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Disney And The 1964-65 World’s Fair, Part 2: ‘Something No One Has Seen Or Done Before’

Ford wasn't about to let their competition outdo them at the World's Fair - so they hired Walt Disney to develop their pavilion.

by
Chris Queen

Bio

March 24, 2014 - 8:30 am

65-xx-03_Magic_Skyway_start

Along the wall next to the ramps to the floors above, a 96 panel mural by Imagineer extraordinaire John Hench depicted advancements in science, architecture, and engineering. The whimsical Auto Parts Harmonic featured an orchestra made of car parts performing music by Disney composer George Bruns. Imagineers Rolly Crump and Bob Gurr created the instruments.

According to the official guidebook to the Fair, the Fields of Science attraction demonstrated:

…¬†some of the advanced research projects now engaging scientists at Ford and its subsidiary, Philco. Included are demonstrations of laser light, the sound of stars as picked up by radio telescope, and displays of new auto materials.

Of course, guests would find the pavilion’s most exciting attraction inside the show building – the Magic Skyway. In this attraction, guests experienced time travel, from the dawn of mankind to the future. Of the Magic Skyway, Walt said:

What we want to provide guess at the Ford Pavilion is an entirely original experience, something no one has ever seen or done before.

Ford initially suggested that drivers take guests through the ride in 1964 Ford production cars, but the Imagineers preferred the control of an automatic system. Disney took 160 Ford convertibles – including the Mustang, which Ford would debut at the fair – removed the engines, and placed the cars on tracks which would take guests on the journey. The ride system Disney developed suggested both the Omnimover technology used at The Haunted Mansion and Horizons and linear induction systems like the WEDWay PeopleMover/Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.

Inside the cars, a six-track audio system would narrate the story. Initially, Disney television announcer Dick Wesson provided the narration, but Henry Ford II suggested that Walt himself narrate, and he did for the 1965 run of the Magic Skyway.

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As a nine-year-old visiting the NY World's Fair I remember seeing the "car of the future" called Aurora. It had a very advanced design and I obviously never forgot it 50 years later! However, I think it was in the GM pavilion not Ford. Do you know?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Aurora was at the Ford pavilion, along with two other idea cars" -- the Cougar II, and the Allegro.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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