Friday, May 04, 2012

TPE: Welcome to Tomorrowland!

Going back in time, I would want to visit Tomorrowland when it really had an entrance; not the cramped mess it is today, but a wide-open land with visual markers that drew guests in from the front to the back. The original plans (shown in photo #1) are so invitingly retro, filled with a sense of awe and wonder.

This August 1955 photo gives you the viewpoint that guests saw as they approached Tomorrowland from the hub, Central Plaza.

A few steps closer, and you can see this proud young lad sporting his Mouse-ears, on the verge of experiencing the wonders of the future.

Exploding with color, this 1956 shot takes us even closer, so that we can see the Clock of the World, with the TWA Moonliner almost visible in the background.

Once we get to the Clock of the World, guests could meet a Spaceman from the future!

At the back of Tomorrowland, guests saw The Flags of the Nations:

In the formation of a star, I am guessing this was a patriotic space-filler for early Tomorrowland.

Very soon, the flags were replaced by The Flight Circle:

and moved to the entrance of Tomorrowland, as seen in this December 1956 photo, with the Russian Olympic Team. The flags only served to increase the sense of entrance and wonder that guests experienced as they left the hub and entered Tomorrowland:

Facing the other way, you can see the back of the Clock of the World, facing towards Frontierland:

The flags were moved, but the Spaceman still happily greeted guests at the entrance:

The flags (and original Tomorrowland) stayed around until 1967's New Tomorrowland replaced the original vision. Primitive as it may be, give me original Tomorrowland over the glitzy (but uninspired) version guests experience today.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Disneyland Tomorrowland photos on my Fantasyland web page.


K. Martinez said...

You have such an incredible collection of vintage B&W Disneyland images. They've become my favorite from your site.

Mike, Studio City said...

I ove your blog. Tomorrowland just is not very 'tomorrow'. If it was to remain a very 'retro' tomorrrowland that would be more fun that what it has become now.

Daveland said...

Thanks to both of you, especially for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated! Here's to yesterday's Tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Every other "land" is devoted to the past. I think Tomorrowland should also be devoted to the history of tomorrow, and how far we were wrong or how close we came to predictions of the future.


Chiana_Chat said...

*Stands* In the interest of presenting an improved conceptual framework for Tomorrowland, I propose the following theme:

Tomorrowland is the land of tomorrow. We enter its world as part of its past - like a future museum, which they style after a key time: our late-mid-century "space age." Tech, lifestyle and entertainment that seems futuristic or retro-future to us, key points in progress, all presented so we can understand them. It's ok if things are dated, because they all represent something future-looking and the point is what we take from them.

For example a space flight, futuristic for us, is their attempt to recreate what it was like in early space flight. An upgraded earth-friendly, solar-themed Peoplemover might be an example of what started "modern" mass transit - promising and modern to inspire us, framed as something for them to point out as important to evolution. Star Tours would be an attempt to recapture an early example of future fantasy. Etc.

We find glimpses of what progress brought to daily life and we can again think, gee the future must be even better.