Monday, August 29, 2011

Disney-MGM Studios Concept Art

On Friday, Studios Central posted an interesting story about an unbuilt attraction called Mickey's Movieland and it made me wonder why historically there isn't much written about the history of Disney-MGM Studios/Disney Hollywood Studios. After perusing the Disney books in my collection I noticed that most don't offer much more than a few publicity photos and none offer more than a few paragraphs on the creation of the studios park. But, like all Disney theme parks, there are a few gems such as these beautiful pieces of concept art.

 Here is an overhead view of the park that is relatively faithful to what it looked like when it opened in 1989. The major difference is at the top of the screen where Residential Street was located when the park opened.

This shows the action that guest could have seen on the backlot tour. In reality a loud tram would have never been aloud to drive past a real filming session. That is, if filming actually took place in the backlot. Real film and television production was sparse at best when the park did have a real working studio. To remedy this Disney staged filming of fake music videos to give gusts something to look at during the tours.

 This art was used to promote Muppet Vision 3D at both Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's California Adventure.

Here we can see the beautiful Echo Lake section of the park. The blue building in the back is the Superstar Television attraction (now home to American Idol Experience).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vintage Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Pictures From 1991

Today I'm taking a look at pictures of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom from 1991!

Main Street USA was looking in 1991. The crowds appear to be pretty decent on that day. 
Notice that three Main Street vehicles can be seen in this picture. I can't even remember the 
last time I’ve seen that many vehicles in the Magic Kingdom!

A young guest jams with the band. 

The Skyway soars over Fantasyland. The color pallet may have slightly changed over the 
years but do you know what the biggest different is between then and now? The strollers! 
You don't any in this normally heavily congested part of the park.

  This unique vantage point show the bride auction scene of Pirates of the Caribbean. Notice the “Wench for a bride” banners are missing from the building behind the auctioneer.

A “re-imagined” version of the Enchanted Tiki Room has replaced the terrible Under 
New Management show but here is the original Tropical Serenade exterior.

  The bears are ready for summer in the Country Bear Jamboree Vacation Hoedown . This version of the show ran in the Magic Kingdom from 1986 to 1992.
The park's original Star Jets fly high above Tomorrowland while Space Mountain is 
seen in the distance.

The Mark IV Monorail (used from the WDW's opening in 1971 until 1991) is seen 
gliding by Space Mountain.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vintage Disneyland Trip Photos From The Early '80s

My good friend Hubert Cheng sent me these beautiful vintage Disneyland photos from his family's trip in the early 80's. I say early 80's because Hubert is unable to remember the exact year but I do know that it was after 1979 (due to pictures of an operating Big Thunder Mountain which opened it 1979) and before 1983 (construction on the "New Fantasyland" had not yet begun in these pictures).

Hubert and his dad seen here on the classic Motor Boat Cruise.

 Here the Cheng family is seen in Frontierland with the brand new Big Thunder Mountain in the background. Notice the stroller parking lines and text painted on the ground. Even in the old days some things were inexplicably out of theme!

This great picture shows the Storybook Land boats in their original color scheme. Did you know that Disney officially considers the Storybook Land Canal Boats an opening day attraction when it actually is not? The attraction originally opened as Canal Boats of the World. It did not feature any of the miniature houses like it does today. Without the famous miniatures the ride went though banks of dirt showing nothing at all. The attraction closed 2 month after the park opened so after budget could finally be obtained to build and add the miniatures. In June of 1956 (11 months after the park opened) The Storybook Land Canal Boats officially opened as the version we all know and love. 

Here is another shot of the Storybook Land boats using it's original loading dock. During the 1983 New Fantasyland remodel the dock was moved from it's original location (near where the Mad Tea Party is located today) to it's current location just off of the parade route

Hubert and his brother seen here playing on Tom Sawyer's Island

Here is a shot of the recently opened Big Thunder Mountain which looks almost exactly the same as it does today!

This picture was taken from the Peoplemover and I lover it because when you look closely you realize there is so much going on in it. The Rocket Jets are in their rightful place atop the Peoplemover platform, the Peoplemover cars have their beautiful original color scheme (although i do admit I am a bigger fan of the grey paint jobs they received in 1986), The Skyway can be seen flying through the middle of the Matterhorn, and off in the distance you can see the spires of It's a Small World.

A picture from inside the Peoplemover car. In the distance you can see the extinct attraction Mission to Mars where Red Rocket's Pizza Port is currently located.

Mr Cheng and Hubert having a great time!

This is Hubert (rocking the awesome checkered Vans shoes) with an early version of the Pooh character.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Apollo 11 Moon Landing, Live From Disneyland In 1969

This rare photo shows hundreds of Disneyland guests watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on the Tomorrowland stage (Around where Space Mountain now sits). Imagine being at Disneyland when something so significant in human history took place!

I tried to do some research to find the story behind this photo but I haven't been able to find any information. At first I was curious as to if these people are viewing a live broadcast because the sun appears to still be out. But the Apollo 11 mission did take place in early July when the sun doesn't usually set until after 8 PM, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon at 7:56 PM Pacific time.

If you have any other information please post it in the comments!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Walt Disney World Postcards From 1975

Today I have a vintage Walt Disney World postcard book from 1975. Please forgive the image quality, these postcards have sitting in a box for 36 years!

The cover of the postcard book. You can see the 1975 postmark near the top. Also notice the cool retro space stamps.

 The Crystal Palace before it was turned into a character dining location.

The vintage Haunted Mansion pictures like this are always fun to look at because the ghosts look so different and more scary than they do on the actual attraction. 

The Haunted Mansion exterior before all the trees surrounding it fully matured. 

The hub of the Magic Kingdom has always been one of the most beautiful spots in all of Walt Disney World. In 1975 it was no different.

Hey kids! When you come to Walt Disney World you can take a picture with this giant headed Mickey!

The classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. For years it was replaced by... nothing! But now the new Fantasyland expansion looks to be a worthy replacement, 17 years after the ride closed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The D23 member gifts are... pretty good!

I'm changing it up a little bit today and taking a look at the free gifts D23 members receive each year they renew.
This year's member gift is this high quality hard cover note book. The front shows Mickey in his marching band outfit and the D23 logo at the bottom. 

The bottom corner of each page shows drawings of different Disney characters. Seen here is Tinkerbell. Other characters include Goofy, Ariel, Crush, and more.

Even Figment makes an appearance. 

The back of the note book displays one of Walt Disney's quotes.

On top is the 2010 D23 member card, bottom is 2011. I prefer last year's card design. 

The member gift last year was this beautiful 12 month calendar called Disney Undiscovered.

Every month featured full color art work for Disney theme park attractions and movies that never got out of the planning stages. Under the artwork there was a couple of paragraphs explaining a brief description.  

For example, July 2011 featured concept art for the canceled Herbie the Love Bug attraction!

Members also usually receive an item with each issue. One of the issues last year came with patches showing the classic logos from the original EPCOT Center attractions! I got the logo for The Living Seas. Completed sets of these patches can go for over $100 on eBay!

So is D23 worth it? For me, living 15 minutes away from Disneyland, yes. Most of the D23 member meet ups are held at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Some events are also held at the Disney Studios in Burbank California (even though I've never been lucky enough to get in to any of those), For a person living outside of California of Florida there are some great gifts as seen in this post, not to mention the fantastic bi-monthly D23 magazine.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Disneyland 1986 Entertainment Guide

I love Disneyland items like this because they aren't very noteworthy and certainly not valuable but they do offer a look at what an average day in the parks looked like decades ago. 

The front of the guide shows a great looking Disneyland '86 logo. Notice the dates at the bottom show that this was used January 1 to 4, 1986. This was the year of the very successful Gift Giver Extraordinaire Machine promotion (previously discussed in this post).

Second page shows parking and ticket information. This was just 2 years after ticket books were phased out in favor of general admission passports. Notice the price of a one day adult ticket was only $16.50 (which is about $33 with inflation in 2011). The annual pass is only $109.95 (around $220 in 2011)!

Entertainment overview of the park. The legendary Golden Horseshoe Revue was running strong. Take a look at all the random entertainment on the far right that could be seen during the day! These kind of shows have gone down in numbers throughout the years (especially in Walt Disney World). Interesting to note that the bands at Tomorrowland Terrace started and ended a lot earlier in 1986. These days the bands start playing around 6 PM and their last performance starts about a half hour before the park closes. 

The right shows some of the items that can be won during the Gift Giver Extrodinare Machine promotion.I still have my Bear Country pin that i won somewhere around my house, I'll post it if I ever find it. On the right is a Disney movie that I frankly have never heard of (it's getting a respectable 56% on Rotten Tomatoes).

That's all for this time, see you on Monday. Keep an eye on my Flickr feed as I post daily Disneyland pictures to there.

Other post about Disneyland 1986:

Disneyland Guide Map From Late 1986 

Disneyland Today Guide From July 1986