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America the Beautiful
America the Beautiful was originally shot as a Circarama film for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. The Circarama version of the film debuted at Disneyland in 1960 and was reshot in 1967 as a Circle-Vision 360 film. The movie opened at the Magic Kingdom on November 25, 1971 and played until March 15, 1974. The original running time was about eighteen and a half minutes. The movie did not require a ticket and was sponsored at Walt Disney World by Monsanto (The Disneyland film was sponsored by Bell/AT&T).
Magic Carpet 'Round the World replaced the film from 1974-1975 so America the Beautiful could be revised to show scenes of Philadelphia for the Bicentennial. The film played in the revamped form from 1975-1979. America the Beautiful was released on 16mm film for educational use in 1980 but sadly, the presentation was not in Circle-Vision. This film also occasionally appeared on the Disney Channel's Vault Disney programming block.
American Beautiful Script: 1971-1974
(An aerial shot of mountains leading to Mount Rushmore is shown.)
Chorus: America! The beautiful! Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...
(The camera soars over farm fields and mountains as the choir continues to sing "America the Beautiful" in the background.)
Narrator: She is a rich land. And a rare land. A fresh and fair land. A land so blessed in natural beauty, resources and people that she became the world's best hope. Come, take a look at her, Americans. Glimpse a nation's splendor, and be proud of your heritage. (The Statue of Liberty appears as the narrator quotes from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus.) "Give me your tired. Your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
(The camera flies over New York City.)
Look at our portrait of America and for a few moments, see how a great nation was carved out of a wilderness. Let's begin our magic carpet ride in New York City, that great melting pot of people and cultures.
They came in their multitudes, bringing with them brains and muscles. Sinews and spirit. In pursuit of a dream. A dream that until now had never been. A dream that somehow, people could live together in justice and equality. A dream that democracy was the handwork of all. And that the glorious struggle could be won here.
(A New England sea port is shown.)
Where did this drive for the American dream begin? Not just in the great cities, but in towns and hamlets all over colonial America. The spirit of the early settlers is still all around us. Hundreds of years later.
Chorus (Singing Blow the Wind Westerly): Come all ye young sailors and listen to me. I'll sing you a song of the fish of the sea. And blow ye winds westerly, westerly blow. We're bound to the southward so steady she goes.
(Camera enters a covered wooden bridge and goes though a small town with a church.)
Narrator: They wanted to be free. To be governed by officers of their own choosing. They would fight in their towns to wrest the freedom of constitutional process from a distant, unrepresentative government.
They gave up narrow self interest for the national good. So that all the generations to come could be at peace in their own communities. Free to choose a lifestyle of their own. Simple men fought and won the bloody struggle of the revolution.
(The pioneer village of New Salem, Illinois is shown.)
To this outpost in the wilderness, Abraham Lincoln came to be a storekeeper and post master of New Salem, Illinois before he went on to the state legislature and to Washington.
(Visitors are shown outside Mount Vernon)
When George Washington left Mount Vernon for the first time, it was to lead the revolutionary armies. When he left for the second time, it was to lead the struggling young republic as its first president.
(A fife and drum regiment are shown, and then colonial Williamsburg.)
Because revolution was in the minds and hearts of people in towns like Williamsburg, they played a much larger role in politics than in any country before. Virginia along produced four of the first five presidents. Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
(Independence Hall in Philadelphia is shown, followed by a doorway that opens to the Liberty Bell. A colonial mock battle is staged outside.)
In war the people stood up and were counted. In peace they demanded no less. And so here in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, our founding fathers drafted a constitution that defined the delicate relationship between citizen and government as it had never been done before. For the first time in history, people would be governed by officials of their own choosing. And here was met the first government of the new nation so created. (Quoting the inscription on the Liberty Bell) "Proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof." Real freedom was established and protected. And under it, man could achieve his highest good. Men, women and children of today honor those heroes of the past.
(The exterior of the White House is shown.)
Prominent in our portrait of America is the White House. The home of every American president since John Adams. A fitting home for the man who symbolizes the dignity and majesty of the American people in the most powerful elective office in the world.
In bloody battle, Americans won the right to choose our leaders. From town meeting to nation's capital. George Washington himself laid the cornerstone of this great building wherein the laws of the country are made.
(An instrumental of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is played as Gettysburg is shown.)
Over this peaceful countryside at Gettysburg was fought the greatest battle of the Civil War. It was the high tide of the confederacy. One hundred sixty three thousand men struggled to decide the fate of the union. Seven thousand died that day for their beliefs.
(The Lincoln Memorial is shown.)
As always, our form of government seems to give us the president we need in time of crisis. Here was a man for the ages. Abraham Lincoln. Dedicated. Humble. Grave. Humorous. A simple man who gave his life that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth. He lives on in the hearts of free men everywhere.
(The camera flies over Niagara Falls.)
Niagara Falls, whose natural grandeur is just a small part of our nation's abundant resources.
(Graduates are shown at West Point, followed by cadets at the Air Force Academy and midshipmen at the Navel Academy in Annapolis.)
The President is Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces. At West Point, with a scholar's broad knowledge, these young men prepare for their life of duty, sacrifice and service to their country. At the Air Force Academy in Colorado, these cadets will master incredible technical advances to keep this proud nation free. And at Annapolis, these midshipmen will follow the sea as their predecessors have from the time of the revolution. Not only is the President their commander, he is also the nation's conscience and its teacher.
(Chicago is shown, including Michigan Avenue.)
Carl Sandburg called Chicago "Hog butcher for the world. Toolmaker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads and the nation's freight handler. Stormy, husky, brawling. City of the big shoulders." More than any other city, Chicago typifies the spirit that had pulled this country from the sparest beginnings to the strongest nation in the world today.
("Old Folks at Home" is played as an instrumental as a southern landscape is shown. The film then shifts to the French Quarter in New Orleans.)
No matter what section of the country we call home, quiet rural setting or the colorful French Quarter of old New Orleans with its jazz and blues, there is one thing we all have in common. Freedom. Freedom to go where we want. Be what we want. Freedom to choose our own government, as well as our friends.
(The Gateway arch is shown in St. Louis.)
Just where the Missouri meets the Mississippi River sits the jumping off place for every pioneer that rolled a wagon westward. St. Louis: symbolized by the elegantly simple Gateway Memorial. Pioneers who passed this way stretched the country from sea to sea pulled by the lure of land and riches for the finding. And each man, woman and child who saw this old courthouse in 1834 accepted responsibility for himself on the long trip west and forged that uniquely American trait- independence.
(The camera flies and tilts over the Colorado River.)
Over the Colorado River, it was a five month, 2,000 mile trip for the lines of covered wagons as they searched for a better life. Because they believed they would find it, the dream became a reality.
(Cowboys are shown herding cattle.)
Chorus (Singing "Git Along, Little Dogies"): As I was out walking one morning for pleasure, I spied a cowpuncher a ridin' along. His hat was thrown back and his spurs were a jinglin' and as he approached, he was singin' this song. Whoopee ti yi yo. Git along, you little dogies. It's your misfortune and none of my own. Whoopee ti yi yo. Git along, you little dogies. You know that Wyoming will be your new home.
(The camera shows desert terrain and mountains.)
Narrator: Their spirit and grit got them across territory like this. They built roads and towns and industries where there were none.
(Snow covered mountains and a stream are shown. A ski resort area is then shown.)
They brought something even more important to this wilderness. Perhaps the most important of all American rights. The right to vote. To choose a government that would protect their rights and fulfill their needs even in the remotest parts of this country. Today, their descendants enjoy a vastly different lifestyle. They may fly by jet to Sun Valley to enjoy their skiing, but their legacy has come down to them unchanged. Their government still responds to the majority of their votes.
(The Alaskan tundra is shown, followed by Mount McKinley.)
She's a vast land, this America of ours. Stretching all the way to the Arctic Ocean and covering one-fifth of the world's land surface. Yes, on our last frontier in the frozen reaches of Alaska, the spirit and drive of the early settlers is still very much alive. And just as high as rugged Mount McKinley, glorious in its grandeur, highest point on the North American continent.
Even if it is perched on the very ends of the Earth, and the temperature may hit only 40 in midsummer, Nome Alaska is just as American as the corner drugstore. They are governed by the same laws as San Francisco (film shifts from Alaska to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco) and the golden state of California. Where the generations have mined the gold and tilled the farms.
(The camera takes on the perspective of a cable car in San Francisco and then Fisherman's Wharf is shown.)
They built a city of grace and elegance. Where you can meet yourself coming and going. To really know San Francisco's charm is to know it at dusk at Fisherman's Wharf. Where the abundance of the sea can be found at every door.
(A fire truck is shown racing down the street.)
It's a far cry from the bucket brigades and volunteer fire companies of early days. But the thrill of chasing the fire engine still exists.
Even if it is Los Angeles in the 20th Century.
(A western movie is shown being filmed on a studio lot.)
Behind the cameras on a movie set in Hollywood, the legends and the lore of the America that was are captured in make-believe.
(Boats are shown in Balboa Bay.)
Whether it's hula hoops or hot tubs or a day's sail on Balboa Bay, Southern Californians pursue lifestyles of their own choosing.
(A time lapse shot of Los Angeles taken from up in the hills is shown.)
And in Los Angeles, that sprawling community of cities that knows no end, they share with the people of Boston and Houston, and the thousand, thousand towns between the knowledge that in this country, all men are created equal. That they do have certain inalienable rights. (A plantation in Hawaii is shown.) And in our newest state to the west, Hawaii, the tradition of the melting pot starts again. As east and west meet and democracy renews itself.
(A ship is shown laying communication cables, followed by scenes in Hawaii.)
Linking Hawaii into our network of instant communication are telephone cables, satellites, television, radio. All the marvels of an electronic age so vital to preserve what another time secured for us by musket and ball.
Grover Cleveland summed it all up at his inauguration: "The constitution, which prescribes my oath, my countrymen, is yours. The government you have chosen me to lead is yours. The laws and the entire scheme of our civil rule from the town meeting to the national capital is yours."
This then, has been our American portrait. A brief glimpse into a nation's splendor. Infinite in its variety. Rich in its tradition. Blessed in its heritage.
(The capital is shown again, followed by the Jefferson Memorial and other footage from around the country, ending with the Statue of Liberty.)
Chorus: America! America! Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...
(Choir continues singing in background.)
Narrator (Quoting a poem by Henry Van Dyke): "So it's home again, and home again. America for me. My heart is turning home again. And there I long to be. In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean's bars, where the air is full of sunlight, and the flag is full of stars."
Chorus: America! America! God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. America! The Beautiful! America!
Magic Carpet 'Round the World
After playing in the Circle-Vision theater from 1974-1975, Magic Carpet 'Round the World returned for an encore from 1979-1984. It was a 21-minute film that traveled through more than 20 countries. According to a Disney press release, more than 37 hours of film were edited to create the movie. The soundtrack was in 12-track stereo and featured a 24-voice chorus and 56-piece orchestra that included folk instruments. Like America the Beautiful, this film was also sponsored by Monsanto. Some of the footage from this film was later reused in the Timekeeper attraction to depict the Ice Age. When the film premiered at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, it was revised with new footage of Europe and North America. The film was replaced by American Journeys in 1984.
(Thanks to Brother for this photo.)
American Journeys premiered on September 15,1984. It was written by Randy Bright and Rick Harper. This film strove to be less stuffy than the original America the Beautiful and also tried to introduce perspectives other than the traditionally white and male ones that made up a lot of American histories. Basil Splendors did the score for the film. The movie was directed by Jeff Billy and ended its run on January 9, 1994 when it was replaced by The Timekeeper. At one point this film was sponsored by Black & Decker. It also played at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland.
American Journeys Script
(Please note that there are two spots represented by ellipses where I am unable to determine what is being said on the audio.)
(A panorama of western scenery is shown.)
Narrator: All Americans have shared a common dream. (A wagon train is shown traveling west.) And the dream was that there was something here in this vast, unspoiled land for each of us. Those first American journeys took many years and many lives. But the journey and the dream live on. (Snowy mountains, coastline and mountains are shown, followed by the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.) With a land so diverse and seemingly endless, it's no wonder that people came from around the world to this new place they called- America.
Man (with accent): I am proud to be an American. Even before I come here, I dream of being an American. People, they come from everywhere. America, she has so much to offer.
(Street scenes and more skyline shots of New York are shown, and then the film transitions to New England.)
Woman: Out here in New England, you Ota sometimes remind yourself it's the 50th century. We were raised with the heritage of the sea. There's no denying' that. And it's the dedication of our craftsmen that keep some of those old traditions alive...traditions are kind of like a bond between generations."
Man: Some of our traditions are not very old, really. As a nation, we haven't been at this very long, but we've created new traditions, uniquely ours. The Library of Congress is a treasure house of our collected knowledge, saving it for future generations without turning our backs on the past. We must always remember that the world closely watches what Abraham Lincoln called "Our experiment in popular government."
Man: Most governments have been based on the denial of equal rights. Ours began by affirming those rights. Men will pass away, but the principle will live, and live forever.
Man: We also knew that the dream would not be without sacrifice.
(A horse and wagon cross a covered bridge.)
Man: Well now, when folks talk about what's uniquely American, what comes to my mind is our music and dance.
(People watch as a bluegrass band performs and a man dances. The scene becomes a bayou and then a horse and wagon are shown going through the French Quarter of New Orleans.)
Woman (chuckles): I guess New Orleans is famous for a lot of things. But at Preservation Hall, we get right down to the heart of the matter; Dixieland. (A Dixie band plays.) We used to think of Dixieland as our own kind of music. But it spread up the Mississippi and into the hearts of people across the whole country.
Man: Really something when you think about it. These days there's darn few of us on the farm. But you know, we not only feed our country, but a good chunk of the rest of the world beside.
(The film shows footage of the western wilderness. A train is shown traveling up the mountain pass.)
Narrator: Those early journeys across the Rockiest took a special kind of courage. Nowadays we see these rugged mountains as a challenge of a different kind.
(People are shown skiing.)
Man (Hispanic accent): Southwest, what used to be a day's hard work, is now a sport.
(A rodeo is shown, then people white water rafting. People are shown having a barbeque in the desert.)
Man (Native American): The history of this land goes back before any men settled here. For over 600 years, my people have lived in Grand Canyon. (People are shown at the base of a waterfall.) Where the rivers have...land of the green waters.
(People are shown in Carlsbad Caverns.)
Man (Native American): Slowly, the forces of nature have created Carlsbad Caverns. Adding to her beauty by one inch every 100 years.
(Mount St. Helens is shown, shortly after erupting in 1980.)
Man (Native American): Sometimes however, the land is misshaped right before our eyes. Mount St. Helens is a constant reminder of how small we really are.
(Film shifts to the Alaska.)
Man (Native American): It has been said that thousands of years ago, my ancestors came to Alaska across a great ice bridge. The land they inherited was a magnificent beauty. The great Columbia Glacier; a moving wall of ice 200 feet tall and five miles wide. Nothing on Earth stands in the way of a glacier. Even mountains have been shaped and scarred by their passing, as we have seen in our own Yosemite Valley. The ageless Sequoias. (A forest is shown.) They tell us that the beauty of our great land must be passed on for generations to come.
(A family walks in a forest of giant trees. A baseball game is shown.)
Narrator: Americans have always known how to have a good time together. And they know how to work together too.
(Planes are shown flying off of an aircraft carrier and then a Space Shuttle is shown launching.)
Woman: In Hawaii we say "Aloha". Welcome. The beauty of these islands is yours to share.
Narrator: The land. The people. The traditions. We are a nation of nations, made up of people from all over the world. Drawn here by different dreams. But we all now share a common love for this land we call- America.
("God Bless America" is first hummed and then sung as fireworks are shown.)
Chorus: From the mountains, to the prairies. To the oceans, white with foam. God bless America. My home sweet home. God bless America, my home sweet home.
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See ya real soon!