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Ford's Magic Skyway (1964)

Of all the major attractions at the 1964 World's Fair it seems Ford's Magic Skyway receives the least amount of chatter, ink and pixels in 2011. It wasn't moved to Disneyland like Carousel of Progress or It's A Small World, and it wasn't a sexy sequel like Futurama II. But it looked like quite the ride nonetheless.

Narrated by Walt Disney, fairgoers hopped into Fords on a journey from the age of the dinosaurs to the invention of the wheel to a "highway in the sky carrying you across the boundless night and out into time and space." The audio-animatronic dinosaurs and cavemen of Magic Skyway would be familiar to anyone visiting a Disney park today, as Epcot's Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy and World of Motion (R.I.P.) all look like they drew quite a bit of inspiration from this attraction.

At the end of the ride Walt's familiar voice proclaimed, "perhaps someday we'll be riding rocketships like those flashing overhead to anywhere in space. Perhaps someday we will drive jet-powered vehicles over weather-controlled highways in the sky like those spiralling tubes around you." Perhaps indeed.

For more on Ford's Magic Skyway check out the video below

The concept art above appears in Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench.


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Reader Comments (3)

Actually, the dinosaurs were moved to Disneyland in Anaheim -- they're in the tunnel of the Disneyland Railroad, right after the Grand Canyon display. You can watch a 2007 video of them here. I saw them in the mid-eighties, and was quite excited because I recognized them from the 1964 World's Fair issue of National Geographic. They don't look like they've changed a bit since '64, other than the brontosaurus display being rearranged a bit. (It's good to see old-school brontos again.)

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bryant

Optimism, optimism, optimism ... that was the future in '64. Cultural futurists of that era would puke if they saw our dystopian society today.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDrew Williams

I never thought I'd see this sort of futuristic world put forth by an auto manufacturer again, but I was wrong.

The GM-SAIC Pavilion at Shanghai's world's fair last year was definitely futuristic.

My 25 photos of the pavilion:

I'm really hoping that American society will once have an appetite for images of a more optimistic future. Sure, we can keep our skepticism, but it is possible to question things and be optimistic.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUrso Chappell

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