But Disneyland's castle was far too small for an apartment, so the west coast Dream Suite went into the New Orleans Square space occupied by the Disney Gallery. Great for the lucky few who won a night in the suite; too bad for the rest of us theme park fans who enjoyed lingering with great work by Disney's artists and Imagineers.
At last, Disney's reopened its Gallery - not in its old home over New Orleans Square, but in an even more convenient space in the old Bank of Main Street building. Flowing into the old Walt Disney Story space next to what will soon again be Mr. Lincoln's theater, the new Disney Gallery gives theme park and Disney fans renewed access to some great concept art and models of classic Disney attractions.
A concept model of Disneyland at its opening dominates the far wall of the main room.
But I found myself drawn to the models of Sleeping Beauty's Castle...
...and Splash Mountain.
Models provide a more intimate way to study, and enjoy, an attraction's architecture. They are small enough for your eye to capture both scope and detail, while also allowing you a private moment with the design. There aren't hundreds of other guests milling around here, getting between you and the attraction.
Every visitor over age 35 or so lingered over the display case of old admission books, with their A through E tickets.
After explaining the tickets to my kids ("What, are they like old FastPasses or something?" "Uh, no, kids...."), I retreated to the smaller studies, to spend some time with the original concept art on display.
Here's Mary Blair's background study for England in It's a Small World:
Bob Gurr and John Hench's thrilling vision of the Mark I monorails:
Sam McKim's proposed enhancements to Schweitzer Falls on the Jungle Cruise:
And, finally, Marc Davis' concept of a Giant Squid attacking a Killer Whale on Disneyland's Submarine Voyage:
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