Rare 1955 View-Master Disneyland 20000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit

The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit opened at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland in 1955. The attraction displayed the original sets from the 1954 movie. Today we have some very rare photos which come from the View-Master folks with their release of a their 3-D 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea reel. Photos of the exhibit, especially in color and in this definition quality, are almost impossible to find. It is thanks to Todd Popp that I am able today to share them with you. This photo reel set was released by View-Master in 1955. At that time color photography was not as common as it became later. While Todd was doing his research for his upcoming book, he learned that View-Master was one, if not the only licensee permitted to photograph Disneyland at its opening in 1955. View-master released sets of View-Master packets which at the start were sold exclusively at Disneyland as “Park Souvenirs”.

Below, a picture showing the entrance of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit in Tomorrowland.


The next picture is the Tom Scherman and David Holman artwork showing the different rooms of the exhibit.


On the left after entering the exhibit, a Nautilus model that was used in the film was displayed, in front of a Vulcania matte painting by Peter Ellenshaw.


On the right, the first set that Disneyland guests could see was the Nautilus wheelhouse.


One of the highlights of the exhibit was of course, Captain Nemo’s Grand Salon in which Disneyland guests could see Captain Nemo’s famous pipe organ, which is now in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ballroom.


Another picture of the Grand Salon, with Captain Nemo’s library.


Of course, what amazed Disneyland guests the most was the giant squid which they could see through one of Grand Salon’s windows.


A little bit further in the exhibit was the Nautilus diving chamber.


And right in the center of the 20000 Leagues exhibit was the “Nautilus resting place” with the top of a giant Nautilus!


I’d like to again thank Todd Popp for sharing these rare View-Master pictures, and his high-quality scans!

Editor’s note: Wikipedia notes this interesting acquisition in the business history of the makers of View-Master products, the Sawyer’s company. It led to a very profitable source of materials over the years. My first View-Master came with reels from Disneyland It would be a year or two before I was able to see those 3-D attractions with my own eyes for the first time.

In 1951, Sawyer’s purchased Tru-Vue, the main competitor of View-Master. In addition to eliminating the main rival, the takeover also gave Sawyer’s Tru-Vue’s licensing rights to Walt Disney Studios. Sawyer’s capitalized on the opportunity and produced numerous disks featuring Disney characters. The takeover would pay off further in 1955, with disks of the newly opened Disneyland.


Pictures: copyright View-Master