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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: "Disneylandia"

Running a movie studio that often survived "picture to picture" was a stressful endeavor. Walt Disney had the added stress of working with his brother, a situation that often led to bitter arguments about the company's future. A doctor advised Walt to find ways to relieve that stress, so Mr. Disney built a barn in his backyard where he could work on various projects.

One project was to build a miniature train that would eventually encircle his backyard. It was a labor of love that he found very relaxing. Even after the train was finished he still doted on it, keeping it in good condition and showing it off to friends and family.

Another project he spent time on was building miniatures. He built an entire scene from the film So Dear to My Heart, re-creating Granny Kincaid's cabin from the film. He was so proud of it that he showed it off at every opportunity, like when he displayed it to Beulah Bondi, the actress who portrayed Granny Kincaid in the film.

Mr. Disney's experience building the miniatures inspired him to embark on a new project he called Disneylandia. Disneylandia would be a series of miniature scenes based on Disney films that would be built into custom train cars that would travel the country. Disneylandia would roll into town and station itself on a side track. Guests could then buy tickets to see the miniatures and experience the themed environments created by Walt and his team in the world's most amazing train.

Walt commissioned a feasibility study to determine how successful such an enterprise would be. Even the most optimistic projections showed that the project would not be very profitable. The high costs of a touring attraction, coupled with the low capacity of the trains doomed the attraction before it really got started. The silver lining, however, was that the spark that began with Disneylandia led to Walt Disney's biggest dream- DISNEYLAND.