A Virtual Time Machine to Disneyland, 1958

Alice in Wonderland opening, 1958. Karen Pendleton as Alice.

Former Imagineers Don Carson and Daniel Rover Singer (longtime LCSNA member) have created videos that digitally re-create the experience of riding Disneyland’s original “Alice in Wonderland” ride that opened in 1958.  It was visited by millions of Disneyland guests before it was destroyed in 1983 after 25 years, without any known attempt to properly document it.  The original art directors interpreted the Disney cartoon into more of a carnival spook-house ride, which is why the show was gutted to make way for a new version in 1984 that more closely resembled the animated film.

Don and Rover were lucky to find enough rare documentation to re-create the entire experience in fine detail and full color. (The indoor part of the ride, that is; the ride itself then went outdoors for its final third, wending through a winding vine of leaves. Walt loved the idea of passersby seeing caterpillars wiggling along amongst tall blades of [fiberglass] grass and towering dandelions that glowed at night.)

It’s difficult to say what Lewis Carroll would have thought of this attraction—it’s nightmarish and has little to do with his witty, charming stories.  But for “Alice” fans who may have seen this show, it’s a fun memory-jog and a fascinating piece of theme-park history.

* High resolution but no animated props or opening doors
* Lower resolution with animated props, opening doors; with a VR headset you can turn and look in any direction
* One of Don’s fascinating in-progress “making of” videos