Disneyland’s Original Prospectus

Boing Boing has hi-res scans of the original documents Walt and Roy Disney used in 1953 to convince investors to throw their money behind a new concept called “Disneyland.” Along with the typed prospectus, you’ll read about how the first vision of Disneyland has changed over time.

As for the document itself, there's a lot of interesting detail in it. I was quite struck by the extent to which the document focuses on Disneyland as a unique place to shop. This being the post-war boom-years, shopping was coming into its own as an American recreational passtime. And indeed, Disneyland has, at various times in its history, focused strongly on unique gifts. In the 1950s and 1960s, doing your Christmas shopping at Disneyland was quite the thing in LA (in those days, there was a separate, low charge for admission, and ride tickets were extra, so it was very cheap to pass through the gates in order to shop). In the 1970s and 1980s, the parks sported loads of wonderful, bespoke materials (I loved the Randotti souvenirs, especially the Haunted Mansion material). At various times since, the corporate emphasis on merchandise has varied wildly, though thoughtful, high-quality, distinctive merchandise now appears to be back in the mix.

But Walt's vision for what the company at one point called "merchantainment" (!) was more ambitious than anything yet realized inside the berm. Page one boasts of a "mail order catalogue" that will offer everything for sale at Disneyland (a kind of super-duper version of today's Disneyland Delivears). This catalogue was to feature actual livestock, including "a real pony or a miniature donkey thirty inches high."

Also see a much larger version of the concept map you see here.


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