Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hyperion – What’s in a Name?

Homage to Disney’s past isn’t just limited to the parks and the silver screen. The latest example is at Downtown Disney, where the redevelopment of Pleasure Island will bring us Hyperion Wharf. Hyperion is the Greek God of light, and the evocative renderings of Hyperion Wharf illustrate that Disney’s Imagineers will bathe the outdoor pavilion in a sea of lights.

However, a lesser-known reason for choosing the term Hyperion is because it recollects the street upon which Walt Disney built his first major animation studio. Walt and his brother Roy established the Walt Disney Company in 1923, and their first animation efforts involved the successful Alice Comedies. Within a few years the growing company was in need of a little more “elbow room”, so Walt purchased a vacant lot on Hyperion Avenue in Los Angeles and a new animation studio was constructed. Walt and Roy enjoyed fourteen years of success here, where many of today’s most recognizable Disney animation stars were “born” – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy, to name a few. With the success of Snow White in 1937, Roy and Walt were again able to move to a larger location, settling on Burbank in what is still the headquarters of the Walt Disney Company

(Images courtesy of the Walt Disney Company; top - artist rendering of Hyperion Wharf, bottom - Walt (bottom row, right) and his staff at the Studio on Hyperion Avenue)

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