Being a secret society, physical evidence of Plus Ultra’s existence is difficult to come by. In the century-and-a-quarter since its formation, references to it have largely been relegated to obscure volumes and whispered conversation.
Most of the hard facts known about Plus Ultra come from a six-week recruitment campaign from summer of 2013 called “The Optimist.” Run by society members still pulling the strings at the Disney company, public awareness of this campaign went viral after it was uncovered by young filmmaker Amelia Moreau and the community that formed on her website “Story Orbit.”
Moreau’s grandfather Carlos was a Plus Ultra member hired by Walt Disney to write for his society-centered attractions at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Among his possessions, she found many revealing artifacts (I will highlight a few of the most telling) which lead to the discovery of Plus Ultra’s “The Optimist” recruitment campaign, run by an enigmatic society member known only as Wallace, the “Disney Cartographer.”
Moreau produced a short documentary summarizing her experience with “The Optimist.” Presumably not on Plus Ultra’s radar, it can be still be viewed (for now) here:
One of the most revealing pieces found among the late Carlos Moreau’s possessions was a vinyl record titled “Just a Dream Away.”
Walt Disney created this commemorative album for visiting Plus Ultra supporters as as a companion to the iconic attractions he produced for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. What first appears to be a standard musical reverie reveals a secret audio track, hidden beneath a double-groove in the vinyl record.
Here, I have paired the album’s narration with the corresponding video and audio segments of the attractions themselves, which coalesce to produce additional meaning:
During “The Optimist,” Plus-Ultra-hopefuls were taken up to the exclusive “Club 33” at Disneyland. Built by Plus Ultra member Walt Disney right before his “death” in 1966, a very peculiar set of wine glasses were kept in a display case:
Inscribed on these glasses were the initials and iconography of several prominent Plus Ultra members. Wine glasses make less a fitting tribute to those who have passed, and seem more likely to have been used by these members when meeting with Walt at his private club.
During “The Optimist,” several intrepid applicant hacked a W.E.D. voicemail system using a 1964 conference code. The recited summary of meeting minutes reveals several tantalizing details about the construction of Plus Ultra’s attractions at the 1964 World’s Fair. Note the mention of “It’s A Small World” security clearance for a construction team. Beneath that attraction was rumored to be a transport platform for society members to access Tomorrow:
These strange blueprint for the aformentioned “It’s a Small World” attraction indicated an underground room and retractable ramp along the boat path, which would serve no traditional purpose in a theme park attraction. Considering the rumored platform, it makes one wonder … what was actually beneath that ride?
Even more convincing: the ramp appears next to the Paris section of the ride which features — you guessed it — the Eiffel tower. (Where Plus Ultra was founded 126 years ago.) The “coincidences” are piling up:
During “The Optimist,” this paper message was found at one of Walt Disney’s local haunts in Los Angeles. It speaks directly to the Recruitment effort:
At at time when even the name of the Society was in question, the appearance of this record solidified the very real presence of “Plus Ultra”:
At the end of “The Optimist,” those recruits who were successful in their application process were presented with these pins in an initiation ceremony at the Main Street Cinema at Disneyland in Anaheim, California:
These pins have become the symbol of society members wishing to identify themselves. Keep an eye out for any of these gracing a lapel.
In addition to all of the physical evidence (all of which I have not yet shared) I was contacted last year by an anonymous source who began to point me in the right direction. Very soon I hope to be able to share with you what they have sent me.