Disneyland, Anaheim, California
(Front Entrance 1955)
Walt Disney, (Disneyland Map of Park)
Disneyland Monsanto House
Tomorrow Land History
House of the Future
June 1957 to September 1967
Monsanto House Logo
The "House of the Future" was built by the Monsanto Company in 1957.
Audio of Monsanto Introduction Link
(20 Million Visitors have walked through this all Plastic
Curving Surfaces Home with 100% man made materials for incredible
durability and strength.)
Monsanto House News Article
The Many Uses of Monsanto Plastics
Monsanto House Interior
In June of 1957, Disneyland opened Monsanto's House of the Future. It remained
for 10 years, finally closing in 1967 with the remodeling of Tomorrowland. In
it's short run, more than 20 million visitors got a glimpse of what the future
home may include. Such innovations included insulated glass walls, picture
telephones, plastic chairs, microwave ovens, speaker phones and electric
toothbrushes. The house included three bedrooms, two baths, a living room,
a dining room and a family room. New laminates cover the kitchen. All appliances
are hidden, yet with one push of a button they reveal themselves. "push button living"
Some inventions never came to a reality (yet), including ultrasonic dishwashers,
foam-backed plastic floor coverings, atomic food preservation and plastic sinks
with adjustable heights.
(1957) This is a product of pioneering in the plastics field by Monsanto
Chemical Co., the "House of the Future" is located in the Magic Kingdom's
Tomorrowland, as a preview of the new world of 1987.
The House of the Future was designed by Monsanto and architects from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology to demonstrate and test the varied uses of plastics in home
The visionary legacy of suggestive prototypes is long and fantastic. Each era,
defining its own vision of "progress," proposes a relative advancement of the
domestic prototype. Emerging out of technology, materiality and convenience, new
formal identities suggest the potential interpretations of the present by describing
In exterior form, the House of the Future is composed of four white cantilevered
wings made from molded plastics. Much of the side-wing area is devoted to glass
windows. The central base supports the wings so that each is well above ground level.
Monsanto House View (Inside of House)
The never-before-seen pioneer developments inside the House of the Future include
imaginative new electronic and mechanical aids to man's health, convenience and
Disneyland guests visiting the ultra-modern development will find such features as a
microwave cooking range; an ultra- sonic dishwasher housed in a structure which also
serves as a desk, communications system center, garbage disposer and work surface, and
an adjustable electronic mount which allows the raising and lowering of lavatory sinks
to the height of adults or small children.
Two central systems are the climate control and communications centers. The climate
control regulates individual room temperature and humidity, purifies air, eliminates
undesirable odors and adds pine, sea air or flower scents. In communications,
push-buttons replace the telephone dial; screens permit the user to see the person
at the other end of the line or callers at the front door.
These are but a few features of Monsanto's House of the Future. You will also be
interested in its interior design and custom furnishing, color schemes and decorating,
as well as the landscape architecture keynoted by the effects of water and plants.
Upon entering the home, a voice would state "Welcome to Monsanto's Home of the
Future", and continue to cover the details of construction, which was almost
entirely of plastics. Monsanto sponsored the exhibit, but the house itself
was built at MIT and remained at Disneyland until it was demolished. A giant
wrecking ball was brought in, but bounced off the sturdy plastic construction.
A crew of several men had to go in and demolish it by hand, dragging most of
it away. Unfortunately, none of the original building was ever salvaged.
Marvin Goody and Robert Whittier
After the Monsanto House of the Future was completed at Disneyland in 1957, architect
Marvin Goody (standing) and project manager Robert Whittier '51 (seated) relaxed in
the yard. Just out of view in this picture was Disneyland's signature castle, where
the towers and turrets contrasted sharply with the house's clean lines and curves.
The project succeeded in spreading the use of safety glass and especially plastics in
construction, including plastic pipe.
House of the Future Brochure (1960) Link
House of the Future Audio Script (text) Link
Walt Disney's Dream, The House of the Future Link
Monsanto House (Artistic Representation)
The House of the Future That Wasn't Link
By Lisa Scanlon January 2005
Between 1957 and 1967, millions of visitors toured the Monsanto House of the Future
at Walt Disney's new theme park in Anaheim, CA. The modular, plastic house looks to
today's eyes more like a space station than like the archetypal house of suburbia 1987,
as it was billed. Tourists marveled at its futuristic furnishings: an intercom system,
a microwave, and closets filled with colorful nylon and polyester clothing. But though
the house seemed to be equal parts Disney magic and Monsanto know-how, the original
concept was pure MIT.
The house was the marriage of converging needs. During the early 1950s, homebuilders
could barely keep up with demand as families moved to the suburbs. At the same time,
Monsanto Chemical was looking for new markets for its plastic products. Seeing a business
opportunity, the company sponsored research at MIT to design a low-cost, prefabricated
house that would be made almost entirely of plastic. The researchers suggested the
rounded, Jetsons-worthy homewhich delighted Monsanto.
MIT architecture faculty members Marvin Goody, MAR 51, and Richard Hamilton spent two
years designing the 1,280-square-foot house. In 1956, Monsanto decided to build a
full-scale prototype and Goody and Hamilton formed a private practice to take over the
commercial planning of the house. Meanwhile, Walt Disney was searching for exhibits for
Disneyland, which had opened in 1955. He heard about the futuristic house and offered
Monsanto space to display the prototype.
The house consisted of a central square room with four wings. The center held the
kitchen and the bathroom. It was a sort of command center, where the housewife of
the future could control the entire house, says Gary Van Zante, a curator at the MIT
Museum, which now owns the drawings of the house. The wings had one room each: a master
bedroom, a childrens bedroom, a dining room, and a living room. Each wing was made of
fiberglass modules placed one on top of the other to form the ceiling, floor, and a
wall; the remaining two walls were windows. Robert Whittier 51, Monsantos project
manager, recalls that when the modules arrived at Disneyland, the receiving clerks
were puzzled. They said, What's with all these boats that are arriving?
In 1957, some 60,000 people visited the house each week. Everybody marveled at it,
everybody loved it, and everybody wanted one, remembers Whittier, whose desk was
flooded with mail from the houses admirers. But as enthusiastic as the response was,
it wasn't enough to create a viable market. This is a pretty radical proposal for a
very conservative housing market, says Van Zante. But the house has not been forgotten.
Van Zante is planning an exhibition about the house that should open at the MIT Museum
in the fall of 2007.
Disneyland Monsanto Front Plastics Exhibit
Disneyland Monsanto Plastics Exhibit
Disneyland Monsanto Plastics Exhibit another Angle
Hall of Chemistry
Monsantos Mighty Microscope
Monsanto's Mighty Microscope attracts a line of anxious guests.
Adventure Thru Inner Space
Presented by Monsanto
Step into an Atomobile and be prepared to be "miniaturized!"
While waiting in line, you see other guests enter one end of the Mighty Microscope,
appear near the opposite end only a few inches tall, and finally disappear entirely.
Now it's your turn.
Your Atomobile -- similar to a Haunted Mansion "Doom Buggy" -- takes you on a journey
into the world of molecules and atoms.
After passing through the Mighty Microscope, you're shot into giant snowflakes.
You continue to shrink, allowing you to enter the crystalline structure.
You find yourself in a sea of enormous H2O molecules.
Electrons are now spinning around you!
You've penetrated the wall of an oxygen atom.
Finally, you face directly into the glowing nucleus of the atom.
As the snowflake melts, you finally begin get larger again. You're back on visual.
Look up! You're being watched through a microscope.
Your journey ends in the Monsanto display area, featuring the bouncy theme song
"Miracles from Molecules" by Bob and Dick Sherman -- the team responsible for
the music for It's a Small World.
Epcot City (Utopia)
Adventure Thru Inner Space opened in Disneyland in 1967 as part of the New
Tomorrowland project. It occupied the space that previously housed the 20,000
Leagues Under the Sea walk-through and the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry. It closed
in 1986. The space is now occupied by Star Tours.
Epcot City Model
THE DISNEY UTOPIA CITY Link
Walt Disney had great plans for the project; at the time nicknamed E.P.C.O.T. -
the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Yet the original proposal,
while being largely non-existent in the park itself, can be found elsewhere
in almost all aspects of our daily lives.
Disney himself filmed a presentation two months before he died in 1966 that
was intended to help sell what was later to comprise Walt Disney World.
(It can be found on the DVD set Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney
in Space and Beyond.) The city was never built, and the park that was built in
its stead did not open until Oct. 1, 1982, and is more a world fair than a
Disney considered E.P.C.O.T. to be the most interesting and important part of
Disney World. It was intended to house about 20,000 inhabitants, as well as
establish a nearby industrial park. A large mall-like structure in the middle
of the proposed community was to feature offices, themed shopping areas resembling
European cities, and host a large hotel that towered over the rest of the structure.
Surrounding this, the proposal featured individual housing for those working in
the city center. Such housing was to radiate out from the center, much like the
spokes of a wheel.
Connecting the living quarters with the center along those "spokes," the project
was to feature new modes of transportation. Short-distance travel, such as citizens
commuting to work, was to be taken care of by "people movers," a concept that
involved railed carts that never stopped and were to offer a fast and convenient
transportation. The people movers can now be found in Disney's Magic Kingdom,
albeit simply as a "ride" and not the everyday mode of transportation they were
to be at E.P.C.O.T.
A lot of the proposed aspects of E.P.C.O.T. have found their ways into aspects of
our lives, albeit not in the all-encompassing way Disney intended.
Disney proposed a self-contained community that would feature a homey, "happy"
atmosphere. Today, many of us live in gated communities that promise just that.
The mall-like city center proposed can now be found in virtually every American city.
Disney intended E.P.C.O.T. to be a "happy" community that offered equality to all.
It did, however, limit the personal freedom of those who did not agree with the
established rules. In that regard, modern America is also on the way to representing
what E.P.C.O.T. was to be. (EPCOT)
Walt Disney Plans EPCOT in Florida
Disturbed by the strip culture that had grown up around Disneyland in California,
Walt hoped to prevent such unsightliness around his next theme park in Florida by
creating a "buffer zone." In a private jet, Walt flew over Florida several times in
the early 1960s scouting locations. When he failed to secure his first choice land
in the Panhandle, he settled on a large tract in central Florida. Over a period of
several months in 1964 and using phony company names to avoid paying inflated prices
to those looking to profit off the Disney name, Walt purchased thirty thousand acres
or forty-five square miles. The average price of the land was less than two hundred
dollars per acre . Some thirty years later thirty-six million people from around the
world visit Disney World each year.
In the covert operation that would have made the CIA proud, Disney started buying
central Florida real estate under names that gave no clue that Mickey was his backer.
By the time the Orlando Sentinel, the local newspaper, caught wind of it, the Wizard
of Diz had options on a parcel twice the size of Manhattan. But when he died so
did his dreams of the Utopian Society.
In 1984, Michael Eisner, having recently taken the helm as Disney's Chairman and CEO,
established the Disney Development Company (DDC) with the mission of developing the
remaining twenty-eight thousand acres of land still surrounding Disney World in Orlando
Walt's plan for a buffer zone proved unsuccessful. The highway system leading to Disney
World was a liability due to its visual clutter, crass commercialism, and for the many
opportunities for consumers to spend money outside of Disney's property. Link
Walt Disney, Utopian City:
Waltopia City Hub - Artistic Representation
Progressing: Walt Disney and Jet-Age City Planning (Waltopia) Link
Epcot City At Night
When is a planned community too planned? Some of the exhibits displayed at the 1939
World's Fair such as Democracity and Futurama influenced many American community
planners. The Levittown and Greenbelt projects followed the same guidelines of community
that the 1939 World's Fair introduced. These are two of the more well known Garden City
projects that took many families away from big cities and brought them to the peace and
tranquility of the suburbs. On February 2nd, 1967, Walter Elias Disney announced the
plans to create a domed community. This community would be known as the Experimental
Prototype Community of Tomorrow [EPCOT]. In this note, I will discuss how Walt Disney
planned to create his perfect community, his Waltopia. Disney's experimental EPCOT
community attempted to be the city of the future by first providing a controlled climate,
second by incorporating many of the garden city concepts, and thirdly by creating a
transportation system that brought people back as pedestrians.
Walt Disney, EPCOT MAP, Orlando, Florida
The initial plan for EPCOT was to have a city that was built in concentric circles,
much like the Garden City of to-morrow that Ebenezer Howard envisioned in 1898. The
city as a whole would cover over 1,000 acres of land and of that 1,000 acres 50 of
them would be enclosed by a dome that created the perfect air-conditioned temperature
year round. The dome that surrounded the heart of the city provided a controlled climate
for all of the residents and visitors and protected them from the elements of the outside
world. Not only did the dome provide protection and climate control, but it would enable
authoritative control. As both a model community and a laboratory, the dome seemed
designed to keep subjects of a massive experiment in controlled scenarios for research.
Part of the experiment included the control of who lived in the community and how the
city would look and be governed. The look of the city and the layout of the enclosed
communities looked strikingly similar to past garden city projects.
Walt Disney, EPCOT, A Planned Community, with Commerce at its Hub.
The similarities between Disney's dream and that of Ebenezer Howard are striking.
Howard's Garden city was designed in concentric circles with the center of all the
circles being a large garden and park that was encircled by a "Crystal Palace." In
EPCOT, rings that formed the concentric layout of the city would divide the town. The
outer-most circle would consist of the most modern houses of the time, and "would
perpetually be remodeled to incorporate the latest technology" (Waltopia.com, 1999).
The middle ring would consist of a massive green belt that would include churches,
playgrounds, and schools. The innermost ring, and the most spectacular of all would
be enclosed by a dome and would provide immediate access to the center of town. The
hub of the innermost ring would be accented by an enormous and modern 30-story hotel
hat would act as the center of commerce for the city, much like the Crystal Palace
did for Ebenezer's Garden City. As with most planned communities of the time such as
Levittown and the Greenbelt Programs, the community members would be selected in order
to form the most ideal society as possible and isolate them from the dangers of
traditional public life. As Walt Disney himself once stated, "In EPCOT there will be
no slum areas because we won't let them develop." It seemed that Walt Disney planned
to create a perfect garden city, with perfect people who lived perfect lives, but the
machine that manifested itself in the form of control and authority was unavoidable.
It did not seem that Disney made a strong attempt to hide the machine in his garden.
His machine helped the people of the community by enabling them to commute throughout
the garden with ease and efficiency.
Envisioned Epcot City Building
The transportation system that Disney had envisioned introduced some of the streamlining
technology that was displayed at the 1939 World's Fair. In order to enter the Futurama
display in the General Motors building in 1939, a "moving platform" took you on a ride
to the chairs that floated over the miniature city. In EPCOT this fantastic mode of
transportation was taken one step further by introducing the idea of "people movers."
People movers were trains or monorails that were one level above the ground that would
act as a form of mass public transit. With the people movers in place, there would be
practically no need for the automobile. Cars would still be present, but as Walt Disney
was quoted as saying, "the automobile is there, but still put people back as pedestrians
again." Transportation in EPCOT stood as a clear representation of how Walt Disney
planned to change the direction that General Motors implied for society in the 1939
World's Fair. Why would you need to leave EPCOT if you had everything necessary for
happiness in your own community? This idea was a very strong representation of the
contradiction of two worlds of tomorrow that were envisioned.
In this note, I have focused on three concepts that Walt Disney used to plan his own
Utopia. The first was the concept of having a controlled climate for all citizens of
the community, the second was the construction of a garden city, and the third and final
was the creation of a transportation system that allowed community members to travel
freely within the bounds of the community. Walt Disney's Experimental Prototype Community
of Tomorrow was planned to test solutions to problems that riddled society at that time.
Disney died before his planned community could ever begin construction, but as we all
know EPCOT did end up being built in 1979, but for reasons other than social living. The
authority and control that EPCOT represented clearly exemplified a true heterotopias. The
heterotopias of EPCOT was truly intended to fix the problems that societies faced at the
time by not just looking toward the future, but by living in it.
Celebration Florida, Osceola County -- A Perfect City? Link
Celebration, Florida (map)
Frantz and Collins use two chapters to detail the back-story on the thousands of acres
Walt Disney purchased in the Sixties. Originally, he intended this land to act as
a buffer against the seedy developments destined to crop up like weeds around his
immaculately manicured theme parks. After wheeling and dealing with the Florida
Legislature and Osceola County, where Celebration is located, the Disney corporation
succeeded in creating its own governing body for the land: the Reedy Creek Improvement
District, a setup likened by one Disneyologist to "the Vatican with mouse ears." But
when it turned out that some 20,000 future Celebration citizens would ultimately have
voting rights within that district, Disney was able to "de-annex" the town and turn it
over to Osceola County. After, of course, ensuring that it would still have control
over virtually every detail of the development.
their town's five "cornerstones"--wellness, education, community, technology, and
place--by heart. Furthermore, Celebration has compromised some of its New Urbanism
tenets not only by building its newest homes beyond the optimum walking distance from
downtown, but also with plans for a two-million-square-foot shopping mall.
Walt Disney's Vision
Walt Disney's Vision of an EPCOT Link
Plans for the Florida Project, "Project X," were being designed in a special room at
the Disney Studios. This "Florida Room" had high ceilings and padded walls for pinning
up plans. This room is where master plans were created for EPCOT, as well as Walt Disney
"EPCOT," is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. WED Designer
Marvin Davis said Walt created the phrase, he thought it was just right.
Even though Walt's dream of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was
never developed, a World's Fair type EPCOT does now exist. Although, a city truly
new and experimental was designed, and is located on the Disney World Property,
Celebration Florida is where remnant of EPCOT now resides. One wonders, what if Walt
lived longer, would there have been an EPCOT? This question is inevitably unanswerable.
"Biggest problem? Well, I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life. MONEY.
It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true. From the very start it was
a problem. Getting the money to open Disneyland. About seventeen million it took.
And we had everything mortgaged including my personal insurance."
** Walt Disney Gets The Final Word on EPCOT...
(Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow)
"Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland...the
blessing of size. There's enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we
can possibly imagine."
"But the most exciting and by far the most important part of our Florida Project...
in fact, the heart of everything we'll be doing in Disney World...will be our
Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! We call it EPCOT."
"It's like the city of tomorrow ought to be. A city that caters to the people as
a service function. It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for
American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities.
"EPCOT will be an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its
cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative
centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be
completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials
and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and
imagination of American free enterprise."
"I don't believe there's a challenge anywhere in the world that's more important to
people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do
we begin... how do we start answering this great challenge? Well, we're convinced we
must start answering the public need. And the need is for starting from scratch on
virgin land and building a special kind of new community that will always be in a
state of becoming. I twill never cease to be a living blueprint of the future, where
people actually live a life they can't find anywhere else in the world."
"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing -
that it was all started by a mouse."
Paul Dean, spy hunter champion, Millennium June 28, 1985