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DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

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  • [Question] DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

    Originally posted by bigcatrik
    Too bad there isn't another World's Fair like in '64 which provided Walt and the Imagineers a chance to stretch their creative muscles in new ways. Out of that we got Carousel of Progress (which also led to America Sings, another original), Ford Magic Skyway/Primeval World, Small World (which also turned Pirates into a boat ride) and Lincoln/animatronics developments. They also saw competing technology that they improved upon for the Omnimover system, giving Adventure Thru Inner Space and Haunted Mansion their ride systems.

    These are all original attractions but the company had limited financial exposure and risk to develop due to being contracted for these projects by outside sources.
    This is an excellent point which I feel deserves its own thread. The attractions Walt developed (w/ other people's money) for the 1964 World's Fair advanced DL by leaps and bounds. Most of the innovations Disney was known for were a direct result of his work for the Fair and are still common to theme parks today.

    This begs the question: what if there had been no World's Fair to bring these ideas to life and expose Disney attractions to people on the east coast? What if Walt had chosen not to participate or simply had never been asked? What impact would this have had on DL? WDW? What about Walt's east coast competition, Freedomland? How would Disney theme parks be different either w/o the Fair or Walt's participation in it?
    Disneyland Historic Preservation Society
    Charter Member

  • #2
    Re: DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

    Interesting question. I don't think the parks would be all that different, though.

    Walt was already tinkering with audio-animatronics for Disneyland when the Fair came up. I suspect he sold the Fair exhibitors on his ideas rather than the other way round. His affection for Lincoln would probably still have resulted in a Lincoln attraction, which led to the Presidents at WDW.

    Haunted Mansion and Pirates were both in development and, at that point, were intended to be walk-throughs. I suspect that Walt would have looked at the guest clicks for Sleeping Beauty Castle Dioramas or the 20K Leagues Under the Sea and realized that the ever-moving Fantasyland dark rides accommodated more guests, so some kind of Omnimover or propelled vehicle would have been developed for these attractions. It was Walt who proposed a boat ride for the Pepsi/Unicef Small World, so even if Small World never came in to being I think some boat ride would have.

    I don't think the Primeval World or Grand Canyon Dioramas would have been developed. They just don't seem to fit with the rest of the park.

    As to the development of "the Florida project", I think that had also been brewing at the back of Walt's creative mind. He was beginning to regret not buying additional land as a buffer around Disneyland, and there were indications that he wanted to expand to the east coast somewhere. No doubt, given the same requirements that brought their attention to the Anaheim orange groves, the Stanford Group would have made similar suggestions about Florida.

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    • #3
      Re: DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

      We'd be riding around Radiator Springs on mules.

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      • #4
        Re: DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

        I think many of the ideas would have happened even without the worlds fair justat a slower pace without the finacial backing of the vendors. Now east coast advertising might be a different matter. I think the worlds fair was a great assistance to DL but not essencial
        BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!

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        • #5
          Re: DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

          Gosh, thanks for reposting my original post!

          Another thing to consider is that 1964 was just two years before Walt's death and though *some* of these things might have happened without a big 1964 push, it's likely that he would have simply run out of time on getting his ideas proven in the real world without that 1964 due date for those attractions.

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          • #6
            Re: DL w/o the 1964 World's Fair

            I think it needs to be remembered that Walt died in December 1966 and had been ill for awhile. Any slow down in progress likely could have been for naught as it still possibly would have been fighting with whatever would have been Walt's new interest/obsession (still likely EPCOT but definitely something would have caught his attention), his illness and ultimately his death.

            Oh, and World's Fairs still occur and companies that do themed design are active participants.

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