Disneyland Details

We take many trips to Disney Parks, both domestic and abroad, and the work of Walt Disney Imagineering has had a tremendous influence on our sense of design. We will be traveling to Tokyo Disney Resort later this year, and here we thought that we would share some of our favorite things about Disneyland Park, as we eagerly await what the Imagineers have in store for us in Japan.

img_9682New Orleans Square is an environment that begs to be explored, rather than simply passed through. The streets take a winding path full of discoveries that are not evident from the waterfront.

img_9692The masts of that ship rising up from the rooftops creates the illusion of a much larger environment. The space extends for miles in our minds because of these layers of depth.

img_9693The implication of a world just beyond what we can see is also present on the second floor balconies. The set dressing creates characters who live here, such as the artist who is painting this picture. The props combined with “off-screen” sound make New Orleans Square feel so alive.

img_9721Within the adobe archways of Rancho del Zocalo, we can rest our weary feet, shielded from the harsh sun of the American Southwest.

img_9774Should we venture beyond the safe confines of the hacienda to see what awaits in the town of Rainbow Ridge?

img_9769‘Character paint’ and ‘character plaster,’ seen here in Fantasy Faire, are great ways to communicate the idea of a lived in environment that has a sense of place.

img_9761This crumbling facade hints at a rich, storied past. Many people have inhabited this space before, working with different materials, speaking different languages, and facing a harsh environment. We don’t know for certain just how this building came to look this way, but our imaginations can provide the details.

img_9703The excellent forced perspective of the Indiana Jones Adventure is extremely convincing when partially obscured through the jungle.

img_9759Be careful not to look into the eyes of Mara, or else this small glimpse of daylight will be the last that you ever see, as you board your troop transport in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

img_9767No wonder Toad Hall needs so many fireplaces, being at the foot of that snowy mountain.

img_0446When we arrive at Main Street, U.S.A. we are immediately aware that we are at a time of transition where the horse and buggy exists side by side with the motorcar.

img_0455The gas lamps have begun to be replaced by the electric light, but the remnants of that bygone era still remain.

img_9775Every piece of set dressing that you see in the shops of Main Street, U.S.A. is giving an idea of what types of people own these shops and inhabit this land.

img_9744On a windy day, Mary Poppins is blown every which way on this weathervane atop Jolly Holiday Bakery Café.

img_9735What lies beyond the visible walls of Fantasyland? The wide open vistas of Storybook Land provide our imaginations with the necessary context to fill in those gaps.

img_9738These wonderfully composed, highly detailed landscapes are perhaps the most direct representation of the world in which the Disney animated classics take place.

img_9727Immediately upon entering the queue for Snow White’s Scary Adventures, the tone is set with a glimpse into the Evil Queen’s dungeon, and the dread that she will stop at nothing to afflict our heroine with the Sleeping Death.

img_9723From Frontierland a magic portal opens up, giving us a window into another exotic world. This is a special quality of Disneyland, which is different from the way that the much larger Magic Kingdom gradually transitions from one land to another.

img_9718Space Station 77 seems to float above the horizon, promoting an optimism about space travel, and promising adventure.

img_9715The hedges around It’s a Small World make the structure feel light and airy, maintaining the scale that the interior of the attraction works in.

img_9706This boarded up tunnel is one of the last remnants of Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, which was removed to build Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It is now a piece of real world park history that also functions as an in universe history for Frontierland.

img_9700This British (we still like to pretend it is Swiss) settlement may have temporarily tamed the jungle, but we know from the Jungle Cruise and Temple of the Forbidden Eye, that in Adventureland, nature will always win out over man.

img_9695While the Sailing Ship Columbia is in dry dock, her crew can find a hot meal and a warm bed at Fowler’s Inn. This sleepy area of the waterfront offers a contrast to the hustle and bustle of New Orleans Square.

img_9741The calm stillness of the Blue Bayou lulls us to sleep before we are whisked down a waterfall into a dreamy underworld of decaying pirate corpses.

These are only a few of the myriad ways that Disney Parks have created the perfect setting for our imaginations to run wild. Experiencing new parks is always a thrill, but Disneyland will always be our favorite. Over the past 60 years, it has developed a set of quirks that give it a unique charm that is hard to beat.

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One Comment on “Disneyland Details”

  1. […] so much about this park, and after seeing it, we can definitely say that some of the best work Walt Disney Imagineering has ever done lies within […]


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