Friday, October 07, 2016

More Tomorrowland Construction

Lucky you... it's time for two more fantastic photos of the 1967 "New Tomorrowland", under construction! 

Both shots were taken from the Disneyland Railroad. Look at this amazing view, as the Peoplemover track is being built (teeny tiny men are working, in spite of the diminishing sunshine). Scaffolding and stacks of lumber are everywhere - I think it's safe to say that the Autopia was down on this particular day, though the Skyway appears to be up and running. Notice the Christmas star atop the Matterhorn. In the foreground, guests prepare to board our train (or else they'll have to wait for the next one).

Now our train has moved forward a bit; to our right is the Skyway station... you can see part of the track that the buckets moved on to turn around. What a mess... it looks like a construction site alright! There appears to be a light perched atop the Skyway station - with the shortened winter days, it appears that work might have continued into nightfall. 

There are bundles of rebar, presumably for concrete columns... possibly for the structure that held the Peoplemover station and the Rocket Jets? Let's hear your thoughts, wise ones. 


Nanook said...


Oh, I thought you knew the exclusive construction contract Disneyland had with the "teeny tiny men"® - especially when constructing Peoplemovers. They were considered experts in that field.

And as all that rebar and circular concrete walls are practically licking the sides of the Monorail platform, it's just gotta be for the Carousel of Progress building .

What an exciting time for Disneyland.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I vote for the Carousel of Progress! I want an election button that says that! I believe that particular piece of track up in the Skyway station is where they stored the vehicles when not in use. It's so nice to see "plus-ing" being done to Tomorrowland instead of "minus-ing."

Chuck said...

That particular piece of Skyway track is where they hung them to dry after they came out of the washing machine. The 1965 Skyway buckets were strictly line-dry only.

Note the security host next to the white (1963-4, Nanook?) Chevy pickup truck. Does anybody know - is that a dark, long-sleeved winter uniform, or was that the regular uniform until it was replaced by the light blue, short-sleeved shirt?

I agree that the location of Rebarhenge is that of the Carousel of Progress. Question for JG - those precast sections of concrete to the left look like they are about where the stage will be, but they obviously couldn't stay in that position or they'd block the show and access to the speedramp upstairs. Would those most likely have been lowered into the ground at some point to provide part of the foundation of the attraction, perhaps for the rotating platter or motor?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Love these, thanks. One of my favorite parts of the "Secrets, Stories & Magic (besides Disneyland U.S.A.) DVD set is the time lapse footage of the park construction. There is something about seeing the way it was built before it was there. Didn't get that luxury with new t-land as they only did that during the early park build out.

Can I borrow the keys to the wayback machine (Mr. Peabody)? I want that truck. Been looking for one of that vintage. I'm finding either fully redone and too expensive or basket(of deplorables)case barn finds. Happy friday to ya'lls

Alonzo P Hawk said...

P.S. both Bundles of Rebar or Rebarhenge would make good garage band names. IMHO.

Tom said...

Late as usual. Another vote for COP: adjacent to Skyway station, eclipsing the north show building, large circular footprint. So many hats worn back then...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it’s funny, I actually typed that I thought it was the Carousel of Progress building, and then I talked myself out of it. But I agree, that has to be what it is.

TokyoMagic!, it feels SO weird for me to not want to go to the park. Mainly it’s the crowds, but it’s more than that. They’ve done something to the place that makes it unappealing to me.

Chuck, yes, I saw the security guy. I can’t say for certain, but if you look at photo #1, folks are wearing sweaters and long sleeves, so I’d bet that he is wearing a winter uniform.

Alonzo, I know that they literally have HUNDREDS of additional hours of that rare construction footage. Tony Baxter has copies. I wish I could see it all!

Tom, yes, I agree, COP building.

DrGoat said...

Nifty pics. I think I see children of the corn in that first pic.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Yes, that's a 1963 Chevrolet, pick-em-up truck.

Unknown said...

I disagree with everyone!!! It's the Carousel of Progress building!!! At least I think that's how comments on the Internet are supposed to work. :)

I do think, however, those interior walls are permanent and show just big the core of the building was. Remember that the back of the rotating theaters was just inside those columns by a couple of feet. I'd say the pad that's been poured around the core is the stage area (it looks like it's 18 feet deep, or so) and the Speedramp access started on the opposite side of the building in this view.

But hey, free Bobsled!

JG said...

Wow, these are really terrific views, I like this stuff so much.

The shot of the People Mover track being formed is very informative. I had long thought that these pieces were precast in a plant and placed by crane. Cast-in-place is hard core old school.

Disney offered a higher pay scale to workers willing to test out the Mighty Microscope at low power. Shrinking construction workers allows fitting more into the same space, improving productivity. The effect was reversible, of course, and served as a test bed for the future ATIS ride.

AT&T later used this technology to reduce the floor-to-floor heights in customer call centers by shrinking operators to <3"-0" tall, allowing construction of more floors in their buildings. OSHA eventually ruled this out and these buildings had to have every other floor removed. Very ticklish demolition, that.

Good to see that the Matterhorn star was in place this late. I remember some long debates about exactly when it was discontinued.

The train riders have reached the platform by walking through the temporary passage(with a purple-paneled wall) to the left. A gentlemen is just exiting. It looks like this passes UNDER the PM beam rail which is being constructed. Way too hazardous to do this today. Notice how the left hand scaffold is supported on a temporary red iron framework straddling the pedestrian passage.

Looks like the monorail and Fantasyland Autopia are running too. Since the skyway was running, maybe everything northerly of the construction wall visible in photo 2 was open and the DLRR train would be the best way out for people arriving on the skyway.

The two workers in the middle foreground of photo 1 (white and blue hats) are probably reading the plans and cursing the architect.

Pretty awesome that the skyway is running through this whole operation, wish you could find some photos from the riders on this day.

Agree that the standing rebar is for the Carousel of Progress building. The building in the middle distance is the remodeling of the Circarama theater (with the end wall torn off)into AT&T's America The Beautiful. This building has a lot of "backstage" second floor. Wonder what goes on up there?

The Tomorrowland Terrace will be built in between. I think the gray zone just to the right of the middle pickup truck is the back of the construction wall separating the site from the visitor walkway.

@Chuck, the standing walls in photo 2 are cast-in-place concrete ("pre-cast" is a term used for pieces made in a plant, I think you meant it in the sense of "already completed", right?).

From the location, they do appear to be part of the stationary core of the stage (they are certainly not movable). I can't remember the location of the speedramp inside (which quadrant it occupied) but the space left does seem pretty shallow for the stage settings we remember. Maybe one of them backs up the "Light Show" introduction, which wouldn't take much depth. I recall that segment being pretty loud and a concrete wall would be helpful isolating the noise from the other parts of the show. Anyway, a round building would require some lateral-load resisting elements to avoid having all the shear force concentrated in the radial columns. It would be so great to see a floor plan of the theater, I bet we could figure it out.

@Nanook, agree on the 1963 Chevy truck. I drive the same model and year now, but mine has a wrap-around windshield, does the photo example have this too? Can't quite tell. Maybe the wrap-around was a special option? Also, the truck in the middle distance appears to be a 1954 Chevy model, based on the visible part of the grille.


Chuck said...

JG, You're right - I did mean "pre-cast" in the sense that it was "cast in the past." Poor word choice on my part.

I managed to track down a plan of the interior at the "Imagineering Disney" blog. This shows a much shallower seating and stage area than I'd remembered and, more importantly, explicitly depicts our cast-in-place walls right where they are in the construction photo. As TM! notes, the cut for the speedramp would have been on the opposite side of the building.

Chuck said...

Sorry, I meant "as Patrick Devlin notes."

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, my pet name for Children of the Corn is “Niblets”.

Nanook, that ’63 truck is homely, yet lovable!

Patrick Devlin, one of my favorite things to do in comments is to compare everyone to Hitler. Meanwhile, I really had to look for that bobsled!

JG, thanks for all of the interesting observations (especially about the shrinking). I’m not sure the Matterhorn star was rotating at this point, since it looks exactly the same in both pix. I noticed that tunnel/passage - don’t want any rivets falling on a guest’s head. Can’t quite tell if the Fantasyland Autopia is running, but it very well could be. Mr. X pointed out that the Skyway was a round trip journey from Fantasyland and back again… no stop in Tomorrowland.

Chuck, thanks for the link to that Imagineering Disney plan - that’s a great blog. Wish there were more frequent updates, but then again, so much work goes into each post. Certainly more work than I do!

Nanook said...

@ JG-

I'm fairly certain all the 1963 models had a wrap-around windshield - as does the one pictured here. And that is a 1954 Chevrolet truck in the background.

JG said...

@Chuck, don't feel bad, I understood you. That floor plan is perfect, you're right, everything seems to line up. Thanks for digging that out. The stage design makes the sets feel deeper than they really are.

@Major, I remember the star pretty clearly, but don't recall it rotating. I remember you posted a piece of video that proved it did once do so. It makes sense that the skyway would have not stopped, saves a lot of problems.

@Nanook, thanks for the confirmations. I squinted at the picture but the foreshortening of the windshield didn't look like my truck, but I agree otherwise.

TokyoMagic! said...

Alonzo, they did shoot time lapse construction footage after the initial construction of the park. I'm not sure if they did it for every major construction project or not, but they did it when they were building the New Fantasyland in the early eighties. I would love to see footage of the 1967 Tomorrowland being built!

Alonzo P Hawk said...


Like Major said they have many, many hours of unreleased construction footage from all over the park. I forgot but the footage on that disk did include the "new fantasyland" tear up/rebuild which was after the early (initial build) stuff. I also have a disk I purchased from Ape Pen Publishing (title: A Touch of Disneyland History) that has footage of the Mark Train construction (in Fowlers Harbor) as the hull and the above decks were built apart and married on site. Only about 20-30 mins long but worth the watch if you can still find it.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

duh, mark twain.

Alonzo P Hawk said...


Here's a nice preview of that disk on youtube.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooooh, nice! Thanks for that link, Alonzo!