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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Story of DISNEYLAND: Walt & Herb's "Lost Weekend"

With Roy Disney on board with the idea of DISNEYLAND, it was now time to show the financiers what Walt's dream would entail. Up to this point, however, the park was still in Walt's head. Roy needed a visual representation to show the bankers and he needed one quickly. Walt knew just the person he trusted to put his ideas on paper- Herb Ryman. 

Mr. Ryman had previously worked for the Walt Disney Studios but had left to work for MGM. Walt planned to hire Herb as a freelancer to draw up a map that Roy could show the bankers. Walt showed up at Herb's house and told him about DISNEYLAND. Herb recalled telling Walt that it sounded like a great idea and he was eager to see the plans. That's when Walt broke the news- there were no plans; Herb would be drawing them up. Herb agreed to do it, but he insisted that Walt be there to guide him. Thus began the legendary "Lost Weekend".

Over the course of the weekend, Walt spoke and Herb sketched. By the end of the weekend, the sketch was completed. Roy would have something tangible to show the bankers- the very first visual interpretation of DISNEYLAND. An idea that had been lurking in Walt's head for decades was finally on paper- and it was strikingly similar to what it would eventually become.

There it was- like nothing else in the world and surrounded by a train. It wasn't exactly like the park that the world would come to know and love, but the basic concept was there- including that fairy tale castle.

Herb Ryman would become so excited about the possibilities that he would take a job with Imagineering, working on every Disney theme park until his death. Now that the dream was all on paper, Walt would need to find a place to build his Magic Kingdom, a task that wasn't as easy to accomplish as one might think.