Miss Information picked up a lovely set of vintage Tomorrowland photos last month, while browsing at one of my favorite junk stores. The set first appeared to be postcards, but that didn’t make a lot of sense to me upon closer inspection, as they are printed front and back. I’m guessing the postmark area means the purchaser might choose to send the whole set as a single piece of mail?
Anyways, I had some fun trying to figure out when the photos date from, since Miss Information happily pointed out the absence of everyone’s Tomorrowland fave. You guessed it, there’s no Space Mountain! Back in the old days, folks were happy with the People Mover and the motorboats.
Back to what I was saying about the photo dating– it’s been a bit problematic, as the photos seem to have been taken at somewhat different times, given some important details shown. Before I continue, I’d like to add that the folks behind Yesterland provide a wealth of information, without which I would have been hopelessly lost. Thanks, Yesterland!
The main discrepancy seems to be between the Skyway and the CircleVision Theatre. In the photos of the Skyway, the first-generation round buckets are shown, which were replaced in 1965 with a differently-shaped bucket. That would initially suggest the photos date from no later than 1965. However, the CircleVision Theatre did not begin playing “America the Beautiful” until 1967, when it was re-opened. Clearly, there’s no way these photos could have been taken at the same time.
There are also a few other interesting details! See the Alweg Monorail? When it first opened, the red and blue trains only had three cars each– but the ones pictured have four. The additional cars were added in mid-1961; shortly before the addition of a third, yellow, monorail later that year. With the monorails featured so prominently in the photoset, I suspect the yellow monorail didn’t yet exist, placing these photos very near the mid-year of 1961. The text, which touts “extended” 2.4 mile monorail, also support this date.
Enough Disney-geekery for now– here are the photos! (click to view full size, please)