after his passing, construction continued on in the park. The result was a brand new Tomorrowland that was completed in 1967. In all, eleven additions to the land opened by the end of 1967.

As guests entered Tomorrowland from the Main Street USA Hub, they were would see the Corridor of Murals high on the exterior walls of Circle Vision 360 and Adventures through Inner Space. Created by Disney Legend Mary Blair, ceramic tile mosaics covered both building facades with a piece known as The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children. The mural was covered in two phases, when each of the buildings it stood on was changed. The portion on Adventures Thru Inner Space was removed in 1987 to make way for artwork promoting Star Tours, while the mural over Circle Vision 360 was covered in 1998 to add a themed painting to the short lived Rocket Rods. When the Rocket Rod artwork was removed, it was discovered that the mural behind it had been damaged beyond repair.

The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children

Corridor of Murals

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When the new Tomorrowland debuted to the public on July 2, 1967, guests were greeted with several new options of where to turn their attention. First off, the second Tomorrowland attraction to have been at the New York’s World Fair, Carousel of Progress, sponsored by General Electric. Initially intended to be a walk through exhibit in the never realized Edison Square parallel to Main Street, this would instead become a rotating stage show. The Carousel Theater opened where the Space Bar stood previously. 240 guests would enter the theater and enjoy a period piece of audio-animatronic figures from the 1890s talking about how life was, then would be rotated to a new stage, circa 1920, with updated electronics, such as the electric fan and lights, as more guests would enter the first scene. Two more rotations would take guests to the 1940s (hearing aides are being used by grandma) and then the 1960s (color television with built in tape recorder). Afterwards, guests were directed into a second floor where they were able to examine a model of Progress City, which was Walt’s dream of an ideal society of the future. This model contained over 4000 building models and covered nearly 1/6 of an acre. Carousel of Progress, and its catchy theme “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” would only last in the part for six years, when it would be packed up and shipped to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Progress City Model

Progress City Model

In front of the Carousel Theater stood the loading platform for the PeopleMover, The PeopleMover itself was visible from all over Tomorrowland, as non-motorized vehicles would transport guest over an elevated motorized track. The ride, sponsored by Goodyear until 1981, was powered by rotating tired ever nine feet on the track that the vehicles would run over. As a result, the attraction was always moving, even in the loading and unloading areas, which consisted of a rotating platform moving at the same speed at the PeopleMover vehicles. The ride itself took guests across Tomorrowland, including through show buildings, and after 1977, a projected “Speed Tunnel.”  The three-quarter mile attraction would last until 1995, when it would close for another Tomorrowland remodel; the track would remain for the short lived Rocket Rods attraction while the PeopleMover would be gone forever.

Guests not heading for the PeopleMover attraction were liking heading for what was on the loading platform’s roof, the Rocket Jets. Replacing the Astro-Jets that opened in 1956, the new incarnation resembled the Apollo spacecraft. The black and white spacecraft had defined noses with yellow headlights, and were attached to a central tower designed to resemble a Saturn launch tower used by NASA. Guests rode in a gantry elevator up to the loading area to board their Rocket Jet, which at their apex held passengers 70 above the Tomorrowland pavement. The Rocket Jets would orbit the PeopleMover loading platform until 1997, when the fleet was grounded for an area remodel.

PeopleMover & Rocket Jets

PeopleMover & Rocket Jets

The final addition of the Tomorrowland remodel to open on July 2 was the Tomorrowland Terrace. This forty foot structure initially appeared to be merely a display containing planters and pylons standing near the monorail loading platform. However, once the display started to rise out of the ground to become the roof of a stage, usually while a band was playing as the Terrace rose into place. The area was geared primarily towards teens, as the area in front of the stage was cleared of tables and chairs nightly to make room for dancing. The Tomorrowland Terrace has undergone a few remodels, and a temporary name change in 2001, becoming Club Buzz, but the Tomorrowland Terrace name returned in 2006. It currently is used for the Jedi Training Academy audience participation stage show.

A second bandstand opened in Tomorrowland this summer, the Tomorrowland Stage, that stood where the Flying Saucers landed previously. This stage was used for larger acts, while the Tomorrowland Terrace would be used for smaller acts. Though intended for musical acts, the Tomorrowland Stage is most known for showing a large-scale television broadcast, as Tomorrowland met today on July 20, 1969 when park guests watched the Apollo 11 moon landing live on an erected screen at the Tomorrowland Stage. The stage was rebuilt and renamed to Space Stage in 1977 to make room for Space Mountain. The stage would remain until 1986, when it was removed to make room for an indoor theater.

Tomorrowland Stage, July 20 1969

Tomorrowland Stage, July 20 1969

A remodel of Tomorrowland would not be complete without at least one shop being added to enhance the experience. Instead of several small shops, the Character Shop opened up in the building that previously housed the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit and Fun Fotos displays. This was one of the largest shops in the park, and was located between two large venues (the almost open Adventures Thru Inner Space and the Tomorrowland Stage). In the back of the store, ten feet overhead, passed the PeopleMover vehicles. The in park shopping destination would last until 1986, when it would be replaced by another retail shop with a different name.

Just one month after the debut of the new Tomorrowland, another E-Ticket attraction opened in the area.The fourth and final Monsanto sponsored attraction, Adventures Thru Inner Space opened to the public on August 5, 1967. The ride was located in the first building upon entering Tomorrowland from Main Street USA, where the Hall of Aluminum Fame and Hall of Chemistry were previously housed.The attraction took guests and their “Atomobiles” and shrunk them with the Mighty Microscope so they could enter a snowflake and explore its chemical breakdown. Narrated by Paul Frees, this was the first attraction in the park to utilize the Omnimover ride system. This allowed the ride vehicle to remain in continuous motion during the loading and unloading process, as guests would step onto a moving platform (similar to the PeopleMover, which passed the loading queue from overhead). The Omnimover system also allowed the vehicle to turn and direct the guests towards the element they should be focusing their attention. The attraction would last until 1985, making space for a new ride experience.

Mighty Microscope - Adventures Thru Inner Space

Mighty Microscope – Adventures Thru Inner Space

Flight to the Moon would lift off on its maiden voyage one week later, on August 12, 1967. Standing in the same launching pad as its predecessor Rocket to the Moon, this simulation ride was similar to the previous but added a preboarding show, hosted by Audio-Animatronic Tom Morrow. This show gave a tour of Mission Control, including an attempted UFO landing (just a bird that seems to trip the over-sensitive alarms every day). The attraction, ranked as a D-Ticket, was not popular with park guests, who less than two years later were able to see a real flight to the moon happen from their home television and the Tomorrowland Stage. As a result, Flight to the Moon would be grounded in 1975 in preparation for a more ambitious space mission.

Flight to the Moon show building

Flight to the Moon show building

On December 1, 1967, the House of the Future closed its front door to park guests. After a quick yet careful deconstruction (careful as it was discovered a wrecking ball literally could not topple the plastic structure, crowbars and saws had to be used), the former housing pad was turned into Alpine Gardens, a virtually undeveloped rest area that provided photo opportunities of both Matterhorn Mountain and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The Alpine Garden would stand until 1995, when walls went up to develop another garden to open the following year.

Alpine Gardens

Alpine Gardens

After the massive remodel that was unveiled in 1967, Tomorrowland was left alone for the most part. The one exception, Carousel of Progress, which left for Florida in 1973. Its replacement in Disneyland was America Sings, a 24 minute patriotic celebration featuring 114 audio-animatronics. Utilizing the same rotating theater system used for Carousel of Progress, though in the opposite direction, with six different stops and musical renditions. All of the performers in the show were animals in traditional American costume for the renditions being performed. The show was hosted by Sam and Ollie, and eagle and owl, respectively; Sam voiced by Burl Ives. The attraction was popular through 1976 and the American Bicentennial, though attendance decreased soon after, though the show stayed open for many more years. In 1988 America Sings sang its last song, many animal performers were transported across the park to the new Splash Mountain, others were skinned and placed in the Star Tours queue, and the Carousel Theater was transformed to offices.

AmericaSingsFinale

Up next we will look at the next decade of Tomorrowland, 1975-1984. I thank you for taking the time to read this today. I thank you for taking the time to read this today. I ask you would please leave comments.  You may contact me directly on Twitter @Quest4VaultDisn, and you may also subscribe to be alerted by email when new postings are published. Quest for Vault Disney is now on Facebook. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/questforvaultdisney. Have a great rest of your day. See ya real soon…

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5 Comments

  1. Really enjoying this series, especially seeing all the pictures of the Disneand I never got to see. Can’t wait for the next one!

  2. […] and development of the land from July 18, 1955 through the end of calendar year 1964, while Part 3 looked at the ten years of 1965 through 1974. Here is a look at the ten year period between 1975 […]

  3. […] 1995-2004. For glimpses of the area in past decades and opening day, be sure to look at Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and […]

  4. […] 2004-2015. For glimpses of the area in past decades and opening day, be sure to look at Parts 1,2, 3, 4, 5, and […]

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