Friday, November 18, 2016

Circle-Vision at Disneyland: American Journeys and Wonders of China

In January of this year, we took a look at Disneyland's Circle-Vision Theater and the film, America The Beautiful. Today we will be looking at the films, American Journeys and Wonders of China, which replaced America The Beautiful in 1984.

The photo below, shows the marquee with the name of the theater's sponsor at the time, Delta Airlines. It's a little washed out, but below the name "Delta Airlines" the marquee reads, "Now Playing American Journeys." Wonders of China would play in the theater first, from early morning until early afternoon. American Journeys was then shown the rest of the operating day. There was a short period of time in the middle of the day, when the theater would have to close in order to change the marquee and switch the reels of film on the projectors.....all nine of them! This rotation of the films continued until 1996 when both films were replaced by America The Beautiful, which had a special return engagement.

This next photo shows the marquee after Delta Airlines had stopped it's sponsorship. A strip of metal was placed over the spot where the sponsor's name had previously been. Wonders of China is listed on the marquee as the film that was playing....or would be playing once they opened the doors. The attraction poster for the film can also be seen in the display case just to the left of the glass doors.

Here is a closer look at that display case and the attraction posters for both films. At the bottom of the Wonders of China poster, it states that the film is "Showing Until 1:30 P.M."

I don't have any photographs of the theater's pre-show area, but I did shoot video of it and I am including it at the end of this post. If you look at the walls around the room, you might be able to locate cut-outs of a moon and a sun. The screen shot below shows that the moon was part of the Circle-Vision sign, which hung over the doorway into the theater. I still haven't been able to locate the sun in my video, but if someone out there knows specifically where to look for it, please chime in below in the comments.

Both the sun and the moon cut-outs ended up being placed inside of Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, the attraction that currently occupies the old Circle-Vision Theater space in Tomorrowland. They are a little difficult to spot, but they can be seen just above the tunnel that you exit as you are entering the second to last room in the ride (the room with the final Buzz and Zurg animatronics). After the camera flash goes off and your souvenir picture is taken, turn to the right and look above the tunnel that you just exited from. They are mounted on a recessed wall just above the tunnel. I hope that description helps anyone who wants to locate them!

Here are the links to the Circle Vision Theater's pre-show area and film, and both American Journeys and Wonders of China in their entirety. Enjoy!

Circle Vision Theater (Pre-show Room & Film):

American Journeys (Full Movie):

Wonders of China (Full Movie):

*****Post Update (April 2024)*****

I recently came across this advertisement, promoting the debut of "American Journeys" in the newly named "World Premiere Circle-Vision 360" theater (which was originally presented by PSA, before switching to Delta Airlines).  The ad is from the July 1, 1984 edition of The Los Angeles Times.