The First-Ever Map of Disneyland Offers a Vision of What Could Have Been

A 1953 map of Disneyland created by Walt Disney and Herb Ryman, which will be sold at Van Eaton Auctions and is estimated to fetch betwee $750,000 and $1 million.
Van Eaton
In a July 1953 photo, Walt Disney, executive C.V. Wood, Jr. and Harrison "Buzz" Price, from left, look over plans for what would eventually become Disneyland. Price was an engineer turned theme-park strategist whose research led Walt Disney to locate Disney's theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando.
Van Eaton
Disney looking over plans for the park.
Van Eaton
The 1953 map hangs behind Disney on the wall.
Van Eaton
Disney with the map.
Van Eaton

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As the story goes, Walt Disney and his friend Herb Ryman created a slap-dash hand-drawn map of what would become Disneyland over a weekend in September 1953 in order to secure funds for their ambitious, now world-famous, theme park project. That map, which was rescued Disney employee Grenade Curran from the visionary filmmaker’s office in 1955, has now resurfaced and could fetch from $75,000 up to $1 million at auction on June 25, reports the New York Times. 

The map, which is being touted as the “first-ever” diagram of the park, is being offered for sale by Disney memorabilia (or “Disneyana” as die hard fans call it) collector Ron Clark at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California, for their sale “Walt Disney’s Disneyland.” 

Mike Van Eaton, one of the house’s owners auction house, described the map in a statement as “the most valuable Disneyland artifact ever offered at auction.” “That an artifact like this, which is so deeply rooted in the creation of Disneyland, still exists today is astonishing,” said Van Eaton.

But aside from the map’s rarity, what will fascinate collectors and Disney enthusiasts most are drawn sections of the park which were never realized. An area called Lilliputian Land, so-named for the characters from Gulliver’s Travels was never built, and while Sleeping Beauty’s castle did make the final cut it’s positioning within the park was moved from the center to the perimeter.

Along with the map, the June 25 sale will feature over 1,000 Disneyland-themed items dating from 1953 (when the park first opened to the public) to today, including props, costumes, ride vehicles and tourist trinkets.

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