Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vintage Walt Disney World, 1975 & 1972

It's been a while since I've posted any vintage Walt Disney World images; I was going to share some beauties from November 1972, but then I found some others that I have, all ready to go. So I'll use those up first.

This one is from March, 1975, and is a lovely (if oddly-hued) shot looking up Main Street USA. It appears to be high noon, but it almost looks like the park just opened. Everyone's heading toward the castle, where there seems to be quite a large gathering. Perhaps some ceremony was performed there at 12:00 on a regular basis? A beheading or something, probably. It must be chilly by Florida standards, as there are plenty of sweaters and light jackets to be seen.

It looks like our photographer made a right-turn toward Tomorrowland, as we can see by this neat view. To our right is one of the distinctive pylons with water cascading down from the top, which I always thought looked very cool. Unlike Disneyland, I have no idea what attractions were in the mirror-image buildings. In the distance, the lovely Star Jets, with jets a-soaring!

This next one is from April, 1972. Liberty Square, built to resemble colonial America, or at least a movie version of it. It's another chilly day! Babushkas optional. Those dandy gentlemen (and at least one kid) bear one of the earliest US flags (it was replaced by a more-familiar stars and stripes in 1777). I'm going to call them a Color Guard; maybe this was some form of flag retreat? I would appreciate any info that you guys might have!


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that second pic might have been taken before the PeopleMover opened. There doesn't appear to be any cars in the station. I know it opened in 1975, but I'm not sure of the opening date. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe water also came "sheeting" down over the walls on either side of the pylons at the Tomorrowland entrance. The attraction on the left side of Tomorrowland was Flight to the Moon. And the right side had two attractions.....America the Beautiful (located towards the front of the land) and If You Had Wings (in the back).

The Liberty Square band was the Fife and Drum Corps. Some of their music was featured on a Disneyland/Walt Disney World combination soundtrack.


From the entrance facing towards the Star Jets tower: to your left was Flight to the Moon 1971-1974 then 1975 to 1993 was Mission to Mars. on the right side is the Circle Vision Theater which showed "America The Beautiful" until 1974 the new "Magic Carpet 'Round the World" played then in 1976 a SPECIAL BICENTENNIAL edition of "America the Beautiful" played for a year or so then went back to Magic Carpet 'Round the World until 1983. In 1983 a slightly updated versions of "Magic Carpet 'Round The World" created for Tokyo Disney also began playing at Walt Disney World.I think in 1985 -about after a year of it's debut at Disneyland "American Journeys" played until "The Time Keeper" ("From Time to Time") and I don't want to even discuss the giant crap pile attraction in the location today.

An interesting note about "American Journey's -- it was almost changed to "American Spirit" for Disneyland because WED (it was still WED then thought having "Pinocchio's Daring Journey" opened in 1983 and the new "American Journey's open in 1984 were too may Journey attractions. But it remained American Journey's. This seems like a odd concern because Tokyo Disneyland was the KING of "World" attractions at opening they featured "WORLD Bazaar" ,"Magic Carpet 'Round The WORLD", "Meet the WORLD" "It's A Small WORLD" and "Primeval WORLD"!

Mike Cozart


The Liberty Square Fife and Drum Corps march around Liberty Square and in the early years was proceeded by "Ben Franklin" they would gather at Liberty Hall (The show entrance for the Hall of Presidents" and "Ben" would select a "Son" and "Daughter" of Liberty. Each child was given a Liberty Square medal/badge to wear, a copy of the declaration of Independence. For some time the new "Son" of Liberty was also given a toy musket and a tri-corner hat while the "Daughter" of Liberty was given a Lillian hat and a wooden buck (Like Molly Pitcher??) The two kids would then get to lead the Drum Corp in a finale exit. Lucky kids back in the early years!


oh yeah, back to Tomorrowland - after 1972 the building with Circle-Vision also was shared with "If You Had Wings"

TokyoMagic! said...

Here's a YouTube link to that soundtrack album I mentioned. The Fife and Drum Corps track is the second to last track on the album.

The Official Album of Disneyland/Walt Disney World

Nancy said...

so wish I had been able go visit back then. my first and only visit back then was in November of 1979, and I took about 3 pictures. I can hardly believe that but it's true.

By the time I returned in 1994 things were really changing, and tho I have tried to make up for lost time and visited all but like 3 years since, I will never be able to visit this Magic Kingdom without my time machine.

Thanks for posting little sister WDW on your Disneyland blog, Major. LOVE IT!! :-D

Anonymous said...

I first visited the Magic Kingdom in the summer of 1973. The big attractions that everyone was excited about and that had long lines were the Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Pirates wouldn't open for another six months). The Haunted Mansion remains popular, but the Presidents and the Bears don't generate as much interest as they once did (which is a shame), and, of course, 20,000 Leagues was destroyed. The waterfalls on either side of the Tomorrowland entrance were magnificent, and the water did, as TokyoMagic remembers, sheet over the tiled walls on either side of the vertical-shaft waterfalls. The waterfalls were also destroyed.

Chuck said...

TM! - I don't know how many times I listened to that soundtrack as a kid. It has my favorite version of Lincoln's speech (last track on album), probably in part because I heard it so often I had it memorized at one point, but also because it uses an outstanding selection of Lincoln's words that transcend time and place.

Often, we find Lincoln presentations focused on the Civil War and slavery, and while there is nothing wrong with doing that - it's important history - for something like The Hall of Presidents, which was intended to speak to and inspire Americans living more than a century later, I think that its warning against internal despotism and the hope that "Man was made for immortality" are as fresh and relevant today as they were in Lincoln's time.

And I know what I'll be putting on the turntable this evening...

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic! - Since Major's Tomorrowland jpg file is labeled "WDW-3-75-07" I'm going to assume this was Spring 1975. The PeopleMover opened in July 1975. So yes, I think you're safe in saying the WEDway PeopleMover wasn't open yet.

Also you are correct regarding the water sheeting down the tiled walls. I distinctly remember seeing that on my first trip to WDW.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I always think it’s so odd that the WDW Peoplemover took so long to open. Presumably it had something to do with the new propulsion system. Yes, it does look like water is sheeting over those walls - I meant to mention it, but forgot. Ah, the Fife and Drum Corps., as soon as you said it, I thought, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that!”.

Mike Cozart, thank you for all of the great information! It makes me sad that I never saw the early WDW; seeing early photos makes me think of the guidebooks and ads that I would see as a kid and want so much to be there. Funny about the “journeys” thing; clearly the public didn’t care that it shared a word with other attractions.

Mike Cozart again, wow, I wish I had a picture with “Ben Franklin”. I think I have one other early photo of the Fife and Drum Corps., and Ben is nowhere to be seen. I wonder if those medals ever come up on ebay? What an amazing (and scarce) souvenir.

TokyoMagic!, oh man, I had the vinyl album, and played it a lot! I think my siblings thought I was nuts.

Nancy, yes, I would imagine that things changed a lot between 1979 and 1994! Sounds like you are like me when it comes to taking photos. I just don’t want to experience a place with a camera up to my face.

Anonymous, I was just having a conversation with a friend about the relative lack of high-capacity attractions at WDW in its earliest days. He said that Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World, and maybe the Hall of Presidents, were the only ones that could really eat up the crowds.

Chuck, I like that version of the Lincoln speech as well. Another friend of mine thinks that Mr. Lincoln should be removed, he seemed really offended by the current speech (which I haven’t heard). How bad can it be, for crying out loud? It’s Abraham Lincoln’s words.

K. Martinez, now we know that, in spite of the date stamp, the photos were taken on “3-75” (the third number is the actual number stamped on the slide indicating the order in which it was taken) at the latest. Thanks for the confirmation on the water on the tiled walls!

Chuck said...

Major - Wikipedia says that the current version of "Great Moments With Mr Lincoln" uses the 1984-2001 speech, with a cleaner copy of Royal Dano's original recording. I think it's ironic that your friend thinks Lincoln should be removed, considering the fan uproar when he went on hiatus for two years after "The Walt Disney Story" premiered in 1973.

You've remarked before that you've never been to WDW. When (not "if" - make a plan, man - NOW!) you eventually visit, don't expect to hear this speech from Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents. His speech was rewritten by historian Eric Foner for the 1993 revision of the show, which has it following a speech by the current President.

While I still like the show, I find disappointing. One of the things that makes audio-animatronic presentations so special is the way they create an illusion of life in a three-dimensional space. When done well, that illusion can create a very powerful emotional reaction that resonates with guests long after they head through the exit turnstiles.

No-one alive today has ever seen Abraham Lincoln in person, but that show made him and his words come alive for the audience in a way that you simply can't get by reading a book. It was truly a unique experience.

I have nothing personally against any of the three Presidents who have recorded speeches for the Hall of Presidents, but their active participation in the show has weakened its impact for me. Perhaps it's because they are too "familiar;" turn on the TV, and they're there...all...the...time. I didn't come to the Magic Kingdom to hear the current President deliver a generic speech on freedom that I'll catch the sound bites from later on CNN - I want something special I can't get anywhere else.

Maybe that familiarity also emphasizes the artificiality of the presentation. While I love Blaine Gibson's work and the rest of the Imagineers' AA programming of the figure, I know the President's mannerisms and every line and imperfection on his face well enough to know that this isn't really him, and this intrudes on the fantasy of actually hearing Lincoln speak.

And let's face it - none of these last three guys are of the same stature as Lincoln.

I guess I'd rather see a legend come to life.

K. Martinez said...

These days I rarely see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln unless I'm going for a ride tally or need to sit down, rest and cool off from a hot and hectic day. Sorry to say it doesn't float by boat anymore.

As for the Lincoln speech itself. It's one of my favorites and Royal Dano as the voice of Lincoln is magic. I also have the original soundtrack albums to both Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and The Hall of Presidents and love them both, however these two patriotic shows are like Country Bear Jamboree to me. I love listening to the soundtracks in the comfort of my home, but just don't have the patience to sit through it in a theater unless I'm resting.

I do think that they should keep it though. It's a great attraction for younger people and some older generations still seem to enjoy it. Now when it comes to reading books on American history and war history, that I do love.

Patrick Devlin said...

Lovely shots, as always. I wondered why the Tomorrowland entrance looked sort of tight and blah, but when you add in that there were sheets of water and pylon fountains it makes much more sense. Sort of like you're entering through a divided waterfall...

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike Cozart, let's also not forget "Magic JOURNEYS" which played on the Space Mt. Stage in Disneyland for a while until Captain Eo replaced it.

Anonymous and K. Martinez, thank you for the confirmation of the "sheeting" water. What a shame that they destroyed this entrance. Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland Entrance still has the plyon, but the original water feature was turned off some time ago. Recently, they added water jets at the base of the pylons that shoot water out into the basins.

Chuck, I agree with you about the last three presidents not needing to talk. They have also added a speech by George Washington in the current version of the show. I think it was a far more effective show when Lincoln was the only one that spoke.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I wish I could recall specifically what it was about the current “Lincoln” show (at Disneyland) that my friend feels is so objectionable; he definitely didn’t like the choices made for the speech. As for a trip to WDW, there just never seen to be both the time and the money at the same time. If I’m going to do it at all, I want to do it right. Especially since I would be flying all the way across the country. To be honest, with all of the changes, and the reports of huge crowds at all times, my desire to go has waned. And MAN, if I went to see the Hall of Presidents, only to mostly hear a speech by the guy who is in office, I would be pretty disappointed!

K. Martinez, I haven’t gone to see Mr. Lincoln for so long. I feel bad about it, but my visits to the park are so sporadic, and in the time we have, we never feel like it’s something we ant to do. On the other hand, it is a place to sit and enjoy air conditioning. If I was a passholder, I think I would go and see it at least once in a while. I’d love to check out the upgraded AA figure.

Patrick Devlin, it *does* look “tight and blah”; so much of WDW appears large and spacious, but the entrance looks kind of cramped. I’m sure it looked better in real life.

TokyoMagic!, I remember the very trippy “Magic Journeys”! It seems like water features turn into problems for the maintenance department, which is too bad, because they are beautiful.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic! - I thought that TDL's Tomorrowland entrance was dry from the beginning. No? And have you ever seen that Godzilla movie where Rodan is flying over Tokyo Disneyland? I think was in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II". Anyway, it was a kick seeing Rodan fly over TDL in it's pre-DisneySea days. For a moment, I thought for sure Rodan would do some damage in the park like destroying Cinderella's Castle. Oh well. You can't have it all.

TokyoMagic! said...

K. Martinez, oh, maybe! I just assumed that TDL's must have been identical to WDW's. I know the water jets at the bottom were added around 2008 at the time of TDL's 25th anniversary.

TokyoMagic! said...

K. Marinez....I haven't seen that Godzilla Movie, but now I'm going to look for it! I remember the Three Stooges flying over Disneyland (in a time machine?) in one of their movies, but I can't remember which one.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic! It was "The Three Stooges in Orbit".


K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic! I should mention that the Rodan flying over Tokyo Disneyland scene was probably about as brief as the the Three Stooges flying over Disneyland scene.

E Michael Gannon said...

Thank you for posting these - especially that one of the old Tomorrowland entrance. This is the Tomorrowland entrance that I “grew up with” ever since my first visit there in 1976. I liked this “George Jetson” / “Logan’s Run” look SOOOO much better than the black-and-gold Jules Verne re-do that they did in the mid-90’s. I LOVED those futuristic waterfalls. I was about to comment on some of the attractions that I remembered - chief among them If You Had Wings which was a favorite of mine - but Mike Cozart has already brilliantly recaptured all of the ones I could remember and then some.

Melissa said...

I can't improve on anyone else's descriptions of vintage WDW - besides, I'm too busy getting choked up over the beauty and extravagance over here.