Coloured drawing which won Disneyland financing on show ahead of auction
The artefact could fetch up to one million dollars (£776,000) at auction later this month.
The first colour drawing of Disneyland, which secured funding for Walt Disney’s first theme park, is on display to the public after more than 60 years in hiding.
The 1953 map goes on display in Los Angeles on Thursday ahead of an auction where it could fetch up to one million dollars (£776,000).
It was the drawing that Walt’s brother Roy took to investors after his own studio refused to fund the park in 1953.
Mike Van Eaton, co-owner of Los Angeles’ Van Eaton Galleries, said the park may never have opened without the map.
“This is the piece Walt wanted to represent what his dream was for the park, so without this maybe they might not have got financing,” he said.
The map was drawn by Herb Ryman and assistants in the two days leading up to the meetings in New York.
After dismissals from broadcasters and bankers, ABC handed over funding for the park, which opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955.
Van Eaton said the park today still largely resembles the drawing, with the attraction’s World Of Tomorrow now being called Tomorrowland and Frontier Country now Frontierland.
The original owner was a production assistant named Grenade Curran, who was working on Tomorrowland.
Van Eaton said: “This production assistant saw the map in the office at a meeting and said ‘Hey, Walt, what are you going to do with the map?’ and Walt said ‘You can have it’.
“The guy knew it was important so he took it home and he kept it. And it’s been out of public view ever since.”
Curran explained why he held on to the map, which will go on sale on June 25.
“I kept it because it was the first thing to show and display here’s what a theme park would look like,” he said.