Tom Morris at Disneyland Paris
We have created our third podcast of our interview with Tom Morris. In the previous weeks we’ve had a chance to discuss creativity and imagination with Tom as it relates to his contribution to Journey Into Imagination. Last week we spoke of several lessons learned from his time spent working at Disneyland. Today we move to Disneyland Paris! You can find both podcasts here on Podbean and here at iTunes. You can also type in “Disney at Work & Play Podcast” when you visit Spotify.
This week we feature Tom’s experience working with the Disneyland Paris team. Tom’s role was primarily with Fantasyland, but unlike other podcasts, I wanted him to also share his perceptions of the contributions imagineers made to the entire park. And you can’t appreciate those contributions without some illustrations and photos. So let’s take a look:
Main Street, U.S.A.
Eddie Sotto commandeered Main Street, U.S.A. The main part of the street is pretty much a replica of the street you find at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. But there are still significant differences. The train station is modified to incorporate the presence of the Disneyland Paris Hotel adjacent to it.
Town Square is also modified. Tom mentioned Eddie’s work on the horse barn, known as the Main Street Transportation Company.
Eddie, also revised City Hall, and added a library next to it.
Many may not be familiar with two magnificent arcades built along the back sides of both sides of Main Street, U.S.A. which serve as vehicles for moving traffic into and out of the park on cold and wet days.
Even these “pedestrian hallways” have beautiful details added into them.
Jeff Burke along with Skip Lange and Pat Burke labored on Frontierland. An enclosed fort provides the entrance to Frontierland, similar to the enclosed forts on Tom Sawyer’s Island. And like that fort, you can walk around the upstairs perimeter.
After opening there was a need for adding additional capacity during the summer months. The winter months at Disneyland Paris were dead attendance wise, but summers were overwhelmingly busy. Tom added additional scenes inside the fort when you were walking around. This scene shows Davy Crocket hitting a target simply by looking in the mirror backwards at it. While it’s an A-Ticket style attraction, it adds significant depth to the details of Frontierland.
A focus of Jeff’s work was the Phantom Manor being given much more of a story line in Disneyland Paris’s version of the Haunted Mansion. You can see that play out even in the story lines found with the headstones at the cemetery.
Tom mentions the Lucky Nugget. Here is the exterior of the Lucky Nugget Saloon, more rustic looking than Diamond or Golden Horseshoe saloons, but similar in style.
Inside, however, we can see the elaborate millwork that went into the styling of the saloon.
Chris Tietz offers such an entry into Adventureland unlike previous parks. Here we enter a bazaar that is reminiscent of Morocco at Epcot.
Again, to provide for so many summer guests, Tom helped add another A-ticket attraction in the way of depicting the story of Aladdin.
Below is a depiction of the Cave of Wonders. Remember, that Aladdin had not come out of the theaters when the park was being designed, so it did not incorporate any of the film, until after the park’s opening.
We speak of wayfinding as Chris designed Adventureland. This map speaks to the marvelous way that you can be in the jungle, but still have everything lead you from one place to another without just finding yourself in a dead end.
Tom shares a story of getting a new idea from Eddie Sotto. That led to the design of these trees you see in the castle. It furthers the idea that the castle is a fantasy version.
Beyond this, there are so many other beautiful details found in the castle. Here are some beautiful stained glass mentioned in the Imagineering Story on Disney+.
And here is an example of the tapestries that were woven, again shown being made on Disney+.
Below is the Dodo rock in the middle of the hedge maze that Tom speaks of.
This theater is part of the train station complex in Fantasyland and was one of the projects Tom had to pay attention to.
In adding summer capacity, Casey Jr. train, Storybook Canal boats and a small ferris wheel reminiscent of The Old Mill short were added by Tom in Fantasyland. Here is the storybook opening to the canal boats.
Tom referenced this unusual depiction for the park’s castle, rendered by Tim Delaney. Note the Sorcerer Mickey in the forecourt fountain.
Again, as part of adding capacity, the Nautilus sub was added as a walk through. This diagram illustrates the various rooms that Tom Scherman designed into that attraction.
You can see a video of Tom highlighting this attraction for its 20th anniversary here:
And Tom mentions Space Mountain as the cherry on the top. Quite right.
Figaro, and Learning From Mistakes
Tom shares with us the story of Figaro and Learning From Mistakes as is represented by this depiction of Figaro over the exit in Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland.
You can see more about this story, and of the lessons learned from it in our Facebook Live video and post at the Red Rose Tavern found here:
More Resources on the Imagineering of Disneyland Paris
Beyond checking out the new Imagineering Story on Disney+ (which you must do) please check out these in-depth videos only found on my YouTube channel. I was surprised that none of the footage in The Imagineering Story had come from these videos, which leads me to thinking that the entire series has been lost. Below is the overview which includes all the key imagineers:
And here is where you can see the video focusing on Fantasyland as shared by Tom Morris (and a younger one at that!).
You can see the entire playlist here on YouTube.
Need more? Definitely check out Disney, Leadership and You. It’s filled with stories from over 100 artists, imagineers & pioneers within the Walt Disney Company. You’ll get great ideas for gaining better results by effectively working with others. Check it out on Amazon today.