Disneyland—arguably the world’s most famous theme park—very nearly didn’t get built at all. Back in 1953, even Walt Disney’s own production company refused to put up the money needed to build the park. But when Walt’s brother Roy set up a big meeting with potential investors in New York, Disney and imagineer Herb Ryman worked for two days on a large-format illustration of the park to woo executives at ABC. And it worked.
The map was then used during the planning, construction, and promotion of Disneyland, which opened in 1955. Disney gave the illustration to his friend Grenade Curran, a Disney production assistant who drove special guests around the park in “Autopia” cars. Curran held onto the map for more than 60 years.
“I kept it for history’s sake, I kept it for Walt’s artistic stake, I kept it because it was the first thing to show and display… what a theme park would look like,” Curran recalled in a recent video.
But not any more. The map was just sold at auction by Van Eaton galleries for a whopping $708,000. It is the most expensive Disneyland map ever sold.