Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Walt Disney World, December 2 1975

It's time for some more Magic Kingdom goodness! 

Here's an interesting angle taken from the Skyway, above Fantasyland and heading toward Tomorrowland. There's Space Mountain (still pretty new at this point), along with the Carousel. From the ground, the Fantasyland buildings look pretty good, but we can see that they are actually just fancy applied façades.

Another Skyway view shows us the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, drained of water. That's a whole lotta purple! It looks weird at the moment, but I'm sure that once it was gussied up with more coral, plants, and seashells, and then filled the lagoon with water, it was pretty realistic.

And one final Skyway photo is a view down on the Grand Prix Raceway, with around 70 cars not in service on this particular day. Which makes me wonder just how many vehicles were built for WDW's Autopia, in total? And on busy days, did they use almost all of them?


Nanook said...


Love the Fantasyland image.

And I suppose you're correct when you stated: "... but I'm sure that once it was gussied up with more coral, plants, and seashells, and then filled the lagoon with water, it was pretty realistic. I suppose so. But it was on this very 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction where I overheard a brother announce to his sister (both of them probably in the five - seven year old range): "Gee-! Even the bubbles look fake..."

Out of the mouths of babes-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

I always thought it interesting that the Magic Kingdom's solid off-white Skyway towers were the same in both Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, where as in Disneyland you had the two multi-colored skeletal Skyway towers in Fantasyland and the one solid off-white Skyway tower in Tomorrowland. Of course the Tomorrowland skyway tower in Disneyland was originally of the multi-colored skeletal variety too.

Love the monorail spur line beyond the Fantasyland Lagoon. The 20,000 Leagues area lacked the kinetic energy the Submarine Voyage had with it's monorail cross-over curve and Autopia cars skirting the lagoon edges. Captain Nemo's place always seemed to be off in its own world at the border of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

Both Disneyland's Autopia system and the Magic Kingdoms' Grand Prix Raceway utilized four tracks but in a very different configuration. I always preferred the west coast version as the scenery is woodsy and more interesting. The wide four-lane Grand Prix Raceway track seemed to accentuate the concrete vastness of the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland.

Always love 1970's Magic Kingdom goodness. Thanks, Major.

Patrick Devlin said...

I've never visited the Disney parks in Florida, so it's always interesting for me to see something other than the typical. And Major you always bring something other than the typical!

The 20,00 Leagues attraction is one I truly regret not seeing. It sure looks like they did a nice job, what with the tropical, Vulcania atmosphere around the lagoon.

TokyoMagic! said...

I see one red Skyway gondola all by itself right in front of Space Mountain. If I didn't know that WDW's Skyway changed directions about halfway through the ride, I'd be asking, "What the heck?"

I also regret not getting to ride the 20,000 Leagues attraction. By the time I got to WDW for the first time, the lagoon was just sitting there abandoned. By my second visit, it had been replaced by a tiny (and ugly) "cork" playground themed to Winnie The Pooh.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great unusual shots of WDW in its prime, Major. The drained lagoon photograph is quite something. Thanks!

K. Martinez said...

So in the third image are we on the Fantasyland stretch of the Skyway or the Tomorrowland stretch? From the angle of the Tomorrowland Terminal and Grand Prix Raceway it looks like the the view is from the Fantasyland portion based on the direction-change platform.


I see two more red Skyway gondolas by Space Mountain. One just above the northern edge of Spaced Mountain and another heading for the direction-change platform, visually in between the Pinocchio Village Haus and Lancer's Inn/Round Table buildings.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, wow, your brother was already a skeptic, and at such a young age! When I went to Disneyland with my seven year old niece, we rode the Mark Twain, and she would say, “That’s fake” (looking at a fiberglass elk), or “That’s real” (looking at the “storyteller” scene). It was kind of funny.

K. Martinez, there’s something old-fashioned (or mid-century?) looking about the old multicolored Skyway towers… to me, anyway. I loved them because of it! I suppose it makes sense that a newer Skyway would be more “modern”. I think that the less-hectic atmosphere of the 20K ride fit, since it was supposed to be Vulcania (I think?) - almost more of a Fantasyland theme. The Grand Prix Raceway looks like it was fun, but I do like the more woodsy areas of Disneyland’s, as well as the crossing Peoplemover and Monorail tracks overhead.

Patrick Devlin, thanks! From what I’ve seen, the 20K ride was only a little bit different from Disneyland’s old Submarine Voyage, though of course that lagoon and the subs themselves were quite different. I wish I’d seen them in person too!

TokyoMagic!, a gondola has escaped and gone rogue! Is the Winnie the Pooh playground still there, or did they finally replace it with something better?

Pegleg Pete, that is definitely an unusual shot! Glad you liked it.

K. Martinez, obviously we’re both going to have to wait until somebody more knowledgeable chimes in about the Skyway!

K. Martinez said...

Major - The 20,000 Leagues Vulcania-esque queue structure and Nautilus submarines were cool, but I didn't find the lagoon or rockwork anything special when I saw it in person. It just seemed horizontally flat to me. Perhaps if they upraised the rockwork and included a "smoking" volcano in the backdrop or a warship in the lagoon it would've impressed me more.

Yes, besides the Nautilus submarines, Captain Nemo narration and waterfalls not splatting on the submarines, the ride felt pretty much the same. It's certainly preferable to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that is there now. Of course this is based on recalling personal memories of over thirty years ago which may no longer be reliable.

Personally I thought the original Submarine Voyage was the better experience. Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom each had their own unique strengths and I don't think the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction was one of them. I do love the 1954 Walt Disney film classic though.

TokyoMagic! said...

K. Martinez, I see the additional Skyway gondolas now! They are a little more difficult to spot than the one hanging directly in front of Space Mt. The third photo would have been taken on the first leg of the Skyway route (if having left from Fantasyland). The gondolas wouldn't have reached the turnabout "station" yet. In fact, you can see the Tomorrowland station in the upper left corner of the pic.

Major, as K. Martinez mentioned, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride sits where the lagoon and the Pooh playground previously sat. I am pretty sure that other parts of WDW's New Fantasyland sit on at least a portion of the 20,000 Leagues land....specifically, where the attraction's show building was located.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic! - They're definitely hard to spot, but I would've never discovered them if you didn't mention the one red skybucket. My curiosity got me and I had to go look for other gondolas on the Tomorrowland leg.

Also, thanks for the response to the Skyway position in the third image.

I have looked at Fantasyland construction aerials a short while back and it looks like the Little Mermaid attraction was built on the former 20,000 Leagues show building footprint.

Melissa said...

I never noticed before how well the fanciful peaks of Space Mountain fit in behind the pastel tents of Fantasyland.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, it’s too bad they didn’t do it like they did at Tokyo Disney Sea! That looks amazing. So the 20K subs didn’t go beneath waterfalls when entering/exiting the dark ride portion? Weird. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train looks neat, but not as neat as the submarines were.

TokyoMagic!, I know that the Florida Fantasyland has been undergoing a massive redo; the double Dumbos amazes me only because I can’t believe that such a simple ride is so incredibly popular as to warrant TWO of them. I wonder what else they have planned for that land?

K. Martinez, oh, they have a “Little Mermaid” ride in Fantasyland? I wonder if it is exactly the same as the one at DCA. If they were smart, they would have improved the ending.

Melissa, now that you mention it, Space Mountain DOES look pretty good looming over Fantasyland!

K. Martinez said...

Major - The submarines passed through to get inside the show building, but the waterfalls were arranged so they cascaded around the vehicle, not directly on top of it. That's how I remember it.

20,000 Leagues Lagoon waterfall images:

For the Little Mermaid attraction, the pre-show queue area is totally different and superior, but I think the ride-thru is about the same. I haven't been on the Florida version so I don't know for sure.

Chuck said...

Great shots today!

You know, the placement of WDW's submarine ride has always baffled me a bit. I agree with the guy who runs the "Widen Your World" website ( that 20K Leagues would have made more sense as a transition between seafaring Liberty Square and Fantasyland rather than deep in Fantasyland. After seeing some of the concept art for the proposed Discovery Cove in Disneyland, I think it would have worked even better. Of course, I also think that a Columbia clone would also have made sense for Liberty Square as well. And free churros would have been nice, too, although I'm not sure how they would have worked a colonial theme into that.