On WEDWay Radio Season 6: Episode 12, Nate and Matt discuss one of their favorite episodes of the Disneyland television show, “A Trip Through Adventureland.”
Through the Disneyland television show, Walt Disney Productions was able to finance the building of Disneyland, the theme park. Starting with the first 1950 Christmas Day special on NBC, “One Hour in Wonderland,” Walt Disney had audiences around America glued to their television sets.
After Disneyland opened in 1955, viewers of the television show were given a first-hand view inside Disneyland. “A Trip Through Adventureland” aired on February 29th, 1956 (about 7 months after Disneyland had opened to the public).
Originally when the the show aired, it was paired with a 30-minute “True Life Adventure.” For this episode, “Water Birds” were showcased. However, the highlight of the episode was definitely “A Trip Through Adventureland” segment.
Narrated by Walt Disney himself, guests were guided through Disneyland’s Adventureland. While holding a model of a Jungle Cruise boat, Walt explained the origins of Adventureland. It had come from the settings of the “True Life Adventure Series.”
In the Jungle Cruise attraction itself, duplicating nature was a huge undertaking for WED. Even then, careful attention was paid to the details. The Jungle Cruise had a serious tone then, with only a few comical references.Many of the Walt Disney Studio artists crossed over into WED projects, learning as they went. The technology for the electrical systems and infrastructure, for instance, looked very crude.
For this episode, the “True Life Adventure” photographers were brought in. For the time, the cinematography and production work was quite innovative. By lifting the photographers up on a crane to get the aerial shots, viewers were transported over the land and attraction.
Next, the technical aspects of creating the attraction were explained. From the wiring of the audio-animatronics to the adding of the water in the ravine, viewers were given a sense of the complexities of creating this natural-looking jungle.
The final step was the addition of the boats, which were lowered into the water by crane. The episode switched gears when Walt took the viewers on a first-person walking tour of Adventureland. Interestingly, there was no Swiss Family Treehouse, no Tiki Room, nor Adventureland Veranda. Certainly the Jungle Cruise was the main highlight of the land. To round out the episode, viewers were treated with a ride on the Jungle Cruise as it existed in early 1956.
As Walt said many times, it was a ride through a “true life adventure.” In future episodes of WEDWay Radio, Nate and Matt will explore more early episodes of the Disneyland television show.
Watch A Trip through Adventureland
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