A huge part of Disney history has just been sold for £550,000

Could you believe it underperformed?

A monumental piece of Disney history has just been sold off to the tune of £555,000. At a massive House of Mouse themed auction in Los Angeles, Walt Disney’s original hand drawn Disneyland map was the centrepiece of the Van Eaton Galleries’ collection.

Dating all the way back to 1953, the map was drawn in a desperate weekend by Walt Disney and artist Herb Ryman as part of a pitch presentation. Time was ticking against them as they needed to get it into the hands of Walt’s brother, Roy, who was due to find investors amongst the bigwigs in New York. The rest was history, as the television network ABC jumped on board and made Disneyland the happiest place on earth.

disneyland map

It was owned by collector Ron Clark, who bought it from a former Disney employee and Walt’s close friend Grenade Curran. Grenade, who had been there for Disneyland’s official opening, was given the map in 1955 and this is the first time in sixty years that it will have entered the public limelight.

Grenade described the reason why he had felt such an obligation to the map, explaining, ‘I kept it for history’s sake, I kept it for Walt’s artistic stake, I kept it because it was the first thing to show and display ‘here’s what a theme park would look like’ [compared to] the famous stuff today.’

In an interview with US News, Ron Clark described the moment he laid eyes on it. ‘It had this aura. It just kind of puts you in awe that this is the piece that came out of Walt Disney’s mind and this is what came about: this park, these parks worldwide, the passion people have for it today and the happiness of hundreds of millions who have graced these lands.’

disneyland map

But how different does Disneyland look today? Well, the new Star Wars-themed rides and Avatar Land definitely aren’t on the original map. Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Main Street USA are on there, though a Disney spokesperson elaborated further.

Mike McClintock told US News, ‘It predates any work on Disneyland and it doesn’t really resemble Disneyland, so you can’t really use that as a template for how the park developed.’

disneyland map

Van Eaton Galleries predicted the map would go for between £587,499 (USD$750,000) and £783,331 (USD$1 million), however it actually fell short at £555,000 (USD$708,000). We can’t imagine they’re too disappointed though.

The Walt Disney’s Disneyland 2017 auction featured roughly 1,000 Disney artifacts, spanning the brand’s long history. Other exciting items up for auction included Walt Disney’s annotated Cinderella script, original fairground costumes as well as a collection of vintage Pinocchio prints.

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