Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Disneyland in Focus: Carousel of Progress, Pt. 6



This is where it all began: Edison Square. Early park visitors saw the sign in Town Square proclaiming Edison Square, which was to be a new land at the Anaheim park. Slated to be constructed alongside Main Street behind the Plaza Inn, Edison Square was to resemble a turn of the century neighborhood that displayed the progress of inventions in the American home. By the time of the New York World’s Fair, this concept had been retitled Progressland and had morphed into the theater show that we now know as The Carousel of Progress. Here are some promotional materials from the Fair:



When the show was transported to its new home in Anaheim, a “fifth act” was added to the show, featuring a model of Progress City.



This amazingly detailed model was the actual prototype for Walt’s original vision of what EPCOT was supposed to be: an Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow. What ended up being built in Orlando bore no resemblance to Walt’s utopian vision of the future.













To all of those who feel that one man cannot make much of a difference, I totally disagree. In my opinion, had Walt lived to see his vision fulfilled, the world would be a much different (and better) place. See more vintage Carousel of Progress photos at my regular website. Interested in learning more about the Imagineers? Check out Jeff Kurtti’s new book, “Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends.” Available at Amazon.com.

10 comments:

Progressland said...

The second image is my favorite. :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Progress City, yeah! Love the detail shots.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Very, very nice!

Biblioadonis aka George said...

Great posts of Progress City. It is one of my favorite parts of the TTA at the Magic Kingdom.

Were any of the photos of the model recent? It is rare to see such great closeups.

Davelandweb said...

George - These are all vintage shots.

dreemfinder said...

Dave --

This whole series on CoP is amazing... some of your best work!

It's amazing how many of history's great showmen, late in their lives, grew fascinated with the idea of designing and building 'Utopia'. Barnum got to build his vision, but it sunk in the mud...

As always, thanks for the posts and the memories!

Ron

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, what a great series of posts this has been! Thank you for the wonderful memories, Dave!

Again, Progress City was also altered in the move to Florida. It is now lit with black lighting instead of the realistic lighting it once had. Also, I saw Tony Baxter speak at a convention in 1997/1998 about the past versions of Tomorrowland and about the then upcoming "new" Tomorrowland of 1998. When asked if Progress City was moved to Florida with the rest of the attraction in the 70's, he had to ask another imagineer that was there if it made the "cut" in the last redo of Florida's Tomorrowland (I guess he didn't know himself) and that person said that it was still there and that it did get moved to Florida with the rest of the attraction, but that it was now only a fraction in size of what it was at Disneyland....they chopped pieces of it out when they moved it. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Did not all this lead to Walt Disney World in florida? I believe Walt really wanted to build the city.

Davelandweb said...

Anonymous: WDW in Florida was supposed to have a "Progress City" build there; in fact, that's what EPCOT was to be. Once Walt passed away, the plans changed, and only the Magic Kingdom was built. Eventually, EPCOT was constructed, but it became an international village rather than a Utopian City.

Chris Jepsen said...

Love this post! Thanks!