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The World of Tomorrow, circa 1953

The 1953 World of Tomorrow that became Tomorrowland (© The Walt Disney Company)
This sketch illustrates the plan drawn October 8, 1953 by Marvin Davis. The atmospheric rendering, reportedly drawn by art director Dale Henessy, son of Disney artist Hugh Henessy, imagines looking down the entrance avenue, flanked by exhibit spaces, toward the circular courtyard dominated by the Rocket Ship theater. In the days before commercial jet travel, an Aviation Exhibit (on the left) would illustrate how far modern airplanes had come from the Wright brothers. Davis later developed the suspended monorail (left of center), reached by a rooftop station, that would offer a winding, curvy view of the entire land.

Art director Gabriel Scognamilo was hired to help imagine the future in 1954, but this rendering shows the pre-Scognamilo future. Artist John Hench was thinking about cigar-shaped rocket ships (four years before Sputnik) and ways to fool an audience into believing that they were still inside the rocket they thought they had entered (if that makes sense).

The open, covered arcade to the right led to the loading area for the Freeway of the Future. A feature of the loading area was a small test track. A child could get in a car and be waved onto the test track to prove their proficiency before being allowed onto the main freeway. As Disneyland neared its grand opening, publicity materials still spoke of children earning their license to drive, but the test track idea was quickly set aside.

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