A special photo op is available today to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Grand Canyon Diorama at Disneyland Park.
Grand Canyon Diorama Photo Op
We spotted a Cast Member with the photo op prop at the Tomorrowland and New Orleans Square train stations. The prop depicts the Grand Canyon Diorama in pink and green against a blue sky, with the black and purple silhouette of a Disneyland Railroad train passing by. It reads, “Grand Canyon Diorama 65th Anniversary.”
There was no PhotoPass photographer with the photo op, but attractions Cast Members were offering to take photos with guests’ phones.
There was no photo op at the Mickey’s Toontown or Main Street, U.S.A. train stations.
Grand Canyon Diorama
The Grand Canyon Diorama was added to the Disneyland Railroad on March 31, 1958. At the time, the attraction was called the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad.
The diorama is in a tunnel between the Tomorrowland and Main Street, U.S.A. train stations. The background canvas is 34 feet high and 306 feet long, making it one of the longest dioramas. The canvas is also seamless and handwoven. 300 gallons of paint were used to create the scene. The “On The Trail” section of Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” plays as guests pass the diorama.
The diorama was inspired by the 1958 short documentary “Grand Canyon” produced by Walt Disney. The film was shown alongside “Sleeping Beauty” during the classic animated film’s first run. It won the Oscar for Best Short Subject (Live Action) at the 31st Academy Awards.
A fire broke out overnight in late December at the New Orleans Square station of Disneyland Railroad. Disneyland said in a statement that nobody was injured. Construction walls, scaffolding, and scrim were put up around the radio house, which was the only building damaged by the fire. In January, we could see the building’s melted roof.
The train station is based on a set from the 1948 Disney film “So Dear To My Heart.” Walt wanted to use the original movie set, but animator Ward Kimball did not want to return it after Walt had given it to him, so a replica was built. When the park opened in 1955, it was known as Frontierland Station. It was renamed in September 1966, two months after New Orleans Square opened.
The Disneyland Railroad was also then known as the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, named for the sponsor Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The name was changed to the Disneyland Railroad when the sponsorship ended in 1974.
The radio house was used to film the “Two Brothers” section of Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland and The American Adventure at EPCOT. A Morse code message that emits from it is a translation of Walt’s opening day dedication: “To all who come to Disneyland, welcome. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”
One of the original Disneyland Resort steam engines, the E.P. Ripley, recently returned to service along the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad, following a five-year restoration project.
The engine is named after Edward Payson Ripley, one of the original founders of the Atchison and Topeka Railroad (later the Santa Fe Railroad) which was established in 1859.
The 4-4-0 locomotive was built for Walt Disney Studios in 1954 and went into service at Disneyland on opening day, July 17, 1955. It operates as steam locomotive #2 along the Disneyland Railroad. Walt Disney, himself, proudly rode aboard the E.P. Ripley during the 1955 opening of Disneyland.
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