“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.
The Golden Horseshoe opened with Disneyland in July 1955. In fact, the first performance was held here the evening of July 13, in honor of Walt and Lillian Disney’s 30th wedding anniversary. Walt came back to see the Golden Horseshoe Revue many times over the years, taking in the performance from his private booth (the one upstairs on the left). That original show ran through October 1986, becoming one of the longest-running shows in theater history.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination! In thousands of sparkling lights, and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds… the Main Street Electrical Parade!”
Yes, I know this is a Tower of Terror blog, but when I found this in my parents’ collection I couldn’t resist sharing it! This is the outside and inside view of an entertainment guide from the Main Street Electrical Parade’s debut year!
This isn’t the only MSEP-debut related content I found in their collection either… you’ll have to stay tuned to see what else they saved from the summer of 72!
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.
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.
“Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour” John Drury & Greg Paul, 1986
Today’s Disney castles tend to feature some kind of place of interest within them, whether it be a lavish restaurant, unique shopping or art exhibits. However, for 20 years, Tokyo Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle featured an expansive, (and dark!) walkthrough beneath it. Set up as a guided tour of the castle that is taken over by the forces of evil, guests traversed past Disney villains, dark dungeons, evil brutes and malicious mirrors, concluding with a showdown with the Horned King from The Black Cauldron. In Disney fashion, the villains are defeated and the mantra of “Good Conquers Evil” is declared. Upon its closure in 2006, the attraction was converted to Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall.
Want to make sure you end the evening on a high note? Book a dining package that offers you a special meal as well as a reserved area for one of the nighttime spectaculars. You can receive special FastPasses that give you a specified standing area for World of Color or the Paint the Night parade by pre-booking online or calling Guest Services at (714) 781-4565.
Princess Sequence. I have to give this artist credit. Visualizing what this show would look like, and how it would be staged with mist screens and multiple layers and such could not have been an easy feat.