Alice in Wonderland Turns 60
In DLR, you will find Alice in Wonderland near the Tea Cups. Coincidence? I think not….. People who designed the ride also worked on the animated feature, Ken Anderson, Mary Blair, Claude Coats, and John Hench. Notice any Disney Legends? Mary Blair’s color schemes are very apparent, and were meticulously followed during the 1984 Fantasyland renovation.
Many of the animators did double duty on the Dark Rides. Dark Rides got their name from the use of reflective paint in black light. Claude Coats said “I went from a 12-inch-high format to sets that were 18-feet-high!”. Claude created the sketches for the ride vehicles, the cards, the caterpillar and more. After Claude’s vehicle design, Blaine Gibson sculpted the form.
The original ride was still very two dimensional. The upgrade in the 80’s brought in the 3d animatronics that we all love. Originally, Alice in Wonderland was a D ticket. It was also a 2 level ride. Due to lack of space, the majority of the attraction actually takes place on the second floor, right above of Mr Toad’s Wild Ride . I always loved how the ride left the building, down the leaves of the plants, and then re-entered the building for the climax of the ride. This also brought the vehicle down to the first level for loading and unloading. Seeing people zig zag down while waiting in line added to the anticipation of what was to come.
Kathryn Beaumont who was the voice of Alice in the 1951 film, and the voice of Wendy in Peter Pan, reprises her role as Alice for various incarnations of the attraction. That voice is so recognizable.
If today is your “Unbirthday”, take a moment and ride Alice in Wonderland as a gift to yourself. If you can’t, maybe a spot of tea will fulfill your needs. Alice in Wonderland is one of the classic rides that one always has to experience.
Source: D23 – Justin Arthur