Thursday, September 29, 2016

Walt Disney World - 1977 Resort Guide, Part 4

Ken Martinez has lots of stuff to share with us in the future, but today is the last part (of four) featuring his vintage WDW guide:

Walt Disney World - Resort Guide 1977 (part 4)

Today's final post from the "Walt Disney World - Resort Guide" features the community of Lake Buena Vista. It's actually an incorporated city located in Orange County on the Walt Disney World property.

The Treehouse and Vacation Villas were located in the community of Lake Buena Vista and provided a fuller living space including more amenities for WDW vacationers.

The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village was also located in Lake Buena Vista. This was the first commercial/shopping/dining complex on the WDW property. Flashier establishments and entertainment complexes have followed, like Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs.

Here we have a map of the Lake Buena Vista Community. As shown here is was a pretty simple area compared to what it has become today. What's missing from this map is the Hotel Plaza which hosted four to five non-Disney owned hotels.

In the final page spread of this booklet are advertisements for three different attractions within Walt Disney World, the "Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village", later to be called "Walt Disney World Village", the newly opened "River Country" at Fort Wilderness Campground and "Treasure Island" which was located on Bay Lake between the Fort Wilderness and Contemporary Resort shores. Both River Country and Treasure Island are now a part of WDW's past.

Well readers, that completes it for this booklet. I hope you enjoyed this set of posts on Walt Disney World's early resort complex. Coming up I'll be sharing guide booklets to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Ken Martinez, once again, I appreciate all of his efforts very much! I sure wish I could have seen the Florida park back in its first decade - of course it has expanded, and in many ways it has improved, but like Disneyland, the early years had a certain look and feel that is long gone now.


Nanook said...


Once again these closing pages of the guide bring back great memories from my early visits to WDW. I have particularly fond memories of the original Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, before it turned into the giant behemoth it is today.

Thanks again Ken & The Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

What happened to the Treehouse Village and Vacation Villas? Were they just renamed or were they replaced with something else? I'm guessing that the interior pic on page 25 shows one of the Treehouse Village units? I love the 1970's earth tones! And that circular railing in the middle of the room looks like it might have been part of a spiral staircase. I'm assuming that was how guests got up into the units?

The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village reminds me of that uncomfortable scene in "The Mouseketeers At Walt Disney World," when Lisa and Allison both try to pick up a man that is at least 10 years older than them!

Thanks again for sharing this with us, Ken and Major! I have enjoyed learning more about the early days of WDW!

steve2wdw said...

The Treehouse units were upgraded with all new units and are now part of the Saratoga Springs DVC Resort. The Vacation Villas were removed when Saratoga was constructed in it's place.

Scott Lane said...

Thanks for sharing! I miss this Walt Disney World. Back when you could find quiet corners and areas that weren't shoving princesses in your face all the time.

Chuck said...

I love that logo for Lake Buena Vista. Are those cypress trunks? Trilons? Really tall reactor cooling towers? Whatever they're supposed to be, it looks cool - just like all of the other logos in this guide.

I miss the architecturally integrated and low-key look of the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village. Ahh, the days when the Disney experience didn't mandate being hit over the head with a character every three yards (2.74 meters)...

TM!, that photo you highlight of the treehouse interior with the railing captured my imagination as a kid and had me asking my parents repeatedly if we could stay in one. Since they were already making payments on a travel trailer (which would be upgraded to a mini-motor home by the time we visited in '79), there was no way that was going to happen. But I can still dream...

steve2wdw, didn't the Vacation Villas become lodging for the Disney Institute for a time before Saratoga Springs was built?

steve2wdw said...

Yes Chuck, the VV's did become part of the Institute during its short life. My second trip to WDW in '76 included a four day stay in one of those beautiful villas. It was huge!i

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, Yes, it's a world of difference today. When I watch videos of WDW today it doesn't even look like a good time. I think I'm less tolerant of over-crowding these days.

TokyoMagic!, See steve2wdw's comments. Glad you enjoyed. There's more to come!

steve2wdw, thanks for your input on the lesser known facts of WDW. It adds a lot to these articles.

Scott Lane, 1970's/early 80's WDW is all that I've experienced. I can imagine it's insane nowadays. It just doesn't hold the appeal for me it once did in the 1970's.

Chuck, I really don't care for how Disney has used its characters to saturate every aspect of their properties and experiences. It's like the Disneyland Hotel before Disney corp. bought it and Disney-fied it. I preferred the subtle approach of the Wrather hotel.

Hey all, I'm glad you enjoyed the early WDW guide booklet. I will be working on more of this type of stuff in the future along with my usual postcards.

Nanook said...


I think many of us have long since gotten over "the thrill" of crowds as a part of the theme park experience - but it's very difficult to avoid these days, just about anywhere. And as much as many visitors to WDW (and Disneyland, for that matter) would prefer a theme park from what is now a by-gone era, those days are but a distant memory - for those of us lucky to have been there.

And clearly without Disney directly addressing its increasing theme park(s) attendance over the decades by expanding and adding more of everything, the crowding would be that much worse. What isn't excusable, however, as has been mentioned by Scott Lane, Chuck, yourself, and others, time and time again, is the overbearing-way Disney throttles down the throats' of its 'guests' that the prime reason for their attendance at any of their parks is to shop, shop, shop - and spend as much money as possible. I'll grant you the point that probably no one is better at doing-so, all the while making you feel good for the effort - (okay, perhaps QVC or HSN are close seconds).

But... who better than Disney, if it were Job #1, to 'bring back', or create "quiet corners", as Scott Lane rightly intoned-? But as we know all too well, profits - the more the merrier - is Job #1 these times for any publicly traded company.

I wonder how Walt would have dealt with that sort of pressure-? It seems unlikely his response would be yet another 'meet-and-greet' opportunity for princesses, princes or even frogs. (Although the latter might at least be interesting).

Unknown said...

I'm always late to the party... C'est la vie. Thanks always K for sharing such wonderful stuff. I love seeing the outrageous prices. It's funny that I remember those years so well but have simply forgotten the prices. I've also forgotten my wages at the time.

As for attendance, well, everyone has their opinion. I thought my reading some weeks ago that the Sou Cal AP was returning was wishful thinking; apparently not. I was hoping that even the Sou Cal Select was going to go away and renewals would stop as well on the defunct passes. That's my wishful thinking, I guess. I was considering buying a Deluxe AP when I visited the Park, but not so much now. Disney's options are limited. They took away the most popular AP option and attendance didn't go down. They jacked prices to the ceiling and attendance went up. I don't think there's a solution anymore.

Melissa said...

The new Treehouse Villas look a little more luxurious than the originals, but going by the picture above they can't hold a candle to the 70's version in the rustic charm department.

I wonder what was up with the "special" ticket books they mention?

Nancy said...

Wonderful as always, Ken. I so wish I had visited sooner than I was able to. Thanks for sharing all of your early WDW treasures with us!

Anonymous said...

I've never been to WDW, but I am still enjoying these old brochures. Thank you, Major and Ken.

BTW, these have already been ripped off and posted on another "Disney Documents" site. I saw their post of them last night on Twitter. They did credit GDB, but no link back to this blog, and not a word about Ken. People are rude.

Thanks again everyone.