These incredible early concept drawings for the Mad Tea Party attraction by artist Bruce Bushman include a number of features that were ultimately not included in the final attraction. Of course, the attraction is inspired by the animated movie Alice in Wonderland which was released by the Disney Studio in 1951, just a few years before the park opened.
In the first artwork you will notice the concept includes large characters from the movie, including the Mad Hatter and March Hare enjoying a cup of tea on top of a table, as well as Chesire Cat and Caterpillar. In the second drawing, the teacup ride vehicles were set to spin on a platform designed like a tablecloth with doilies alongside a number of items you would expect to find on a table during a tea party, including a teapot, creamer, and a sugar bowl. The final image shows the attraction in its original form when Disneyland opened in 1955. The ride was plagued early on with mechanical problems and was soon reengineered within the park’s first year of operation. In 1983, Fantasyland received a major overhaul and the attraction was moved to the location where it sits now next to the Alice in Wonderland attraction.
You’ll lose your head over the Alice in Wonderland line designed by Disney Legend Mary Blair.
2021 marked the 70th Anniversary of Disney’s classic Alice in Wonderland. The timeless classic was released in July 1951. It is the 13th animated classic created by Disney.
Disney describes Mary Blair as an imaginative color stylist and designer. Mary Blair helped introduce modern art to Walt Disney and his Studio. Also, Mary’s unique color and styling greatly influenced such Disney productions as Song of the South, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, So Dear to My Heart, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.
Every day is a Golden Afternoon with your teatime confections served on this set of four porcelain dessert plates featuring Alice and the Garden of Live Flowers. Designs adapted from inspirational art for Alice in Wonderland by Disney Legend Mary Blair.
The Indians were made out of fiberglass from a mold. Indian Joe was originally supposed to look like a carved Cigar Store Indian from the Victorian era. The Frontierland carved Indian Chief has a brown cape, while the Main Street Indian Chief has a teal green cape. Because of the natural wear and tear of fiberglass both chiefs are usually replaced every 5-7 years.
Cigar Store Indians are a form of American Folk Art dating back to the 1800s. They were commonly placed on the walk in front of tobacconist shops to direct illiterate customers to the shop. Since there were so many immigrants who couldn't read English, it was common to use visual trade signs such as a carving instead of written signs to bridge the language barrier.
*Note the Elvis pumpkin on the 20th Century Music Company sign behind Joe.
I found these awesome Cheshire Cat PJ bottoms and curated a complete ensemble around them. Bright colors and whimsical style.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".