One thing I love more than anything is finding out how a movie is made and with a history as rich and deep as Disney they leave no stone unturned when it comes to making them. I think I’ve only been in the Disney Archives three times total, it’s not something they share very often but every time it’s amazing and I learn something new. This time I learned about how the archives helped movie makers make the movie Tomorrowland and we saw a few things from opening day of Disneyland. Disneyland is going to be celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year, it’s pretty exciting.
The Disney Archives keep everything. They have more history than most studios here in Hollywood have. So when they are asked to help they say sure what do you need. The story of “Tomorrowland” started with a box labeled “1952,” supposedly discovered by accident in the Disney Studios archive. The mystery box contained all sorts of fascinating models and blueprints, photographs and letters related to the inception of Tomorrowland and the 1964 World’s Fair. Lindelof was excited by the find and recalls, “I began to imagine that the contents of the box were a guide to a secret story that nobody knew. But if so, what would that story be? And the most obvious answer to me was that there really was a place called Tomorrowland that was not a theme park but existed somewhere in the real world.”
Lindelof began to develop the story by researching the history of Disney and its originator, which led to research on the company’s involvement in the 1964 World’s Fair. “Walt Disney was a futurist in that real mid-century modernist sense,” says Lindelof. “He was very optimistic. He believed that technology held the key to building a better world. He also believed in technology as a means of creating great entertainment. For the 1964 World’s Fair, the Walt Disney Company created three rides, the It’s a Small World ride being the one we remember most. Though quaint by today’s standards, back in 1964, Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln were revolutionary in how they used robotics and ride technology to create a thematically rich experience.”
The people that work in the Archives offices are amazing and Disney fanatics. They love getting their hands in the information and you can see and hear their passion as they tell their stories. But I can’t blame them because seeing the history the pictures and everything is just so awesome and inspiring. Walt Disney was a true innovator. He made a difference and was always looking to push the edges of technology as far as he could. He made changes environmentally and started preservation projects before it was even cool to do so.
Bird adds, “One of Disney’s quotes was, ‘I don’t make movies to make money; I make money to make movies.’ Was he a perfect guy? No. But when you look at how much he accomplished in his lifetime it’s just staggering. So I view him as an innovator. He had a very proactive and positive view of the future. I like to think that this film is something that he would enjoy.”
Going to the archives and hearing these stories and seeing the artifacts reminds me of stories my grandmother used to tell me about herself and when she went to Disneyland. She had her own artifacts and memories and it’s these rich memories that really make stories stand out.
Tomorrowland is in theaters Friday May 22.