This is the final segment in a series of articles devoted to D23’s presentation of Destination D, Attraction Rewind, D23, (hosted by H20+) from November 21-23 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  This event was exclusive to D23 Fan Club members who purchased advance tickets. 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 and also 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.

Destination D, Attraction Rewind’s “theme” was divided into two topics. First, the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair (see Part 2 of this series in the link below).  Second, Disney shows and attractions that are no longer in operation as well as ideas and attractions that never quite made it to completion, such as Discovery Bay.
Part 1 of this series focuses on the Treasures of Walt Disney Archives exhibit as described by Becky Cline, Director of Walt Disney Archives
Part 2 of this series focuses on Disney’s presence in the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair 

Part 3 - Sunday, November 23, 2014

 

On the final day of the event, Sunday, November 23, 2014, the presentations were focused on Disneyland’s attractions of the past and ideas that were explored, but didn’t quite make it to fruition (Discovery Bay!). The presenters were all very interesting and really informative. Day three also included an evening party called “Pleasure Island: Rewind” which was presented by Twinings of London with a special viewing of Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks show.

 

Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past

Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and Historian Stacia Martin journey through some of Disneyland’s most beloved attractions of yesteryear.

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Walt Disney, his team of Imagineers, and representatives from Monsanto examine a model of the Mighty Microscope for Adventure Thru Inner Space, featured in Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and historian Stacia Martin’s presentationDisneyland: Fond Memories of the Past,” a journey through some of the park’s most beloved attractions of yesteryear. ©Disney

After an unexpected screening of the film Magic Journeys from Disneyland was played for the audience in 2D, D23 members were appropriately in a nostalgic mood for a walk down memory lane with Stacia Martin and Becky Cline.

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Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline took guests on a ride through of the never constructed Enchanted Snow Palace with artwork by Marc Davis.

An Enchanted Snow Palace with a Beautiful Snow Queen?  Did you know that for many years an attraction was contemplated in depth that featured a beautiful snow queen with a long white braid hanging over her shoulder who presided over a frozen land? No, I am not referring to Queen Elsa of Arendelle, I am referring to a snow queen drawn by Marc Davis for an attraction inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s novel, The Snow Queen.  The snow queen he sketched in the 1970’s was used as inspiration by present-day Imagineers for the regal Queen Elsa of Arendelle.  Davis’ snow queen wore a lovely powder blue dress with snowflakes adorning the skirt.  D23 Members were shown the rare concept art which was drawn by Marc Davis more than 30 years ago.  In his vision, there were polar bears, penguins, ice bergs, and frozen trees – and Tinker Bell had a role and was depicted on quite a few of the sketches. There was even an “Enchanted Snow Palace”, pictured below, which was drawn in 1977.  A frosty ride would be created that was to be a much-needed respite for over-heated guests with air conditioning and a polar theme.  When the Frozen film was being created, Mr. Davis’ drawings were pulled from the vault and examined again.  At Disney, ideas are never really “scrapped” they are just eventually reborn and re-imagined.

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A piece of Marc Davis’ concept art of the Enchanted Snow Palace attraction, which was never built. ©Disney

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An added bonus was that D23 members were able to use a handy-dandy Stamp D23 gadget that we received in our welcome day gift bags to unlock exclusive content on the D23 website (D23.com) and a short video of a slew of Marc Davis’ Snow Queen concept art pieces were available to pour over, which I admit I have watched at least a half dozen times.

Stacia Martin and Becky Cline took us through the lands of Disneyland as they were in the past.  Here are a few of the highlights:

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Disney historian Stacia Martin during the “Disneyland Fond Memories of the Past” panel.

 

MAIN STREET, DISNEYLAND

The Main Street Opera House at Disneyland has an interesting history.  Back when Disneyland was a wee-babe, the cost of admission did not include tickets for the attractions, guests needed to purchase them.  Main Street Opera House was the first building on Main Street and also sold “ticket one”, appropriately.  This building was built as a large façade with an open back, serving as a wood mill and shop. Behind the façade, there a bustling workshop was in operation, creating buildings for Disneyland.  Walt had imagined that the Opera House would one day be a television studio.

In 1961, Walt Disney produced an adaptation of Babes in Toyland.  Stacia Martin explained that this was not a fully integrated musical, but served as a “dress rehearsal” for Mary Poppins, per Stacia Martin.  The sets and the art were gorgeous, very lavish and storybook like, featuring fanciful Mother Goose Village sets that eventually became an important part of Disneyland when an attraction was created utilizing the sets.

“Mother Goose Village” was the first attraction located in the Main Street Opera house after it was no longer used as a saw mill. Part of “Mother Goose Village”, Mary Quite Contrary’s home had whimsical garden that was designed by Rolly Crump, in his recognizable style.  Also used in this attraction, were the Babes in Toyland sets for “Jack Be Nimble …” and also a “Toy Factory”.  There was a “Forest of No Return” with an inhabited tree that would stroll out and startle unsuspecting adults and children, even if you were only 2 years old and sitting in a stroller, as Stacia Martin remembers from her own personal, horrific experience. Guests had an opportunity to meet Mother Goose herself as well as Simple Simon.  I wish I could share the fascinating photos that we were shown!

The Toyland sets were housed at Disneyland in the Opera House area until 1963 when the Mickey Mouse Club began using the Opera House as its International Headquarters, thus, fulfilling Walt’s original concept as a studio and recording area.

 

TOMORROWLAND

-       Yesteryear’s Tomorrowland featured several attractions sponsored by Montsanto Chemical Company.  Miracles of Molecules was located in the Hall of Chemistry.  Star Tours is now in this location of Disneyland.

-       The House of the Future which was a futuristic white (mostly plastic) home on stilts, also sponsored by Montsanto. There were four “wings” of the house, showcasing a two children’s bedrooms and a master bedroom.  This home had “powered refrigeration shelves, mircrowave range, ultrasonic dishwasher” (description is from a Monsanto Magazine article dated 1960 found here:  http://www.yesterland.com/futurewontwait.html on Yesterland’s website.  Great reading).

-       Adventure through Inner Space, in operation from 1967-1987 took guests through a mighty microscope which simulated shrinking humans to smaller than the size of an atom and then guests were injected into a snowflake. This ride closed and the area became Star Tours.

-       From 1956-1963, Tomorrowland also was home to Our Future in Colors sponsored by Dutch Boy Paint Gallery. Guests could explore color combinations with certain musical notes sounding based on whether the combination was aesthetically pleasing or not.

-       Next to Dutch Boy’s attraction, there was an American Dairy Bar sponsored by – Surprise! - The American Dairy Association, which sold big glasses of cold milk.

-       The Circorama was the first circular theater, boasting eleven screens, playing America the Beautiful.

-       Richfield Oil sponsored attractions such as The World Beneath Us, which explored the earth and its geology, oil and a dramatic model of a refinery.

-       The Court of Flags showcased each state’s flag, arranged in order of their entry to the union.

-       The sets for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea were a big draw to Tomorrowland.  Guests walked through and saw a huge nautilus, created by Harper Goff.  Captain Nemo’s pipe organ was on display, and interestingly, this organ has never left Disneyland!  It is now located in the Haunted Mansion as part of the show.

FANTASYLAND

Fantasyland has always been thought of “spiritual heart of Disneyland”. She described the early Fantasyland as “a fun and colorful area”, but it wasn’t exactly specific to anything Disney related.  It was later recreated to be more specific to film environments.

-       Merlin’s Magic Shop was an attraction that would lower a spider onto your head

-       There was a Welch’s Grape Juice stand

FRONTIERLAND

-       There was at one time an Indian Village in Frontierland, which was later removed.  You could peek inside teepees, paddle a canoe, watch an Indian rain-dance and shop in the trading post.

-       Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland was the main draw in Frontierland, with pack mules and stage coaches taking guests through rugged frontier lands and deserts.

-       Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland.  This area would be home to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was a mine train that took guests through scenic vistas.  The song from this attraction was played for D23 guests and had a catchy, twangy tune with cowboy lyrics, and is one of the Sherman Brothers’ early Disney songs, written in 1961.

“… all aboard the mine train, were leavin’ right away,

headin’ for the wilderness …

rollin’ cross the trussel, a headin’ for the  mine –

if you feel like swimming, jump in the waters fine

Those bears are really happy, their young’uns left to climb,

that critter there - that there is Itchy Sam, he’s havin’ supper time,

Hey look, there’s an elk’s convention 

Travelin’ on the mine train through natures wonderland….” 

 

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Photo of Skull Rock from Disneyland, featured in Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline and historian Stacia Martin’s presentation “Disneyland: Fond Memories of the Past,” a journey through some of the park’s most beloved attractions of yesteryear. ©Disney

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A scene from the development of the Mickey Mouse Revue, featured in the “Widen Your World” presentation in which Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Charlie Ridgway and Imagineer Jason Grandt revisited popular attractions from the early years of Walt Disney World Resort. ©Disney

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The exterior of the If You Had Wings attraction, featured in the “Widen Your World” presentation in which Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Charlie Ridgway and Imagineer Jason Grandt revisited popular attractions from the early years of Walt Disney World Resort. ©Disney

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Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway during the “Widen Your World” presentation.

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(Left to Right) Imagineer Jason Grandt and Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Charlie Ridgway, during the “Widen Your World” presentation.

DISCOVERY BAY CHRONICLES

Disney Legend Tony Baxter presented an in depth tour of a never-built expansion for Disneyland, Discovery Bay through detailed stories and rarely seen concept artwork. During the 1970’s, an expansion was contemplated for Disneyland that was based in post gold rush San Francisco, appearing a bit “steampunk” to me.  There were attractions which were based on the movies Island at the Top of the World and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  One of many Discovery Bay ideas that was explored was for an attraction that would take guests on a flight aboard the Hyperion that would float through the aurora borealis, a polar bear ice berg area and ultimately into the ruins of an ancient city.  Migrating whales would come to this lost city and leap up, attacking the boat the guests were riding in. I believe it would have been fabulous.  The movie, Island at the Top of the World failed miserably at the box office and may have contributed to why this expansion was never built.  But as we know, nothing is ever really “dead” that a Disney Imagineer creates – so perhaps this vision will someday still come to fruition?

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Concept art of Discovery Bay from the “Discovery Bay Chronicles,” a presentation in which Disney Legend Tony Baxter took guests on an in-depth tour of the never-built concept for Disneyland. ©Disney

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A promotional shot of the EPCOT Daredevil Circus Spectacular featured in “That Was Entertainment,” a presentation in which Disney Legend Ron Logan lifted the curtain on past entertainment offerings from Walt Disney World Resort history.

It seems appropriate to include the following random self-explanatory pictures of displays that were created for D23 Guests to enjoy – and now for you to peruse as well!  Enjoy!