Rare, amazing original prospectus for Disneyland

Dan from the Journal of Ride Theory passed me a copy of the original prospectus for Disneyland -- a rare and wonderful document I've never seen or even heard of before. I'm delighted to bring it to you today. Dan explains:

I like it because I get the sense it's an edited transcript of Walt just making up fun stuff on the fly. I have no evidence for that, but I know he was good at telling stories without a script, and there's something about the phrases used that sounds a bit like Walt talking off the cuff. But what do I know?

I found it ten or so years ago, in the files of Eyerly Rides in Salem. They had a contract to build the Dumbo ride and a windmill Ferris wheel for Disney, but the deal fell through when Lee Eyerly got cancer. Also, Walt insisted the ride must load everybody all at once, while the Eyerlys knew from experience that was an inefficient way to work the queue.

At one point, somebody at Eyerly went to a bookstore and bought a Little Golden Book (or something) of Dumbo so they could have reference pictures in order to design the fiberglass elephants.

Take Walt being intractable, add the Eyerlys insisting they knew their business, then throw in cancer, and the deal fell through -- amicably, as I read the documents. Arrow Development got the contract for Dumbo. It barely worked on opening day and queues have been long for that ride ever since. The Ferris wheel idea wasn't built until Disneyland Paris.

I've got a LOT of transcripts of phone calls on that deal, and a few drawings/diagrams. Scanning all those documents is a one-of-these-days project.

Read it all the way through for an example of horrible, casual racism.

Disneyland Prospectus (Thanks, Dan)


  1. Wow.  It’s incredible how much of this original vision came through, and you can feel how nostalgic Walt was about the past.  But yeah, the Uncle Remus bit is appalling; it’s like your favorite relative smiling at you and then grabbing your crotch.

    1. Is it? Is it really? Is the use of a dated colloquialism that at the time was acceptable whether it was right or not REALLY tantamount to incestual rape? Hmm?

      1. Nah, not really tantamount to incest.  The levels of disgust are the same, but my horror isn’t from Walt using the phrase, it’s from how acceptable it was to use it.  But since it’s trusted Uncle Walt, you just don’t expect it no matter what era you’re in.

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