Just For Fun

Transitions Between Lands

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It has been said, and rightly so, that Disneyland and the theme parks in Florida are the physical equivalent of walking into a movie. Since the original Imagineers all had background in set design and art direction, it was natural that they would adopt many of the tricks used in filmmaking. Oddly, most came from 20th Century Fox who had a backlot 4 times the size of Disneyland.

According to Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a cross-dissolve in a film “superimposes the tail end of the first clip on the beginning of the second clip, and fades the clips in and out. When done correctly, the effect moves the story along while the audience barely notices the transition. When done poorly, it jars the viewer.”

The most obvious of these transitions is when you walk through the tunnels under the railroad tracks at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. Another subtle transition includes passing through the portal of the castles.

But sometimes subtly doesn’t quite work and you do what you have to do. Take the examples that I have posted today. As you pass from Main Street USA to Adventureland and Frontierland, you have these rather dramatic shifts. One inch one way or another and you are in a different land. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has something similar where the only real visible change is the type of trashcans being used.

Have you seen one of these hard transitions? Can you spot others at the other parks? If so, let us know and we shall share your discovery.

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Sam Gennawey

Sam Gennaway is an Urban Planner who runs the fantastic SamLand’s Disney Adventures blog. Sam visits Disneyland on a frequent basis and toured with the Unofficial Guide team on our recent Disneyland Trip.

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