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A photo tour of Disneyland's new Disney Gallery

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Published: October 27, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Tuesday Park Visit: When Disney opened its "Dream Suite" at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it converted space in the Cinderella's Castle that previously hadn't been finished or opened to the public into a lavish apartment for use by a lucky (and randomly selected) few.

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.

Disney Gallery

A concept model of Disneyland at its opening dominates the far wall of the main room.

Model of Disneyland

But I found myself drawn to the models of Sleeping Beauty's Castle...

Model of Disneyland's Castle

...and Splash Mountain.

Model of 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.

Disneyland 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:

Mary Blair's design of It's a Small World

Bob Gurr and John Hench's thrilling vision of the Mark I monorails:

Disneyland monorails

Sam McKim's proposed enhancements to Schweitzer Falls on the Jungle Cruise:

Concept art of Disney's Jungle Cruise

And, finally, Marc Davis' concept of a Giant Squid attacking a Killer Whale on Disneyland's Submarine Voyage:

Concept art from Disneyland's Submarine Voyage

Who says that Disney doesn't lay down a little smack on its rivals now and then?

Readers' Opinions

From Corey Romberg on October 27, 2009 at 11:57 AM
Hahaha I love the squid attacking Shamu! Gotta love Marc Davis' humor
From Joshua Counsil on October 28, 2009 at 11:10 AM
Didn't even consider that the whale was Shamu. Hilarious.
From 99.186.27.241 on October 30, 2009 at 4:50 PM
Wait when was that drawing done. If it was near disneyland opening. Then its not shamu.
From Robert Niles on October 30, 2009 at 5:31 PM
I thought that my snark was obvious there. Guess not.

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