Vintage Disneyland Postcards: Tomorrowland

Today we jump into the future…well, what Disneyland Imagineers of the 1950s and 1960s thought the future would look like, more specifically, what the world of 1986 would look like. Out of all of the lands, Tomorrowland is the one that has seen the most change, with complete overhauls in 1967 and 1998. The first part of the post will focus on what Tomorrowland looked upon opening through 1966, then the section portion will look at what was called “New Tomorrowland” when it re-opened in 1967. And with all of this change, there are many attractions I do not have postcards of, such as America Sings and more.

The Original Tomorrowland

Entrance to Tomorrowland, flags from all over the world flank a pathway toward a clock with a moon and sun on top, and a tall rocket looms in the background.

Entrance to Tomorrowland, flags from all over the world flank a pathway toward a clock with a moon and sun on top, and a tall rocket looms in the background.

After passing by through Avenue of the Flags, Guests could gaze upon the Clock of the World that would tell you what time it was anywhere in the world. From a design perspective it was absolutely stunning!

The Clock of the World. A sun and moon atop a tower featuring a map of the world.

When Disneyland opened, Tomorrowland featured a plethora of sponsored attractions, and really focused on the science of the future. One attraction was Kaiser Aluminum’s Aluminum Hall of Fame.

A man in a fanciful space suit interacts with children.

The attraction was a walk-through exhibit showcasing how aluminum is made, and how it is used. The Aluminum Hall of Fame lasted from Disneyland’s opening until 1960.

Monsanto sponsored three attractions in Disneyland’s early years. The first was the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, another walk-through attraction, but more akin to what you may find at science museum.

The Hall of Chemistry educated Guests from 1957 until 1967 when it was replaced by Monsanto’s third sponsored attraction, Adventure Through Inner Space, but more on that later.

Monsanto’s second attraction is perhaps the best known former Tomorrowland attraction, The House of the Future, which debuted in 1957. The house featured an exterior made of plastic, and rumor has it when it came time to demolish it in 1967, the wrecking ball bounced right off of it and the house had to be cut apart!

The + shaped House of the Future, with white plastic exterior and floor to ceiling windows.

The + shaped House of the Future, with white plastic exterior and floor to ceiling windows.

The + shaped House of the Future, with white plastic exterior and floor to ceiling windows.

In case you’re having a hard time placing where the House of the Future was, today it is where Guests can meet Tinkerbell and her fairy friends in Pixie Hollow. And if you look carefully, tucked behind bushes and under a piece of camouflage material is part of the original cement base!

Another sponsor was TWA with the attraction Rocket to the Moon, where Guests got to go to the moon long before real astronauts!

A towering white rocket with red stripes.

A towering white rocket with red stripes. Photograph is edged in white with text reading "Along the way of TWA... Fabulous Disneyland. TWA takes you comfortably, swiftly, to fabulous Disneyland. Enjoy the wonders of Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventuerland, and Tomorrowland...take a ride in TWA's 'Rocket to the Moon.' TWA is the Official Airline to Disneyland - Fly TWA to Los Angeles. TWA Trans World Airlines USA - Europe - Africa - Asia. Use your camera - remember your trip with pictures.

Mission Control for Rocket to the Moon. Men sit at large computer consoles, large screens make up parts of the walls.

By 1975 Rocket to the Moon was rather dated, as we had landed on the moon six years earlier. The attraction became Mission to Mars in 1975, and would remain futuristic if it were still in Disneyland, as we humans have yet to set foot on Mars. Mission to Mars closed in 1992, and was suppose to be replaced by EstraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, but due to poor financial planning was scrapped, and the area became home to Pizza Port in 1998.

One of the opening day attractions that is still there today is Autopia, originally sponsored by Richfield.

Autopia, Guests drive small cars along the "freeways of the future"

Guests drive the Autopia cars while the Matterhorn looms in the distance.

Autopia, Guests drive small cars along the "freeways of the future." Here Goofy asks for a lift, while Mickey and Donald drive.

The jets that greet you today at Disneyland are different than those that first lifted Guests, and in a totally different location. Originally known as the Astro Jets, they operated similar to what you ride today.

Small rockets spin around a center tower.

Small rockets spin around a center tower.

The Astro Jets were replaced by the Rocket Jets in the 1967 remodel of Tomorrowland, but very close to the original location of the Astro Jets.

The Astro Jets spin off to the left, the Autopia in the background, the tall TWA Rocket to the Moon stands tall on the right.

In 1959 Disneyland saw its first really big addition with regards to attractions, with the addition of the Monorail, Submarine Voyage, and Matterhorn. And when the Matterhorn first opened it was actually in Tomorrowland.

A red monorail is docked at the boarding area in Tomorrowland, the Matterhorn stands tall and snowcapped in the background.

Disneyland Monorail gliding above the Submarine Lagoon.

A grey submarine emerges from a waterfall.

A grey sub glides through the lagoon.

A grey sub emerges from a waterfall.

A grey sub moves through the water, a mermaid sits atop a rock on the left.

From 1959 to 1967 the lagoon that the submarines moved through featured live mermaids, who waved to guests, combed their hair, and swam about. A unique job if there ever was one! Due to chlorine, fumes from the subs, and prolonged sun exposure, the mermaids were nixed.

Guests walk toward the tall Matterhorn, white with snow on top.

A red and yellow bobsled lands in water as it comes down the tracks of the Matterhorn.

The Matterhorn looks slightly out of place as it stands in the distance with palm trees nearby.

In the Matterhorn’s early years, there were climbers in Swiss hiking attire, and they look the opportunity to take spectacular photos of the submarine lagoon below, which I am so glad Disneyland used these images for postcards, as I simply adore a good bird’s eye view!

Climbers dressed in Swiss attire climb the Matterhorn, the lagoon and Monorail below.

Climbers dressed in Swiss attire climb the Matterhorn, the lagoon and Monorail below.

The second photo is actually from New Tomorrowland, as you can see the PeopleMover near the very top center and far left middle.

In 1961 Tomorrowland received a new attraction, but one that didn’t last long, the Flying Saucers, a hovercraft style version of bumper boats. The attraction disappeared when Tomorrowland reopened in 1967 as “New Tomorrowland” however the idea didn’t die completely…

Guests "fly" around on circular Flying Saucers, which operate similar to hover crafts.

The concept was reimagined in Cars Land in 2012 with Luigi’s Flying Tires, but, as I predicted when they announced the attraction, it didn’t last long either, and was replaced with Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters in 2015.

New Tomorrowland

As ideas of the future changed, so did Tomorrowland, and in 1967 “New Tomorrowland” was introduced to Guests.

New Tomorrowland entrance, with track of the Peoplemover above and a slimmer rocket in the distance.

As Guests entered New Tomorrowland they walked under the track of the all new PeopleMover, a futuristic take on public transportation, but actually sponsored by Goodyear, who supplied the tires on the tracks to move the small vehicles. In 1977 a portion of the track became the “SuperSpeed Tunnel” which just featured projections of race cars. In 1982 the race cars were replaced by images from Disney’s film Tron. In 1995 the PeopleMover closed and Tomorrowland prepped for another facelift. The tracks were used for the infamously shortly lived Rocket Rods. Today the tracks stand empty.

Gracing the sides of some of Tomorrowland’s buildings were amazing ceramic tile murals by Disney artist Mary Blair.

A massive mural of children from around the world above doorways to attractions.

As mentioned earlier the Hall of Chemistry was replaced Adventure Thru Inner Space where Guests were “shrunk” to a size smaller than an atom to explore microscopic details such as snowflakes and atoms.

A large "shrinking" machine stands on the left, as guests walk through the area on the right. A large screen of a snowflake on the back wall.

Guests boarded what were called “Atomobiles” which later became the “Doombuggies” for the Haunted Mansion. Adventure Thru Inner Space closed in 1985 to make way for Star Tours.

The Astro Jets were replaced by the Rocket Jets, and raced high above the loading area for the new PeopleMover.

The PeopleMover track glides around the new Rocket Jets that spin high above Tomorrowland.

White and black rockets spin around a central tall rocket.

In 1998 the Rocket Jets disappeared, and the brand new Astro Orbiter arrived, an attraction in the same vein as the Astro Jets and Rocket Jets. The Astro Orbiter however resides in a totally different location, right at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

The Tomorrowland Terrace nearby the Rocket Jets offered food and live entertainment with a spectacular and very futuristic raising stage.

The Tomorrowland Terrace with the Matterhorn in the distance.

A white stage with colorful windows in back, a band performs.

In 1964 Walt Disney created several attractions for the New York World’s Fair, many of which found permanent homes at Disneyland once the Fair closed. One of these was the Carousel of Progress, which showcased how life changed over the years.

The white circular building for the Carousel of Progress, a tall "GE" sign atop.

Inside the Carousel of Progress, the world of 1890, a man with a pipe talks to guests, a wood burning stove in the back, an oil lamp on the table.

Inside the Carousel of Progress, the age of electricity, The same man as before now sits in a home of contemporary furnishings and electric lights and TV.

The Carousel of Progress closed in 1973 and has seen many different things inside its walls over the decades. Today it is home to Star Wars Launch Bay, where you can see props and models from various Star Wars films, and meet characters from the franchise.

Autopia remained in Tomorrowland, but saw the addition of a guide rail to keep Guests on the proper course.

Autopia cars now on guide rails down the center of the track. The Monorail moves in the distance.

The Submarine Voyage also remained, but now the PeopleMover joined the Monorail in gliding above the lagoon.

A grey submarine emerges from a waterfall, while yellow PeopleMover cars glide on a track high above.

The original version of the Submarine Voyage remained until 1998, just as Tomorrowland got its second revamp. But the lagoon sat empty for almost a decade, when in 2007 it was re-themed to the Disney/Pixar movie Finding Nemo.

In 1977 Tomorrowland got a lot more exiting with the addition of Space Mountain.

Towering Space Mountain, a white building with spires atop it. A massive escalator takes guests upwards toward the building.

Surf music legend Dick Dale did the original soundtrack for the attraction, but his legendary guitar sounds were replaced by Michael Giacchino in 2005. During Halloween Space Mountain receives new graphics and music as it is transformed into Ghost Galaxy. It has also seen temporary overlays with graphics and music such as Rockin’ Space Mountain and Hyperspace Mountain.

Next time I’ll bring you the last installment of this series with Fantasyland!

Other Vintage Disneyland Postcard Posts
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