October 28, 2009

Tokyo Disneyland's World (Showcase) Bazaar

During the early to middle 1970's, the Walt Disney Company was still hard at work when it came to the theme parks. After the successful opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in October of 1971, and the addition of the Country Bear Jamboree and America Sings at Disneyland in the years following, the Imagineers still had many projects on their plate. Even without their visionary leader, the company forged ahead with revised and constantly changing plans for Walt's last dream, EPCOT Center.

Expansion plans were not limited to the States, however. After finally announcing an agreement with the Oriental Land Company, Tokyo Disneyland, "The Kingdom of Dreams and Magic" would debut to a Japanese audience just months after Florida's second Disney park. The park would draw heavily from its American cousins, yet it would also have some unique features all its own.

The expected attractions would all be there: Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, and Space Mountain among others, both duplicates from the two parks and originals designed specifically for the new audience.
The city of Tokyo was quite different than the more mild climates of both Anaheim and Orlando, so the decision was made to cover Main Street U.S.A. - renamed World Bazaar- with a glass roof, an elegant take off on the beautiful Crystal Palace restaurant. This feature would provide extra coverage during snowy seasons as well as providing a striking difference to the quaint shops and restaurants on the avenue.

The name World Bazaar developed as the Imagineers played with the idea of creating an entrance plaza that would provide a multicultural shopping and dining experience for the guests. With EPCOT Center's World Showcase fresh in their minds, Imagineering's preliminary plans combined earlier ideas from that park with those from the Magic Kingdom's Main Street. The unique design challenge produced only a few renderings. Above is one of the only pieces of art to surface from the Disney vaults. As you can see, there is even a bit of the Contemporary Resort's open concourse feel to the end result! Although the international concept was eventually abandoned in favor of a traditional Main Street, the name stuck, providing Tokyo Disneyland with yet another feature all its own.
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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