Liberty Street Project - Disneyland
Imagine how different Disneyland would be if there was another Village on the other side of Main Street USA. A Village taking us back further inside Disneyland and back further into our nation's great history. Walt announced Liberty Street as the first ever expansion for Disneyland in 1956 one year after the park had opened.
Liberty Street would lead you down to a cul-de-sac, set during the Revolutionary War and would feature a mixture of period perfect buildings representing several U.S cities. 13 buildings to be exact, paying tribute to the original 13 colonies, featuring Merchants and Trades that reflected this time period. Within the stores, merchants would practice the crafts they sold where a Disneyland guest could buy something from a blacksmith that they saw work in his Forge.
At the end of Liberty Street you would enter Liberty Square which would feature two of the land's attractions the first being Independence Hall's the Hall of Presidents. This would be a wax museum because animatronics wouldn't exist until 1963.
The second attraction the Hall of the Declaration of Independence would have featured three scenes inspired by famous paintings and a replica of the Declaration of Independence. The idea would be that both attractions would help tell the story of the United States.
The area however was never built because Walt had a lot on his hands in the late 50s at Disneyland including the Matterhorn bobsleds, the Disneyland monorail and submarine Voyage. Walt however did go as far as to have maps printed showing both Liberty Street and Edison Square. Though this was originally planned as an addition to Main Street USA at Disneyland in California the concept was revived during the design of the Magic Kingdom in the late 1960s.
Imagine walking off Town Square in Disneyland, past the Mad Hatter and interim into Liberty Street where you walk along a tight corridor of 13 different buildings that leads to a small fake Harbor on the left. To the right a very tiny Liberty Square where there's a Liberty Tree and two attractions about the founding of our great nation.
Logistically it wouldn't have worked because this is where the parade goes. The parade starts at It's a Small World then works its way through Fantasyland and up Main Street to quietly hide backstage. For its second performance, the gates of magic swing wide open and the parade works its way back to It's a Small World.
And realistically, how would you explain this??
Not enough landscape or trees could cover Space Mountain. And if I had to choose, I want Space Mountain over the historic project! Let's just keep things as they are, please!
This building will be closing June 5th and reopening June 9th. This building houses three rides, two shops and one restroom. That's six different amenities for guests inside of this one building.
Curious as to why, during the busiest season, Disney would close three iconic attractions - Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride? You can see those shingles are all starting to pop up but what else could it be? With all the recent fire concerns could it be just to remove a lot of debris on the rooftop that's gathered over the years. The gutter has all of those items that have been collected in the gutter.
Let's examine the overall shape of this amazing building.
I understand this area right here takes us up above the area where Mr. Toad is. I don't know if you're above Mr. Toad the entire time but why else would they take you up on the second floor other than to conserve space?
There's the Peter Pan tree where you can see the initials of Peter Pan and Wendy Darling. You can hear the Peter Pan Loop through this door.
This turret over here is where the Peter Pan style roof and the Bavarian Village begins. This corner pocket and how it all comes together is no accident. The parallel alignment that you see is imaginary. It's a jigsaw puzzle of little pockets. Every so often it bends and folds and pops out and extrudes and goes back in just making one big building look as if it actually is a European style Village. This building spans from across the Matterhorn, and wraps around the east side of the castle. The architecture is stunning. Walt created the look of several different facades for each attraction, in order to give the illusion of multiple structures.
To see MORE of this beautiful building AND the three attractions, watch the video slideshow!
Disney Legend Marty Sklar was born on February 6, 1934 in New Brunswick, N.J. Marty dedicated 54 years of his life to the Walt Disney Company and created a legacy that impacted so many areas. He began working at Disneyland in publicity when it opened in 1955, and soon began writing speeches for Walt and becoming a trusted assistant. He’d later move into Walt Disney Imagineering, where he’d rise to lead the organization.
Imagineering, like so many other Disney departments, relies heavily on a culture of mentorship and building bridges that connect generations of employees ultimately to Walt’s vision. Marty played a critical role developing those connections. According to Disney’s original archivist Dave Smith, “Walt and he [Marty] seemed to think alike. Marty really understood Walt more than a lot of people.”
Marty is the only person to have attended the grand openings of all Disney parks. He was named a Disney Legend in 2001 and has a Main Street U.S.A. window tribute at Disneyland.
Former Walt Disney Imagineering President @bobweis said, “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering. His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.”
Marty is no longer with us, but leaves behind an incredible legacy. He eloquently describes Disney philosophy in his two books: Disney: Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (2013), and One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering (2015).
This photo of Disneyland’s Main Street Railroad Station and Floral Mickey was taken by legendary LIFE magazine photographer Loomis Dean in 1955. Note that the population sign says 5,000,000. While the sign has been updated over the years to reflect the number of guests who have visited the park since it opened in 1955, the park did not actually welcome its 5 millionth guest until October of 1956. Since money was stretched thin in the early years, perhaps Walt Disney wanted the initial sign to be able to last a while. When Disneyland celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005, the population was updated to 500,000,000. In 2013, the population was updated to 650,000,000, which it remains at today. There was some speculation the population would be updated in 2020 as part of the 65th anniversary celebration, but the park’s closure due to the pandemic dampened that milestone. By even conservative estimates, more than 750,000,000 guests have now visited Disneyland since it opened. So when will the population be updated next?
These 1954 costume designs for Disneyland cast members were drawn by Renié Conley, an accomplished Hollywood costume designer. Walt Disney knew appropriate costumes for his themed lands were essential to the show he was presenting to his guests. According to Imagineer John Hench, Walt’s philosophy, which became ingrained in the Imagineering ethos, was “attention to infinite detail, the little things, the minor picky points that other companies just don’t want to take the time, the money, the effort, to do right.”
Conley had been a costume designer with RKO Pictures since 1937, which worked together with the Disney Studio to produce and distribute a number of films. In 1954, she was asked to develop costume concepts for Disneyland. These early drawings would provide the creative foundation for the thousands of costumes needed for the park’s cast members. A window on Main Street, USA above the Carnation Cafe is dedicated to Conley in recognition of her significant contribution. In a newspaper interview years later, Conley said “Walt Disney was wonderful to work with. He is the only director with whom I worked who had the absolute last word. All of us could talk for days...but when the decision was made, Walt was the one to do it." In 1963, Conley won an Academy Award for her costume designs for the movie Cleopatra.
Decades later, cast member costumes remain a subtle contributor to the Disneyland show. In an interview with Walt Disney biographer Bob Thomas former President of WED, Bill Cottrell, explained why focusing on costumes and other thematic elements were such a priority for Walt: “He knew that they were not going to make money because they couldn’t carry enough people. But they were part of the concept that the main gate establishes a certain show for people. And not everything has to make money. You pay to get in the place and so what do you see? Everyone’s in costume. And the streets are clean. And you have flowers. And you have these vehicles that a few people can ride and so forth.”
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".