When Herb Ryman returned to WED Enterprises to work on EPCOT Center in 1976, he also helped with conceptual designs for “Oriental Disneyland” – the park that Disney was developing for Tokyo. Most of his work seems concentrated on World Bazaar, the covered area that would replace Disneyland’s traditional Main Street, U.S.A.
Note the huge expanse depicted in Ryman’s rendering of Tokyo Disneyland’s hub – the park was designed to be far more spacious than the typical Disney park. Also of interest in this piece is that it’s a mirror image of the actual park; Tomorrowland as depicted here is where Adventureland and Westernland are in the real park.
Aside from World Bazaar, Herb also worked on Meet the World; this attraction was a Tokyo Disneyland exclusive, although it was originally intended for EPCOT’s Japan pavilion as well. The show, which took place in an adapted carousel theater, took guests through scenes from Japan’s history through the integrated use of animatronics, film, and animation.
After wrapping up his work on EPCOT, Herb traveled east once more to recreate some of his adventures from the 1930s. There was a special side trip, though, as Herb stopped in Tokyo to visit the newly-opened Tokyo Disneyland park.
In Ryman’s spare time, he would occasionally work on projects for Landmark Entertainment. Gary Goddard, a former Imagineer, founded Gary Goddard Productions in 1980; it would be renamed Landmark Entertainment in 1985. Landmark has worked on many, many well-known projects over the years, for Universal and others, and in its early days it employed the services of many legendary Imagineers. Alain Littaye has a wonderful collection of their artwork on his site, and we have two of Ryman’s pieces here.
The first, above, is for the S.S. Admiral project in St. Louis. Below is one of Ryman’s pieces for “Phineas T. Flagg’s Power Plant,” an indoor entertainment project designed by Landmark for Six Flags. Lasting only a few years, this remarkable concept was located in a disused power plant on the harbor in Baltimore. Part of a failed attempt at urban renewal, the site was ironically used more than a decade later for the first ESPN Zone – which was shuttered this year.
I’ve gotta say… I wouldn’t mind a Phineas T. Flagg’s Power Plant 2.0.
Much of Herb’s last work for Disney was on the Euro Disneyland project, where he focused on Main Street, U.S.A. The original designs for this land, overseen by Progress Citizen Eddie Sotto, traded in Disneyland’s more rural midwestern Main Street for an urban, Prohibition-era design from the 1920s. The designs were fresh and very promising, but sadly they were pulled by Disney CEO Michael Eisner at the last moment. More artwork from this wonderfully atmospheric concept can be found at Disney and More.
As you can see, Sotto’s Main Street featured an elevated train that would give guests a view of the area from above. It would also feature a genuine 1920s speakeasy, hiding a swinging Jazz Age club in the secret room behind an innocuous florists’ shop. Another concept the Imagineers wanted to feature was a diner based on Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks. Sadly, this was all lost when the street’s theming was reverted to the turn of the century.
Ryman’s work on Euro Disneyland and other projects like the Indiana Jones Adventure would wrap up his career; sadly, he would never see their debut.