During the Tomorrowland In-Home press event held at Disneyland on Sept. 21, I had the privilege to take a tour of some of the park, prior to doing interviews with some of the cast and crew of Disney’s Tomorrowland.
Disney ambassadors Jessica and Allie gave the press an awesome tour of some of the park and gave us some fun facts about some of the attractions in the park, some which I actually never knew. So I’ll share some of the facts I learned from the very lovely Disney ambassadors.
1) Disney’s first ambassador Julie Reihm was made ambassador 50 years ago because Walt Disney was so busy with the 1964-65 New York’s World Fair and many other Disney related projects, that he needed help to represent the park.
During 1964-65, Walt Disney had many requests for media and hosting events, that he chose Julie Reihm to help him with the tasks to represent Disneyland since Walt was very busy with the New York’s World Fair, where It’s a Small World and other Disney attractions first debuted, plus Mary Poppins debuted in 1964 and the 10th anniversary of Disneyland would take place in 1965.
2) Once It’s a Small World was brought back to Disneyland from the World’s Fair, Walt Disney hired children’s storybook artist Mary Blair, to give the popular ride the iconic storybook look.
It’s a Small World was such a popular attraction at the New York World’s Fair, that Disney decided to bring it to Disneyland. When It’s a Small World debuted at the 64-65 World’s Fair, due to Walt Disney’s budget, it was nowhere near up to par with how it looks today. Once the attraction was moved back to Disneyland, Walt hired artist Mary Blair, who was popular for her children’s book artistry, to give the ride an overhaul. Blair gave the ride the now iconic storybook look, including the outside landmarks from around the world that surround the ride.
3) It’s a Small World originally was supposed to have all of the characters in the ride sing their national anthem of their nation, instead of the “It’s a Small World” theme song.
Instead of the very catchy “It’s a Small World” theme song, which just about everyone knows, Walt Disney wanted the children characters in the ride to sing their nation’s anthem. The Sherman brothers tried Walt’s idea and described it as a “cacophony of noise.” Walt then asked the Sherman brothers to create a song that would truly have the message of bringing all the children of the world together. Thus, the theme song “It’s a Small World” was created.
4) The costumes on the characters in It’s a Small World are so authentic that the clothing on them is not only hand stitched but the fabric used for the costumes are actually acquired from the countries that the characters are supposed to be from.
Designer Alice Davis was tasked in researching the outfits from all around the world. Davis even acquired the fabrics from the areas. For example, the silk in the saris used on the India characters, were actually acquired from India. There’s over 300 costumed characters in the attraction which are all hand sewn.
5) The film Tomorrowland (based on the land at Disneyland) was also based on a box accidentally found in a closet at Walt Disney Studios, which was filled with models, blueprints and photos of Tomorrowland.
When the Tomorrowland film was in the very early process of development, Sean Bailey who is head of production at Walt Disney Studios, told writer Damon Lindelof that there was a box accidentally discovered in a closet at Walt Disney Studios. In the box were models, blueprints and early photographs of Tomorrowland. Lindelof then took the idea of the box and its accidental finding and looked at it as maybe the box was a secret box that led to another world that actually exists. It served as the jumping off point for the film.
6) An actual NASA astronaut was brought in to be creative consultant when Disney began building Space Mountain.
Space Mountain opened on May 27, 1977 and when the attraction was being developed, Disney brought in NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper, who was from the Mercury 9 and Gemini 5, to be a creative consultant. Disney wanted to give guest the feeling that they were really being launched into space.
7) There are actually fruits and vegetables around Tomorrowland that you may not have noticed.
Walt Disney was an innovator on so many levels. Walt had the idea that in the future, there would be practical gardening areas in near by spots. This lead to various fruits and vegetables being planted around Tomorrowland. At one point, there were even “baby pineapples” that could be found in Tomorrowland. Though the fruits and vegetables are technically edible, the Disney ambassadors would not recommend eating them.
Tomorrowland comes to Blu-ray combo pack, digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Oct. 13.
Stay tuned to Nuke the Fridge for more from our Tomorrowland In-Home press event coverage including: Interviews with Brad Bird, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson and more!