YesterlandWorld Clock
Tomorrowland’s futuristic clock
tells the time anywhere on Earth

World Clock

Every land has its icon. You enter Frontierland through the frontier stockade. You enter Fantasyland through the fairy tale castle. You enter Adventureland and there’s supposed to be a tall, round structure at the jungle dock (but it’s not really there).

World Clock
The World Clock is at the entrace to Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland has an entrance icon too. You enter this World of Tomorrow by walking past the World Clock.

World Clock
Line up a location on the world map with the hour above it.

The park’s July 15, 1955, advertising supplement in the Los Angeles Times explains it this way: “1955 becomes 1986 as you enter the new era—Tomorrowland where our hopes and dreams for the future become today’s realities. Symbolizing the time transition is Tomorrowland’s futuristic clock. At a glance, this elaborate chronometer tells you the exact minute and hour anywhere on the face of the planet Earth.”

World Clock
For the minutes past the hour, look at the ball on the side of the world map.

In the long tradition of clock towers around the world, Tomorrowland’s World Map does double duty. It not only provides a useful function; it’s also work of art. Take a look at the sun and moon at the top of the World Clock.

Actually, the World Clock tells the time for almost anywhere on Earth—but not for Newfoundland. The minutes on the World Clock are always wrong for Newfoundland because this Canadian province is an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Standard Time.


World Clock

The World Clock was there on the opening day of Disneyland in 1955. The park guide at the left is an example of how the World Clock was the icon of Tomorrowland.

But time moves on.

The World Clock may have represented the future in 1955, but by 1966, it represented the past. When the New Tomorrowland opened in 1967, the World Clock was gone—along with everthing else that had looked futuristic just a dozen years earlier, such as the atomic age symbols on the buildings and the Rocket to the Moon. After all, the real NASA rockets that carried man into space didn’t look anything like the Disneyland rocket.

These days, we think tend to blur the styles of the 1950s and 1960s together and label them a “mid-century.” But, in reality, there was a huge shift in what the public considered “modern” between those two decades—arguably a much bigger change in taste than between the 1990s and the 2000s.

What happened to World Clock? Is it stored in a dusty warehouse? Or are its remains buried deep within a sanitary landfill? Probably the latter.

Now please continue to the Astro-Jets (updated January 15, 2010)

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© 2010 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Last updated June 17, 2010.

Image of World Clock from 1955 Disneyland Guide: Courtesy of the Orange County Archives, Santa Ana, California; copyright 1955 Disneyland Incorporated (The Walt Disney Company); included here for historical illustration.
 
Scanned image of a small section of the 1962 Disneyland souvenir map: Copyright 1962 Walt Disney Productions (The Walt Disney Company); included here for historical illustration.
 
Photo of World Clock and Matterhorn: 1959 by Roger J. Runck, courtesy of Robin Runck.
 
Photo of World Clock and TWA Moonliner: 1960 by Roger J. Runck, courtesy of Robin Runck.
 
Image of 1955 Disneyland Guide with World Clock: Courtesy of the Orange County Archives, Santa Ana, California; copyright 1955 Disneyland Incorporated (The Walt Disney Company); included here for historical illustration.