Thursday, June 20, 2013

THROWBACK THURSDAY: TWA Moonliner

Tomorrowland in 1955 left a lot to be desired. It was little more than a set of buildings with semi-futuristic attractions. But it was still iconic and memorable at the time. With such attractions as, seriously, the "Bathroom of the Future". Okay, so it was pretty lame for its first dozen years. The Imagineering team was desperate to complete the park before its opening day deadline, and Tomorrowland relied heavily on corporate sponsorship to fund the costs of construction. One of the new partnerships was with the now-defunct Trans World Airlines, known by most as TWA.

In exchange for helping with Tomorrowland's budget, TWA received a large advertisement in the form of the TWA Moonliner, a retro-looking rocket ship in the heart of Tomorrowland. It was placed directly outside the long-gone attraction that once was, "Rocket to the Moon".


The Moonliner, though stationary and without any real function, occupied space and provided a look at the then new concept of space travel. It was the symbol of Tomorrowland for many years until 1966, when the man behind the project, Howard Hughes, no longer had ties to TWA. For a brief one year period, the TWA Moonliner was sponsored by Douglas Airlines, and received a new paintjob.


It didn't last long though, as in 1967 the park was far too outdated to be considered the "Land of Tomorrow". Sadly, the Moonliner was removed for good. Or perhaps not.

The Moonliner today
In 1998, the Moonliner returned to Disneyland, albeit in a much smaller form. It now sits above the building that was once Rocket to the Moon, but today is Redd Rocket's Pizza Port. The Coca-Cola sign and the caption, "Delivering Refreshments to a Thirsty Galaxy", implies that the rocket is an ad for Coca-Cola, but it is indeed a nod to a once-forgotten relic of historical Tomorrowland.

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