Thursday, September 08, 2016

Walt Disney World - 1977 Resort Guide, Part 1

Today I have a post from our pal Ken Martinez, but this one is different! Instead of looking at his collection of vintage amusement park postcards, we're going to see some vintage Walt Disney World ephemera. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World - Resort Guide 1977 (Part 1)

Walt Disney World will have its 45th anniversary on October 1st of this year so I wanted to do a little project on the early years of Disney's Florida property to coincide with the celebration. In future posts I'll be sharing guide booklets and other ephemera/memorabilia featuring the Vacation Kingdom, the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center. The little guide booklets were handed out to visitors of the Vacation Kingdom from the period of 1977 to 1983. It is the Walt Disney World of a much simpler and quieter time when visitors to the Vacation Kingdom could experience their vacation in a more leisurely pace than what visitors experience today. The first booklet I'm featuring is about the resorts of Walt Disney World in 1977. I hope you enjoy this series.

Here we have the front and back cover of the "Walt Disney World - Resort Guide" booklet. This booklet and the others I'll be sharing are the ephemera I picked up during my trips to Walt Disney World in the late 70's and early 80's.

Here you can view a stylized map showing the locations of the wonders of the early "Vacation Kingdom of the World" including the Magic Kingdom, River Country, Treasure Island and Lake Buena Vista.

Here we have a little transportation map showing how to get around the "World". I love the original 1970's icons of Walt Disney World. The resort icons especially are a wonderful example of the style of graphics disney used in the 1970's.

Here are some facts and information to help make your stay in the "Vacation Kingdom" a more enjoyable one.

Coming up next: the two original hotels of Walt Disney World - the Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts.



Nanook said...


This brochure certainly brings back memories from my early visits to WDW. I had almost forgotten about Treasure Island and what was at the time, a rarity in the hospitality business - a non toll-free phone number. (Oh, those bean counters-!)

Thanks Ken and the Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

The Golf Resort Hotel? I had never heard of that one! Is it still standing today? Simpler is right....only one theme park, only one "water park," and no Downtown Disney. Oh, how I wish I had been able to visit WDW back in it's earlier and simpler days! I'm looking forward to seeing more or your early WDW memorabilia, Ken!

Chuck said...

My grandmother visited WDW in 1977 and gave this exact same brochure to me after the trip. My copy is long lost, but this brings back great memories, both of many hours of dreaming about what vacation delights awaited me if I might ever make it to Florida and of what I actually experienced on my first visit two years later. This is the WDW of the Mouseketeers' visit.

TM!, the Golf Resort Hotel first became the Disney Inn and is now the Shades of Green Armed Forces Recreation Center.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, thanks for that info. I haven't heard of either of those names either, so I guess that location has just been off of my WDW "radar!"

Scott Lane said...

TM!: It's just down a little street from the Polynesian. My parents liked staying there in the early 80's (the "post-'me' era" after I'd grown up) because it was so quiet. After it was given over to the military they moved to the Poly for their twice/thrice-yearly visits.

Thanks again, Ken and Maj!

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, This brochure is definitely representative of my first trip to Walt Disney World and for me what I consider Walt Disney World during its best decade.

TokyoMagic!, There was a later release of the film "The Magic of Walt Disney World" (1974) which featured the Golf Resort Hotel along with a preview of the coming Space Mountain which appeared on "The Wonderful World of Disney" in 1974. If you had seen that, you would've known about the hotel, but I can't find that film on YouTube or anywhere. I could only find the 1972 and 1980 version of that film.

Chuck, Thanks for answering TM!'s question. The Golf Resort Hotel will be featured in pages further through the booklet in the coming weeks.

TokyoMagic!, you need to fix your WDW radar! ;-)

Scott Lane, Yes, the Golf Resort wasn't as popular as the other two resorts and was renamed "The Disney Inn" later and finally "Shades of Green". As I commented earlier, it will come up in a couple of weeks.

Thank you all, More to come!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you also, Scott Lane! So was the Shades of Green hotel turned over to the military because it still wasn't popular? And what does the military use it for?

Ha, ha, Ken! I think my radar is pretty good if that was the only thing (ooops, there might be more, huh?) that I had never heard of at WDW. As a kid, I guess I studied the map of the park itself more than the surrounding property. Although I did know about The Contemporary, The Polynesian and the Fort Wilderness Campground.

Chuck said...

TM!, in answer to your first question, essentially, yes. Despite its small size it was rarely anywhere close to capacity; it isn't located on the Monorail line and since it was initially marketed as a golf resort, it never developed the market recognition of the Contemporary or Polynesian. After construction of the Grand Floridian, Swan, Dolphin, Caribbean Beach, Dixie Landings, etc., Disney had even more excess capacity on-property.

When the Army went looking for a property to lease for an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) in the Orlando area in the early '90s, Disney offered up what was by then the Disney Inn, and an opportunity to operate an AFRC on-property at THE premier Orlando attraction was too much for the Army to pass up. The facility was such a success after it opened in 1994, the Army bought the resort from Disney outright in 1996.

The individual military Services operate Armed Forces Recreation Centers in several locations around the globe, providing recreational opportunities for members of the Uniformed Services (including USPHS and NOAA), retirees, and their families. Pricing for the rooms is based on the member's pay grade; a private would pay much less for lodging than a colonel.

Shades of Green is much like any other resort - restaurants, gift shops, ticket offices, sunburned tourists - although more of the male guests have shorter hair than you might see at other Disney hotels.

Here's a fairly good write-up on the history of the resort:

Nancy said...

This is beautiful! My first visit was just one day in November of 1979. There wasnt much to see yet then and it was just a taste of what would come to be my favorite place in the world. :-D

I am so looking forward to seeing what else awaits us in your collection...

Thanks to both you and David (and everyone else who comments and shares their experiences) for always making it so much fun to turn on my computer in the morning and see what is on my home page! :-D

Melissa said...

They certainly sold it as a more upscale sort of experience in the early days, didn't they?

Dean Finder said...

Looking forward to pictures of the miniature train running though Fort Wilderness.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, thanks for all of that additional info!