Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Walt Disney World Resort

Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future Art to Debut at Disney Parks

posted on January 29th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Steampunk and Disney fans alike, this one’s for you! On February 22, The Disney Gallery at Disneyland park will unveil a new exhibit titled Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future.

Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction loosely built around retro-futuristic visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining (pardon the pun) steam over the past several years. The movement, which is expressed culturally and stylistically in everything from technology and design to music and fashion, was dubbed steampunk in the late 1980s. Though certainly not part of the steampunk “wave” (at least not consciously), Walt Disney Imagineers have been creating their own visions and versions of retro-futuristic technologies since well before that time, incorporating them into Disney Parks and attractions around the world.

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Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future features conceptual designs and ideas for an array of inventive vehicles, machines and gadgets. The collection also shares some of the same inspirations as steampunk – most prominently a fascination with the extravagantly inventive visions of tomorrow expressed by such Victorian futurists as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. So don your petticoats and bustles or your suits and old military storm coats, pull on your brass goggles and get ready for an adventure that takes us forward into the past, as seen through the eyes of Disney artists and designers.

Here’s one piece that was actually done in collaboration with several of the artists, and for me, kind of tells the story of Steampunk and what you can expect to see.

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Of course, it was hard to pick one piece of art to show you, so I convinced the team to let me show you at least one piece from each artist. Take a look!

If you are a fan of Steampunk then mark your calendar now, because as part of the Steampunk launch, we will host artist signings at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

Disneyland Resort:
Meet artists Dave Avanzino, Jim Crouch, Jeremy Fulton, Brian Kesinger, Noah, Mark Page, Michael Peraza and Javier Soto from 9 – 11 a.m. at Disneyana.

Walt Disney World Resort:
Disney Design Group artists, Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will appear from 2-5p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

For event information and to see more images being released as part of the events, visit the event section of www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

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11 Comments 5 Replies

1

Jennie from CA on January 29th, 2014 at 6:11 pm

I’ve never been a big steampunk fan, but it’s really staring to grow on me since Disney has taken such a big interest. I really like the art pieces. Will be heading to DLR on Saturday.

 

Michelle Harker on January 30th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Jennie, I think you’re going to love it! I hope you can check it out when the exhibit opens and the merchandise releases on Feb. 22. Enjoy your trip to the park!

2

Dustin on January 29th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Can Scrooge McDuck see over the front of his car? lol. But like @Jennie, I’ve not particularly been a fan of steampunk, but it’s been interesting to see Disney’s take on it.

3

Eric from MA on January 29th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

And while I don’t mind Steampunk, I have to ask: Why is everyone suddenly convinced it’s “tomorrow’s fashion trend” NOW? (I work in children’s/YA books, and editors keep asking for “something steampunk” for the tween/girl audience, as if they want to jump on the bandwagon.)
As in, what triggered it all of a -sudden-? I don’t recall any movies or bestsellers in recent memory that caught hold–We can’t ALL have been watching “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” on cable! ;)

 

Michelle Harker on January 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Eric! Steampunk is something I know that teams have wanted to do for a long time. It seems that the trend has been growing and growing these past few years, and now everyone is focused on it.

4

Cory from AB on January 30th, 2014 at 1:14 am

Disney was Steampunk before it was Steampunk. Some very nice pieces in the show, and I definitely need to get my hands on the Primeval World poster. I picked up Jeremy Fulton’s Disneyland Railroad poster during the All Aboard show and I was looking forward to seeing what he might do for this one. It does not disappoint! Steam trains and dinosaurs is quintessentially Victorian Sci-Fi!

Cory G.
Voyages Extraordinaires

 

Michelle Harker on January 30th, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Cory, you sound like quite the fan both of Steampunk and of Jeremy Fulton’s pieces. I hope you will be able to make it to the Resort for a visit to check out both the exhibit inspired merchandise.

5

Nicholas from FR on January 30th, 2014 at 7:53 am

There are some great examples at Toyko Disney Sea too – Mysterious Island is awesome!

6

Joshua on January 30th, 2014 at 9:41 am

Michelle — Any information about the pricing and availability of the original art created for this exhibit?

 

Michelle Harker on January 30th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Hi Joshua! I think it is safe to say there is something for everyone in regards to price point. You will find the sculptures retailing for approximately $95. The limited edition art and the original art will certainly vary by piece, but look for the original art pieces to start around $2,000 and up.

7

Julie on January 30th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

This is all so fantastic! I love steampunk, and I would especially love to have that sculpture of Minnie on the steam-powered winged carousel unicorn! Will these be available to order, if we (very sadly) can’t get there to see the full exhibit?

 

Michelle Harker on January 30th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Hey Julie! Isn’t that piece fantastic? It was actually designed by Disney Design Group artist Michael Sullivan. I would recommend contacting Merchandise Guest Services at 877-560-6477 following the event to inquire about remaining pieces.

8

Friend on January 30th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

The first thing that comes to my mind under Disney Steampunk, was WED/WDI/Mr. TDS Steve Kirk’s 1983 Disneyland New Fantasyland Dumbo attraction. I loved all his exposed mechanical’s that would lift and drop the Dumbo arms and animate other parts, and was then duplicated at other Disney parks. Paris Disneyland has the biggest actual collection of Steampunk in Thunder Mesa over at Big Thunder. How about a steam powered cement mixer that even the Museum of Steampunk in England tried to buy off the attraction. There are drawing on these examples that could be merchandized.

9

Glen on February 1st, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I would love to get a copy of the top painting! It’s actually Space Mountain 2 in Discovery Land at Disneyland Paris. My wife loved it! It’s much faster than Space Mountain in WDW (which is why I can’t ride it.).

10

Kaori on February 24th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

let me know this exhibition will be opened until april?

11

ANN from TX on March 4th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I am wondering if these will available at WDW. Love the steampunk willie!

11 Comments