Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Tomorrowland, April 1974

Tomorrowland? What a wacky concept! Tomorrow will be here in a matter of hours, I'm in no hurry. But, what's done is done, especially since Walt rejected my idea, "Hotland", where it's always really, really hot. The ground would be heated through a series of buried pipes, and jets of steam would blast up at guests at unexpected moments. You could take a ride through a steel foundry, or experience the Fondue ride. Ice cream and soda sales would be through the roof! But Walt just coughed and stared at me.

You can see that this nice shot of Tomorrowland is marred by a partial double-exposure to the right, but what can you do? I can cry and say bad words (which I did), but it won't change anything. Let's just focus on the positive, like the classic Peoplemover, Adventure Thru Inner Space, the Mary Blair mural, and the Rocket Jets.

This next one isn't as exciting, but there are still some good details...

... even years after Walt's passing, Tomorrowland (and part of Fantasyland) was a "world on the move"!


TokyoMagic! said...

That first pic is still a beauty, partial double-exposure and all.

The G.E. sign is gone, but it's short horizontal support post is still there. I guess they were getting America Sings ready to open in just a couple months.

Nanook said...


The 'sweep' from the underside of the Peoplemover really grabs the viewer, sucking him into the scene and Tomorrowland itself. We can see in the distance (as TM! noted) the signage for GE has been removed, in preparation for America Sings, opening in just a couple of months (June 29th).

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Double exposure? I don't see any double exposure. I DO see the Hub reflected in a glass window of the Horse-drawn Monorail, in which we are seated. It seems so obvious when you figure it out.

My, what an excellent "you are there" photo. We're walking into the bestest Tomorrowland ever!

Wow, the next photo has everything! Monorails, PeopleMovers, Autopia cars, Motorboats, and Submarines. I love that big bowl of techno-spaghetti! I'm savin' this one!

Wow, TM! beat Nanook in commenting today! Yer slipping, Nanook. :-p

Really nice photos today, Major.


Things changed so quickly then … New Tomorrowland wasn’t even 10 years old and AMERICA SINGS went in , MISSION TO MARS … the 1976 AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL… and THE SUPER SPEED TUNNEL on the PeopleMover … by 1977 there was really a 2nd “New Tomorrowland “ …. Today because Imagineering is under control of Disneyland finance and marketing , Tomorrowland goes through long vacancies and inactivity…. It’s development being retrained because of management only wanting to tie attractions to popular IP and less of uniqueness and imagination.

This 1974 version of Tomorrowland I remember well … I was only 6 but it had quite an impression on me. We always seemed to go on America Sings around dusk … and exiting the carousel theater at nite. The smell of chlorine from submarine voyage and the sound of Autopia cars zooming around the Tomorrowland freeways … My two earliest Disneyland memories EVER are from Tomorrowland… the model of Progress City … and one time at a General Dynamics private party being on my dad’s shoulders and seeing a PeopleMover pass overhead .., I pointed and said “what’s that!!??” And my parents said “it’s The PeopleMover - we are going on that next” I thought at first it’s was called that because the people inside were pushing the cars along with their feet - like how Fred Flintstone propels the Flintmoble.

I have another very early memory of being put in my stroller and facing a Skyway attraction poster … however I’m not sure where in Disneyland I was.


Major: I know you jest , but remember there were plans for a steel foundry attraction / roller coaster planed for DISNEY’S AMERICA called THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION…..

Chuck said...

“The world is a carousel of color…”. Yes, I realize I’m a good decade off (and not everyone would agree that it was a good decade), but that’s what came to mind. I have spoken.

TM! points out the missing GE logo. Somehow, in my mind I had America Sings still being sponsored by GE, with Sam the Eagle and his Owl Buddy standing in the opening theatre on either side of a lighted GE logo. I last saw the attraction in 1976 as a 7-year-old, so I am sure I am conflating it with a later viewing of the Carousel of Progress at WDW. I also have the exterior GE logo firmly planted in my mind. While I did see it in person in 1971, I was only two years old, so I probably “remember” it because it’s there in many guidebook photos of Tomorrowland, some still in use long after they no longer showed what Disneyland still looked like when the book was published.

Note the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the far left of the second image. I’d never really noticed until TM! posted that link to a 1962 aerial photo of Disneyland a few days ago just how close it’s a small world is to the Harbor Boulevard exit cloverleaf (yes, I realize iasw wasn’t in that photo, but I noticed the second, three-stall Monorail facility that iasw construction forced the replacement of and my brain started filling things in). It’s just one more testament to how amazingly Disneyland separates you from and hides the outside world from you as a guest.

Thanks for sharing those early memories, Mike. I have only the vaguest impression of being in a stroller at Disneyland. There are much stronger memories from that 1971 visit.

Bu said...

I'm not sure how we went from 1974 "clean and open spaces" to"blockades, french fries, ride queues, stroller lands....I digress: Tomorrowland was always my favorite land: with design elements I still use today. Why wouldn't the rocket jets be on the third floor? Makes sense to me...they are rocket jets! I remember that flimsy little "seat belt" that didn't seem to do much: but I appreciated the freedom of movement in the jet! A world on the move: and although it is sad we don't see PeopleMovers anymore, I suppose that having the track still in existence is something. Seems like with all the creativity in the world they haven't figured out what do to with it. Seems like an awesome challenge for the likes of the people on this blog! Love all the bridges, and elevated roadways, Autopia cars...submarines: things don't have to be thrust at you to be exciting. The color and movement against the starkness of the roadways and Monorail beam I could watch for hours. I didn't even notice the double exposure until I read the post...was too "into" everything else in the photo. Definitely takes you back to a different time. Thanks Major for the morning memories and "HotLand USA"! Where you don't have to go to work to get burned! I love fondue!

JG said...

Major, I don’t mean to second guess you, but we already have Hotland, it’s just called Fresno, open nine months of the year. In the winter, it’s Fogland.

Photo 1 is calling out to be stepped into. I loved all of this so much and never thought it would be changed, much less wrecked by fools and left abandoned in place. Oh well.

I count five (5) different forms of transport in photo 2, a land, if not yet a world, on the move. Great photo.

Thanks Major!


Anonymous said...

Tomorrowland...50 years ago. Sheesh. And it still looks fresh and new. Those last two shots remind me of my recollection of knowing which Autopia (remember...there were two of them) to take to ride the lane on the bridge looking over the sub lagoon. It was so cool, I would slow down just to look at it. Hey...I really wasn't steering. With the rail, it was a self driving vehicle way before Tesla. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, good eye on the GE sign! Interesting, even though I personally was never a huge fan of “America Sings”.

Nanook, the New Tomorrowland definitely beckoned, how could anyone resist? Most of the attractions that consisted of groups of singing animatronics generally didn’t do it for me, but I know “America Sings” was hugely popular with many people.

JB, maybe they could have a horse-drawn Peoplemover up on the tracks! Genius! It’s the transportation of yesterday AND tomorrow. I’m glad you liked that second (third?) pic!

Mike Cozart, there was a time when Disneyland could change so much in just a year or two. Now they announce plans that may (or may not) be completed in 15 or 20 years. Yeesh. I wish I could experience the Super Speed Tunnel again, I think I only saw that once and my memories of it are pretty vague. It almost seems like something they might run on the Universal Studios tram tour. Part of the very lame “Fast and Furious” scene! Ha ha, I love the idea of the Peoplemover literally being powered by the people on board. “Why is everybody so sweaty??”. The only poster that I distinctly recall from childhood is the Storybook Land poster, it symbolized Disneyland to me!

Mike Cozart, I guess an Industrial Revolution-themed roller coaster could be interesting, though from what I’ve seen, the “Disney’s America” park looked pretty “meh”.

Chuck, yeah, as far as I know, “America Sings” had no sponsor. You couldn’t sell toasters or refrigerators with singing animals, I guess. The GE logo is definitely one that I associated with good things, since I remembered it from Disneyland (like many other companies who were sponsors at the park). Those guidebooks often used the same photos for year after year, even though they sometimes showed obsolete features. And the TV show! They would use footage of the old round Skyway gondolas long after they were gone. When anyone really pays attention to the clever ways Disneyland is buffered from the surrounding city, it really is impressive how little we think about busy roads or motels.

Bu, my theory is that in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the OC locals turned Disneyland into their weekly (or more) playground. High school kids would go to Videopolis and intimidate families! And the annual passes became a popular thing, I’m sure I’ve read that, early on, folks could get one for under $50. It was good for the bottom line, but not so good for regular visitors. I forget if the seat belts on the Rocket Jets were the same leather straps with grommets as they used on the Autopia. I never felt like I was going to fly out of the vehicle! I’m sure creative people have come up with uses for the old Peoplemover track, but somebody still has to pay for it, and that’s where the conversation ends. Let’s all go to Hotland!

JG, well, I haven’t been to Fresno, but it’s nice to know that I will save big bucks on heating. A friend of mine says that Bakerfield is just as bad, in fact he moved there with his wife, and after a short while, moved away! Now he lives up in the Eastern Sierras and sometimes has to deal with considerable snowfall. But he loves it. The Peoplemover, even now seeing pictures of it makes me love it all over again.

Bu said...

America Sings presented by Del Monte...Annual Passes if I remember correctly were originally $40...possibly only for MKC members (?) and went to $60 rather quickly once they found it was a viable entity. The APP's (Annual Pass People) were a Pain in the "annual" (generally). "Comments" in City Hall went up dramatically with this new strata of guest, spelled with a "P". Also, there were many plays on words for the word: Annual. Do the math. Please note that I do understand that there were many lovely APP's...and the reason we didn't recognize them is they weren't the more vocal members of the Disneyland Audience. No offense to the APP's who read this and just entered the Park and had a good time and spent money. Today's APP's I'm sure are a different breed entirely...or perhaps not... I'd like to go back to Tomorrowland '74 please!

Chuck said...

I am deeply offended, Bu, and will be joining the queue at City Hall to complain.

Does anyone know if they have a Lightning Lane for that?


AMERICA SINGS ran from 1974 -1978 without a sponsor . DEL MONTE sponsorship started in 1978 …. They also sponsored The Market House. One of those rare short term sponsorships but multiple locations.

“And now Disneyland AND our friends at Del Monte PROUDLY presents “AMERICA SINGS”!!! “ …..

Melissa said...

"You couldn’t sell toasters or refrigerators with singing animals, I guess."

I bought an air fryer from a Thomson's gazelle playing the harmonica once, but it was a total piece of junk.

Echoing what everybody's said about all the lovely transportation tracks. Vroom!

The kid at the far right of the first picture is wearing my childhood uniform of Waldo Cosplay.

Anonymous said...

Major, people in Bakersfield and Fresno each make fun of the other city. It’s part of living in the valley I guess.


Major Pepperidge said...

KS, I wish Tomorrowland still looked like that! No such luck, thanks to “improvements”. Give me my Adventure Thru Inner Space! Very cool that you knew just where to be to get a good look over the sub lagoon!

Bu, maybe you’re right, those inexpensive APs might have only been for Magic Kingdom Club members. Hey, even when I was a kid, I belonged to the Magic Kingdom Club, just to get “Disney News”! I’m sure that as people paid more and more to come to Disneyland, people would get more and more upset at every little thing. I kind of get it and yet… they could always just go do something else!

Chuck, be sure to say, “Do you know who I am?”. I love doing that.

Mike Cozart, Del Monte, huh, that’s an odd one. I knew about the Market House sponsorship, but not “America Sings”.

Melissa, a word to the wise: stay away from dik-diks! No good can come from such an interaction.

JG, as long as the ribbing is good-natured! No gunplay, please.


The Del Monte logo ( the Del monte tomato) was on the entry marque , the two entry ramp signs and a BIG tomato logo on the logo shield where the GE logo was located.

When Del Monte ended its sponsorship new signs were not created but rather plexi plant-ons were attached to signage to cover up the Del Monte tomato . The portico shield tomato was removed .

Dean Finder said...

Disney did build Hotland. It was when they removed the ponds and trees from the center of EPCOT Center and paved the entire plaza "to improve guest flow." Tough they have recently put in planters and seating areas to make it more park-like and hospitable. For once, a not-TRE change.