Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More Walt Disney World, November 1980

Let's continue to go through some 1980 views of the Walt Disney World in Florida! I realized that these were not the most dazzling photos, so today is a case of quantity over quality.

These first few can only have been taken from the roof of the Contemporary hotel; Space Mountain looks even more mountainous when compared to the flat-as-a-griddle Orlando area. 

The parking lot in the foreground is in shadow, but the Monorail tracks and the majority of the Magic Kingdom are bathed in a peachy glow from the setting sun. We can clearly see the Star Jets, Cinderella's Castle, and even the spires of the just-opened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

It's a bit later, and the darkening sky means that the lights have been turned on; including the "popcorn lights" on Main Street. Notice the Monorail just visible to the right.

In spite of the soft focus, I decided to include this picture of the Seven Seas Lagoon, with one of the ferry boats returning from the park back to the dock near the hotel.

Now it's a new day, and we're over by the Polynesian resort. Palm trees, blue skies and fluffy clouds, white sandy beaches, colorful sail boats… it's just like the brochure!

And just because, here's another view of the A-frame Contemporary hotel.

Hopefully the next batch will be more interesting. No promises, though.

13 comments: said...

Beautiful photos, one thing to add, the ship on the seven seas lagoon with all the lights on it, it's not one of the side-wheeler steam vessels, either the southern Seas or the Ports o' Call, since your view of it is a side on view you can even see where the lights arch up over the paddle wheel cover near mid ship.

Chuck said...

Love these! They bring back memories of my first visit there in 1979.

I love the "future white" of the original Tomorrowland. Note Big Thunder Mountain in the background of the second photo, which had just opened that year. You can also see the tower that anchors the east end of the iasw building in Fantasyland, about a castle-and-a-half's width to the right of the Rocket Jets.

Based on the shadows, where the light is coming from, and the relative position of the Contemporary to the MK, I think that the first two pictures were actually taken shortly after sunrise rather than before sunset. You can even see the giant shadow of the Contemporary on the left-hand side of the second photo.

Nancy said...

Chuck, my first visit was in 1979, too!

I remember going up on the roof once in the 1990s (have to check out my albums to see when that was.) I took a picture that I love b/c it shows the Skyway, little rainbow dots on the picture. I did get a scanner and just have to figure out how to scan with it. I want to send some photos to the Major to share here, too! :-)

Melissa said...

I realized that these were not the most dazzling photos, so today is a case of quantity over quality.

They say Ol' Major Pep'ridge was a humble man. They say he lost his leg a-wrasslin' a Chocodile to save a passel of orphans come out West in search of Nazi gold, and he just bit into his pants rope (he'd a never been braggish enough to wear one of them fancy city slicker belts), stuck the durn thing back on with peanut butter, walked around for a few minutes, and said, "Shoot, ain't no thing. Any popcorn vendor woulda done the same."

Some folk say he'd give you a second helpin' of grits and gravy for free if his bakin' powder biscuits didn't rise high enough for your kids to stand on and get onto Space Mountain a year before they was really the right height.

But Laws-a-mercy, how that Major could downplay the beauty of them there pitchers he showed on that there log of his! Mighty fine pitchers they was, too - leastways, us folks liked 'em fine. Now, they didn't have no ladies in whalebone corsets like in the Sears and Roebuckses catalog, but you can't have everything, now can you?

Melissa said...

I think my favorite shot is that last one of the Contemporary. It's more landscaped now, with more stuff around it, but it still has that exciting feeling of a big mother ship that's landed on the water's edge and put down roots.

even the spires of the just-opened Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

BTMRR was still the Big Exciting Thing in the Magic Kingdom when we went for the first time a few years later. Of course, this was pre-Internet, so none of us really knew anything more than we read in guide maps or signs, or had heard by word of mouth.

Mom's been seriously coaster-phobic all her life after seeing someone horribly injured after being thrown from a big, unsafe one at some sketchy county fair at an impressionable age. Dad, who could be a bit of a [fill in your favorite unkind word] at times, somehow convinced her it was just a scenic train ride. (There must have been no line, so he could hustle her through the queue without her seeing the trains ahead of them). She hyperventilated and passed out on his shoulder on the first hill. It later turned out she also had undiagnosed mild hypertension.

The first time I went on BTMRR, I hesitated to tell her for fear of bringing up bad memories. When I did, we both had a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved the Contemporary Hotel, just a wonderful symbol of the future that never was.

I wonder if they destroyed the Mary Blair mural in there also?


Major Pepperidge said..., I'm confused… you say it's not one of the side-wheelers, and yet you can "see where the lights arch up over the paddle wheel"?

Chuck, I have no bearings when it comes to what is in relation to what at WDW, so you very well could be right (though why would anybody get up when it's still dark!). I do mention the newly opened Big Thunder…

Nancy, can anybody go up on the roof, or do you have to stay there?

Melissa, I appreciate the kind words, but even though some of these are pretty in their way, that are not particularly amazing. (Have you been re-reading "Huckleberry Finn"??)

Melissa again, it's a bummer for me to see all of the additions and clutter around the formerly classic silhouette of the Contemporary Resort Hotel. I get that they can charge people a fortune to stay there (or in one of the satellite buildings), but it has lost something. Maybe the Big Thunder in Florida is different, but the one in California leaves no doubt that it is a roller coaster… your dad must have some real powers of persuasion!

JG, I believe that the mural is safe!

Nancy said...

I just remember going up the the top floor and there was an exit door there that led out onto the roof. I also remember making Rachel hold the door open while I went out to take the picture just in case!!!

Nanook said...

@ Anonymous-

The Mary Blair mural, thankfully, remains in the Contemporary "lobby".

Chuck said...

Major - I guess I was so excited by the pictures I forgot to read the text. More proof of what Melissa was saying...

Melissa said...

your dad must have some real powers of persuasion!

Dad was an incredibly gifted BS artist, and Mom was far too trusting!

I think I was ten before I figured out that the tap room WASN'T the place he went to go tap dancing.

I've never been that skilled at cards, but I inherited a pretty good poker face to make up for it.

Dan Heaton said...

Love the nighttime photos, especially of early Disney World. There's so much less clutter, and it's brilliant. And the Contemporary looks great on its own.

Beek said...

Brian ---- I just found this picture (the boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon with the lights on it). This picture is indeed the "Southern Seas (II)". There *IS* a visible 'hump' in the lower lighting string. The roof of the top deck extends all the way to the stern of the boat.

I was a pilot/engineer on the 'Ports', and a pilot on the 'Seas (II)' for several years. If you (or anyone reading this) has any questions, I'd be happy to respond.