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The 1964 New York World's Fair was a world's fair consisting of 650 acres of pavilions, public spaces, and international exhibits from around the world. Although not owned by the Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney himself and his team of WED Enterprises Imagineers contributed to the fair featuring new technology in the new form of animation for Audio-Animatronics.

Disney's Contribution

During the Fair, Walt and his team of Imagineers contributed four attractions to the fair. The fair is remembered for Walt and his team's contribution to developing a new system for Audio-Animatronics where WED Enterprises did their contributions to the fair.

  • Progressland - Sponsored by General Electric, featured multiple presentations supplementing its main show.
    • Carousel of Progress - Where guests entered an audio-animatronic theater in the progress of electricity in hometown. The attraction's theme song "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" was written by the Sherman Brothers.
    • The Skydome Spectacular - After exiting the Carousel, guests would take a speedramp up to view a projection show on the pavilion dome of thunder, lightning, solar fires and atoms to explore man's search for new energy sources. This served as a prelude to the pavilion's demonstration of Fusion Power.
    • The Toucan and Parrot Electric Utility Show - Located in the Medallion City section demonstrating new GE Appliances, two animatronic birds talk about how technology has changed since the previous 1939 New York World's Fair
  • Ford Pavilion - Ford Motor Company's pavilion was centered around a ridethru attraction and supplemented by other exhibits within its Wonder Rotunda lobby area.
    • Ford Magic Skyway - A journey through time aboard the new Ford Mustang narrated by Walt Disney. It is the only attraction that Disney developed that did not make it to Disneyland due to insufficient space.
    • International Gardens - A collection of eleven miniature displays showcasing countries that Ford had manufacturing facilities in. One of the musical tracks composed by Buddy Baker for the display would be repurposed into the overture for The Jungle Book.
    • Auto Parts Harmonic - A whimsical music machine made out of car parts designed by Rolly Crump and Bob Gurr. Would later be sent to Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - Located at the Illinois pavilion, an animatronic Abraham Lincoln serves as the host of this attraction.
  • It's a Small World - Sponsored by Pepsi, the attraction featured animatronic dolls representing each country with the theme song written by the Sherman Brothers.

Aftermath

After the fair closed in 1965, Disney planned to build a Disney Park in New York (called an "East Coast Disneyland") to convert the fair's property into a second Disney park, but the idea was abandoned due to budget issues, as this would have been the second Disney park built in the world. Walt himself decided to relocate the attractions that he and his team contributed to Anaheim, California. All the attractions that Disney designed were moved to Disneyland Park, except for Ford Magic Skyway. Due to insufficient space, there was not enough room for all the animatronics and props to be housed at Disneyland in California. All the dinosaurs from Ford Magic Skyway were placed in the Primeval World diorama in the Disneyland Railroad while the mammoth in the caveman scene in the aforementioned attraction was redesigned and placed into the elephant area in the Jungle Cruise attraction in Anaheim. Everything else from Ford Magic Skyway was either dismantled to be used as other parts or destroyed while most of the exhibits from the fair are replicated into other Disney parks.

Today, the only attractions originally contributed to the World's Fair used nowadays in Disney Parks were It's a Small World, Carousel of Progress, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

After Walt's death in 1966, the "It's a Small World" attraction was later built in Magic Kingdom in 1971 at Walt Disney World, which was influenced by the scrapped concept of developing an "East Coast Disneyland". Epcot, which later opened in 1982, was designed as a "permanent world's fair" in honor of the world's fair that Disney and his team did their contributions in 1964 and 1965.

In other media

  • Tomorrowland - The opening scene of Tomorrowland featured the World's Fair where the character Frank Walker as a young boy attempts to sell his prototype jetpack to which it is rejected by one of the judges because it did not function properly while he follows a young girl named Athena who takes her to the "It's a Small World" attraction at the Pepsi-Cola pavilion, transporting the two to the futuristic city of Tomorrowland.
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