Walt Disney at Disneyland Park

Windows on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park: Ken Anderson

posted on March 4th, 2013 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


Fantasyland is the most magical land of them all – the heart and soul of Disneyland. It is a place of endless enchantment, where it’s always “happily ever after.”

On March 12, Fantasy Faire will make its debut at Disneyland park as a natural extension of Fantasyland. Here, guests will be immersed in a charming European village inspired by their favorite Disney stories as they meet beloved Disney Princesses in a setting befitting royalty. Ken Anderson worked as an animator and art director on many of the Disney films portrayed in Fantasyland. He was also a trained architect, which made him the perfect person to transform film environments into three-dimensional attractions. Anderson’s work on the original Fantasyland in 1955 and his continued efforts on the “New Fantasyland” in 1983 were instrumental in defining the style of Fantasyland that has been the heart of Disneyland since opening day.

Anderson began his Disney career in 1934. Walt Disney referred to him as his “Jack of all trades” because of his masterful skills as an architect, artist, animator, storyteller and designer. Anderson worked on the experimental “Silly Symphonies” before serving as an art director on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He had the uncanny ability to wiggle his ears, a characteristic he bestowed upon the endearing dwarf, Dopey. He also worked on “Pinocchio,” “Alice in Wonderland” and contributed technical innovations for mixing live-action with animation in “Song of the South.” He later improved upon this technique while serving as an animation art director for “Pete’s Dragon.”

In the early 1950’s, Walt recruited Anderson to work on a new project – one that was secret at the time. Anderson joined WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) and he became one of the first to work on Disneyland. In 1954, he was the primary designer of Fantasyland. He worked on Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Adventures and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. After Disneyland opened, Anderson remained involved in Fantasyland while working on “Sleeping Beauty” at the Walt Disney Studio. Anderson oversaw the Storybook Land Canal Boats attraction, and in 1957 he worked on the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough.

Anderson went on to contribute show concepts for the Haunted Mansion and worked on the development of the Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disneyland. He retired in 1978, but continued to work as a consultant for WDI.
“Windows
Anderson’s window on Main Street, U.S.A, is located above the Market House. He was an avid fly fisherman, and in jest the inscription names him proprietor of a bait company. This is ironic because fly fisherman typically do not use bait; they are catch-and-release fishermen. Anderson was named a Disney Legend in 1991.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

4 Comments

1

Sherri from CA on March 4th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I love the detail of your posts. I have enjoyed pulling out the book “Windows on Main Street” as I stroll down the iconic route, but with your insight, the windows are even more meaningful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

2

Ryan on March 4th, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I love all the hidden secrets and Cameos around the parks, from the hidden mickeys, to the names on rides and attactions. There’s alot to discover! here’s another window fact, During the run of Light Magic, The windows and building of main street were covered in fiber optics, and during the show the fiber optics would react to the music of the parade, It was Beautiful!

3

Jacqueline on March 4th, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Dear Mr. Storbeck,

Thank you for your post today, I really enjoyed it for it evoked wonderful memories of my recent trip to the Disneyland Resort. With my book, ‘Window on Main Street’ in tow, I marveled at the windows and carefully read about and discovered new windows I had not noticed before.

Walking in Walt Disney’s footsteps was incredibly special for me and I spent a good long while gazing up at his apartment window over the Firestation.

After a combined twenty-three trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, that handy and informative book follows me every time, I always find something new to gaze at and learn about. I just love that about the Disney Parks.

Best regards,
Jacqueline

4

Dustin on March 6th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Thanks for the very informative post. And thank you Ken Anderson for all that you did for Disneyland and the Disney company!! Truly incredible work.

4 Comments