Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walt Disney World, November 1980

Once again I find myself unprepared for my "Anything Goes" saturday post, so I am just going to share a bunch of 1980 WDW images. As we've seen in the past, the relative lack of crowds is kind of amazing!

I love that they continued to use the horse-drawn vehicles at the Magic Kingdom… as far as I can tell they are basically identical to the Disneyland versions. Hey kid, get your butt back on the seat! I have to admit that this part of the hub is not quite so charming though, looking barren and rather featureless, which is weird. Still, imagine this area today when there is a parade or a fireworks display.

Part of the WDW water system included the moat, which looks dark and deep here. It was probably no more than 4 feet deep, I'll bet. At one time there were fanciful swan boats, like the kind "Mad" King Ludwig might have wanted in his fairytale Bavaria.

I love Anaheim's castle, but man… you have to admit that the Florida example is spectacular. I want to live in the upper levels. I know that there is a "Dream Suite" somewhere in there, but is there anything else inside the castle? Possibly a few stores, maybe a restaurant? Inquiring minds want to know.

This one's kind of neat, looking toward the entrance to Tomorrowland. Those spires with the waterfalls are super neat (and very "World's Fair"-ish). All that gleaming white seems futuristic, for some reason.

My extensive research (two minutes on Google) told me that this building is (was?) known as "Exposition Hall". I was going to make a joke about people exposing themselves, until I discovered that I already did that two years ago.

One of the unique Jitneys passes by City Hall in Town Square. And what an imposing (yet fanciful) structure City Hall is! I would go there to complain about my sub-par corn dog, but now that just feels silly.

I hope you have enjoyed these old WDW pics! There are more to come.


Nanook said...


It's a joy to see these images as they represent a time period where I made a number of visits to WDW.

And, yes, one can dine at the Cinderella's Royal Table. It was originally known as King Stefan's Banquet Hall, but "disappeared" in April, 1997. Or shop at - say it with me now - The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique-! Any excuse for alliteration is just swell in my book-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I believe part of the moat and some of those grassy lawns on either side of the moat are currently being paved over and "terraced" to increase capacity for viewing of the fireworks. SAD! Also, those spires and waterfalls at the entrance to Tomorrowland were removed when it was remodeled in 1994. They (Disney) ruin everything, don't they?

Chuck said...

I could never understand why Sleeping Beauty's father had a banquet hall in Cinderella's Castle. Maybe he had a chain of eateries located in various fairy tale castles, and the Charmings may have needed a prosperous tenant to make sure they could make their mortgage every month. I'm sure it's expensive to maintain a high-profile residence in the middle of a magic kingdom.

Great to see that beautiful original entrance to Tomorrowland! Impossible to see with the shadows in this picture, but the downward-shooting fountains at the top of the spires on either side of the entryway were just spectacular, evoking the exhaust of a rocket as it blasted off into the heavens. On a return trip in '87, I remember those fountains reduced to a trickle, and by our honeymoon in '93, I don't remember those fountains operating at all. And now they're gone...just like Ethel Merman and New Coke.

K. Martinez said...

At the "Exposition Hall" I remember seeing the Walt Disney Story in the theater there as well as the EPCOT Center Preview Center later.

In addition to the pylon fountains, there were "falls" that flowed over the light blue tiled slopes of the entrance. Around 1983 those spire fountains/falls were decommissioned and the entrance was remodeled with a mural overlay on the monoliths. The explanation for the removal of the water elements was that the winds would send water everywhere including the walkways, thus causing a hazard.

A WDW post is always extra special. Thanks, Major.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great photographs today, Major – especially the shot of the old and much-missed entrance to Tomorrowland. Thanks.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, ordinarily I would be more excited by WDW pix from the 1970's, but hey, these are only from 1980. Practically the same thing! I've heard of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, sounds like my kind of place! ;-)

TokyoMagic!, that is terrible, but I guess they have to deal with the realities of the enormous crowds that the parks are attracting nowadays. Clearly back in 1980 they could justify large areas of lush grass and beautiful moats. Now the guests get…. pavement.

Chuck, Stephan was asked to put in a restaurant because he was famous for his fried chicken. He started to wear a white suit and a string tie, and eventually insisted on being called "The Colonel" rather than "Your majesty". (Ethel Merman??)

K. Martinez, what was in the EPCOT Center? I'm sure there was artwork, but did they have any models? That's what I would want to see! The Tomorrowland fountains were neat; Disneyland's Tomorrowland had a problem with fountains and wind in the early days too. Apparently they didn't learn their lesson at the time.

Pegleg Pete, you're welcome!

K. Martinez said...

There was the usual photos/artwork and a large model as well as a film presentation in the theater which once hosted "The Walt Disney Story" film. That was so long ago, but that's how I remember it.

Here's a photo of the model that was at the preview center, Major!

Nanook said...

@ Major-

In Chuck's otherwise beautiful description of the former entrance to Tomorrowland - he forgot to mention another feature of the downward-shooting fountains: It was filled with New Coke and Ethel Merman could be heard singing in her trademark "dulcet tones", It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. Truly, the glory days for WDW's Tomorrowland.

steve2wdw said...

The "Exposition Hall" was first the Gulf Hospitality House. On the left hand side was the Town Square Cafe, which is now known as Tony's. The Hospitality House became Exposition Hall, and is now known as The Town Square Theatre where you can meet Magician Mickey and other residents in multiple M&G rooms. Currently you exit the M&G's into a shop which resides in place of the original entrance to the Walt Disney Story. This whole building has been transformed a number of times. One of the twin theaters for the Walt Disney Story is still in the back while the front theater was transformed into the M&G space.

The first picture of the horse drawn trolley is taken as it is crossing the bridge over the canal, which is why it looks so "charmless".

In the picture showing the entrance to Tomorrowland, there is a big tree near the water. Believe it or not, it is still there. Currently it sits in the middle of the huge hub transformation construction site. I'm so happy it has not been removed (and actually looks protected in construction shots), which is a wonderful thing as most of the trees in the hub have disappeared over the years. When construction is finished, the area where Main Street passes over the moat will be widen to almost three times its size, but the moat will still surround the rest of the hub-which will be a double ringed affair, sort of like Tokyo DL. If it ends up being like the renderings offered earlier this year, the hub may end up with much more foliage than currently exists. This would be a definite plus, as the version that has existed for almost 10 years has been as desolate as a Walmart parking lot.

wonderboss said...

Yes, it is pretty cool. I proposed to my wife while dining at King's Stefan's back in 1991. She said yes...whereupon we proceeded forthwith to Liberty Square and rode the Haunted Mansion.

Dan Heaton said...

It's amazing to me to regularly note how bare the lands look in the early photos. I like some of what they'd one recently, but it does sometimes feel like overkill. Less is often more at the parks.

Melissa said...

That gorgeous picture of classic Tomorrowland makes me so happy and so angry at the same time! It was one of the most beautiful examples of architecture I've ever experienced in my life, and it's been so f'ed up in the last few decades it's a travesty. The real shame is that you can still see enough of the old buildings underneath the new facades that you can tell how grand it used to be. They managed to make the refit over the top and half-assed at the same time.

And don't get me started on that horrible stage that keeps you from walking through the castle half the time!