It’s always a pleasure to imagine what could-have-been in the theme park world, and today’s piece is a fun look at how Magic Kingdom’s crowning icon could have turned out a bit differently. This concept from artist Elmer Plummer features a Cinderella’s Castle that sports a chunkier build and more towers, certainly more along the lines of the castle seen in the 1950 animated film. Also of note: the grander second floor entrance, flanked on either side by sweeping staircases. However, the art also shows clear early views of the final version, with the tallest tower and, of course, the clock.
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.
For most Disney Parks, Tomorrowland has always been one of the most alluring spokes of the hub, but also one of the most frustrating. The inherent concept, a land of tomorrow, is constantly-changing in our constantly-changing world. These kinds of lands require either an idealized version of the future, (i.e. Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland) or to present a future that veers into something more…alien. 1994 saw Magic Kingdom’s first refresh of Tomorrowland, depicting it as a spaceport of the future and mixing in science fiction with a bit of nostalgic retro-futurism. It brought with it a familiar but different aesthetic that invokes a world where robots, humans and aliens coexist.
btw here is the prayer tower in its glory from the Moon Pride extended video. I AM FOCUSING ON THE DESIGN, OKAY, NOT ON THE FACT THAT SERENITY IS COLLAPSED IN TWO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS OR THE WEIRD SYMBOLISM OF ENDYMION STANDING IN THE PLACE WHILE IT’S ON FUCKING FIRE
Early on in development of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Imagineers were exploring the idea of having an in-park hotel for guests to stay at. The Main Street Hotel was planned to be a luxury Victorian hotel where guests could stay overnight at rooms above the shops of Main Street U.S.A. Considering that so much after-hours maintenance, cleaning, and more occurs every night, the logistical complexities proved too much to allow this concept to come to fruition. However, when Tokyo DisneySea was built in 2001, it featured Disney’s first, (and as of 2017, only) in-park hotel, which borders the entry land of Mediterranean Harbor.