At his animation studios, Walt Disney constantly pushed the boundaries of technology. He released the first color animated short, the first to feature sound and the first feature-length animated picture. When he launched Disneyland in 1955, he brought the same spirit of innovation with him. Over the years, Disney's Imagineers have pioneered a range of technologies and concepts. Let's take a look at 5 that have endured the test of time and are still going strong today.
5. The hub and spoke
Unhappy with the haphazard design of funfairs in the 1950s, which usually featured multiple entrances and exits and a confusing layout, Walt Disney was determined that Disneyland would be different. He designed a "hub and spoke layout", featuring a single entrance. Guests would be filtered down Main Street, USA to a central plaza, from which they could reach of the different lands. The system was so successful that it has been employed by every Disney park since, as well as by numerous competitors.
4. The Omnimover
At the 1964 World's Fair, a number of rides employed systems that saw an endless loop of vehicles travel around a circuit. This ensured high capacity, but there was one major problem: guests were usually facing the back of the seat in front of them. What would be better would be a system that allowed the cars to rotate as required, as well as travelling up-and-down hills. Imagineers Bob Gurr and John Hench designed such a system, the Omnimover, which was first employed by Adventure Thru Inner Space at Disneyland. It has since been used by dozens of Disney rides, from the Haunted Mansion to Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Walt Disney longed for an overhead transportation system that could offer people a rapid overview of an area in a city. In 1964, he set Imagineer Bob Gurr to work on creating one. The result was the WEDWay, also known as the "PeopleMover". The ride, opened in 1967 in Tomorrowland, employed a unique turntable system to enable continuous loading. It was updated in the 1970s for the Walt Disney World version, which employs linear induction motors to propel its vehicles. Thought it wasn't picked up by dozens of major cities as Disney had hoped, the WEDWay system is still in use at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.