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Mirror Disneyland - An Alternate History

MANEATINGWREATH

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DISCLAIMER: MOST OF THIS INTRODUCTION IS BORROWED HEAVILY FROM THE WONDERFUL "DISNEYLAND - THE FIRST THIRTY YEARS", a book released for the 30th Anniversary of Disneyland in 1985.

This project has been a SECRET passion of mine for the past few months. After realizing my ideas for the "World's Largest Magic Kingdom" or "Disneyland Australia" were going nowhere and growing increasingly more unenjoyable to work on, I decided it was time instead to privately imagine an ALTERNATE HISTORY where Walt Disney had financial (and critical) support in the construction of his original Disneyland. Unlike the Disneyland of 2019, this alternate reality has what Walt Disney World granted: the blessing of size.

So, I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey... Come with me now into an alternate timeline where Disneyland was unprecedented in design, size, and immersion... Where California Adventure does not exist; rather, Westcot stands in its place... Come with me to...


Mirror Disneyland: An Alternate History



Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
- Harriet Tubman

***


Inspired by:
“A Dream Called Walt Disney World” (1981), DisneyChris.com, ThemeParkTourist.com, Widen Your World, Ideal Build-Out, and Disneyland - The First Thirty Years

Dedicated to:

Walt Disney and his Original Imagineers

***


The Happiest Legacy on Earth

“If we can borrow some of the concepts of Disneyland and Disney World and Epcot, then indeed the world can be a better place.”
- Ray Bradbury


Will Jones of the Minneapolis Tribune once wrote of Walt’s Disneyland, “If it’s an amusement park, it’s the gosh-darndest, most happily-inspired, most carefully-planned, most adventure-filled park ever conceived. No ride or concession in it is like anything in any other amusement park anywhere.

Disneyland was never meant to portray the county fair or amusement park that Walt had known too well. It was instead to represent a “flight into a dimension beyond the reach of time.” The new concept in entertainment was that of a fabulous playground - a fairytale kingdom, a metropolis of the future, an untamed jungle - it was, above all, a place for people to find happiness and knowledge with a universal sense of communication and understanding.

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in Disneyland. I want them to feel like they’re in another world.”
- Walt Disney

Disneyland really began,” Walt said, “when my two daughters were very young. Saturday was always ‘Daddy’s Day’ and I would take them to the merry-go-round and sit on a bench eating peanuts while they rode. And sitting there, alone, I felt that there should be something built, some kind of a family park where parents and children could have fun together.


So, in his "spare time" between films and other projects, Walt began to dream of this "magical little park." Members of his staff recall Walt's vision for a "Magic Kingdom" adjacent to his Burbank movie studio. It was to be about eight acres in size, with pony rides, a riverboat, a train, and statues of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy alongside which visitors could pose for pictures. However, this "little idea" quickly became more magical and less "little." In fact, designs for themed architecture were being worked into the plan to give it more flavor. It soon became clear that eight acres would be far too small to hold Walt's vision.

By the early 1950s, concepts for the project had outgrown Burbank. By now, the project was something that would require a major amount of capital, and remarkably, the entire industry stood with Walt and Roy in their faith for this bold investment. "It was never a problem to convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible," Walt recalled, "because dreams of this sort offer much collateral and great reward." To build Disneyland, Walt and his brother Roy not only had enough financial backing from eager-eyed investors, but also the support of the nation's amusement-park owners and operators.

With all doors open, Walt Disney Productions and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) signed a seven-year contract that called for Walt to produce a weekly, one-hour television show.


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"Disneyland" was the perfect medium to bring the story of the Magic Kingdom into the homes of millions of American families. The television show made its debut in the fall of 1954, and the magic of Disney entertainment immediately became a household event across the nation. More importantly, there was more than enough money to make Disneyland, the themed "entertainment world," a reality.

The land, as Walt Disney remembered, was all flat - no rivers, mountains, castles, or rocket ships - just 10,000 acres of orange groves, farmland and walnut trees in Anaheim, California. As one designer recalled, “When we began designing Disneyland, we looked at it just as we do a motion picture. We had to tell a story, or in this case a series of stories. In filmmaking, we develop a logical flow of events or scenes that will take our audience from point to point through a story.” Because it had no precedent, there would be no simple solutions in Disneyland's design and construction. Everything would be one-of-a-kind. And yet, the uniqueness of Walt Disney's concept was nearly equaled by the uniqueness of the "Imagineering" team he formed to help make his dream a reality.


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The creative demands that would be placed on WED Enterprises would call for a harmonic blend of talents unequaled in the annals of the entertainment industry. There would be artists, sculptors, designers, architects, engineers, story tellers, special-effects experts and many others. In order to find most of these talents, Walt turned to the field he knew best - motion pictures. And in many cases, he selected people he knew best, those already skilled in the Disney approach to family entertainment. Key members of his own studio staff had open eyes and minds for new ideas.

"There was another thing we had to keep in mind in developing our Disneyland 'story.' In filmmaking, although we can control the sequence of events, the viewer might walk in late and, through no fault of our own, miss Scene One and never catch up on the story. But in Disneyland, we had more control. We designed the entire Park so that a guest couldn't miss Scene One or Two. From the moment he entered our 'theatre,' that is, our front gate, Scene One would begin for him." Thus, in Disneyland's design, everything would be a form of storytelling. The Disneyland audience would not simply sit before a motion-picture screen. They would physically experience an adventure, seldom as spectators, but almost always as "participants" in the drama.


***
More to come! I promise! For reals this time!
 

MANEATINGWREATH

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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I'm going to go ahead and tag my usual readers. ;) Gotta keep everyone on track and posted! @DisneyManOne, @spacemt354, @S.P.E.W, @Twilight_Roxas, @orlando678- . Anyone else I'm forgetting, I apologize! I haven't been on here in months.

Since this is an alternate history of Disneyland, you'll notice that certain details are historically inaccurate or entirely fictional. For instance, in this update, the price tag of Disneyland is $35,000,000. The REAL Disneyland only cost $17,000,000 to build in 1954 - 1955.


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As Opening Day drew near, the Disney staff worked around the clock to ready this new "show" for its world premiere. One by one, scenes of the Disneyland show were completed, and finally, on July 17, 1955, Walt Disney's bold "new concept in family entertainment" was ready for its world debut. The "magical little park" had become a $35,000,000 "Magic Kingdom." And the dream had at last come true.

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts which have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."
- Walt Disney

The magic of dreams coming true begins as we explore the ten cardinal realms of Walt Disney's Disneyland. "Scene One" was Main Street, U.S.A., where turn-of-the-century America would be relived.

Main Street, U.S.A.
"Main Street, U.S.A. is America at the Turn of the Century - the Crossroads of an Era. The Gas Lamp and Electric Lamp - the Horse-Drawn Car and the Auto Car. Main Street, U.S.A. is everyone's hometown... The Heartline of America."

Here is America from 1890 to 1910, at the crossroads of an era. Here the gas lamp is giving way to the electric lamp, and a newcomer, the sputtering "horseless carriage," has challenged Old Dobbin for the streetcar right-of-way. America was in transition; the discoveries of the late 19th Century were changing our way of life. At the end of Main Street, fanning out from a central hub like spokes in a wheel, were the other "lands" - easy to find, easy to enter, each a complete thematic experience bringing to life many of Walt Disney's greatest filmmaking endeavors.

Adventureland
“Here is Adventure, Here is Romance, Here is Mystery. Tropical Rivers - Silently flowing into the unknown. The Unbelievable Splendor of Exotic Flowers…the Eerie Sounds of the Jungle... With eyes that are always watching. This is Adventureland.”

Frontierland
"A Tribute to the Faith, Courage, and Ingenuity of the Pioneers. Here we Experience the story of Our Country's Past. The Colorful Drama of Frontier America in the Exciting Days of the Covered Wagon and the Stagecoach. The Advent of the Railroad...and the Romantic Riverboat."

Fantasyland
“Here is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn - and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and the young-at-heart - to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams do come true.”

Tomorrowland
"A Vista into a World of Wondrous Ideas, Signifying Man's Achievements...a Step into the Future, with Predictions of Constructive Things to Come. Tomorrow Offers New Frontiers in Science, Adventure, and Ideals. The Atomic Age. The Challenge of Outer Space...and Hope for a Peaceful and Unified World."

In its 60+ years of operation, Disneyland has grown to include more "lands" and thematic destinations, all in which find their origin in the same fantasy and adventure that built Walt's Magic Kingdom in 1955:

New Orleans Square
"At the Bend in the River, the 'Gay Paree' of the American Frontier. At the Bend in the Mighty River. A New Orleans of Days Gone By."

Folktale Forest
"A Backwoods Refuge to the Great Heroes and Legends of the American Frontier. The myths of John Henry, Paul Bunyan, and Davy Crockett establish the romance and allure of the Great Outdoors. Here is a Sleepy Backwoods Hamlet, a Tranquil Refuge."

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

"The Crossroads of a Galaxy Far, Far Away: The Planet of Batuu. The Past, Present and Future of this Fantastical Realm Coexist Among the Soaring Spacecraft and Alien Creatures of this Thriving Spaceport. Galaxy's Edge Celebrates the Magic and Mystery of Star Wars; Here Imagination Gives Birth to Adventure."

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Liberty Street
"Past Main Street Stirs a New Nation Waiting to be Born. Thirteen Colonies have Banded Together to Declare Their Independence from the Bonds of Tyranny. It is a Time when Silversmiths Put Away Their Tools and March to the Drums of Revolution, a Time when Gentlemen Planters Leave Their Farms to Become Generals, a Time when Tradesmen Leave the Safety of Home to Become Heroes."

Hollywoodland

"The Hollywood 'That Never Was' - or Could Be. Hollywoodland is Dedicated to Hollywood - Not a Place on a Map, But a State of Mind. It Exists Wherever People Dream and Wonder and Imagine. It is a Place Where Illusion and Reality are Fused by Technological Magic. It is a Hollywood that 'Never Was' - and Always Will Be."
Disneyland has become an international symbol of happiness and inspiration...a living showplace of beauty and magic filled with the accomplishments, joys and hopes of the world. More than a billion "children of all ages" have enjoyed Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, including kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents. Through the years, Disney's "Imagineers" have added new shows, attractions and themed "lands" as previously stated, while improving original ones. As Walt promised, "Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world." Although the future holds the promise of even more dreams come true, the first 65 years at Disneyland marked an unforgettable era.

The following is, for your enjoyment, a virtual tour of this alternate, "Mirror Disneyland." In this fictional reality, we will look into both Disneyland and its sister-park: WestCOT Center. I invite you to enjoy your day at the "Happiest Place on Earth," even in this surreal and bizarre look at what could have been...
 

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MANEATINGWREATH

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Esplanade

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing... That it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney



The date is July 17, 2020. This date is remarkable, for today marks the 65th Anniversary of Disneyland, the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Our adventure begins amidst the color and excitement of the Esplanade. The Esplanade is the heart of the Disneyland Resort. An accessible, spectacular port of transportation and travel, the air is filled with wonderful atmospheric music of the Disney Canon. Lush gardens, fountains and trees set an inspired threshold to the Main Gate of our Magic Kingdom.

North, we find Disneyland Park; south, WestCOT Center; west, the Disney Boardwalk & Hotel District, in addition to the Parking & Transportation Center; east, Harbor Boulevard and the world-class destination of Anaheim, California. The state-of-the-art Disneyland Bowl, an amphitheater in the spirit of the famous Hollywood Bowl looks to Harbor Boulevard to the east. The Monorail and WEDWay PeopleMover offer simple, sophisticated transportation throughout the Resort and well into adjacent Anaheim. The elevated network, once thought to be that of science-fiction, is now in line with science-fact, an accommodation for all guests, save those who wish to explore by foot or automobile. A small but beautiful set of walking trails and man-made woods look to the shore of Fantasy Lagoon, a staple since Walt's original Disneyland was built. The 100-acre lake is home to real beaches and water sports; fishing, parasailing, and water skiing among others.


The Boardwalk & Hotel District is an eclectic collage of shopping, dining and recreation near the shore of Fantasy Lagoon. Inspired by the lakeside village of Lake Arrowhead, California, we find a quaint paradise tucked among the serenity of a secluded wild; a great forest of the Pacific Northwest amid the Orange County sun. As would a real wilderness town, the four seasons are always present; snow in the winter, autumn leaves in the fall.

The Boardwalk District is of an “historic” origin, inspired by the lost Pleasure Island of Walt Disney World. Meriweather Adam Pleasure, renown oceaneer, founded the former “Pleasure Lake Village” we visit today. As the legend goes, each building once held an operation of Pleasure in this “lakeside” retreat for world travelers. A storied plaque at the entrance to each locale recollects the former use of the hallowed ground.

Pleasure Lake Village

Founded 1915

A living monument to “the wise fool, the mad visionary, the scoundrel, the scalawag, and the seeker of enjoyment,” Merriweather Adam Pleasure, who discovered Fantasy Lagoon and this inexplicable oasis in the spring of 1915. His charitable success with Pleasure Island of Lake Buena Vista, Florida inspired him to craft a retreat for his closest comrades of the Californian coast. Here they would discuss, discover and experiment in the exotic, the supernatural and the unexplainable.

Known as the Grand Funmeister, Pleasure vanished during his 1941 circumnavigation of the Antarctic. His daughter, Mary Sue, took over the Lake Village and its assets. Her management came to an end after an unfortunate run-in with Anaheim Law in 1955; thereafter, the Pleasure Lake Village was abandoned.

In 1990, archaeologists uncovered the site and its remains, and as the same had been done with a rediscovered Pleasure Island in 1987, a large-scale reclamation project into Disney’s Boardwalk & Hotel District had begun. By 1995, the old Lake Village was reopened and dedicated to the life and legacy of its vanished Lord & Master.




“Fun for All, and All for Fun”

Placed here by the Pleasure Lake Village Historical Society


MORE TO COME

 

DisneyManOne

Well-Known Member
Well, I must admit; this is going to be quite an intriguing concept. I've seen various threads about updating parks in this style, but it's a rare occasion to see the "alternate universe" thread. Once I get done with the current semester in a few weeks, I plan to give a long-overdue update to Disneyland Maine, and maybe do an updated version of my plans for Walt Disney World. This is certainly going to give me inspiration for when the time comes! I can't wait to see what lies up your sleeve!
 

MANEATINGWREATH

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, I must admit; this is going to be quite an intriguing concept. I've seen various threads about updating parks in this style, but it's a rare occasion to see the "alternate universe" thread. Once I get done with the current semester in a few weeks, I plan to give a long-overdue update to Disneyland Maine, and maybe do an updated version of my plans for Walt Disney World. This is certainly going to give me inspiration for when the time comes! I can't wait to see what lies up your sleeve!
Don't worry, I plan on sticking through with this project, too. ;) It's almost more difficult making a resort from scratch IMO. Especially when you set a bar for yourself and constantly try to outdo it. I'm currently in the midst of a job hunt among other things, so my time is definitely more feasible for armchair Imagineering.

@spacemt354, it'd be great to get one of your incredible maps once all is said and done! Even better, you'll have most of the current Disneyland to work off of in terms of layout and whatnot. ;) Then again, I haven't been involved in these boards in quite some time, so I don't even know if you're still making maps haha.

Today's fun (but brief) update is inspired by the wonderful Disneyland Audio Index, which you can visit here: https://disneychris.com/a-day-at-disneyland-index.html

Disneyland Park

“I love the nostalgic myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past.” - Walt Disney

Inspired by the unrealized concept for "WestCOT Center" and the Disneyland Resort, "Mirror Disneyland" is a remarkable design in immersion and focus on the Guest Experience. The idea seeks to bring a personal and unrealistic vision of Walt's Disneyland into the 21st Century; the most detailed, fully realized theme park in history, rivaled only by that of Tokyo DisneySea.

In the design of Walt's Magic Kingdom, everything is a form of storytelling. We, the audience, will physically experience one adventure after the next, seldom as spectators, but almost always as "participants" in the drama. In contrast to the county fair or carnival known the world over, Disneyland Park is a seamless, thematic epic. This perfect blend of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy is in favor of the wild animals, alien creatures, and storybook castles found just beyond its Main Gate.

Main Street, U.S.A.


“Many of us fondly remember our small hometown and its friendly way of life at the turn of the century. To me, this era represents an important part of our nation’s heritage. On Main Street we have endeavored to recapture those by-gone days.” - Walt Disney


Walt Disney's love of model trains is often cited as a key inspiration in the creation of Disneyland. Those familiar with the "true-life" Disneyland of our own reality might recognize the same clock tower and gingerbread-trim of the Fort Collins-inspired Main Street Station. Once through the ornate turnstiles and beyond the gate, we glimpse the storied clock tower and station, the smile of a Mickey Mouse Floral. We often hear the haunting echo of the station master calling out announcements as an authentic, 3-foot narrow-gauge heritage locomotive pulls into the station. The romance and grandeur of early steam travel is captured in the excitement of the Disneyland Railroad.

The Disneyland Railroad is one of the most iconic attractions in Disneyland: a Grand-Circle Tour of the Magic Kingdom. After station stops in New Orleans Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, we catch the many sights and sounds along the rails - an ancient jungle, a metropolis of the future, a burning settler's cabin - the unkempt underside of Tomorrowland transitions into the rim of the Grand Canyon.



A spectacular glimpse at one of the world’s longest dioramas, the Grand Canyon is a panoramic re-creation of the flora and fauna of Arizona’s Great Abyss. To Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” curious wildlife examine our train in hesitant caution. A freak thunderstorm brings a brilliant light to the promise of a vibrant rainbow, all while a flock of mountain goat look on…

But, a question remains - what was there before the Grand Canyon?


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Our train has brought us back millions of years in time, back to a day when mighty dinosaurs ruled the swamps and marshes of the fantastic Primeval World. Millions of years ago, warm primeval seas covered the region we call the "Grand Canyon." Our ancestors never heard the sounds we are about to hear, nor witnessed the sights we will see... This is a world that trembles beneath giant feet... The dinosaurs of the Primeval World diorama were originally created for the 1964 New York World's Fair and featured in an attraction called the Ford Magic Skyway. The design of the lifesize dinosaurs featured in this diorama was directly inspired by the "Rite of Spring" segment from Fantasia.

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However, this being a version of Disneyland with, as Walt would have put it, "the blessing of size," these mighty dinosaurs aren't alone in their prehistoric endeavors... In fact, some additional friends from the Magic Skyway have made their home at Disneyland amid the success of their World's Fair debut...

Our conductor speaks of a short detour right between that of the modern Grand Canyon and dinosaur-filled Primeval World. "That was the Grand Canyon as we know it today. But it wasn't always this way... Now, let's travel back in time - way back in time - back to the fantastic world of the Ice Age! Land of the Mighty Mammoth!"

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This "short detour" - a brilliant transition between the Grand Canyon and Primeval World - christens all three dioramas in this portion of the Disneyland Railroad as the official "Longest Diorama in the World." The World of the Ice Age is another lift from the Magic Skyway. Early man is seen in trial with the hardships of life in the Stone Age; saber-toothed cats, harsh climate change, and the hunt for survival. Hunters have trapped a mammoth in a pit. The poor beast trumpets for its freedom. Man used primitive drawings to record ideas. "Artists" can be seen casting their work upon cavernous walls. The so-called "inventor of the wheel" himself holds a sales pitch of makeshift grunts and warbles to the amazement of eager spectators.

From the Station, we pass through one of two tunnels on either side of the aforementioned Mickey Floral. A bronze plaque above either tunnel read a familiar sentiment:


“HERE YOU LEAVE TODAY
AND ENTER THE WORLD
OF YESTERDAY, TOMORROW

AND FANTASY”

An iconic attribute to any Magic Kingdom, electronic posters line the walls of either tunnel, each interchanging to offer a taste of the coming attractions and adventures. One unique detail, however, is that each poster features a simple animation; i.e. Dumbo actually appears to fly.

***
 

MANEATINGWREATH

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Now if Godzilla showed up in Disneyland, it would be awesome. Okay, Rodan already did that when he flew over Tokyo Disneyland in one of the 1990s film...
Fun fact: Godzilla will cameo somewhere in this version of Disneyland. ;) Remember, we have a Hollywoodland in this reality.

Again, the Main Street overview takes heavy inspiration from the wonderful Disneyland Audio Tour by DisneyChris.com!

This particular update also takes great inspiration from one of my favorite books on the subject of Imagineering: The Art of Disneyland (2005) by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon.

While much of the writing is my own, a lot is borrowed from these incredible sources. As much as I hate plagiarism of my own work, I cannot go on without the acknowledgement of my personal sources. I think the beauty of Armchair Imagineering comes to us in this one-for-all and all-for-one melting pot of ideas and words.

***

Main Street, U.S.A.


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"For those of us who remember the carefree times it recreates, Main Street will bring back happy memories. For younger visitors, it is turning back the calendar to the days of grandfather's youth." - Walt Disney
In their study of other parks and public spaces, Walt's team quickly realized that a single point of entry would best accommodate their new park. This would serve to acclimate the park guests and allow them a certain innate understanding of the park layout, but would also enable the designers to control the storytelling by creating a manageable sequence of experiences and images.

As the genuine grand Victorian houses of Los Angeles's Bunker Hill were being razed in the 1950s, Walt dreamed of rebuilding them. The Main Street of our Mirror Disneyland yields to that of a Victorian residential district, circa 1890 - 1910. Imagineer Harper Goff's youth in Fort Collins, Colorado was also significant in the development of Main Street, U.S.A. Town Square, where we first enter Disneyland, is akin to stepping back in time to a vibrant community gathering place of small town America at the turn-of-the-century.

"We have dedicated this happy place to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America. This dedication is engraved in a plaque at the foot of the flagpole in the Disneyland Town Square. Suddenly, as we come into the square, the cares and worries of today are left behind, and we find ourselves in a little town in the year 1900. On one hand is the City Hall, and on the other is a Fire Station. The marching band appears in full regalia. We see the emporium, the popcorn man, the old music store, and all the many shops. But let's take the horse-drawn streetcar and ride down Main Street." - Walt Disney

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In Town Square, we can board an old-fashioned Fire Engine, Horseless Carriage, Omnibus, or Horse-Drawn Streetcar, for a one-way trip to the center of Disneyland via Main Street, U.S.A. To choose a mode of transportation, each vehicle has a designated stopping zone marked by a decorative sign. City Hall is the home of Guest Relations. Friendly cast members are always on hand to answer questions, provide touring tips, make reservations and assist visitors with special needs. The second floor of the adjacent Fire Station was once the site apartment of Walt Disney, and its interior furnishings have been preserved just as he left them five decades ago. The furnishings within Walt's apartment include Victorian antiques that he and Mrs. Disney collected over the years.

A long standing tradition of Disneyland is a performance by a firehouse Dixieland band. The Hook 'n' Ladder Co. is no exception to this familiar joy of the Magic Kingdom. The world-famous Dapper Dans often perform in Town Square to welcome us as we enter the park. Their four-part harmonic repertoire includes barbershop ballads as well as many memorable tunes from the world of Disney. The Disneyland Lost & Found and Locker Facility can also be found in Town Square, a beacon for Disney's standard of excellence in customer service.

On a morning like today, when Main Street is open early to guests, we are invited to leisurely wander through Town Square and experience its shops, exhibits and attractions, as we anxiously await for the remainder of Disneyland to open, including round trips on the Disneyland Railroad and the first showing of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.


Disneyland's ten-year anniversary was celebrated with the dedication of one of the park's most momentous and dramatic accomplishments... Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Previewed at the 1964 - 65 New York World's Fair, the amazing production was brought to Disneyland where it has fascinated audiences ever since.

For the first time, Imagineers were challenged to create a "human" performer...an "Audio-Animatronics" figure which would simulate human movements realistically, and which would preserve the delicate dignity of a "Presidential" presentation.


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It is well documented that no other historical figure had inspired Walt Disney more than Abraham Lincoln. It had long been his desire to immortalize the inspiring words and chronicle the life of this great man. Veteran Disney actor Paul Frees narrates and Royal Dano portrays the immortal Lincoln, in this patriotic tribute to our 16th president featuring the world's first Audio-Animatronic robotic human figure. The stirring presentation exits not just into Main Street, but also into Liberty Street, a monument to the freedoms and dreams that made it all possible - Colonial America. The liberty story is a story without end - in fact, Liberty Street is the Boston of Johnny Tremaine himself, circa 1775... But we'll visit early Philadelphia and colonial Bostontown some other time...

For years, the Main Street Opera House was only a facade, used to disguise a lumber mill used during the park's original construction and later expansion. In 1961, this space would house an actual attraction - the Babes in Toyland exhibit. By 1965, Mr. Lincoln had moved in and, by 1973, The Walt Disney Story.

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Walt Disney might have done more to touch the hearts and minds of millions of Americans than any other man in history. He brought joy, happiness, and a universal means of communication to people of all nations. Certainly, our world shall know but one Walt Disney.

The Walt Disney Story (Featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln) has shown at the Opera House since 1973. A stirring attraction offering rare film footage that portrays the art of animation, priceless memorabilia, nostalgic photographs and awards, the Walt Disney Story skillfully displays all in a fitting tribute to the life and accomplishment of Walt Disney. This attraction is climaxed in Walt Disney's greatest Audio-Animatronic achievement - Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Within the main lobby of the Opera House are several exhibits honoring the legacy of the man behind the mouse. Walt's actual formal and working offices are still exhibited here. All the furnishings were transported from the Burbank studio, and displayed at Disneyland just as Walt had left them.


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Both Main Street and Town Square are anchored in the impressive Emporium. The impressive, two-story department store is the largest mercantile in the entire park, a testament to the grandeur and nostalgia of a Victorian Main Street. Wooden escalators, crystal chandeliers, and sweeping rotundas set our stage.Per tradition, storefront window vignettes portray scenes of the Disney Canon: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and The Jungle Book.

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