Sunday, December 22, 2019

it's a small world, Holiday Overlay 1998

Our friend Mr. X took today's photos during a trip to Disneyland - holiday season, 1998. It looks like it couldn't have been a more perfect day - brilliant sunshine, vivid blue, cloudless sky... and if this was November or December, it might have even been a little bit chilly. It could also have been 95 degrees.

Most noticeable is the multicolored paint scheme still being used at this point. Many people loved it, but I was not one of them. It wasn't the end of the world, though! In my recollection the fa├žade was actually a lot more colorful than it appears in these pix, I think the bright sun washed things out to some degree. I wasn't sure if that planter with the poinsettias and leaping dolphins was still there, but a quick look at Google Maps satellite view tells me that it's still present.


"Lou and Sue" said...

I LOVE these pictures - thanks Mr. X and Major!

Mr. X was even lucky enough to catch two dolphins in mid-leap - great timing! ;)


"Lou and Sue" said...

And is that a 3rd dolphin peeking up, on the right?

TokyoMagic! said...

The colors on the facade are definitely washed out or faded in these pics. I with you, Major. I didn't care for the multicolored It's A Small World either!

The trees on the roof of the building appear to be dying...or maybe they had been cut back?

Nanook said...


Oh, the PANK-!! (When is the 'on-trend' taupe overlay coming-??)

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

The only colors that stand out to me are red and blue in these pics. I think that I like the gold and white better - it jives with the finale scene, after all. Bonus points for naming the attraction with all lower case letters!

stu29573 said...

The colors took what was an elegant design and turned it into an overly busy mish-mash of clutter. One wonders if the imagineer involved skipped all of his color design classes, or just the one dealing with congestive conflict. Was sleeping in worth it? I think not.

Chuck said...

I remember reading a comment on a website at the time (I think it was Al Lutz) complaining about shabby maintenance at Disneyland, noting specifically how faded the iasw facade was getting and that maybe they were just going to let the Sun bleach it back to white.

It's funny - I still think of the holiday overlay as "new," even though this photo is 21 years old and the holiday overlay was a year old at this point. It might have something to do with the fact that I've never seen it. It also might have something to do with the fact that I'm turning into an old curmudgeon. Hey, you kids - get off my Disneyland! [shakes cane at nobody in particular, adjusts onion on belt]

Nanook, your comment has me wondering what it would have looked like if Eisner's obsession with "Montana future" architecture and color schemes had managed to escape Tomorrowland. Blech!

K. Martinez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC Shannon said...

OK, I know everyone is going to jump all over me, but I liked the multi-color version of the attraction. It is one of my favorite rides to just look at. Today, I am just glad it's still there. Every time I see a topiary, I think of the book The Shining. They only move when you are not looking. Spooky. Thanks to Mr X and Major for these great scans.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, Mr. X waited for almost a half hour to capture those leaping dolphins in just the right pose!

Lou and Sue, that 3rd dolphin is known as “Old Lazy” because he won’t jump.

TokyoMagic!, this might have been a case of the colors actually being faded by years of exposure to the SoCal sun… one of the problems with the multi-colored version. I didn’t even notice that the roof trees were still there - these photos are probably from the late 1990’s. I can’t tell if those trees are dying; presumably they were grown in containers of some kind?

Nanook, what is more boring, taupe, or ecru?

Andrew, I definitely like the white and gold better! And you’re right, it ties in with the “grand finale” scene, which I’d never really thought about.

stu29573, I know that Mary Blair played around with many color concepts for IASW, and on one TV show she demonstrates that they might just shine colored lights on it at night. But clearly they rejected those ideas at some point.

Chuck, Al Lutz… complain?? Boy I remember those days when websites were constantly pointing out peeling paint, rotten woodwork, and other indicators that the management did not care the way they used to. I think I saw the holiday overlay of IASW its first year, and was impressed; I still like it, I have to admit. But nothing will ever replace the original ride. One of my best memories is riding the Christmas IASW with my 8 year-old niece, and how amazed she was at the lights and colors.

K. Martinez, all that empty space that used to be in that giant IASW “courtyard” was an anathema to designers. It’s like developers, who despise an empty lot or barren hillside. I only do the lower-case letters because (once in a blue moon) I remember that you called me on my error! Usually I forget though.

Jonathan, ha ha, a LOT of people like the colorful version of IASW, so you are not alone. It’s merely a matter of preference, so it’s not like you are wrong. And yes, “The Shining” changed cute topiaries into killer creatures!

Melissa said...

Mr. X has a great eye for composition.


The press releases at the time explained that the Small World exterior would be taking on a new bright multicolored paint scheme to welcome its soon to be new neighbor : TOONTOWN. You’d think that to have toon town really stand out - the white Small World facade would be more appropriate. I have never been a fan of Toon Town .
I didn’t have a problem with the 90’s Small World color scheme despite it did seem to fade so quickly and be left for long periods of time in its anemic state.
But I was really glad to see it return to its original white and gold in 2005!

Nanook said...


I think 'bone' wins the award.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the "Spumoni" scheme. Inspired no doubt by the work of Michael Graves and other "post-modern" architects. Pink and peach were definitely the color melody of the 90's. I definitely had mixed feelings seeing this after so many years away.

As Major describes, Mary Blair and also Rolly Crump had many multi-color renderings of the facade, but I prefer the white and gold "heaven" version. There doesn't seem to be a record of when that change was made, or who made it.

Spumoni was good for a change, and I am glad they changed it back instead of going on to something even more au courant or depraved. I mean, it could have been redone in the Miami Dolphins color scheme.

The Christmas overlay is brilliant and the only attraction holiday overlay of which I approve.

Thanks to Mr. X and Major for the photos.