What a FANtastic weekend!  D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, presented Destination D-Attraction Rewind (hosted by H20+) from November 21-23 at the Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort in Orlando, Florida.  If you aren’t familiar, this was a members-only extravaganza with presentations by Disney historians, Imagineers and Legends. Aside from a very informative compilation of panelists and presentations D23 members enjoyed a pop-up Mickey’s of Glendale shop with exclusive limited edition merchandise (and PINS!), a Treasures of Walt Disney Archives exhibit as well as a sneak peek at Disney’s Tomorrowland.  If you didn’t attend, don’t fret, you can join the D23 official fan club (for free) by signing up at the following link: https://d23.com/about-d23. There are upgraded membership levels available as well.

The weekend’s “theme” was divided into two topics. First, on Saturday, the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair was delved into because some of the Disney parks’ most beloved attractions are a result of Disney’s contributions to the fair (Carousel of Progress, It’s a Small World and the animatronic Mr. Lincoln). The second day’s theme covered beloved Disney shows and attractions that are no longer in operation as well as little known ideas and attractions that never quite made it to completion.  I will give you all the details on the themed days in the next parts of this series: Part 2, Saturday 11/22/14: Welcome to the World’s Fair and Part 3, Sunday, 11/23,14: Attraction Rewind.

On Friday, I had the privilege of attending a press conference to hear Walt Disney Archive Director, Becky Cline, discuss in depth the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives Exhibit that displayed World’s Fair souvenirs, iconic items from attractions that are closed (such as a baby polar bear from Maelstrom).

Becky Cline proved to be a treasure in her own right as she regaled us with the fabulous history of the items on display in the Treasures exhibit, bringing personality to each of the items I had just viewed.  I was already thoroughly fascinated and I had taken hundreds of photos as I walked through (lucky for you I narrowed it down!!) but Becky really took it to a new level, as you will see.


Becky Cline, Director of Walt Disney Archives, pictured above

One of Becky’s favorite items displayed in this particular exhibit is the “Irradiated Dime” from the Hall of Science at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.  She explained that you could put your own dime into a slot and it would then be dropped though a nifty machine which would shoot it with the “irradiator”.  The dime would change color and fall into a slot where there was a Geiger counter that actually would prove to you that your dime was now radioactive!  Fortunately, Becky said that the half-life of radiation for a dime is only about 22 seconds so it was likely safe by the time it was placed into a sleeve and then handed to you to take home.


Above, the Irradiated Dime

The “Mold-O-Rama”, pictured below, is a wax toy-making contraption that was quite popular during the 1950’s and 1960’s. These machines churned out Disney figurines and colored dinosaurs at the fair, particularly in the Sinclair Dinoland area, according to Becky. The machine pictured is a working machine with the original electronic boards and we could still smell the melted wax. The white Disney figurines in the pictures below are from the World’s Fair while the colored dinosaurs are borrowed from a collector in Florida for this display to demonstrate the variety of toys this machine could produce. Another LaughingPlace.com correspondent, Jeremiah, posted this link, showing the machine in action! Check it out here: http://t.co/rohwreNDq6




Another darling piece from the exhibit was this child’s purse or tote, pictured below.  While it is not necessarily Disney related, it was included as an example of the types of souvenirs that were purchased during the fair.


Below is a 1964-65 New York World’s Fair adult ticket. As you can see, adult entrance was granted for the price of $2.00 which is the equivalent of about $15.00 in 2014.  It is interesting that certain attractions were an additional fee or ticket, further increasing the price.  For example, to gain entry to It’s a Small World, the additional cost was .60 for children and .95 for adults.  There were ten million tickets for It’s a Small World sold and all proceeds went to UNICEF.


Wonderfully preserved and displayed souvenir coloring books.



Below is a “long playing record together with a big full color picture book of a happy voyage to visit the children of the world” with a picture of the “Tower of the Four Winds” displayed on the front.  This artwork is iconic, it is featured throughout the exhibit.  The back of the record is available for purchase in a matted ready-to-frame picture in the Mickey’s of Glendale Giftshop.


The back of the record:


From the giftshop:


A photo of the whimsical Tower of the Four Winds designed by artist/Imagineer Rolly Crump.


Below is a Mr. Lincoln record souvenir, packaged and ready to go – as a postcard! A World’s Fair guest could buy this record, write an address on it, affix postage and viola, it was sent to a relative or friend.  Surprisingly, some of these survived the postal system and are still around.


Next are items from beloved attractions that are no longer in operation.

What Disney exhibit would be complete without a few precious and beloved items from retired attractions?  Below is a baby polar bear that was taken from Epcot’s Maelstrom (which was retired a few months ago amid much controversy) as the ride is being converted to a Frozen themed attraction.



One of my favorite rides, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was previously located in the area where you will now find The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.


Figment is pictured below.  Tony Baxter, a Disney Legend, told us during a presentation that Figment was originally imagined and drawn as a green dinosaur, however when Kodak (the sponsor) saw the logo they were slightly concerned because their rival, Fuji, has a green dragon logo.  Figment was promptly drawn to be a purple dragon.



The people in the small figurine, below, were part of a ride at Disneyland in California, Adventure Thru Inner Space. Becky said this ride was very scary to her as a child because she was afraid she might be reduced to the size of a molecule if she rode it because it was very realistic to her, at that time.


You can watch the entire press conference with Becky Cline here: