The concept design for the display of the Storybook Land village is a “wagon” that is themed like a traveling exhibit from a circus. Much in the vein of Walt’s original Disneylandia idea of a traveling exhibit of miniatures that celebrated nostalgic Americana, we felt using a wagon would not only keep the village out of direct sunlight, but also keep it mobile, and with theming that would not seem too out of place next to the barn. The final design may go through some changes as needed, such as adding hard awning instead of fabric that can be dropped down and latched for added security and protection from the elements.
When Storybook Land first opened in 1956, this village sat at on the mountainside below Cinderella’s castle. They originally had warm brown rooftops which were eventually painted a cool grey after a refurbishment. They were constructed of marine plywood and polyurethane resin, which eventually fell victim to constant exposure to the elements. In 1981, during the major overhaul of Fantasyland, many of the buildings in Storybook Land were replaced with exact copies of the original but with modern fabrication techniques that would make them more permanent.
The original village now fifty-seven years old sits in pieces and in desperate need of preservation and restoration. Our goal is to bring this structures back to life so that visitors to Walt’s Barn can enjoy the artistry of the imagineers that built them.
Who is doing all this work, you ask? That would be me, barn volunteer and Disneyland history nut, Rob Fendler.
My day job is in the animation industry where I fill a variety off roles as either an Animation Director, Storyboard artist, or Flash animator. When it comes to Disney related work, I most recently directed the Disney Online series Swampy’s Underground Adventures based on the incredibly addictive mobile game Where’s My Water? If you’re interested in seeing more of my work you can check out my website.
Thanks for stopping in and learning more about this project and my own personal quest to make sure generations to come will learn something about Walt Disney and the other amazingly talented artists that created Storybook Land.
On the 57th anniversary of the opening of Storybook Land, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Carolwood Foundation’s “The Small Worlds of Walt” website. What will eventually become a permanent exhibit at the Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park, “The Small Worlds of Walt” will feature miniatures of every kind from Walt Disney’s life that explored what a “miniature” could be. From the Combine car from the Disneyland Railroad, itself a scale model of a full sized railcar, to a new display of an original village from Storybook Land, one of Walt’s favorite attractions.
Unfortunately, before the Storybook Land village can go on display, it will need an extensive restoration. However, the Carolwood Foundation felt that this miniature structures that were built by Disney Legends, and show the meticulous care for detail that Walt expected for his park, were worth saving. By displaying these small scale architectural artifacts from the early days of Disneyland, the Carolwood Foundation would be further preserving not only Walt’s railroad history, but how that railroad intertwined and was born from Walt’s fascination with miniatures.
If you find this Disney history just as fascinating as we do, we’d like to get you involved with making this exhibit come alive. Soon we’ll be launching an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to help with the cost of restoring these historic structures. Check back soon for more information and other cool stuff to see as we get our site up and running at full steam.