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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Walt Wednesdays: A Spire Of Hope

Ray Bradbury was famous for being a futurist and author. What he is less famous for was being a huge fan of Walt Disney.

Ray often told the story of how he was a wide-eyed young author when he bumped into Walt Disney while Christmas shopping. Ray took the initiative to introduce himself, unsure of how his hero would react. Not only had Walt Disney heard of him, Mr. Disney invited him over to the studio to look at some ideas Walt was considering for Tomorrowland and the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow- EPCOT. Ray was overjoyed.

While Walt Disney’s original ideas for Florida were scrapped, Ray stayed around as a consultant, hoping to inject as much Walt into the project as possible. Not long after the project’s completion, Mr. Bradbury took a trip to Paris. He took in all of the sights, including the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. Upon returning to the states, he visited DISNEYLAND and noticed for the first time a familiar spire.

Ray thought that it had to have been added recently, as he never remembered seeing it before. He contacted a Disney Imagineer who confirmed that the spire had been there from day one in 1955.

The Imagineer also verified that the spire was indeed inspired by the one at Notre Dame Cathedral and had been inserted into the castle design by Walt Disney himself. What was the reason given for why Walt put it there? Because he had seen the spire in Paris while touring Notre Dame and had liked it. While the DISNEYLAND spire will doubtless get added attention in light of recent events, it has spent most of its existence sitting atop the most recognizable castle in the world mostly going unrecognized.

This small detail is what makes DISNEYLAND so unique as the only Disney Theme Park fully designed and overseen by Walt Disney. The park is full of these little touches, added because Walt Disney loved what they represented. It is these things, whether we notice them or not, that have made DISNEYLAND more than just a theme park.