May 17, 2010

Disney Days from Far Away

When it comes to concept art, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom really has very few pieces compared to the other "epic" parks like Disneyland, Epcot, Tokyo Disney Sea, or Disney's Animal Kingdom. Even the reworking of Disney's California Adventure has much more to choose from. In one way, this makes much sense, as in Florida the emphasis was much more on the "world" than the park itself. That's not to say, it cannot be found!

Florida's Tom Sawyer Island is represented here in simplistic glory. Seriously. There's no Big Thunder Mountain Railroad yet, no oddly placed Splash Mountain, no other obstacles to distract from the quiet far away atmosphere of a land long forgotten.

With the paddlewheeler sailing by and a raft heading off to the island, this little gem of an illustration represents the early days of the Magic Kingdom and even of Disneyland itself: the emphasis was on Americana, our history, our future, and our childhood fantasies. Days when guests were encouraged to dream and play out being explorers, astronauts, cowboys and Indians- long before the current times of being force fed the latest popular films. We were free to create our own adventures, making the parks a very personal experience that is hard to find today.
(Concept art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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