disneyland concept art

Disneyland Paris Castle Concept” Tim Delaney, 1990

During the development of the Disneyland Paris park, one of the biggest concerns was the park’s centerpiece castle. After all, France was chock full of its own fantasy-like castles, so whatever the Imagineers built needed to be even more impressive than their previous feats. Many concepts and ideas were presented, but one of the most dramatic departures from the formula was from Imagineer Tim Delaney. Shown here, Delaney envisioned an art nouveau-esque observation tower inspired by European visionaries H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Guests would have been able to take ornate elevators to the observation decks for full views of this new Disney land. While this aesthetic was not a fit for the park’s castle, it was incorporated into the park’s Discoveryland and into future Disney parks.

Art ©️ Disney

“Main Street Mansion” 1950s

One concept considered in the early development of Disneyland was for a ghost house walkthrough just off of Main Street U.S.A. Walt tasked his team with creating an experience where guests could explore a local haunted mansion of sorts. Unlike Disneyland’s eventual Haunted Mansion, the facade of the attraction would be dilapidated and decrepit, a purposeful stain on the clean-and-tidy Main Street. Of course this project was never built in this area, nor did it remain a walkthrough, but it would’ve been interesting to see how the dynamic of Main Street would have changed with a creepy spook house looking down on it.

Art ©️Disney

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One of my favorite hidden details about the Country Bear Jamboree, is that all of the bears actually have official backstories given by the Imagineers. Most likely written by show writers Al Bertino and Marc Davis, these mini bios were published around the time of the opening of the attraction at Walt Disney World.

“Carousel of Progress” John Hench, 1967

When Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress made its grand debut at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it quickly became one of the fair’s most-visited pavilions and delighted guests with its musical story of progress and optimism. The theater system, where guests would stay seated and rotate around different scenes, and the flashy new Audio Animatronics wowed visitors young and old. The overwhelming success inspired Walt and the Imagineers to include the attraction in their plans for 1967’s New Tomorrowland at Disneyland, shown here in a piece by John Hench. While the attraction has since moved to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, its legacy has continued on, and this great big beautiful tomorrow is the longest running stage show in the history of American theater.

Art ©️Disney