By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Mosaic at the Land Pavilion



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE LAND MOSAIC

By Jim Korkis

Walt Peregoy was a color stylist and background artist for animated films including Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians and the Sword in the Stone. From 1977-1983, he worked at WED, and did work for The Land pavilion and the original Journey Into Imagination pavilion at Epcot’s Future World.

Peregoy designed the entrance mosaic for The Land pavilion, and answered my questions about it in a 2007 interview: “It is three thousand, six hundred square feet. Every celebrity in the world has gone through Disneyland, I’m sure, but there’s nothing obvious, that sticks out as a particular work of art. This does.

“For the Land pavilion, I designed the entranceway and the twenty-seven foot tall, 360 degree sky inside. I designed the three solid balloons that would go up and down with different foods. I designed the fountain below the balloons, but I didn’t get my way with the fountain. Jim Sarno sculpted it. Beautiful. He told me he left because the fountain wasn’t finished with the top the way I designed it. I intended that it all be different foods not only sculpted but painted.

“Orlando Ferrante called me one day and said, ‘This is about the mosaic’. I said, ‘Oh, I guess you’re not going to do it. I understand that’. He said, ‘No, we’re going to do it!’ 3,600 square foot mirror image. It’s fantastic! I’ve still got the original study plaque that I made of it.

“They blew up it up verbatim. I go over to see this German mosaicist. He lived up above Beverly Drive up in the hills until it finally became a dirt road. He was an ex-S.S. German. I told him, ‘My wife’s French’. He said to me, ‘You’ll have to come over to dinner. Bring your wife’. I said, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding! My wife will kill you. My young brother-in-law was beaten to death over a period of four years’.

“Every time I would leave him, he would come out to the garage with me and I would be in a car backing out, he would say, ‘See ya!’ and he would click his heels! He wasn’t being mean. He was just so German. I thought, ‘You got to be kidding!’ He clicked his heels.

“I have to admit he was good. I would go up to his house to see how the mosaic was coming along periodically but he would always click his heels when he said ‘goodbye’.

“When Disney said to me, ‘You can’t put your name on it’, I said, ‘Then his name doesn’t go on it either’. Eventually Disney said, ‘Mosaic originally styled and designed by Walt Peregoy’. Even when I’m dead, even when nobody ever knows me, I will still know.”

The transformation into a physical reality was the task of world-famed mosaicist Hanns-Joachim Scharff with his daughter-in-law Monika. Scharff studied art history at the University of Leipzig and was inspired and drawn to mosaics as a youth during a visit to Italy. He was also an S.S. interrogator for the Nazis during World War II.

In 1966, he did mosaic work for New Orleans Square in Disneyland. In 1970, he and his wife and daughter-in-law did the impressive mural inside the breezeway of Cinderella Castle which was one of the reasons he was asked to do this mosaic.

The Land Pavilion mosaic has approximately 150,000 individually cut and shaped pieces in 131 different colors. The pieces are made of marble, granite, slate, Byzantine glass, Venetian glass, real gold, mirror, ceramic and pebbles.

The mural is supposed to be a mirror image but there is one tile different in each side. One side has a ruby colored tile while the other has an Emerald colored tile. Hanns-Joachim worked on one side of the mural and Monika on the other. The different stones represent their birth stones.

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Thanks, Jim! Jim has also written about Scharff  here. And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Call Me Walt, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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1 comment

1 Anthony { 12.08.17 at 11:32 am }

Interesting article! I think the murals are beautiful.

I miss the old interior for The Land. The fountain and fun, bright color scheme gave the place a lot more heart than the sterile set-up that is there now.

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