This Year In Disney History, Tomorrowland Construction Begins
The first Tomorrowland opened at Disneyland on July 17, 1955, with only several of its planned attractions open, due to budget cuts. The construction of the park was rushed, so Tomorrowland was the last land to be finished. It became something of a corporate showcase, despite Walt Disney’s reluctance. Monsanto Company, American Motors, Richfield Oil, and Dutch Boy Paint were some of the many companies to open showcases in Tomorrowland in the first few years.
Since the park was on a strict budget, one cost-cutting idea was to reuse the sets of the Nautilus from Disney’s 1954 movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a walkthrough attraction. This remained open until 1966. For the first four years, most of Tomorrowland was generally open space and considered to be very corporate-fueled. However, the area gained more attractions as time passed, many of which have since been removed. When Disneyland opened, Tomorrowland represented the future in the year 1986.
Tomorrowland’s showpiece was the TWA Moonliner, derived from Disney’s “Man In Space” television episodes developed in the 1950s. The Moonliner was the tallest structure in the park at the time, even taller than the park icon Sleeping Beauty Castle. The Moonliner hosted Rocket To The Moon which was a ride to the moon. The entrance showpiece was the clock of the world showing the time anywhere on earth. The north show building hosted Circarama U.S.A. which showed movies on nine screens, and space station X-1 which showed a satellite view of America. The south show building showed the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, which was a walk-through tour about chemistry. Autopia, an opening-day attraction, gave visitors a view of the National Interstate System that was to be built in the future. The attraction still remains open today, though it has been modified and rebuilt several times. This is the only attraction in Tomorrowland that has been open since opening day.
Several new attractions opened in 1955. Among them were Tomorrowland Boats, The World Beneath Us, which showed the Earth’s geology, and the Aluminum Hall of Fame, sponsored by Kaiser Aluminum. The final Tomorrowland attraction to open in 1955 was The Flight Circle which demonstrated gasoline powered vehicles.