To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing and the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Jim Korkis weaves over three dozen tales of both fact and fantasy about outer space from Disney’s films, theme park attractions, comics, and elsewhere, including:
Part One: Walt in Space
Tomorrowland Television Shows
Tomorrowland Television Shows Never Made
Part Two: Disney Theme Parks
Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland (1994)
Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (1955)
The Epcot Space Pavilion That Never Was
Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Space Girl
The Story Behind Star Tours
The Birth of Space Mountain
Eddie Sotto: Disney’s World of Tomorrow
Part Three: Disney Space Films
The Misadventures of Captain EO
The Tale of Ludwig Von Drake
Moon Pilot (1962)
The Strange Voyage to Treasure Planet (2002)
Inside The Black Hole (1979)
Part Four: Disney Stardust
Ward Kimball’s UFO Mystery
Space Mountain Movies That Never Were
Eyes in Outer Space (1959)
Roving Mars (2006)
The Black Hole Comics
Disney Space Cartoons Made/Unmade
Mission: SPACE Fun Facts
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café with Sonny Eclipse
Disneyland’s Flying Saucers
Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant
Edna Disney on Space Mountain
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
George Lucas Alien Encounter
Who Was Charles Shows?
Marc Davis and Space
Disney Space Oddities
Tezuka and Astro Boy
Doctor Who and Disney
Roy O. Disney Talks Space
On Saturday, July 23, 2011, I was a speaker at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco at the request of Diane Disney Miller to talk about her father’s interest in America’s space program, especially through his trilogy of television shows produced in the 1950s.
The hour and a half presentation was entitled “Walt’s Fascination with Outer Space” and was based on a series of articles I had written. In addition, I talked about the live action film Moon Pilot (1962) that was being shown by the museum.
Three years later, I was invited back again on November 8, 2014 to the museum for the presentation “How Walt Put a Man on the Moon” sharing the stage with space historian Eric Toldi when the museum ran the “Man in Space” television episode.
So when it came time to write the latest installment in the Vault of Walt series with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission moon landing and the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Walt Disney World fresh in my mind, it seemed appropriate to pull out my previous research, update it and add new stories. My own fascination with how Disney presented both the facts and fantasy of outer space has never faded.
Walt Disney died in 1966 and never got a chance to see the moon landing in 1969 nor the launch of the first Space Shuttle in 1981. He had predicted both events in his television shows.
I eagerly watched both of those achievements live on television and they sparked my imagination and hope for the future. Like many kids of my generation, I was enamored of space travel, astronauts and other worlds.
Stephen Bales was inspired to become an aeronautical engineer after watching the Disney television programs when they originally aired in the 1950s. He went on to become a NASA guidance officer at mission control during the Apollo 11 moon landing. He told a reporter: “It was the Walt Disney show come to life!”
Both of those historic achievements in space travel owed their success to the vision of Dr. Wernher von Braun, one of the most prominent spokesmen for space exploration and the first director of NASA. Von Braun spent much time with Walt talking about the theories that would make those and other events possible.
When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, someone commented to his older brother Roy that it was a shame that Walt never got to see it completed. Roy smiled and replied, “He did.”
Walt’s imagination was so vivid that given enough information he could envision the final product and so he probably clearly saw the moon landing years before it actually happened.
The Walt Disney Company from their films to attractions in their theme parks has produced over the decades both a factual and a fanciful outer space experience to provide a sense of wonder to so many people. In this book is a brief glimpse at what they did and how they did it.
Time to blast off into the fascinating frontier of Disney in outer space!
Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles and twenty books about all things Disney over the last forty years. The Vault of Walt series began in 2012 and continues with a new edition every year.
Jim grew up in Glendale, California, where he was able to meet and interview Walt’s original team of animators and Imagineers. In 1995, he relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he worked for Walt Disney World in a variety of capacities, including Entertainment, Animation, Disney Institute, Disney University, College and International Programs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Design Group, Marketing.
His original research on Disney history has been used often by the Disney company as well as other organizations such as the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Jim is not currently an employee of the Disney company.
Several websites currently regularly feature Jim’s articles about Disney history, and he is a frequent guest on multiple podcasts.