Today, Disneyland has so much cultural relevance that it’s difficult to imagine a world without it. But in 1953, the mammoth amusement park (and its subsequent international offshoots) was little more than a drawing on a piece of paper.
The original map, designed to convince early investors to fund what would become Disneyland, has today sold at an auction for a whopping $708,000USD ($932,192AUD). While it’s less than the million dollar target initially projected by auction house Van Eaton Galleries, that’s still a pretty hefty sum for a piece of paper. It’s also now the most expensive Disneyland map in history.
Today, Disneyland in Los Angeles stands at 34 hectares. The map, though, is just 3.5 ft by 5.5 ft, and was evidently successful in its bid to draw interest from investors.
The map was created by Walt Disney himself, along with illustrator Herb Ryman, who somehow managed to design the entire thing in a single weekend – September 26 and 27, 1953, to be precise. While some parts of the map are familiar and still exist today (like the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle), others, like Lilliputian Land, never saw the light of day.
The map originally hung in Walt Disney’s office until Grenade Curran, then a production assistant, asked to take it home. “I kept it for history’s sake,” he said. “I kept it for Walt’s artistic stake, I kept it because it was the first thing to show and display what a theme park would look like.” The map was held privately by Curran for 60 years.
Whoever the lucky bidder was – they have remained anonymous – they’ve just obtained something pretty special, that’s for sure.
(All images: Van Eaton Galleries)