Fastpass to the Past: The Theme Park History Podcast

Austin Carroll

NEW BOOK! Fastpass to the Past: The Jr. Historian's Guide to Disneyland. Explore the fascinating history behind Disneyland – a theme park history book for kids 9 to 12. Release date: 12/1/2021 Join Austin, a former Disneyland Cast Member, as she takes you through the outrageous and sometimes downright strange origin stories of your favorite theme parks, attractions, and shows. The outlandish history of Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farms, and much more will be explored along with some outrageous stories from former Employees & Cast Members. What are you waiting for? For your safety, remain seated with your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the podcast at all times.

All Episodes

In this exclusive excerpt from our new book, discover Walt Disney's early life in Kansas City. We'll explore Walt's earliest inspiration for Disneyland, his childhood amusement park. Walk the flower-lined avenues of the lost Electric City park that continued to inspire Walt throughout his career, long after the 100,000 gleaming lights went out. *Fastpass to the Past: The Jr. Historian's Guide to Disneyland * -Out Now! Explore the fascinating history behind Disneyland – a theme park history book for kids 9 to 12. Inspire an interest in history with this fun and immersive journey across 20th century US history through the lens of the happiest place on earth. From awful ideas left on the drawing board to actual flying (and sinking!) ships, Fastpass to the Past: A Jr. Historian's Guide to Disneyland is a thrilling grand circle tour of Disneyland's past and present. In this California history book, kids will walk in the footsteps of Walt Disney before discovering the inspiring stories and hidden Disneyland secrets behind ALL of their favorite theme attractions, including The Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight, and even Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Purchase the Book (https://www.amazon.com/Fastpass-Past-Historians-Guide-Disneyland-ebook/dp/B09HRK85MQ) Behind the Scenes Content (https://fastpasstothepast.com)

Dec 1

18 min 10 sec

Since Disneyland's opening in 1955, every designer who has been tasked with creating a new Main Street for a new Disney park has had to live up to that first nostalgic thoroughfare, the only one Walt actually had a hand in designing, while also setting the scene for the rest of the park. For Disneyland Paris, this task fell to a young brand-new Imagineer and self-proclaimed Disneytologist, Eddie Sotto, who envisioned a very different Main Street USA. Eddie spent over a year working on a Main Street inspired by the stories of the Roaring '20s, and the jazz, cinema, art deco, and gangsters that populated the decade. His design included a hidden restaurant in a locomotive, a speakeasy jazz club, and police raids. Unfortunately, due to creative and financial reasons, his plans never saw the light of day in Paris. In this new part of the 'Lost Lands of Disneyland' series, we go back to the drawing board, deep in the Walt Disney Company archive, to see what this Roaring 20's entrance sequence would have looked like.

Apr 2020

30 min 9 sec

Learn about how "Laemmle's Folly," a dream of an immigrant and rebel movie mogul named Carl Laemmle for a city dedicated to the movies, became a reality with Universal Studios Hollywood. The studio tour of his creation, once merely a method of attracting audiences and publicity to Universal Films, transformed over time into a worldwide theme park empire with revenues in the billions. While most early film studios are now mainly fading celluloid and memories, Universal continues to grow in popularity, offering new generations of film lovers the chance to go behind the scenes of their favorite films. Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com)

Mar 2020

39 min 50 sec

Unlike the ill-fairing Hong Kong Disneyland transplant, Shanghai Disneyland is perhaps Disney’s most original theme park, leaning very little on real world locations and history, or even meticulously recreated towns or alleys we’ve seen in films: Shanghai Disneyland is full of almost completely original and fictional worlds. In this episode, Austin and a special guest discuss their tips and tricks for planning your next vacation to Disneyland Shanghai. Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com) TeePublic Store (teepublic.com/stores/fastpass-to-the-past-the-theme-park-history-podcast)

Feb 2019

48 min 54 sec

Learn about the first ever discussions for a Disneyland in China, which took place 17 years before the opening of Shanghai Disneyland back in 1998 in a political move linked forever with Disney titans, Michael Eisner and Bob Iger. In this episode, we'll also talk about why Disney choose to construct a massive theme park on the outskirts of Shanghai and what went into developing a Disney theme park that was 'distinctly chinese.' Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com) TeePublic Store (teepublic.com/stores/fastpass-to-the-past-the-theme-park-history-podcast)

Feb 2019

43 min 38 sec

The history of the Walt Disney World Resort is littered with great what-might-have-beens stories. These 5 resorts were all planned & ready to go, only to suddenly fall out of favor & never be constructed. Today, we'll be talking about the 5 'lost resorts' of Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon inspired by the canals of Venice, the mosques of Iran, and the beauty of the national parks. Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com) TeePublic Store (teepublic.com/stores/fastpass-to-the-past-the-theme-park-history-podcast)

Dec 2018

14 min 18 sec

Now that it is December, it is officially skiing season! So today, Austin will be describing the disastrous 1960s 'lost resort' called Disney’s Mineral King Ski Village. Disney’s rarely-remembered and disatorious foray into creating a skiing destination within California's Sequoia National Park. Originally envisioned as a five-story resort with over a thousand rooms, surrounded by a movie theater, general store, pools, ice rinks, tennis courts, a golf course, and 22 lifts to the slopes, we’ll take a gander at what would have been a Disney vacation like no other - if it ever came to fruition. Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com) TeePublic Store (https://teepublic.com/stores/fastpass-to-the-past-the-theme-park-history-podcast)

Dec 2018

26 min 16 sec

Welcome to The Jungle! In this first episode of Season 2, join Austin for five exciting days and six romantic nights in the heart of the original Disneyland Adventureland. Often regarded as the first theme park safari, we'll discuss the origins of the beloved Jungle Cruise and the 8th Wonder of the World - the backside of water. In the 60 years since its inception, the jokes and to an extent the animatronics haven’t gotten any better - yet it goes down in history as one of the most beloved Disney attractions. TeePublic store (https://www.teepublic.com/stores/fastpass-to-the-past-the-theme-park-history-podcast). Shownotes (www.themeparkhistorypodcast.com).

Dec 2018

29 min 44 sec

Welcome to the third part of the 'Lost Lands' - a series of closed attractions, forgotten announcements, and especially those plans that never made it off the drawing board. Today, Austin will discuss the never-realized fantastical Beastly Kingdom - an intended part of Disney's Animal Kingdom's Part II Expansion at it's opening. The dragon from this land is even in Animal Kingdom's logo some 20 years later! Austin will also explore the tumultuous fate of the fantasy-inspired land, where dragons and unicorns would have come together to round out the west side of the park where a temporary Camp Minnie Mickey stood. So… hold on tight as we uncover the forgotten lands of Disney's Animal Kingdom and Universal's Island of Adventure. Special thanks to Austin Vaughn for his help in writing this episode. Follow him on Twitter @AVaughnTS.

May 2018

23 min 21 sec

Welcome to the second part of the 'Lost Lands of Disneyland' - a series of closed attractions, forgotten announcements, and especially those plans that never made it off the drawing board. Today, Austin will discuss the event space of Disney's bygone years, Holidayland - 9 acres of baseball diamonds, a circus, and bottomless mugs of beer perfectly suited for corporate events in the 1950's. Austin will also explore the tumultuous fate of the WestCot-inspired Holiday World, where holidays and a land inspired by Epcot's World Showcase would have come together to round out the forgotten West side of the park just beyond the Disneyland Railroad. So… hold on tight as we uncover the forgotten Holiday-themed lands of Disneyland that characterized the first twenty years.

Jan 2018

20 min 24 sec

The first part of the 'Lost Lands of Disneyland' - a series of closed attractions, forgotten announcements, and especially those plans that never made it off the drawing board. Discovery Bay is one of those ill-fated plans. Not unlike the Villain theme park and such that has been making the rounds on the internet lately. However, unlike that concept fraught with uncertainties and speculation, Disneyland’s Discovery Bay was officially announced to the Disney loving-public. Why then did it never grace that elusive theme park map? Today, we’ll explore the tumultuous tale leading up to its design, what this magnificent land would’ve contained, and how it settled down in only die-hard Disney fans' memories. So… hold on tight as we uncover the sunken mysteries of Discovery Bay

Dec 2017

34 min 39 sec

Widely regarded as Walt Disney World's worst attraction of all time, The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management is the catastrophic 90’s overlay of Walt Disney’s beloved Tiki Room attraction in Florida that included crude humor, Iago from Aladdin, Zazu from The Lion King, and that actually ended its run-in immersed in flames. Even if you never had the misfortune to experience Under New Management, today Austin is going to discuss just how and why such a strange overlay ended up in the middle of Disney World’s Adventureland.

Nov 2017

25 min 48 sec

In this two-part episode, Austin will discuss one of most innovative and expensive opening day attractions ever to grace a theme park map, Universal Orlando’s Jaws, and how it was the result of the one of theme park history’s darkest and yet most inspiring period – the “arms race for Orlando” between The Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios Hollywood in the 1970’s.

Oct 2017

27 min 47 sec

In this two-part episode, Austin will discuss one of most innovative and expensive opening day attractions ever to grace a theme park map, Universal Orlando’s Jaws, and how it was the result of the one of theme park history’s darkest and yet most inspiring period – the “arms race for Orlando” between The Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios Hollywood in the 1970’s.

Oct 2017

21 min 35 sec

In this episode, Austin will be taking a deep dive into the history behind a relatively recent addition to the Disneyland and Disney World Resorts - Trader Sam's. Tune in to learn about the origin, design, and tiki inspiration behind one of Disney's most elaborate attractions - and it isn't even technically in a theme park!

Oct 2017

24 min 59 sec

In this episode, Austin and special guest, Carolyn, discuss (and debate) 3 of the most dangerous rides The Walt Disney Company has ever seen and, yes, one is actually still in operation. Tune in to learn about attractions and incidents that inspired modern-day theme park safety mechanisms and that may or may not be responsible for shuttering the queues of some of Disneyland's most beloved and deadly attractions.

Oct 2017

25 min 5 sec

In this episode, Austin will be talking about the origin and eventual demise of all four(!) defunct boat rides of Disneyland. Tune in to learn about The Phantom Boats, the Mike Fink Knell Boats, The Canal Boats Around the World, and the Motor Boat Cruise. All attractions that have been lost to the past (and one that sunk to the bottom of the river).

Sep 2017

23 min 52 sec

In this episode, Austin will tell the origin story and explain the legacy of America's First Theme Park - Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. The tale of Walter Knott, a poor berry farmer, who lifted his family out of poverty and the Great Depression through ingenuity and an unbelievable work ethic is a great one. Their roadside berry stands quickly evolved to a full-scale chicken restaurant and later into a theme park in its own right. Austin will also discuss Walter Knott's tumultuous friendship with Walt Disney, that later descended into a rivalry with the opening of Disneyland, which was just a couple miles away. Check out the show notes on themeparkhistorypodcast.com for more information, fun facts, and resources!

Sep 2017

18 min 19 sec