November 22, 2015

Sunday Special: Disneyland Monorail and Submarine Art

From deep within my Imagineering concept art files comes this piece circa 1957 or so. The artist is unknown.

Walt Disney was very serious when he said Disneyland would never be completed. The park opened with 22 attractions and within four years, the number had increased to almost 50, including the Submarine Voyage, the Disneyland Alweg Monorial, and the iconic Matterhorn Bobsleds

From the Disney Parks blog.

This growth pattern would continue for many years until work on Walt Disney World would overtake the interests of the company businessmen and therefore the designers of the park. 

Under Michael Eisner, the company began to reinvest in its resort properties, beginning an expansion in Florida that has never been repeated. Disney-MGM Studios, Pleasure Island, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Disney's Animal Kingdom all came into existence during his tenure. The Florida resort thrived under his leadership.

When Robert Iger came on board, he took on a "been there, done that" attitude toward the beloved theme parks, and they suffered by lack of investment and additions. They were profitable as never before, so they were viewed as a money printing machine. That is until Universal Orlando upped their game with the Harry Potter expansion, and Florida visitors began to take one or two of their vacation days to see the Studios and Islands of Adventure parks, leaving the Mouse behind. This was the wake up call that got his attention. Things have begun to change with Star Wars and Avatar coming into the Florida parks and the earlier almost total re-Imagineering of Disney California Adventure. 

Nothing like a little competition to make a company go back to its business foundations for success! Guess Walt knew what he was doing, after all!
Note: I just realized this article was my 2,000th one on the Insights blog. Just incredible...

(Art and photograph copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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