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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
As ideas of the future changed, so did Tomorrowland, and in 1967 “New Tomorrowland” was introduced to Guests.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Submarine Voyage also remained, but now the PeopleMover joined the Monorail in gliding above the lagoon.
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.
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
Main Street USA
Leave a Comment!
Having trouble commenting? Contact me
5 comments on “Vintage Disneyland Postcards: Tomorrowland”
It’s always funny looking back on what was “futuristic” at the time. If they had left the original tomorrowland, we (especially vintage lovers) would probably find it rather fun to go through for nostalgia! And think of all the great photo opportunities there would be 🙂
Right!? I really want them to just make Tomorrowland like retro-futurism land, and make it like it once was!
I feel like the Tomorrowland of yesterday was so based in science and what we could do with new technologies, whereas today it is all about Star Wars and Buzz Lightyear. And trust me, I love Star Wars and Toy Story, but I don’t need movie tie-ins everywhere!
We went to DisneyWorld in 1977 (honeymoon!) and even in that new park Tomorrowland was dated and delightfully hokey! Mission to Mars was especially lame; you sat reclined in a seat and listened to a recording while the “rocket” shook. It was hilarious!
These were fun to see! I have a few black and white photos of my grandparents at the House of the Future in the early 60’s, so it’s always fun to see color images of it. Have you watched the “Extinct Attractions: Disneyland House of the Future” video about it on Youtube?
If I had a time machine, I think I’d use it to go back and experience this Having experienced “the future”, I think it’d be incredibly amusing to see what previous generations thought the future would have in store.
What would you think if they brought back old rides (with updated mechanics and safeties of course), do you think they’d be something you’d want to give a go?