ArtDaily, the web’s original Art newsletter, has a story about the Walt Disney Family Museum scheduled to open this fall in San Francisco. Since we already know how I feel about that, let me give you another reason to click through. A glorious 960 pixel wide look at Disneyland in 1963 taken from high in the air somewhere over what is Ball Road today.
1963 was an exciting time in the history of Disneyland. Across Harbor Blvd is the recently constructed Grand Hotel and Melodyland with the last Orange Grove in the area right behind it. The low rent district hotels that Walt so despised had already sprung up on all the property Walt couldn’t afford to buy when he first started construction on his magic kingdom.
The original Marquee still sits on Harbor along with the original parking lot entrance. The Monorail already expanded to it’s 4 kilometer length ran the new four car Mark II monorails back and forth to the Disneyland Hotel (off screen to the right).
In Tomorrowland the infamous Flying Saucer attraction sits in its oval glory, probably waiting for maintanence to come and turn the air back on. The House Of The Future is perched unsuspecting that the wrecking ball awaits its famous bounce just a few years away.
Notice the original Fantasyland and how there is no walkway to Frontierland. Instead the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland occupy’s a large swath of the park. You’ll also notice how Toontown is cleverly camoflauged like a giant lot of dirt, still waiting to be opened to the public for the first time. On that dirt you can see the original yellow farm house that eventually became Van Arsdale France’s school for ‘Cast Members’, a term France coined, where most famous Disney traditions came to be.
But the most exciting is the construction underway on what would become New Orleans Square. In 1963 all construction had stopped while Walt and the Imagineers prepared to open 6 full attractions for the 1964 World’s fair. When they came back Pirates and the Haunted Mansion had changed from walkthroughs to ride throughs requiring new show buildings, as yet unbuilt in this photograph.
Can you imagine the howls of protest on various Disney internet fan sites if the company pulled that trick today.