June 1967 - September 1997
Disneyland's first 360-degree movie theater (that is, the first theater that completely enclosed its occupants) was Cinerama USA which opened in 1955 with the film A Tour of the West. This was replaced by America the Beautiful in June 1960, and by Vietnam 360 in August 1966. Cinerama was closed in January 1967 when it was discovered that the ring-shaped screen on which the film was projected had only 359 degrees, resulting in distortion of the movie and nausea in sensitive guests.
The theater, renamed Circle-Vision 360, reopened in June 1967 in a larger theater (displacing the Dogs of Space Station K-9 attraction) with a refilmed America the Beautiful. This film was notable for its grand display of American culture and history, and for its almost complete lack of people who weren't white. For the American bicentennial, America the Beautiful was revised to include a sequence on Philadelphia and, just for a second kind of in the background, a guy who looked sort of like he might not be completely Caucasian.
In July 1984, Circle-Vision 360 received two new films: The Wonders of The People's Glorious Republic of China (filmed in a strictly limited portion of China and featuring a wide variety of party members), and American Journeys (another tour through America, this one raising the ire of certain civil-rights groups because of the implication that since the film now depicted America's diversity "beautiful" had to be removed from its title).
These two films played in the theater until July 1996, when they were replaced by the original America the Beautiful, much to the delight of local Klansmen, causing the entire theater to be closed in September 1997.
Imagineers have expanded the technology used in Circle-Vision, and plan to open Sphere-Vision 3602 with the film Superstar Limo2 in California Adventure late next year.
Trivia: The original camera used to make Circle-Vision 360 films was small enough to fit on a hat.
Want more lies?
Get the book!