Thursday, May 07, 2015

Last WDW slides from December, 1975

It's time to finish up a group of Walt Disney World slides from 1975. Six photos! It's a mini mega-post!!

The Skyway provides another look at the Grand Prix Raceway; I guess that large group of unused cars closest to us is a "backstage" area, hidden from guests by that segmented wall, but visible to us because we are cool. The WDW Autopia looks enormous, does anybody know if it is truly a lot bigger than the one at Disneyland? Notice Fantasyland in the distance, and the odd detail of seeing the Skyway continue in another direction - because Florida's Skyway made a dogleg when it got to Tomorrowland.

Space Mountain was still a new thing in 1975, and it was certainly worthy of a few photos. Like this one! Notice the WEDWay Peoplemover, which had only opened in July of '75. Wonder why that took so long to get up and running?

There's ol' Spacey again, though the photographer seems to be more interested in the angular, "Eyvind Earle" shrubs. 

I have always loved the "lifting body" (or "flying wing") design of WDW's Star Jets! It reminds me of the Space Shuttle.

The sign for the Peoplemover is interesting - "Presented by America's Investor-Owned Electric Companies".

And, to wrap things up, here are two photos of Cinderella Castle. It really looks massive from this angle. Isn't there a fancy "Dream Suite" inside? It's funny how those suites were publicized so much early on, with "ordinary" people occasionally winning a chance to experience them. Now I guess they are strictly for the wealthy and influential. 

Here's one final look at the castle, looking lovely.

Don't worry, there are more WDW photos to come!


Nanook said...


The Cinderella Castle looks "massive" from every angle, as it just is.

Thanks for sharing these lovely images from WDW's Magic Kingdom.

TokyoMagic! said...

Regarding the first photo....that geodesic dome was above the indoor Tomorrowland Terrace stage which raised and lowered just as Disneyland's outdoor version does. Florida's stage no longer raises or lowers and it is now used for the "Cosmic Ray" lounge singer animatronic. The round structure in front of the Autopia is the Mad Tea Party. I didn't realize that Florida's version was covered already by 1975. Does anyone know when the roof was built over it? An interesting note....Anaheim has the only "uncovered" version of that attraction.

Regarding the third photo....there is a ticket and information booth with a very cool design that is being partially blocked by those shrubs. Fortunately, that ticket booth is still standing today. It has been converted into a Disney Vacation Club kiosk.

Anonymous said...

The architectural and landscape transitions between lands in the Magic Kingdom are meticulous and subtle. There is a single exception, which the first photo perfectly shows: the complete lack of a transition between the east side of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Literally on one side of the line, you have the Mad Tea Party and half-timbered facades, and on the other you have the stark futuristic buildings of Tomorrowland.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland's Autopia and the Magic Kingdom's Grand Prix Raceway are about the same size and length give or take. Both also utilize 4 separate lanes (tracks). Of note is that the Grand Prix Raceway (Tomorrowland Speedway) has changed sizes several times to accommodate various attractions added to the surrounding area through the years.

I always preferred the name "Star Jets" over "Rocket Jets". It just sounded more space like. And yes, I love the shuttle style ride vehicles too. Last time I rode the WEDway PeopleMover way back it was sponsored by Edison Electric Institute.

TokyoMagic!, The Mad Tea Party roof was added along with the central teapot in 1974.

Anonymous, the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Submarine Voyage) was supposed to be the transition between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, a weak one at that.

K. Martinez

Chuck said...

If they'd only built some kind of neutral theming and a large view block between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, I think the transition would be less jarring. I'd have suggested large water features, lots of green landscaping, and a man-made mountain, but I know without any sort of precedent that that idea would have never sold.

K. Martinez said...

Seeing the RCA Space Mountain pix reminds me of my first ride on Space Mountain back in the late 1970's. Walt Disney World was all new to me. I remember upon entering Space Mountain seeing Nipper, the RCA Victor dog inside a bubble-top flying saucer before passing through the tunnel and RCA theme music to the load area.

As a regular Disneylander, the load area was deja-vu for me as I discovered it was very much like the Matterhorn Bobsleds load area in setup and layout. I also remember while waiting in the load area being able to look up and see the wide open interior view with the action going on high above. Even in the darkness I could see the space rocket ride vehicles releasing from the chain lift and careening down the twisted curving tracks in the darkness. (I understand now that this view has been covered up).

Then there was the RCA Home of Future Living which is pretty much all but faded from my memories now. I think I'm due for another trip to WDW. So much has changed from my last visit in the mid-1980's.

Major, Even though these are the last of this series, I'm glad to hear you have more WDW photos to come. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Chuck, I still think if the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction was more elaborate in design with an expanded Vulcania theme including buildings, port and volcano it would've made the transition less jarring between the two lands due to its sci-fi/fantasy themes.

Unknown said...

Just to be pedantic (and no disrespect to K. Martinez) the Disneyland Autopia is about 2500' while the Grand Prix is about 2100'. (I'll grant you that's pretty much give or take...) :).

I've never been to Disney World and I realize the overall theme is a little different but I really like the idea of Autopia's pleasant drive through the countryside with a little bit of freeway and off-road thrown in. That's just my take on it, of course.

K. Martinez said...

Patrick Devlin, I thought about track length, but since both Disneyland’s Autopia and Magic Kingdom’s Grand Prix Raceway (Tomorrowland Speedway) track stats have been lengthened and shortened throughout the history of both attractions, I went with the give or take. And yes, the cloverleaf layout of Disneyland’s Autopia does provide a more interesting and scenic drive. At least that was my experience based on my trips to both parks in the 70’s-80’s.

Dean Finder said...

Tokyo Magic: I love Sonny Eclipse (the animatronic lounge singer in Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe). I force everyone in my family to sit through the whole show when I visit. (Mother-in-law jokes? we got 'em... space puns? we got those, too.)

Also, the WDW Peoplemover wasn't sponsored by Goodyear since it was powered by linear induction motors instead of rubber tires at Disneyland's.

The Edison Electric Institute was mentioned by Anon was the same sponsor as the "America's Investor-Owned Electric Companies"
It's a trade group for private electric utilities, as opposed to government-owned ones like the TVA .

The Peoplemover didn't open with the park because it goes through the show buildings for Space Mountain and the Carousel of Progress, which didn't open until 1975.

steve2wdw said...

Just a note about the Mad Tea Party first visit to the MK was in Dec '73 and the roof was already on. I believe I've read that the roof was put on sometime after that first summer (of '72).

Love the WDW pics....keep 'em coming!

K. Martinez said...

steve2wdw, Several online resources I looked up for the Mad Tea Party roof gave the year of 1974, but I'd definitely go with your date of Summer '72. I was just reading that the Mad Tea Party has basically been the same since 1972 from a 12/22/2010 article on Passport2Dreams and you were there in those very early days of WDW so if anyone would know it would be you. I didn't go until the latter half of the 1970's. I should've researched just a little deeper before posting that date. Thanks!

TokyoMagic! said...

DeanFinder, I always forget that the actual animatronic is "Sonny Eclipse" and the restaurant is "Cosmic Ray's"...thanks for the clarification on that.

K. Martinez and Steve2WDW, either '72, '73, or '74....I guess they figured out pretty quickly that with the amount of rain Orlando receives, The Mad Tea Party could only benefit from having a roof over it. And I forgot about the teapot in the center of the attraction. Tokyo and Orlando are the only ones that have that. Paris' is missing the teapot on the turntable, but it does have a glass roof over it, making it in my opinion, the prettiest of all the Mad Tea Party attractions.

Major Pepperidge said...

Sorry about my late responses to your comments, everybody… it’s been a long day.

Nanook, sometimes the castle looks surprisingly airy for all of its size. But certain angles really show off the sheer size of the structure.

TokyoMagic!, wow, I had no idea that the dome and terrace used to raise and lower like the one in Anaheim. I have heard of Cosmic Ray; I should go to YouTube and look up a video of that show, since I have been aware of it for a long time! Thanks also for the info about the ticket booth.

Anonymous, now that you point it out, it IS a pretty jarring transition. It’s hard to believe that the Imagineers just left it like that.

K. Martinez, I think I asked the same question the last time I posted a photo of the Grand Prix Raceway! I am nothing if not consistent. Star Jets does sound cool, though Rocket Jets harkens back to the Apollo missions, which I assume was the point. I wonder if the cover to the Mad Tea Party was added the same year as the cover for Florida’s Haunted Mansion queue?

Chuck, how about a shop full of plush toys and “Vinylmation”??

K. Martinez, it’s funny to think of a logo as old-fashioned as RCA’s “Nipper” in Space Mountain! I keep hearing that the Anaheim Space Mountain is better, which is hard to believe, given how huge the one in Florida is. Or so I assume. I think the next batch of WDW photos I am going to share are from negatives that “Mr. X” gave me. They are beauties. and from November of 1971.

Patrick Devlin, of course the Disneyland Autopia now consists of two combined tracks (the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland Autopias), so maybe it is not entirely fair?!

K. Martinez, I can see why it would be hard to make direct comparisons. I think that the photos of the Grand Prix Raceway always look so “open” that it feels larger, as if there is more room to really get going, while the winding roadways of Disneyland’s version is so winding (which I like).

Dean Finder, how long has the Sonny Eclipse/Cosmic Ray’s show been at the park? I think I’ve heard the audio (or part of it, anyway), it didn’t do much for me, but then again, I had no context for it. Thanks for the info about the Peoplemover.

steve2wdw, OK, they put that roof on much earlier than I would have thought. Thanks!

K. Martinez, I have learned the hard way that online sources, while often very helpful, can be notoriously erroneous too. I recently saw some of my own blog photos on Facebook, with a specific date attributed to them (to the day) that I never provided (or possess). Not sure how that happened. And it seems as if there is way more info about Disneyland than WDW, strangely.

TokyoMagic!, from what I’m told, it rains at least a little bit almost every day in Orlando. If true, it’s surprising that they didn’t provide roofs for those outdoor attractions from the very beginning. Still, better late than never, I guess!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I should have been more specific. The dome was a part of the building and didn't raise or lower with the stage inside. The stage was directly under the dome.

I believe the Sonny Eclipse animatronic was added in 1994 when WDW's Tomorrowland received a makeover. I believe that is also when the restaurant's name was changed from Tomorrowland Terrace to Cosmic Ray's. Another interesting note...the Sonny Eclipse figure was used again in Tokyo Disneyland as a customs officer at the exit of Star Tours: Tokyo DL Star Tours

Melissa said...

the WDW Tomorrow;and f the 1970's and 1980's had such a meticulously planned and harmonious feeling; I'm glad they took their time with it even if it meant no Peoplemover for the first few years. I still hope it can be that way again someday. they have the space for it if the right planner comes along.

There are still occasionally contests where any old Joe Average can win a stay in the Dream Suite. And for years it was just offices up there.