Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Magic Kingdom, December 1971

I have three very early photos from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for you.

This first image shows Main Street during the park's first Christmas - 45 years ago, by gum. I think this is a particularly nice shot, bright and clear; and I love the modest (but great!) wreaths and garlands, with a few ribbons and bells here and there - it feels very much like the kind of holiday decor that one would see on a real main street in Somewheresville, USA.

Next is the obligatory shot of Cinderella Castle, gleaming against a deep blue sky. Just visible is the roof of a streetcar, as well as part of an Omnibus. 

My unfamiliarity with the details of the Magic Kingdom makes me unsure as to whether this is West Center Street (do they even call it "West Center Street" in Florida?), but there is a sort of larval version of the Flower Market, though it keeps strictly to the sidewalks, as all law abiding plants do.

Stay tuned for more from this lot!


walterworld said...

Those bouquets better be 'larval' if they hope to fill up that space!

It's great to see these images from the early times.


Nanook said...


I would say the holiday decorations are "just right". In fact, that proper display is diverting attention away from those red & white striped pants that gentleman towards the right of the frame is sporting.

And as far as the Greenhouse Flower Shop is concerned, it really is located in the same area as [what would be] West Center Street.

Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Major, this area was, indeed, called "West Center Street." As you are probably aware, it was filled in during an Emporium expansion in 2001.

Aside from the Greenhouse flower market, you can also see the New England Clock Shop to the left and the striped pole marking the original location of the Harmony Barber Shop to the right. I think I've mentioned before that I got a decent, reasonably-priced haircut there once in 1996.

That boy in the plaid overalls in the second photo must have been the inspiration for the "Partners" statue.

Thanks, Major!

Pegleg Pete said...

As Nanook has already mentioned, those Christmas decorations are just right. Early seventies style may have tended towards gaudy excess, but whoever was in charge here didn't give in to that particular temptation - unike their counterparts at the parks today. Great pics, Major. Thanks as always!

Major Pepperidge said...

walterworld, yeah, as flower markets go, that one is pretty anemic.

Nanook, although I never owned peppermint striped pants, I do recall owning other pants with very thin multicolored stripes - we lived in Huntington Beach at the time, maybe it was a “surfer culture” thing?

Chuck, ugh, that filled in street looks like crap. You can tell that some genius looked at that street and thought, “What a waste! Nobody’s buying plush toys or t-shirts! We need to deal with that ASAP”. When you went to the Barber Shop, did you hand them a photo of the lead singer from “A Flock of Seagulls” and tell them, “Make me look like him!”?

Pegleg Pete, the subdued (by today’s standards) Christmas decor might just be due to the fact that the place had just opened, but as far as I know, they didn’t start getting nuts until relatively recently. Remember, there’s nothing worth doing that isn’t worth overdoing!

Anonymous said...

WDW just feels "too big". Also, there are subtle details in the design of the buildings that make them clearly '70's knockoffs of what the "1890's could have looked like" and not the scientific reproductions of the original Main Street which hold no hints (to me) of the era when they were designed...

Maybe I'm too sensitive, but original Disneyland was just a miraculous combination of innovation and the restraint of perfect taste, never to be repeated.

Never knew haircuts were available there. Thank you Major.


Anonymous said...

There definitely is something appealing to the "Less is More' principle which has been long discarded. With all the opulence today, it's not surprising that these pics look unique and fresh. We come full circle. KS

K. Martinez said...

Late to the party! Oh well. Nice set today. Looking forward to more Walt Disney World '71. Thanks, Major

DrGoat said...

Love those red striped bell bottoms and the girl next to him has on what we used to call surfer shirts, I think. Neat image.
We went to the park around Dec. 17th 3 years ago and it was so crowded, we literally could not move on Mainsteet during the fireworks show. A solid mass of people from the castle to the entrance of the park. Cast members came out and guided groups of people out through employee areas between the Penny Arcade side of the street and the Jungle Cruise. It was neat to see the backside of the buildings. We ended up exiting somewhere near the entrance and there and then deciding we would never visit again during the holidays.