For Summer ’62 … A BRAND NEW Adventureland
by Jungle Cruise Skipper Wannabe Paul F. Anderson
Walt’s Disneyland was always in the state of becoming. This is especially true of Adventureland, with all of its exotic plant life. Bill Evans told me that it was his plan all along for Adventureland (and especially the Jungle Cruise) to become completely and drastically overgrown with greenery … just as if you were in a real jungle. It worked! But the growth in Adventureland I wish to discuss today concerns not the plant life, but rather Walt’s wanting to continually improve Disneyland.
If you ever sit down and look at the year-to-year improvements made at Disneyland while Walt was alive … and then compare it to today, there is simply no comparison. Walt’s “major” improvements was a year to year event! I think many things play into this. The fact that Walt was in charge and he made the decisions, so there was no bureaucratic nightmare or financial planning or feasibility study or environmental impact study or merchandising opportunity or cost analysis issues. Walt said, “Joe, build a Mountain!” And the Admiral better darn well build that Mountain! So by looking at Walt’s improvements on a year to year basis, we really see Walt’s words in action; he was always looking towards and implementing ways to improve his Happiest Place On Earth. It was seemingly nonstop.
When Walt said: “Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world,” he meant it!
One of the major improvements that is not extensively written about is the construction of a “Brand New Adventureland” for summer of 1962. Gate fliers in late 1961 and early 1962 tipped us off to the upcoming additions. Rather than a “pardon our dust” we got “Disneyland’s Growing Again!” To me a simple example of a positive compared to a negative–that was Walt Disney (what a great philosophy!). It explained: “Because of this construction program a few of Disneyland’s major attractions may not be operating” (a small price to pay for what sure delight must await us). Lest we be completely disappointed, the advertisements did excite our senses by the use of Imagineering artwork; and in the case of the Adventureland growth, the perennial favorite Imagineer of Marc Davis seemed to get the nod most of the time (the elephant bathing in the waterfall being the most used piece of art to tickle our imaginations). One herald read:
PLANNING A SUMMER TRIP TO “GET AWAY FROM IT ALL”? HOW ABOUT A JUNGLE SAFARI IN DISNEYLAND’S BRAND NEW ADVENTURELAND! BEGINNING IN JUNE, YOU’LL SEE:
- The Bathing Pool of Indian Elephants
- African Veldt
- Big Game Hunters
- The World’s Largest Tree House
- The Safari Shooting Gallery
- Tahitian Terrace, With Dancing and Show
- “Bird Room” a “By Reservation Only” Restaurant With A Complete Show Performed By Singing, Acting, Talking Animated Birds
To celebrate this January of 1962 Walt rehab, I offer a couple of images from January and February of 1962, respectively. The first is the Trapped Safari, featuring the original concept by Marc Davis. The second is a very detailed construction photo of behind the walls at Adventureland. Enjoy!
What follows are two additional pieces of Marc Davis concept art for the Jungle Cruise (you can never get enough Marc Davis art as far as I am concerned!). The odd thing about them is they are dated March 1962 (at least the documentation that accompanies them states this date). If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, then how unusual to have concept art so late in the construction process. It is entirely possible that Marc just kept working on it and it may have been for a future rehab or addition, but my guess is that things moved a lot quicker under Walt. I can see Walt asking Marc for some additional ideas during the process, and even considering their use. This is, of course, all speculative. I just thought you might enjoy a few more ideas from the mind of Marc while in a Jungle Cruise mode. Enjoy … again!