wed enterprises

Main Street Hotel” Dorothea Redmond, 1968

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.

Art ©️ Disney

“We may be seeing a wedding on the Enterprise in the next movie”

The Scene is set, the camera holds on McCoy and Spock as they fiddle with each others dress uniforms. Sulu and Jaylah are trying not to cry joyous tears as another officer signals the ready. Scotty waves for the Bagpipes, playing ‘Here Comes The Bride’, as he walks the Bride down the aisle. The Bride’s face is shrouded by a thick veil, while wearing an elegant floor length white dress with delicate gold lace trim, and carrying a beautiful bouquet of Blue Flowers. The Bride walks up to the podium, hands the flowers off to the maid of honor, Uhura, and removes the veil.

The Bride is James T. Kirk, he takes Leonard McCoy’s hands as Spock recites the two’s wedding vows. As they say ‘I Do’, they look into each others eyes as if nothing else matters, feeling a joy neither one knew they could feel after all the hardship, low points, and trauma they’ve been through. But at least now they know they have each other.

Candy Mountain” Claude Coats, 1959

In honor of Valentine’s Day, (or Anna Howard Shaw Day for you Liz Lemon fans) today we take a sweet “peak” at another never-built Disney Mountain: Candy Mountain. Candy Mountain would be built in Storybook Land, incorporating both the Casey Jr. Circus Train and the Storybook Canal Boats into its design. “Built” entirely out of candy, the petite mountain would feature a mini land within, based on the Oz books of L. Frank Baum. As guests sailed through the rock candy caverns via the canal boats, they would be welcomed to a massively delicious birthday party for Dorothy thrown by her friends in Oz. While the project was unfortunately canceled, a large tribute model of Candy Mountain can be found in the window of Trolley Treats at Disney California Adventure.

Art ©️ Disney

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Concept pieces for Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom

Something about this land got lost between the beautiful concept art and the real thing, and I’m not sure I can identify it. The historically-costumed characters add a lot of atmosphere and sense of time to the paintings, which could possibly work well in reality with costumed actors. (Would they just get lost in the massive crowds though?) Or maybe it’s all the New England-style autumn foliage, which obviously wouldn’t translate too well to the Florida climate. 

My guess is that it’s mainly just the architecture of these paintings that made it to real life, and that the architecture alone is just a bit too similar to what Americans are used to seeing every day. Either way, I always feel like Liberty Square is the most overlooked of the lands at the Magic Kingdom, and that most people just breeze through it on their way to Haunted Mansion or Splash Mountain. Compare that especially to New Orleans Square at Disneyland, which is practically an attraction in itself.

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Iterations of Haunted Mansion exterior concepts through the years: a Louisiana plantation home for Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, a neo-Gothic New England manor for Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, and even an early concept developed which would have been located along Disneyland’s Main Street (top), which resembles the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris today. 

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Iterations of concept art for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The top piece, by Imagineer Dan Goozeé, reminds me of the American romanticist art of the mid-1800s. In that era, paintings by artists such as Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt commonly depicted scenery in the American West with bold colors and deep shadows.

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Ford Motor Company Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair

Did you know that 9 years after Disneyland opened you could experience three now-famous Disneyland attractions nearly 2,500 miles away from Anaheim?

The 1964 World’s Fair featured four corporate pavilions designed by WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering,) and was responsible for funding much of the major technological R&D that helped Walt increase Disneyland’s number and quality of attractions through the 60s and beyond. Worlds Fair attractions such as The Illinois  Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, General Electric’s Carousel of Progress and Pepsi / UNICEF’s “It’s a Small World” were transplanted to the ten-year-old Anaheim park after the close of the fair and remain classics to this day. (Carousel of Progress was later moved to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.)

The Ford pavilion didn’t make it over to Disneyland in its entirety, but was still influential in the park’s future. The continuous ride system created to move its fleet of Ford Mustangs through the attraction made possible the development of Disneyland’s Omnimover system - used in 1967 for Adventure Thru Inner Space and 1969 for The Haunted Mansion. Show elements and animatronics from the prehistoric scenes in the Ford Pavilion that did make it to California and were added into the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Dioramas that you can still experience on the Disneyland Railroad.

It’s also worth noting that the storyline of the Ford pavilion is very similar to Spaceship Earth and World of Motion, two of the opening day attractions from EPCOT - a park that was greatly shaped by Disney’s experiences dealing with corporate sponsors during the World’s Fair.