Tomorrowland 2

By EPCOT Explorer

40 years ago, Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland finally opened it’s long awaited and much needed expansion that added highly valued and exemplary attractions to the Magic Kingdom’s roster. Adding Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, the Star Jets, and a few months later, the WEDWay PeopleMover, Tomorrowland was elevated from being a paltry afterthought, to a showplace for space age optimism, ideas, and fantastic aesthetics. Continue after the page break as we take a look back to Tommorrowland of 1975…

In 1971, Tomorrowland opened only with Mission to the Moon, CircleVision 360, and later, added If You Had Wings in 1972. 1975 would see Tomorrowland brought up to speed and standard in the Vacation Kingdom.

Space Mountain, a Walt Disney World original, would go on to be cloned around the world in all of Disney’s Magic Kingdoms.


The Carousel of Progress, originally a mainstay of the 1964 World’s Fair, came home to Disneyland once the fair packed up, and then, was shipped off to Florida, where it has played to more audiences than any other stage show, as often boasted by Disney public relations.

The WEDWay, of course, is a Disneyland original, but the Florida version utilized new technology, which, at one point was sold and brokered for actual industrial use. This attraction opened in July of 1975.

The Star Jets, although simple, remain a staple in Magic Kingdoms around the world.

A few years ago, Walt Disney World opened up a new section of Fantasyland, and hailed that as the largest expansion in the park’s history. In terms of acreage, this might be true. But in the terms of capacity, attractions, and experience added to the park, Tomorrowland, in 1975, holds the lion’s share of “expansion” titles.

Happy 40th, Tomorrowland! Here’s to the future and you and 40 more years of Great Big Beautiful Tomorrows!

EPCOT Explorer has been visiting the Walt Disney World Resort since he was 2 years old and has recently just made his first visit to Disneyland. EPCOT Explorer’s first ‘Disney’ interest is the history of EPCOT Center of his youth and the brand of optimism, futurism, and culture that was originally found in the park. Other interests include the thematic interplay of design elements in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdoms that make these theme parks repositories of culture and Americana. EPCOT Explorer is also interested in the World’s Fairs for their connections to EPCOT and tiki culture, since the return of the Enchanted Tiki Room to Walt Disney World in 2011. EE’s writings often focus on the minutia of Disney’s enterprises and attempt to uncover how and why the parks function in the manner that they do. EPCOT Explorer is currently a graduate student and Teaching Assistant in History at Florida International University. EPCOTEXPLORER.TUMBLR.COM

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A Walk in the Park: Disneyland Edition – A Diamond Celebration

By Daisy Sparks

January usually brings in a flurry of closures and walls around buildings to signify refurbishment time. This year, there are some popular attraction and area closures in order to get ready for Disneyland’s 60th birthday. There is even an entire land, Critter Country, that is completely inaccessible until April 2nd. It looks like there has been more thought into how these huge refurbishment walls should look. There are huge printed canvas tarps placed over some of the attraction facades so it looks like a giant photo of the building. The walls are more decorative to blend in with the area and include special posters featuring information about the refurbishment itself. Let’s take a look at all these preparations taking place at Disneyland in this week’s A Walk in the Park article…

Let’s start our walk today by taking a look at all the refurbishments as Disneyland prepares for its 60th Diamond celebration:

“it’s a small world”

Last week, these giant tarps went up. This is an example of one of those big photo screens that I was referring to. It covers up work behind the scenes and then you can still take a decent photo without the ugly plain tarps.

Most of the refurbishment is associated with taking down the holiday lights on the exterior and all the holiday fun inside. “it’s a small world” is scheduled to reopen on February 5th.

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Here is an example of using themed walls around an attraction.

They have these great posters up that have lots of interesting history and trivia about the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

It is a pretty extensive refurbishment as it is not scheduled to re-open until mid-May. Rumor has it that there will be cosmetic upgrades involved.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle is such an iconic part of the Disneyland landscape. It has a place in Disneyland history as “the castle” that Walt Disney was so involved with. One of my favorite photos is Walt walking through the castle in the early morning.

For its big 60th birthday, it’s no surprise that Sleeping Beauty Castle is getting a major cleaning that includes draining the moat. Last week, these wooden fences came up barring access through the Castle.

Here is a close up of the informative signs that decorate the wood fences.

Here is a view from the back of the Castle.

You can still walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle but it’s pretty narrow in there since the castle is small. The castle walk-through is supposed to re-open in mid-March.

Yesterday I was able to see more progress of the Sleeping Beauty Castle 60th makeover. Looks like they are working on the actual exterior now.

Throughout its birthday history, Sleeping Beauty Castle has had different dressings to celebrate a big milestone. There were 5 different golden tiaras placed on the castle turrets back in 2005 for the 50th birthday. This year is a big deal and by the time you read this post, Disneyland will have revealed their Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration official artwork, special offerings and an artist rendering of what Sleeping Beauty Castle will look like for its 60th birthday.

Wishing you lots of magical wishes from Disneyland!


Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her “college job” led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 
Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy’s Duck’s help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland’s Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it “the happiest place on earth.”
You can read more about Daisy’s Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

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Walt’s Special Charm Bracelets for Lilly

By Keith Mahne

Have a look at this beautiful Oscar charm bracelet that Walt had made for Lilly in the early 1960s. Made of 18K gold, the bracelet is fashioned with 20 miniature statuettes, each of which is engraved with the name of the work for which it was awarded. Originally, Walt envisioned having a necklace made with these charms given to him by the Academy; but when Lilly said she’d prefer a bracelet, the tiny statuettes were put into a different design.  After the bracelet was constructed, Lilly wore it often and with great pride. Continue after the page break for more on this wonderful piece of history and another commemorating Snow White…

In her later years, Lilly gave the bracelet to one of her granddaughters, who also treasured the stunning piece. Unfortunately, the bracelet was found missing after a time, apparently stolen by someone who had access to the family home.

Made of 18K gold, the bracelet is fashioned with 20 miniature statuettes, each of which is engraved with the name of the work for which it was awarded.

It wasn’t until a number of years later that the bracelet resurfaced, in the Los Angeles area and now makes its home at the Walt Disney Family Museum where it belongs.

Above is another charm bracelet that makes its home at the WDFM, though of a different nature. Dating back to 1937, the bracelet was designed by Cartier, Inc. with charms featuring the likenesses of Snow White and each of the Seven Dwarfs. Lillian wore the bracelet to the premiere of the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theater in 1937. Walt too owned a piece of Snow White Cartier merchandise: a money clip featuring one of the best beloved dwarfs, Dopey. Both the bracelet and money clip were fashioned from high quality gold and enamel, and represented some of the most exclusive products from a line of merchandise for children as well as adults created around Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true everyday.

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Motion Mondays: Building Main Street, USA

By Keith Mahne

This week’s Motion Mondays article features the construction of Disneyland’s Main Street, USA. Footage is from Kodak Presents Disneyland ‘59. Continue after the page break and have a look…

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An End of an Era: Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat

By Ryan Reed

As most of you know, the Sorcerer Mickey Hat has been in the news over the last few months.  As it turns out, Disney has decided to dismantle the magical icon in what seems to be related to the rumored changes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  As I’ve said before when talking about other changes in Walt Disney World, we should appreciate it evolving right before our very eyes.  I feel the removal of a park icon is bigger than an attraction (sorry Maelstrom) because it means much more to each and every guest that sets foot in a park.  You can avoid an attraction; you can’t avoid a park icon.  So for this post I just want to share some of my opinions on why this upsets some folks and what direction Disney may be going next. Continue after the page break for more…

Why is there such a polarizing view on the removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat?  Not being able to avoid a park icon means we make associations with said icon even if it’s purely on a subconscious level.  I feel this comes down to the age or generation of any given guest.  If you were born in, let’s say, 1960 and have been visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios since its inception; chances are you directly associate the Chinese Theater to this park (originally named Disney’s MGM Studios).  Having said that, this person might also associate the park with the Earful Tower.  Disney used both of these icons in park maps at the time but I would say the Chinese Theater was the icon Disney planned to represent their newest park.

We will soon see the original sightline down Hollywood Blvd.

Now, under the same set of criteria, a person born in 2000 has only ever known the park with Mickey’s Sorcerer hat.  It’s an immediate connection as Disney decided to completely cover up the original park icon and make it seem nothing more than their usual incredibly well themed attractions.  Also, the Sorcerers Hat has long been featured in park maps, brochures, merchandise, etc. – furthering its connection to the park.

A sight we’re all used to and some have only known.

You can go either way on someone who was born in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Me, for example, only remembers the Studios with the Sorcerer Mickey Hat and I was born in 1988.  I visited Disney World the most during the 90’s, so I’ve been in the Studios without the hat more often than not.  Now, when the Hat was constructed, I was only about 12 years old, leaving all my experiences prior to the hat to a young child.  As I visited at an older age, I was able to remember the hat more than anything else. 

No matter what your opinion is of Disney removing this icon, I feel we can all look at the silver lining of the situation: the growth and change of the parks.  Walt said it himself: “Disneyland will never be completed.  It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”  Walt Disney Imagineers have stuck to this principle ever since, leading to a popular quote: “Disneyland is not a Museum.”  Clearly this motto has left California and made its way to the other Disney parks throughout the world.  It’s a principle of the company and one we can see as the Hat is dismantled.  I think we should look at the positive side of all this and revel in the fact that change is coming to the Studios.  Some, probably most, will agree that this change is much needed.  Who knows where Disney is going next and I can’t wait to see what they have planned.

An MGM Program from 1989 – clearly showing the prominence of the Chinese Theater and Earful Tower.

 What do you think Disney has in store for us?   What is the next icon?  Will it be something that captures the rumored re-imagination of the park?  We have all heard the Star Wars, Pixar Place and Indiana Jones rumors by now; will these plans be on a grand enough scale to result in a completely new icon?  Or will we see a familiar structure take over as the new icon?  Maybe the Tower of Terror will be the face of the Studios from here on out.  It makes sense on a lot of different levels.  Even when the Hat was the icon, the Tower of Terror arguably drew more association with the park.  It’s a large structure, a “Weenie” that Walt himself would be proud of.  If you aren’t familiar with this term, it is one Walt coined.  It’s basically a structure that would lead guests to certain parts of the park.  Think Cinderella’s Castle, Expedition Everest or, as I said, the Tower of Terror.  Lastly, the Chinese Theater or the Earful Tower could take back their original roles as park icons. 

Concept Art for Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat.  Originally intended just for the 100 Years of Magic celebration.
So, what do I think of all of this?  I never was a huge fan of the Sorcerer Hat.  Although I draw a stronger connection with it to the Studios, I knew it wasn’t the original icon and that it was simply placed right in front of the Chinese Theater.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the hat itself; I didn’t like why it was there or how it was done.  It just seemed out of place.  To me, it was like putting a massive structure in front of Cinderella’s Castle or the Epcot Ball – like, why are you there?  Having said that, I’m also a very sentimental person.  I know I’ve said I like that Disney is in a state of change but it’s still tough to see something go that I’ve enjoyed for such a long time.  At the end of the day, though, I’m ok with it going.
Finally, above all else, we need to embrace the period of change we are witnessing.  This doesn’t happen often, especially on the level it is happening right now.  For better or worse, this is an exciting time.  Obviously I want to hear what your opinion is of all of this now that we can actually see the Hat coming down.  Do you feel it’s the right move?  Are you upset now that you can see an era coming to an end?  Make sure to let me know in the comments below.

Ryan Reed is from Upstate New York and grew up in a suburb just west of Rochester.  He graduated from the College at Brockport with a Bachelors of Science in Philosophy; he also plans to go back to school to acquire his MBA within the next couple of years.  For hobbies, Ryan spends his time staying active and just recently ran the 2014 Boiler Maker 15K for the first time.  Also, he is a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan who thinks every year is “our year”.  Basketball is, without a doubt, his favorite sport and shares the same interest with his father.  They both bond over being Boston Celtics fans and regularly make trips to the New England area to watch them play.  Ryan’s interest in craft beer is shared amongst his friends and girlfriend; they enjoy touring, learning, and experiencing everything brewers have to offer.  His ties to Walt Disney World started before he even was a year old.  As a child, his family took him back year after year and has continued to go back almost yearly.  At first, his love for Disney World was due to the attractions that he had never experienced elsewhere.  Then he began to be intrigued with how the parks, rides, and restaurants came to be – the sheer size of what they were able to build fascinated him.  In his sophomore year of college Ryan took part in the Disney College Program.  He worked at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Fantasmic! as well as Rock N’ Roller Coaster.  This experience allowed him to see a whole new side of Disney and gained an appreciation for what they do more than ever before.  Now Ryan looks for any information he can to understand the history of Disney World and how it came to be.  He has witnessed Disney go through a lot of changes but his interests and appreciation for the parks evolved along with it.  His favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion but a close second is Tower of Terror.  Epcot has become his favorite park; there are so many different things to experience – each visit seems like a new adventure.  His favorite time at Disney is dusk; each park transforms into something completely different once the sun sets.  His favorite Disney movie is Toy Story and favorite Disney character is Tigger.  Ryan’s articles will discuss tips about Disney World, some “best of” pieces, as well as history of both the parks and resorts.

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A Walk in the Park: WDW Edition – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

By Krista Joy

It’s a cool, breezy, beautiful January day here in Orlando. It’s the kind of day where you just can’t stay inside. Let’s step out…and take a step back… in time today, as we enjoy the sights of Old Hollywood, here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Be our guest at Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage! Check in over at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and then let’s go get a beer at Dad’s Tune-In Lounge! Are you hungry for some of Mom’s cooking over at 50’s Prime Time Café? We’ve got it all for you and more, right here on Disney Avenue’s A Walk in the Park: Walt Disney World Edition


Krista Joy is a former Disney cast member, current head author at and a co-host for the Disney Parks Podcast. She was born, raised, and has never lived any where else but in the heart of Orlando Florida. Not knowing what it’s like to be away from Walt Disney World for very long – the magic has truly become a part of who she is. Krista’s Disney dream is to bring magic and fun to the every day lives of her fellow Disney fans – while sharing some laughs along the way. She is very grateful to Keith and the team at for helping her to make this dream a reality! You can read more about Krista at

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Disneyland IS a Museum: Historical Appreciation of both Form and Genre

By EPCOT Explorer

“The idea of Disneyland is a simple one. It will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge. It will be a place for parents and children to share pleasant times in one another’s company; a place for teachers and pupils to discover greater ways of understanding and education. Here the older generation can recapture the nostalgia of days gone by, and the younger generation can savor the challenge of the future. Here will be the wonders of Nature and Man for all to see and understand. Disneyland will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and hard facts that have created America. And it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world. Disneyland will be sometimes a fair, an exhibition, a playground, a community center, a museum of living facts, and a showplace of beauty and magic. It will be filled with accomplishments, the joys and hopes of the world we live in. And it will remind us and show us how to make these wonders part of our own lives.”   –Walt Disney

If you’ve spent any time as part of the Disney community, online or otherwise, debates and discussion about the nature of Disneyland or any of the parks practically define the terrain of popular thought. One of the most fundamental of these questions in the community is the role of history. Disney is a very historical company. Walt brought his enterprise to fame during the early decades of the 20th century, when Hollywood boomed and grew into the monolithic entity that it now is, not only for American culture, but the greater entertainment culture of the world. Disney’s early films, while not all ‘high art’ (I would place Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Fantasia into that category, however.) have come to be seen as the bedrock for Disney’s legacy in the entertainment world. Disneyland is no different. With this in mind, Disneyland deserves preservation. And Disneyland IS a museum that holds vital parts of this entertainment legacy. Continue after the page break for the rest of this story…

By now, I’ve probably raised some eyebrows. “Disneyland isn’t a museum” is one of the most oft debated tropes in the Disney fandom. Those that uphold the notion that Disneyland isn’t a museum usually seem to negatively portray museum settings as static and stoic, perhaps out of touch with the demands of its guests for entertainment and a vibrant and artful experience. But for me, at least, I disagree with that assessment. Disneyland is a museum in terms of what content it holds and the place it enjoys in not only Disney’s historical legacy, but also the greater arc of American entertainment history. Although Disneyland should and does change over time, it has endeavored to keep aspects of the place as constants and reminders of why it exists and how it came to be. With this in mind, the “form” of Disneyland is a collection of genres. These genres are vital parts of Disneyland’s status as what I like to think are the components of something akin to a ‘living museum’. Disneyland is a fluid place, yes, but its fluidity and its changes revolve around improvements and deepening the thematic coherency of the place. Wide scale changes, when they occur, can indeed damage the historical aspects of the park, but that is not always a definite. In any case, the genres of Disneyland provide it with content that tie it to the mid 1950s and the ethos that first brought it into being and has allowed it to flourish for almost 60 years now.

“I love the nostalgic, myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past.” –Walt Disney
If there is one common thread in most of Disneyland’s lands, nostalgia for a romanticizing the past provides the context for the tapestry of environments that is Disneyland. Most would say that fantasy also defines the borders of Disneyland, and that is true on a more narrative-focused level but the places presented in Disneyland itself are grounded by perceptions of history and the of past. Much like the Walt Disney Company over the past 20 years, I am ignoring Tomorrowland for the sake of discussing that Disneyland is a museum.
Disneyland employs nostalgia in a way that replicates the past that allows it to resonate and romanticize. Adventureland is the exotic flair of the unknown and the positive parts of colonialism, without the peril and politics of the actual events that pushed European explorers into the African wilderness and the Polynesian isles. The Enchanted Tiki Room is an outgrowth of the Tiki culture craze that swept through the United States following World War II and the admission of Hawaii into the Union.  These are not the bread and butter moments of historical truths, but they are cultural moments in how the entertainment industry viewed history. They are, in no small terms, part of “public history” and help make sense of the looking glass by which entertainers viewed the changing world around them. Some might say that Disneyland sanitizes history, which I suppose is true, for the purposes of very narrow academic history, but I take a different perspective. Disneyland’s brand of history and thus, Disneyland culture, is the means by which Disneyland is a historical artifact of sorts, and, therefore, akin to a museum. Disneyland holds all of these pieces of perspective and history, making it a vital bastion of how history is seen in a certain light.

This museum quality of Disneyland is not to say that change cannot come to the place. The Enchanted Tiki Room has been shortened over the years and its effects reworked. So have other classics, like The Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean, or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Although I won’t get into the debate of tampering with the inherent and delicate art of each attraction in this article, I will say that small changes to improve the overall thematic technology at hand and illusion is perfectly acceptable and almost expected. I would not want to see the ‘museum of Disneyland’ become static and outdated. Rather, I would like to see it bettered, remade, and refined, but in a manner consistent with the ideals that have allowed it to flourish since its inception.

The ideals that have allowed for Disneyland’s success are vital parts of the perspectives and brand of history that I discussed in the paragraph before last. The ideals and concepts that, yes, can change, must at least relate back to the past in some way. Disneyland’s museum, or collection, of  “history” speaks to greater ideas and genres embedded in culture. Archetypes and icons define Disneyland’s spaces: Pirates, haunted houses, quaint Bavarian and Medieval villages nestled in the shadow of the Alps are all cultural tropes that define how we view the world.  All of these are schemas of very large ideals or cultural amalgams that have resonated with the public during the course of the past 60 years. Frontierland itself is easily representative of this idea, as it is a mishmash of western and cowboy pulp fiction. Main Street USA, and Liberty Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom also ring true in this light. All of these environments are worthy of attention and some degree of preservation for the place they inhabit in both the collective unconscious of our current mindset and of the past 50 years. That the bicentennial of American independence in no small way dictated that the designers of Walt Disney World build Liberty Square is crucial to its importance and inclusion in The Magic Kingdom. Had Liberty Street been built in Disneyland, something similar could be said to Walt Disney’s patriotism in the 1950s and 60s pushing him to construct that similar version of those plans. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln certainly illustrates Walt’s attachment to a patriotic brand of history that was prominent in the 1960s. Disneyland, and by extension, The Magic Kingdom, are museums of patterns of thought that permeated the entertainment and public world during the 20th century.  The only true difference between ‘The Museum of Disneyland’ and a real ‘academic’ museum is that Disneyland’s ‘exhibits’ move and react and interact with their audience and their impact is perhaps more subtle by nature of the fact that they are obvious forms of entertainment in an immersive environment.

“Disneyland is like a piece of clay, if there’s something I don’t like, I’m not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp.” – Walt Disney

I realize that the first part of this essay is hugely metaphysical and abstract, and thus, will attempt to make ‘The Museum of Disneyland’ a twofold and simpler conception: Disneyland is old. Disneyland is turning 60 in a few months and during the course of six decades has made history about itself, while being fundamentally linked to exhibiting and creating historical environments. When Disneyland opened in 1955 it is safe to say that while there were other theme parks, nothing in the United States was akin to what Disneyland was doing. And since its midcentury debut, Disneyland has deftly defined the industry of theme parks. In that, the oldest parts of Disneyland are also to be cherished and their inclusion in the themed environment deepen Disneyland’s role as a museum of sorts.

Although I made a case for technological improvements earlier in this essay, I do not mean to say that only the new and the flashy must stand out as Disneyland’s headlining attractions. Disneyland thrives on the personal nostalgia of permanence, too. The heart of Disneyland is that it endures: a wonderful experience had there in 1963 can easily be found and replicated in 2015. Further, there are attractions that are instrumental to putting Disneyland on the map and deserve a place in history and a place of preservation within the storied berm of Walt’s original Magic Kingdom. While these landmark attractions might be considered technologically outdated now, artistically, and historically, they are period pieces that allow us to see how the art of themed design has flourished, evolved, and grown. 
Watching the first real Audio Animatronics in the Enchanted Tiki Room bring the entire venue to life in 2015 honors the fact and the space age artistry on display sparked a paradigm shift for animated entertainment in 1963. Trundling along a bus bar ride in Fantasyland beside blacklit animated figures speak to the truth of what it was to spend a day in 1955 Disneyland. By retaining parts of its history, Disneyland is a museum, or even a monument to all of the progress and change that has been wrought because of it. Yes, there are probably a million different and perhaps more spectacular ways to convey the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by now. But that should never mean that Disneyland relinquish the mode of storytelling that first made itself so popular. There is a wonderful feeling of understanding and a way to personally connect with history through interaction with the old and ‘The Museum of Disneyland’ has thrived on this all through its history. Where Walt Disney World has shamefully and unfortunately pruned away some of its older and more antiquated period pieces, they live on at Disneyland. Disneyland still allows you to canoe around the Rivers of America and to be damned to Hell with Mr. Toad. Main Street’s vehicles still make their way along the main entrance to the park and add a layer of realism to the place but also retain the historical and simple pleasure of riding in a vehicle that’s been there since when your grandparents had their first visit to Disneyland.

‘The Museum of Disneyland’ is better for preserving and innovating all in the same breath. Having The Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room play on next to the spectacular Indiana Jones Adventure doesn’t create a disparity in the types of rides and presentations in Disneyland, but rather, deepens the illusion. With differentiated experiences of new and old, the thematic environment, or museum, in this very odd and specialized case, all the more nuanced and unique. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has the Hayden Planetarium, a technological behemoth sitting next to dioramas that were inspired by Teddy Roosevelt. Although a bit removed from our theme park subject, the museum connection shines through:  Museums can have both the old and new and be better for it.
Of course, this idea goes beyond rides and entertainment. The park’s fixtures and operations are a large part of Disneyland’s delicate status as a museum. 2014 witnessed a controversial change to Disneyland in how New Orleans Square was reconfigured for the use of Club 33. In all honesty, I wasn’t bothered by many of the changes until the Court of Angels, a lovely alcove in the very heart of New Orleans Square was walled off and made private. This is a very small aspect to complain about of course, but it is damaging to Disneyland on both a historical level and a thematic one. Thematically, the illusion on New Orleans was cheapened and a vital and wonderful piece of it was taken away. From a historical standpoint, ‘the Disneyland Museum’ lost a lovely exhibit of something that had ties to Walt Disney’s plans for his park and what his artists and engineers created. The Court of Angels wasn’t a heavily thematic attraction, but it was part of the overall allure and attractiveness of the place. Without a quiet little alcove to rest and relax and marvel at the themed environment of New Orleans Square in, historical realism and detail was lost. Disneyland cannot just survive on illusion alone. While Pirates of the Caribbean is a technical colossus just up the street, the Court of Angels is the calmer and subtler answer to that. The balance between them must be preserved. You can’t have a museum exhibit without any benches for reflection, and the Court of Angels was a gem of a bench.

Similarly, in Walt Disney World, the Polynesian Village drastically changed its lobby, this year, demolishing the waterfall grotto that had graced the Vacation Kingdom since 1971. This fountain has no connections to Walt Disney. This fountain wasn’t meant to be an overtly convincing thematic illusion of Polynesia. But it was something that had been a part of Disney World’s history since its inception and spoke to the greater artistic values of the place. That alone warranted its inclusion in the changes that were inevitable for the Great Ceremonial House. Yes, those changes were inevitable. The Polynesian did need an aesthetic refresh, much in the same way that I have called for rides to gain new technology in this essay. But never did a change require that history be lost and disrespected and totally ignored. I accept that the waterfalls might not have been able to survive in their current state of upkeep, but that does not mean that reconstructing them should have ever been out of the question. The ‘relic’ sitting in a museum only matters a little bit in comparison to the meaning and the experience of seeing it. Disney’s parks are a museum for the experiences that endure and have endured there for a better part of the last century.
In closing, I only hope that I have at least offered a new perspective on an argument that sits at the very core of what I think it is to appreciate Disney. The idea of ‘Disneyland not being a museum’ might be true only when we take those words at face value, but becomes resoundingly false when studying the intricacies of how these parks work and how they have worked in the past. Given that Disneyland is a collection of styles and attractions, entertainments and ideas, I think the comparison to a museum is beyond apt; it is a subtle and indelible truth for the place. And I think it should be embraced. Disneyland is a living, changing, fluctuating museum of thoughts and Disney, for a company that markets themselves on nostalgia and personal memories must honor their own memory as well. They must accept that they are a museum of their own creation: of culture, of perspectives, of landmarks, of history, and of art. 
EPCOT Explorer has been visiting the Walt Disney World Resort since he was 2 years old and has recently just made his first visit to Disneyland. EPCOT Explorer’s first ‘Disney’ interest is the history of EPCOT Center of his youth and the brand of optimism, futurism, and culture that was originally found in the park. Other interests include the thematic interplay of design elements in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdoms that make these theme parks repositories of culture and Americana. EPCOT Explorer is also interested in the World’s Fairs for their connections to EPCOT and tiki culture, since the return of the Enchanted Tiki Room to Walt Disney World in 2011. EE’s writings often focus on the minutia of Disney’s enterprises and attempt to uncover how and why the parks function in the manner that they do. EPCOT Explorer is currently a graduate student and Teaching Assistant in History at Florida International University. EPCOTEXPLORER.TUMBLR.COM

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Motion Mondays: Submarine Voyage 1959

By Keith Mahne

This week’s Motion Mondays article features rare color footage of the first Submarine Voyage at Disneyland in 1959. This footage was originally aired in black and white as part of the Disneyland ‘59 special. Continue after the page break and have a look…

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Disney Avenue Podcast – Show #10 – Ron Schneider

The Disney Avenue Podcast returns with a fantastic interview with the original Dreamfinder, Ron Schneider! Continue after the page break for a wonderful show…

Born in Southern California in 1952, Ron was born to be a performer.  He was a puppeteer, ventriloquist, magician and actor, who was fascinated by Walt Disney’s Disneyland and so was born his dream of one day performing at the park. Ron got his first theme park job in 1970, and over the ensuing 40 years he’s done it all – writing, directing, consulting, managing and performing for multiple production companies and in eight theme parks and five themed restaurants across America.

Some of his roles were as the comic in Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Revue, King Henry 8th in 1520 A.D. Medieval Restaurant, the strolling Dreamfinder in EPCOT Center’s Journey Into Imagination, creative supervisor for Universal Studios Florida’s Celebrity Look-Alikes and historical re-enactor in Titanic, the Exhibition. Today, Ron makes his home in Central Florida where he keeps busy writing, acting, doing voice-overs and consulting on media and themed entertainment projects.

Ron has a wonderful book out called From Dreamer to Dreamfinder that you can purchase here at Bamboo Forest Publishing or from Amazon.

The Disney Avenue Podcast is honored to have him on the show with us today and so, without further ado, the Disney Avenue Podcast presents Ron Schneider…Enjoy!



The Disney Avenue Podcast would like to thank Geren Piltz and Brian Vermillion for their contributions to this show!

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Bringing Home the Hardware

By Lindsey Allmon

When the New Year rolls around there are plenty of things to look forward to: new beginnings, football (Yay Ohio State, National Champs!), and, of course, the award season. The Oscars, the Tonys, and the Golden Globes are watched annually by millions of people, including me. As we go into this season, I was reminded once again of how incredible Walt Disney was as a man, and especially as an artist. With fifty nine individual nominations for Academy Awards and twenty six wins, Walt Disney is the most nominated and biggest winner on the big stage. With so much hardware on the shelf it seems appropriate that we look back on some of the greatest moments in Disney award wins, both in Walt’s lifetime and in his legacy…

The Greatest Honorary Awards in History
Walt received four honorary awards throughout his career, but two are grand statements in history. In 1932 Disney received an honorary Oscar for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney was the first person to ever be recognized for animation and rightfully so as he was the grandest pioneer in animation’s history. He received two awards that year, including the first competitive Oscar to go to animation with Flowers and Trees in the new category Short Subject-Cartoon. 1932 was a grand year for Disney as he cemented his place in film history. But he wasn’t done yet. In 1939 Walt was presented with the most unique Oscar in the awards history; a full sized Oscar with 7 miniature Oscars to commemorate Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, famously presented by the adorable Shirley Temple. As stated by the Academy, this Oscar recognized the film, “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field.” It was the first full length animated film to be recognized by the Academy and they did it in a huge way. Another animated film would not be held in such high esteem until the 1990’s. Speaking of which…
The Film the Changed the Academy
The biggest award of the night, always saved for last, is the momentous Best Picture Oscar. If there is one thing people remember from year to year it’s what the Academy proclaims as the best of the best. Yet throughout history, animated films were never able to break the seal in the Best Picture category. With animated films clocking in as some of the shortest films on the ballot and showcasing primarily fairy tales, they never garnered much attention from the academy. That is until the Disney company changed all of that. In 1991, the classic Beauty and the Beast marveled audiences and became the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately it lost to Silence of the Lambs, but it did open a conversation about animated films in the highest category. Up until this point, too few animated pictures were produced to warrant a separate category for animation and the Best Picture category was limited to only five films. This limited the presence animation could have in this category. By 2001, however, companies like DreamWorks were finally able to compete with Disney and were putting out more films, allowing the academy to open a new Best Animated Feature Film category. In addition, in 2009 the Academy extended the Best Picture category to 10 films, allowing films like Up and Toy Story 3 to be considered.

Julie Andrews: The Golden Globe for Sass
So this is probably one of my favorite award show stories and it involves the incomparable Julie Andrews and the Golden Globe she received for her role as practically perfect Mary Poppins. There is a lovely backstory to this award so bear with my story time here. In 1956 the wonderful Julie Andrews starred in the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady (and she was fabulous, obviously). Fast forward to 1964. Producer Jack Warner decides to take My Fair Lady to the big screen. He chooses some of the original Broadway cast including Rex Harrison (who went on to win both the Golden Globe and Oscar for his role), however he completely bypassed Julie Andrews for the title role, instead choosing Audrey Hepburn. Rude. However, because Julie wasn’t busy, that opened her up for the incredible role of Mary Poppins. Fast forward to award season and the Golden Globes. Both Julie and Audrey were up for Best Actress and, thanks to Disney and Julie’s brilliance Ms. Andrews walked away with the hardware. During her acceptance speech, Julie made the greatest jab in the history of ever, thanking a Mr. Jack Warner for making his film…and not picking her. The room erupted in laughter, including Jack Warner who I am sure was regretting his decision. Julie Andrews had no hard feelings though. She went on to win the Oscar. Ms. Hepburn wasn’t even nominated.
Enjoy the award season and let’s hope Disney makes a great showing with Big Hero 6 and Into the Woods (both certainly get a thumbs up from me).

Lindsey Allmon is a great lover of all things Disney and has been from the moment she was born. Lindsey is eager to share her knowledge of Disney with all of you. She is twenty one years old and hails from a suburb just southwest of Columbus, Ohio. Recently Lindsey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from The Ohio State University with hopes of becoming a screenwriter. Her hobbies include reading, baking, singing obnoxiously loud in her car and shower, perfecting her Pinterest boards, and watching movies. In addition to that, she is planning her Tangled and Paperman themed wedding to her wonderful fiancé, Colby. As far as her Disney history goes, Lindsey’s first trip was before she was a year old and she has made a trip nearly every year since, both as a basic family vacation and as a performer during Magic Music Days and the Magic Kingdom parade prior to the fireworks spectacular Wishes. She has been through countless park changes and stayed at approximately 10 different Disney Hotels. Her favorite character of all time is Maleficent. As a general rule Lindsey tends to love villains the most as she thinks they have some of the best lines, and who can resist a diabolical laugh? Her favorite Disney movie is easily Mary Poppins. When Lindsey was little all she wanted to watch was Mary Poppins over and over again, and as she grew older she realized the perfection that is Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Lindsey’s favorite Disney Park is the World Showcase section of Epcot. She loves traveling and the World Showcase is a great way to experience so many different cultures at once. Fun Fact: Every year her parents buy her an oyster at the Japan Pavilion. The pearls from these oysters have all been saved and will be strung into a necklace that Lindsey will wear on her wedding day. Her favorite ride is Splash Mountain. Lindsey’s articles will focus on navigating Disney World as well as providing some great insider info about the history of the company and the parks.

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