In 1969, the publicity machine for the opening of Walt Disney World and its Magic Kingdom was running full steam. With the park scheduled to open only two later, Disney publicists were busy releasing pieces of art as often as they could to a public wanting as much information as possible.
The suits and the Imagineers had an interesting task: They had to build on the success of Disneyland in order to ensure an audience, but they also had to distinguish the new resort from its older sibling park. The Walt Disney World preview piece included art for Western River Expedition (Imagineer Marc Davis' legendary but unrealized cowboy and Indian take on his classic Pirates of the Caribbean), Cinderella Castle, Swiss Family Treehouse, and of course, Space Mountain.
As we know, the company publicity machine did its trick, and within months of opening, guests were coming in droves to see this incredible magical kingdom in the middle of the Florida swamps.
Want to read more about the history of Space Mountain in detail, see some great concept art from this iconic attraction and in Disney parks all over the world? If so, head on over to this blog's refresher course. You'll find it here. It's filled with almost twenty pieces of concept art and many photos.
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)