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WED Enterprises (An appreciation for the first 30 Years of Imagineering)

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  • WED Enterprises (An appreciation for the first 30 Years of Imagineering)

    Walt Disney Imagineering has existed for more than 65 years and has had an impressive array of rides and attractions. The new Disney+ docuseries "The Imagineering Story" is currently showcasing Disney Imagineering at it’s best and it shows the best of the company and how it always invested so much in its early years. I feel some of the best attractions came from Imagineering from 1955 to 1983, this was before The Walt Disney company changed new leadership in 1984 and WED Productions shifted away from original ideas and such huge expensive projects with large sets and countless Audio-Animatronics although there were some exceptions. I have a deep appreciation for the golden age of Imagineering and the one that defines a generation of theme park fans. I've comprised a thorough list of mainly rides and animatronic shows that have filled the parks throughout the first 30 years of Imagineering.

    WED Enterprises created Disneyland and saw creations from Walt and his Imagineers and stood as the only Disney Park for sixteen years.

    The Disneyland/ 64’ World’s Fair Years: 1955-1970
    • 1955: Jungle Cruise (Updates in 1962, 1964 & 1976)
    • Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad (Various updates)
    • Mark Twain Riverboat
    • Mike Fink Keelboats
    • Stage Coach
    • Conestoga Wagons
    • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Update in 1983)
    • Mad Tea Party (Update in 1983)
    • Canal Boats of the World (Update in 1956)
    • Peter Pan’s Flight (Update in 1983)
    • Snow White’s Adventures (Update in 1983)
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Update in 1983)
    • Casey Jr. Circus Train
    • King Arthur Carousel
    • Rocket to the Moon (Updates in 1967 and 1975)
    • Autopia (various vehicle updates)
    • Tomorrowland Boats
    • 1956: Astro Jets
    • Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (Update in 1960)
    • Skyway to Tomorrowland/Fantasyland
    • Junior Autopia (Update in 1959)
    • 1957: Viewliner
    • Midget Autopia
    • Motor Boat Cruise
    • 1958: Sailing Ship Columbia (update in 1964)
    • Alice in Wonderland (Update in 1984)
    • 1959: Submarine Voyage
    • Disneyland-Alweg Monorail (Various updates)
    • Matterhorn Bobsleds (Update in 1978)
    • 1961: Flying Saucers
    • 1963: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
    • 1964: Magic Skyway/Primeval World
    • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Update in 1984)
    • Carousel of Progress (Update in 1975, 1981 and moved to MK)
    • It’s a Small World
    • 1967: Rocket Jets
    • Adventure Thru Inner Space
    • PeopleMover
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • 1969: The Haunted Mansion
    In the late 1960's, WED had so many projects going on, after finishing Tiki Room and four new attractions for the World's Fair, work began on Pirates of the Caribbean, New Tomorrowland, The Haunted Mansion and Walt Disney World all while losing their founder and inspiration, Walt Disney.


    The Magic Kingdom Years: 1971-1981
    • 1971: Walt Disney World Railroad
    • Jungle Cruise (New Temple Scene)
    • Tropical Serenade (New Animatronic Pre-Show)
    • The Haunted Mansion (New Piano Ghost/Library Scene)
    • Liberty Belle Riverboat
    • The Hall of Presidents
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • Mike Fink Keelboats
    • The Mickey Mouse Revue (Moved to TDL in 1983)
    • Peter Pan’s Flight (Reimagined Version)
    • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Reimagined Version with 2 different Experiences)
    • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (New Vehicle Exterior and some new scenes)
    • Skyway to Tomorrowland/Fantasyland
    • Cinderella’s Golden Carousel
    • Snow White’s Adventures (Reimagined Version)
    • Mad Tea Party (Tent Roof Added 1974)
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • It’s a Small World (Showrooms now submerged in water)
    • Flight to the Moon (Update in 1975)
    • If You Had Wings
    • Grand Circuit Raceway (Different Track Layout and Raceway Theme)
    • Walt Disney World Monorail (Longer Track layout)
    • 1972: Country Bear Jamboree (Disneyland Version, Christmas update in 1984)
    • 1973: Pirates of the Caribbean (New Treasure Room Scene and Old Bill)
    • Plaza Swan Boats
    • 1974: Star Jets
    • America Sings (Disneyland)
    • 1975: Space Mountain
    • Wedway Peoplemover (Different style vehicles)
    • 1977: Space Mountain (Disneyland Version with 2 seat rows)
    • 1979: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Disneyland Version)
    • 1980: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Larger ride with New Flood Scene)
    After The Magic Kingdom was fully realized in 1975 and Disneyland got various new attractions, the Company began work on a string of new projects all at once, these being Epcot Center, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland New Fantasyland.

    The Epcot Center/Tokyo Disneyland Years: 1982-1984
    • 1982: Spaceship Earth
    • The American Adventure
    • Listen to the Land
    • Kitchen Kabaret
    • El Rio de Tiempo
    • Universe of Energy
    • World of Motion
    • 1983: Horizons
    • Journey into Imagination
    • Meet the World
    • Grand Circuit Raceway
    • Star Jets
    • Space Mountain
    • Skyway to Fantasyland/Tomorrowland
    • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
    • Snow White’s Adventures
    • Castle Carousel
    • The Haunted Mansion
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • Peter Pan’s Flight
    • It’s a Small World
    • Westernland Railroad
    • Mark Twain Riverboat
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The Enchanted Tiki Room
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • Pinocchio's Daring Journey (Disneyland Version)
    • 1986: The Living Seas Sea Cabs (Approved before new management arrived)

    When 1984 came, Walt Disney productions brought in Management from other film studios, the Disney family became less involved with the running of the company and many of Walt's first generation Imagineers began to retire and rides couldn't continue to be made in the same manner. Imagineering under Eisner/Wells had some great rides like Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride, Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, and Indiana Jones Adventure but they never could match the originality or huge cast of Audio Animatronics of its predecessors from WED in the 60s through 80s (except maybe The Great Movie Ride, WDW’s Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror). Thanks to all the first generation imagineers that made all of it possible and to some of its second generation who followed in their footsteps.
    Last edited by MAC1986; 04-18-2020, 11:34 AM.

  • #2
    Thank you for an outstanding post!!
    "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
    it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
    together with every variety of recreation and fun,
    designed to appeal to everyone."

    - Walt Disney

    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
    - Michael Eisner

    "It's very symbiotic."
    - Bob Chapek

    Comment


    • #3
      I AGREE with Mr Wiggins
      Outstanding Post and very Detail
      Walt Disney Imagineering was at there best.......1955 to 1983
      Soaring like an EAGLE !

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank You, I enjoyed creating it. I love Disney Imagineering history, so much no longer exits and it’s a shame because a lot of it was pure art. It’s great to see what a powerhouse they were with hardly any restrictions and just a lot of imagination and hard work.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MAC1986 View Post
          Thank You, I enjoyed creating it. I love Disney Imagineering history, so much no longer exits and it’s a shame because a lot of it was pure art. It’s great to see what a powerhouse they were with hardly any restrictions and just a lot of imagination and hard work.
          So true. Too, the Gen-1 imagineers had deep backgrounds in film storytelling -- like Walt, they were instinctively connected to their audience. They mentored Gen-2 imagineers like Tony Baxter, who grew up (literally) at Disneyland, immersed in the world that WED had created. Sadly, it's not only the original imagineers, but the WED management structure, work culture and values, that no longer exist.

          Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 11-24-2019, 01:04 PM.
          "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
          it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
          together with every variety of recreation and fun,
          designed to appeal to everyone."

          - Walt Disney

          "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
          - Michael Eisner

          "It's very symbiotic."
          - Bob Chapek

          Comment


          • #6
            the current generation of attendees and mgmt. are so far removed from the golden years, I suspect the best is only a shadow of a distant memory.
            "These are a few of my favorite things"

            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mark Twain View Post
              the current generation of attendees and mgmt. are so far removed from the golden years, I suspect the best is only a shadow of a distant memory.
              A distant memory except in Disney's humongous profits and executive bonuses: The same management that trashes Walt's business philosophy happily profiteers from the Park that he built and the reputation for high standards that he established.
              "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
              it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
              together with every variety of recreation and fun,
              designed to appeal to everyone."

              - Walt Disney

              "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
              - Michael Eisner

              "It's very symbiotic."
              - Bob Chapek

              Comment


              • #8
                The list is as much fun reading it as actually getting on those attractions...all good memories of when we rode them, who we road with, how we felt on certain times we road them (first time; with a special person; taking child on for their first time)...
                I am old. But still love Disneyland.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Imagineers have been replaced by Profiteers and where once the great few sacrificed to put smiles on the faces of the masses now the masses are sacrificed to put smiles on the faces of the greedy few. This is more and more apparent the more I watch the Imagineering story on Disney+

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                    Imagineers have been replaced by Profiteers and where once the great few sacrificed to put smiles on the faces of the masses now the masses are sacrificed to put smiles on the faces of the greedy few. This is more and more apparent the more I watch the Imagineering story on Disney+
                    I Agree
                    Imagineers
                    it's about Marketketeers ,
                    than innovation
                    (creative thoughts, new imaginations)
                    It was
                    replaced by Profiteers .
                    imo
                    Soaring like an EAGLE !

                    Comment

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