Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Characters at Walt Disney World, early 1970's

I admit it, the costumed characters scared me when I was a kid. Go ahead laugh, I don't care. *Sniffle*

But these visitors to the early Magic Kingdom in Florida were braver. Like this bespectacled boy admiring the kung fu grip of one of the Dwarfs. I can't tell who this is. My vote goes for Bashful, though it might be Sneezy, and doesn't Sleepy usually have droopy eyelids? This guy looks like he just found a strange princess sleeping in his bed.

Two more kids get into the act. Are they standing in front of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride? I like the girl's extra-extra-wide bell bottoms. Little bro is more into boot-cut jeans. He also carries a switchblade. 

"Mark, you distract him while I get his wallet. Then we'll push him over and run for it.". Three kids mob some poor cast member dressed as one of the 3 li'l pigs (again, which one? I say Fiddler or Piper). It's nice to see the Skyway; the rockwork in the background is for the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride.

I am weird, the expression on that pig's face made me laugh. It's like he's just been goosed. Notice that the Dumbo attraction is not covered yet, which would make these photos pre-1974. I wish I could nail down the date more specifically. The girl's shirt reminds me of examples that kids wore when I was a kid.

There will be more Walt Disney World pix from this bunch, coming up.


K. Martinez said...

Yes, that's the front of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in the first two images. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride also appears in the third image in the upper right. In fact you can see Toad in all four images.

These shots are incredibly cool and bring back a lot of fond memories. I'm looking forward to the rest of this WDW set. Thanks posting these Major.

Nancy said...

At least these costumes are not scary like the ones they used at Disneyland's opening from Ice Follies or whichever show it was. YIKES!

These are great. I too cant wait to see what else this family did on their vacation to Magic Kingdom :-)

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics, thanks. That pig does indeed look as if he's just been goosed! And any glimpse – however slight – of the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea attraction always brightens my day. I'm looking forward to the other WDW photos.

Anonymous said...

That dwarf is Sneezy. I was obsessed with the dwarf characters in the parks and wanted to meet them above any other character.

Also, I was not aware that the Dumbo ride had ever been covered in the Magic Kingdom. Are you thinking of the Teacups?

Melissa said...

Oh, Major! These are lovely! You've really made my week.

It's the stripey-shirted boys who posed with the adorable tour guide in this post! I remember them because my sister and I apparently got had all their hand-me-down clothes. I'm so glad their family took more pictures so we didn't miss out on Big Sister's plumelon shurt.

I'm tentifying (tentatively identifying) the DIQ (Dwarf in Question) as Sneezy. He hasn't got a red nose, his expression could be interpreted as either pre-sneeze or pre-yawn, and his overall color combo isn't exactly on-model for any other official version I've seen, but I’ve often seen Sneezy with crossed eyes, a little "o" mouth, and a green hat/blue shirt combo, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Pass that dwarf a giant hanky or the nearest striped t-shirt.

Remember my Grandma who was snapped at Knott's in 1952 with another feller? The lady in the wheelchair behind Sneezy in the first picture is another doppelgranny of her in her later years, red jacket draped over the wheelchair, continuing Toni-and-Nice’n’Easy addiction, and all. It's starting to get freaky.

It's really striking how much simpler the Fantasyland tournament facades were even compared to my first visit in 1983. But look how unclogged the pathways are!

I think in the third picture, Big Sis may be trying to pry the Stripe Twins off the poor pig. Good luck, kiddo.

I love the look the red-sleeved boy is giving the red-sleeved girl in the foreground of the last picture. "What are YOU lookin' at, redsleeves? You lookin' at my red sleeves? Well, guess what, redsleeves? My sleeves are redder than yours. Yeah, I said it. And I meant it, too. Look at you, all smug there in your red shirt with your red sleeves. Well, you try wearin' red sleeves with a shirt that ain't red. THEN you come around and give me your redder-than-thy-sleeves attitude, redsleeves, and we'll see who's got the red sleeves then. I'll give you a hint: it'll be me. 'Cause I got the red sleeves in this family, see. So you just go back to Red Hook, New York, or Red Bluff, California, or Red Springs, Wisconsin, or wherever the heck you phony redsleeves come from, put on a shirt that doesn't make you look like a Communist lobster, and take a picture, 'cause it lasts longer. Hey, Sis, did you goose this pig again?"

Melissa said...

I admit it, the costumed characters scared me when I was a kid. Go ahead laugh, I don't care. *Sniffle*

I doubt you were the only one; the costumes were a lot scarier back then. I mean, LOOK at them. That's Oompa-Loompa nightmare fuel, even without the obvious face vents. I wouldn't eat unshelled peanuts years after being traumatized by a Mr. Peanut walkaround character at a store opening when I was about 4. He followed us around the store like a silent specter with a rictus grin and inexplicable skinny black legs and arms, like some kind of parasitic insect had crawled inside of a peanut and forced it to wear formal accessories. I couldn't even look when Mom ate circus peanut candies.

Last time I was at the Crystal Palace in WDW, a couple wanted their baby's picture with Pooh, even though the poor little thing screamed his face red every time he saw the bear. The parents kept making him try; eventually Pooh worked it out that he'd sneak up behind where the baby couldn't see and just kind of loom in the background.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, OK, hopefully I will remember that the blue awning means "Mr. Toad" from now on. I don't have a ton of WDW, but there is still enough to last a while!

Nancy, they're still kind of scary…

Pegleg Pete, the 20K attraction is such a vast upgrade from Disneyland's version, and now it's GONE. Arg.

Anon, jeez, sometimes I don't know why my brain does what it does; of course you are right, it is the Teacups that acquired a cover in '74.

Melissa, be prepared to see much more of those kids in future posts. Sneezy looks more like "Methy" in this incarnation. Perhaps a little mucus coming out of the nostrils would help. I think I have some slides from the 1980's, it will be interesting to compare them to these 1970's views. My own faux-grandma has only shown up once in the years I've been blogging - if only I found a picture with the real one!

Melissa again, I miss the Pooh character when he had a jar of hunny on his head. But he's so soft and fluffy, I'm not sure I was ever afraid of him… maybe it was more the characters with the giant plastic faces, or the characters who were tall (Big Bad Wolf, Goofy, etc).

HBG2 said...

Elephant bells, they called 'em.

steve2wdw said...

I always pitied the CM inside those Dwarf appears that they are modern day mummys, with their arms tied to their sides. On top of that, the top of the hat (where their heads were located) really looks uncomfortable.

On another note, the Teacups were covered by my first visit in Dec '73....I actually think they were topless for just a year with the cover going on in '72. I'm still trying to get an actually time period for that one.

K. Martinez said...

Melissa -

The tournament facades became simpler on the eastern edge of Fantasyland to match the simpler, abstract and clean lines of the buildings next door in Tomorrowland. Also on the eastern edge of Fantasyland is the Mad Tea Party with its simple geometric roof/cover which blends into this area as well. The Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride exterior, Mad Tea Party roof/cover and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction seemed to be designed to help in the transition between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. At least that was my impression.

In this link is an image of the eastern edge of Fantasyland as it transitions into Tomorrowland. In view are the Tomorrowland Terrace, Mad Tea Party, the Skyway and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride would be to the right out of view. It’s hard to tell were Fantasyland ends and Tomorrowland ends in this image from Vintage Disneyland Tickets.

If you travel towards the western side of Fantasyland, there’s a stronger European flavor and the tournament facades become more detailed to help transition into the detailed architecture of Liberty Square.

Maybe I'm off the mark with my thoughts on this, and someone else knows different, but these are my thoughts on Magic Kingdom's original Fantasyland design.

Melissa said...

That makes perfect sense, K. Martinez, and it would have totally gone over my head as a kid. But it's classic WDW design when you think about it, isn't it?

Like the way Adventureland moves from European Colonial at the border of Main St. and the Crystal Palace's botanical gardens with Aloha Isle, into the deep jungle and South Seas, into the Spanish Colonial of Caribbean Plaza, and then into the Spanish Colonial of the Old West in Frontierland.

So glad we'll see more of this family. Maybe Doppelgramma will turn up in more backgrounds, too. She did go to Florida occasionally, but she was more of a SeaWorld/Marineland/Everglades Park kind of gal.

SundayNight said...

Thanks for all the great detail everyone. My knowledge of WDW is woefully lacking.

Snow White Archive said...

Great vintage pics. I remember those clothes styles!

The expressions on the characters are hilarious. It was probably no easy task to see out of those dwarf and pig hats.