Sunday, February 23, 2014

Walt Disney World, November 1980

I'm still scrambling to get some posts ready as quickly as possible; today I thought I'd start a small lot of scans from Walt Disney World, from November 1980. The park was only nine years old, for those of you who needed to know. All of these views are taken while looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon, presumably by somebody who had just arrived for their dream vacation.

This might have been taken from the dock where guests would catch a ferry to the park. Putting on my "theme park analyst" hat, one can imagine that this is a great way to not only build anticipation ("There it is, way over there!"), but crossing the water is one of those transition that can be likened to a cross-dissolve in movies. You've left the modern world behind, and are heading into a place of adventure, beauty, and mystery. And churros. (Did they even have churros at the parks in 1980?).

Yabba dabba doo, it sure looks grand! It reminds me of the photos I've seen of Chicago's 1893 "White City". The castle looks enormous, as does the train station. one of the larger ferries is on its way, along with some smaller watercraft.

Space Mountain gleams in the Florida sunlight; by 1980, there was a second incarnation in Anaheim, though the Orlando version looks much bigger. I've never been on it, but I understand that it has two separate tracks within the cone, much like the Matterhorn does.

If I ever do make it to the Magic Kingdom, I will want to stay in the Contemporary Resort hotel - to me, it is as much a part of WDW as anything. I love its A-frame design, with the Monorail running right through it. It ain't cheap, though!

I'll continue this series in the near future….


Nanook said...


These shots really scream 'anticipation'-! I've experienced that very same feeling there many times myself.

WDW Space Mountain = two tracks.

Churros @ Disneyland = June, 1985, either at a cart @ Videopolis or Yumz or both. @ WDW, I haven't any idea.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

These are great early images of the Seven Seas Lagoon. On my first trip to WDW I took the express monorail to the Magic Kingdom. After that it was the ferryboats all the way.

I always wanted to stay at the Polynesian Village, but the on-site resorts were more than I was willing to pay for back in the 1970s.

Some additional info:

The ferryboats were known as "Magic Kingdom I" and "Magic Kingdom II". Later they were renamed "Admiral Joe Fowler" and Richard F. Irvine" which were the original names of the Liberty Square Riverboats that plied the Rivers of America at the Magic Kingdom. Later on "The Kingdom Queen" ferryboat was added which is now known as "General Joe Potter".

Space Mountain's two tracks are the "Alpha" and "Omega" and the original rocket vehicles were tandem with two per seat just like Matterhorn Bobsleds were at one time. Later on it changed so every guest had their own seat in the two-vehicles rockets.

I always enjoy your WDW posts. For some reason, vintage WDW images seems rarer than Disneyland. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Aside from the fact that these are just plain gorgeous shots, I'm so excited because this is just a few years before my first WDW visit, and it's exactly how I remember my first glimpses of the Magic Kingdom from the TTC and the ferry. Even through it was overcast that day, I remember the same feeling of being transported to a white city in the clouds.

Anonymous said...

So the ferries are gone???

Chuck said...

Wait - so there's a Walt Disney WORLD??!! Oh, wow...

Nanook said...

@ Anonymous-

The ferries are very much there...

K. Martinez said...

Melissa/Nanook - Do they have other forms of transportation from TTC to MK? Trams, buses, walking? Have you ever tried any of them?

Chuck said...

We tried walking from the MK to the Contemporary back in '97 and were stopped by the most sarcastic, rude, and un-Disney-like security hosts it has ever been my displeasure to encounter. Under no circumstances were we to even contemplate making that walk.

That was the same trip where I walked past the streetcar car barn on Town Square, found the huge, conspicuous streetcar access doors open, and started to take a picture FROM THE STREET when a very young and cocky CM in streetcar livery stepped close in front of me from out of nowhere to block the shot and sarcastically said "Whoa! Finding something interesting to take a picture of there?"

Not sure where the rude 'tude came from on that trip - I never encountered it before or since - but I've never attempted to use anything but motorized WDW transportation since.

K. Martinez said...

Chuck -

Well that sucks! I've run into a few CMs with a rude 'tude before. Some people lack people skills.

I haven't been to WDW in so long, but for some reason, I thought you could walk around the lagoon to get to the Magic Kingdom.

One of the things I like about the Disneyland Resort, is that you don't have to depend on transportation to get around the resort since it's all close together.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know! As for churros, I know that they planted churro trees on the Florida property around 1983, and it takes a couple of years before they bear fruit.

K. Martinez, I would want to take the Monorail everywhere if I could! But ferry boats would not be a bad alternative. I've heard that a lot of the transportation involves boring old buses, which is disappointing. And you are right, it does seem like there are fewer WDW photos out there compared to Disneyland.

Melissa, it was pretty much like going to heaven, only without that annoying harp music.

Anon, I'll have to wait for somebody else to chime in with that info.

Chuck, you actually have to take a space ship to get there.

Nanook, thanks for the info…

Chuck, it's funny, the only time I had an experience with rude cast members was when DCA first opened. Two guys manning an ODV cart were talking *loudly* about the physical attributes of various women passing by. It was so un-Disney that it really surprised me. Don't you wonder what ever became of the rude dopes that you ran into?

K. Martinez, that being said, I am generally impressed with how nice and professional the employees are… after my last visit I actually wrote a letter (not an email, a real letter) to tell the management about my experience. I got a sort of form response, but hopefully they got the message.

K. Martinez said...

Major - I find the cast members at the Disney parks to be pretty professional overall and well above the standard of the theme park industry. Sometimes you run into someone unprofessional no matter where you go.

Chuck said...

While I have visions of them being tied to the nose of Monorail Red and being driven around the Seven Seas Lagoon 13 times with a "Traitor to Walt's Dream" sign hung around their necks, I just hope management saw their buffoonery for what it was and let them go. That's the only time I've ever run into that sort of thing at a Disney park, so I know they're pretty successful overall at picking and training the right kind of people. Maybe Dr Doofenshmirtz was using his Un-Disney-ator that day, and I just happened to run into those folks before Agent P set things right again.

Melissa said...

The only ways from the TTC to the MK are the ferries (still there) and the Monorail. Dad preferred the ferry because he thought the Monorail line looked longer, so I didn't get to ride it until I was an adult.

Nowadays, I stay on-site and only use resort transportation, so the only time I'm at the TTC is to transfer between the Express and Resort Monorail lines.

Major, you can get some pretty good deals at the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary if you rent people's unused Vacation Club points. I've never done it myself because you generally have to pay the whole thing up front.

K. Martinez said...

Thanks Melissa, For some reason I thought there were also trams. I agree with your dad about the monorails. That's why I only did that once. The ferry seemed more efficient.

Melissa said...

There are trams, but they go from the parking lot to the TTC.

Nancy said...

Have walked from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom but no security encounters, etc. It wasnt bad, but not as short as you would think.

My personal choice is always the monorail, but have taken the ferry a few times.

Have always had good experiences with the cast members on all of our trips to both Magic Kingdoms and the other Disney parks. Cant get enough of my favorite place. Thanks for these great early photos, they are just after my first visit there in November 1979