December 24, 2009

The Timeless Realm: Disneyland's Fantasyland

It's very easy and understandable to think that Disneyland's Fantasyland is timeless. Certainly, the theme seems iconic, and yet this section of the park has seen its own fair share of change. Just glance at this 1957 park map. Definitely from another era and sensibility.

Attractions have been enhanced, added or replaced. Eventually, colorful but simple tournament tent-like show building facades painstakingly transformed into elegant and stylized versions of European locales. In the latest incarnation, Pinocchio joins the dark ride line up of adventures with Snow White, Peter Pan, Mr. Toad and Alice in Wonderland.

One of the earliest additions is the largest: a Matterhorn mountain is built from scratch, while years later a slice of a beloved Neverland disappears, only to resurface in Paris a decade later. In between, a World's Fair favorite joins the line-up, inducing cheers and jeers, yet becoming a staple of the parks. It is a Small World after all.

Storybookland and its canals remain, a skyway ride vanishes, and an abominable snowman makes tracks. Company leaders and Imagineers come and go, each leaving imprints of their own on this timeless realm.
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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