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Disney Dish with Jim Hill Ep 263: Looking back at Disneyland’s House of the Future

Today’s episode is brought to you by Magic Spoon , Rocket Money , Agent of Excellence , and TouringPlans .


Normal Open: Welcome back to another edition of the Disney Dish podcast with Jim Hill. It’s me, Len Testa, and this is our show for the week of Shmursday, January 22, 2024.  


On the show today: News! Surveys! Listener questions! Then in our main segment, Jim and special guest Dave Bossert recount how Disney and Monsanto built Disneyland’s House of the Future.  One word for you kids: plastics.


Let’s get started by bringing in the man who says that if your friends or the government didn’t come back in time to stop you, the decisions you’re making can’t be all that bad.  It’s Mr. Jim Hill.   Jim, how’s it going?


And we’d like to introduce a special guest for today’s show: Dave Bossert is the author of several books on Disney and Disney theme parks.  And before that, Dave worked as an animator for Walt Disney Animation on effects for everything from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid, to Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and pretty much every modern Disney classic of that era.  Dave also worked on theme park attractions including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, World of Color, and more.  Dave is based in Los Angeles. Welcome to the show, Dave.


iTunes: Thanks to everyone who subscribes to the show over at including Dave Kerwin, Mike Bradbur, Allison Fell, Atoinette Fournshell, Gillian Mac, and Matt Halbauer.  Jim, these are the Disney horticulturalists busy crafting topiary for EPCOT’s upcoming Flower & Garden Festival.  They say they’re on track for colorful butterflies at the park entrance, and the Fab Five near World Showcase.  And although the topiary geese in Canada will 100% attack you if you so much as look at them wrong, they’ll attack you in the most Canadian-polite way possible.  True story.


The news is sponsored by TouringPlans helps you save time and money at theme parks like Walt Disney World.  Check us out at



  • Disney announced dates for EPCOT’s Flower & Garden Festival - Feb 28 through May 27, 2024
  • That’s a return to pre-pandemic runtimes:
  • 2023: March 1 to July 5
  • 2022: March 2 to July 4
  • 2019: March 6 to June 3
  • Does this mean we’ll have a longer gap between F&W and Food & Wine? Or will F&W start in June?
  • New musical acts include Modern English.  If we don’t get sandwich melts at Regal Eagle, an opportunity will have been lost.  There’s also a lot of Central Florida acts interspersed there, including (I think) the opening dates with The Vybe.  Good on Disney for helping these musicians get in front of more people.
  • Universal’s also got dates out for its Mardi Gras events, Feb 3 - Mar 17
  • Musical acts include DJ Kahlid and Zedd.  That’s going to be packed.
  • Mardi Gras is a hoot.  If you can wrangle a spot throwing beads on one of the parade floats, it’s one of the best in-park experiences you can have. 100% recommend.
  • Speaking of Universal, our friend Seth Kubersky wrote in to tell us that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit now opens 15 minutes after the rest of the park.  So FYI there if you’re trying to throw up right at park opening.
  • Disney’s got dates out for its After Hours events, and these now run through summer.
  • Opening date for the new Fort Wilderness DVC cabins is tentatively July 1.
  • Existing DVC members can book these starting April 23


An anonymous listener sent in a new Universal survey:


  • This is interesting for a couple of reasons.  
  • First, Universal’s in the middle of a theme park expansion phase, so knowing specific limitations guests have will help them build more-inclusive attractions.  
  • Second, I don’t think they can ask these kinds of questions when qualifying guests for in-park disability access.  So a voluntary survey is a good way of collecting that information.
  • I’ll also note that a lawsuit was filed against Six Flags Magic Mountain a couple of weeks ago regarding its use of a third-party service (IBCCES, which is based in Orlando) to get expedited attraction access:
  • The lawsuit claims that having to document the relevant disability is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • The lawsuit is important because other major theme park operators, including Universal, use IBCCES.  
  • And I would bet valid American currency that there have been recent discussions inside other major theme park operators about adopting IBCCES, and that this lawsuit might have paused that adoption. So this is probably something we should watch.

Listener Questions

Lauren writes in with a question about Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion refurb:

Do you have any insight as to how long Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion closure will be? I can't imagine that the queue reconfiguration, expansion, and shop erection will take until 2025 to finish (from what I have heard from the rumor mill). The holiday overlay draws such a large crowd that I would hope it would be reopened by Fall 2024. Is Disney doing more work on the actual attraction? Do you or Jim have any insight?

Len responded: The plan is to have DLR Haunted Mansion back up around the time it'd normally open for Haunted Mansion Holiday.  That was September 1 in 2023, if that is any guide.  And it'll re-open with the holiday overlay, which'll run through early January.

I also heard that Disneyland was (as of late 2023) several months behind WDW for opening Tiana's Bayou Adventure.  I now expect TBA to be open in WDW sometime in the fall.  No idea on Disneyland's version.

And Michael Lee writes in with this:

A question from Chris via Patreon:


Research/Patents (use query "disney enterprises".as AND "theme park".ab)


We’re going to take a quick commercial break.  Then Jim and Dave tell us why Disneyland’s House of the Future was the real Barbie’s Dream House to all theme park fans. We’ll be right back.

MAIN TOPIC - iTunes Show

House of the Future: Walt Disney, MIT, and Monsanto’s Vision of Tomorrow

I think it’s safe to say that architecture around the world went through a seismic change in the 25-year period after World War II (so 1945-1970ish)

In the US there was a house-building boom fueled by first-time home buyers.  And as this started, a lot of people were interested in basic questions about what a house is supposed to be, what it’s supposed to have, and who it’s supposed to be for. Fundamental questions that I think deserved to be re-asked every generation or so.

  • As a listener exercise, go through your house and ask these questions:
  • What purpose was this room supposed to serve when this home was built?
  • What purpose does it serve now?
  • If money, skill, and time were unlimited, how would I change this room to better suit my life?
  • As an example:
  • Laurel’s and my house remodels almost always remove bathtubs for showers
  • Lots more windows
  • How many times per year do you really use the dining room for dining?

From 1945 to 1965, Arts & Architecture magazine sponsored the Case Study House project.

  • 36 designs were created
  • 27(?) seem to have been built, almost all in California, and most around Los Angeles
  • Around 20 of them still exist in their original form or very close to it
  • Very famous architects: Neutra, Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Killingsworth, Rapson
  • Walt would have been very, very familiar with these houses, both due to his interest in architecture and his proximity to them
  • I’d go so far as to say the style of many of these houses is uniquely post-war American. No other houses around the world are built in quite the same way.  

Fun side note: the ubiquitous 30-year mortgage was not really a thing in the US housing market until:

  • Congress authorized them for new construction in 1948
  • And for existing homes in 1954

And that relates to one of the key problems for the construction industry during this time: raw materials, both from a cost and an affordability perspective.  

  • Monsanto was looking for ways to build new markets for its plastics manufacturing


  • Predicting the Future
  • Reinventing the House
  • Exterior Design and Construction
  • Tour Map
  • Atoms for Living Kitchen
  • Children’s Bedroom
  • Parent’s Bedroom
  • Bathrooms
  • Living Room of the Future
  • (kitchen)
  • Dining and Family Room of the Future
  • Communication and Climate Control
  • Opening Day: The Public Reception
  • Epilogue: The House of the Future Legacy


Walt Disney with the Home of the Future Family:

September 1962 living room:

August 1963 Living Room of the Future:

Dave’s book is titled The House of the Future: Walt Disney, MIT, and Monsanto’s Vision of Tomorrow.  It’s available on Amazon and at

Dave Bossert Interview / Background Material

January 15, 1955 – Walt Disney – after originally opting to put off the construction of Tomorrowland at Disneyland ‘til the second phase of this project (which meant that this land wouldn’t then open to the public ‘til the Summer of 1956) – changes his mind. He decides that Disneyland must have a Tomorrowland when it opens in just six months time.

Rush job …

Prospectus for Disneyland that was prepared back in 1953 (to incite possible investors) described this side of the Park as …

The World of Tomorrow

A moving sidewalk carries you effortlessly into the World of Tomorrow where the fascinating exhibits of the miracles of science and industry are displayed. The theme of the World of Tomorrow is the factual and scientific exposition of Things to Come.

Participating in this are the Industries such as: Transportation, Rubber, Steel, Chemical, Electrical, Oil, Mining, Agriculture and Foods.

Among the exhibits, that will change from time to time, are The Mechanical Brain, A Diving Bell, a Monorail Train, The Little Parkway where children drive scale model motor cars over a modern freeway, models of an atomic submarine, a flying saucer, The Magic House of Tomorrow, with mechanical features that obey the command of your voice like a Genie. You say “Please” and the door opens. A polite “Thank You” will close it.

There are shops for the scientific toys, chemistry sets and model kits. Here the imaginative boy will find a space helmet to suit his needs for inter-planetary travel.

And if you are hungry, conveyor-belts will carry your food through the electronic cooking device of Tomorrow where you will see it cooked instantly to your liking.

When you enter the gigantic rocket space ship to the Moon, and are safety-belted into your seat, the trip through space will be scientifically correct. The roaring ride through the Universe will depict the exploding stars, constellations, planets and comets exactly as charted, and be no less thrilling for being authentic.

Fascinating to look at this list from 1953 and think about the stuff that Disneyland’s Tomorrowland did eventually get:

·           The Little Parkway where children can drive scale model motor cars over a modern freeway – Autopia (Opening day attraction at Disneyland [July 1955])

·           Gigantic Rocket to the Moon (Opening day attraction at Disneyland [July 1955])

·           A Monorail Train – June 15, 1959 (first daily operating monorail system in the Western Hemisphere)

·           Models of an atomic sub – June 15, 1959 (Submarine Voyage)


·           Flying Saucer – August 6, 1961


But inbetween all of those, Disneyland did get its “Magical House of Tomorrow.” The House of the Future opened on June 12, 1957 right off of the Hub across from Sleeping Beauty Castle. Primo location.

Walt really wanted the House of the Future for Disneyland, largely because – given what a rush job the original iteration of Tomorrowland had been, there wasn’t much that was truly futuristic about the place.

Leaned a little too heavily into a showcase for American industry rather than shining a spotlight on what was coming over the horizon.

·           Kaiser Aluminum Hall of Fame

·           American Dairy Association Dairy Bar

·           Dutch Boy Paints

·           and Crane Bathroom Fixtures

House of Tomorrow changed all that. As Mr. Bossert explains in his excellent “The House of the Future: Walt Disney, MIT, and Monsanto's Vision of Tomorrow.” Which was published back in October of last year by Old Mill Press.

If you’re a Disney history buff, you’ve undoubtedly already got a number of Dave’s books in your library at home …

·           Dali and Disney: Destino: The Story, Artwork, and Friendship Behind the Legendary Film

·           Claude Coats: Walt Disney's Imagineer: The Making of Disneyland From Toad Hall to the Haunted Mansion and Beyond

·           Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life

·           Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, Revised Special Edition

… to name just a few. Use the 69th anniversary of the start of construction of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland as an excuse to talk about the House of the Future.

Possible interview questions for today

1)         You’ve already written so many books about intriguing aspects of Disney Company history (EX: Salvador Dali & “Destino,” Kem Weber & the stuff he created for Disney’s new studio in Burbank, your friendship with Roy E. Disney). What compelled you to research & then write a book about Disneyland’s House of the Future?

2)         How do you go about researching this specific topic? How many years did it take you to pull together the material necessary to write what many are now calling the definitive book on Disneyland’s House of the Future?

3)         What surprised you the most about the House of the Future (Dave tells story here about unique design of structure / wings necessary to support other wings)

4)         Which aspects of the House of the Future that were showcased in the late 1950s / early 1960s do you wish had actually made it into the world of 2024?

5)         This Tomorrowland attraction opened at Disneyland in June in 1957. Around that same time, the Imagineers were working on a number of walk-thru attractions for the Parks (i.e., Rogues Gallery, the original version of the Haunted Mansion, likewise the original version of Disneyland’s Alice in Wonderland).

If we jump ahead ten years, when Monsanto (i.e., the corporate sponsor of House of the Future) opts to be part of the New Tomorrowland project (which opens at Disneyland Park in the Summer of 1967), they now opted to go with a ride-thru attraction (i.e., Adventures thru Inner Space) rather than continue with a walk-thru exhibit.

Disneyland did build a handful of walk-thru attractions (EX: Art of Animation, which was installed in Tomorrowland in May of 1960; and The Swiss Family Treehouse, which opened at the Park in November of 1962). But these clearly fell out of favor in the mid-1960s. Why do you suppose that happened?

6)         That said, the House of the Future almost stayed on as an attraction at Disneyland. Can you talk about how close we got to getting a 1967 version of this walk-thru as part of the New Tomorrowland project.



That’s going to do it for the show today.  You can help support our show by subscribing over at, where we’re posting exclusive shows every week.   This week’s video, episode 4, is the history of Mickey’s Birthday Land, and I won’t tell you which of the cartoon houses there was inspired by Jim Shull’s mother-in-law’s home.  But it’s true.  Check it out at

Patreon: That’s going to do it for the show today.  Thanks for subscribing and supporting the Disney Dish.

ON NEXT WEEK’S SHOW:  Jim tells us how the Imagineers handled Walt’s decision - in January of 1955 - to add Tomorrowland to Disneyland’s opening-day lineup, giving them just six months to get it done.  I’ve seen archival footage of the last week of prep work for Tomorrowland, and it’s mesmerizing in the same way that violating any modern workplace safety regulations is mesmerizing. Can’t wait to hear Jim’s story.


You can find more of Jim at, and more of me, len at

Dave, where can more people find you?


iTunes Show:  We’re produced spectacularly by Eric Hersey, who’ll be giving posture, footwork, and rhythm tips at February Frostbite: The Montana Tango Festival, on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at the Elks Lodge #383, on Pattee Street, in beautiful, downtown Missoula, Montana. If you think the subtle differences between tango and milonga are one of life’s great mysteries, this is the event for you.


While Eric’s doing that, please go on to iTunes and rate our show and tell us what you’d like to hear next.

For Jim, this is Len, we’ll see you on the next show.