I never get tired of the “lost weekend” story. I’ve read it and heard it told many times. The details change a bit, especially the dialog. (Nobody was there with a tape recorder.) But there’s no doubt that it happened. We can still enjoy the results of that weekend—the wonderful drawing reproduced in this article and, more importantly, the fact that Walt and Roy Disney were able to scrape together financing for Disneyland.
In Ryman’s drawing, Disneyland is recognizable, although different from what opened to the public on July 18, 1955. The named parts of the park are Main Street, The Hub, Holiday Land, Frontier Country, Mickey Mouse Club, Recreation Park, Fantasy Land, Lilliputian Land, and True-Life Adventureland.
The drawing was an amazing accomplishment—by someone who was not even an employee of Walt Disney at the time. Ryman’s employment status quickly changed.
Herb Ryman continued to design for Disney theme parks. His renderings of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Cinderella Castle, and New Orleans Square are legendary. Although he retired from Disney in 1971, he produced conceptual drawings for EPCOT Center, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris as a consultant.