Monday, April 10, 2017

WDW Guide, 1979 (Part 2)

Hey folks, here is PART DEUX of Ken Martinez's article featuring a 1979 WDW guide!

Walt Disney World Guide – The Vacation Kingdom 1979 (Part 2)

Here’s the second half of the guide from my second trip to Walt Disney World.  As I mentioned before, my first visit was in 1978. I visited again in 1979, 1983 and 1984.  My experience outside the gates of the Magic Kingdom was somewhat limited, but I did see a few things during those visits to the Florida property during its early years.

This is the map I remember during my visits to Walt Disney World.  As you can see, the property was pretty manageable as far as being able to see much of what there was to offer.  Later during the Eisner era there was so much added that it would be pretty impossible to see everything in a single vacation.

Of course since the guide booklet was by Polaroid, there would be pages on how to take pictures and movies of Walt Disney World.  I’m trying to remember if they had picture spots like Disneyland did.  Does anyone know?

On the complimentary attractions I do remember going on “If You Had Wings” several times, but only went on Carousel of Progress once.  I didn’t go on Monsanto’s America the Beautiful which I now think is strange because it was also free.  Back in the early days they still utilized ticket system and I spent most of my energy buying extra ‘E’ tickets and riding those attractions.

I saw both the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Electrical Water Pageant.  I remember upon my first visit, I took the monorail from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom in the early morning, but in the evening after watching the Electrical Parade and Fantasy in the Sky, I returned to the TTC via ferryboat.  That is when I saw the Electrical Water Pageant.  It was definitely a magical experience for me.

I never stayed at any Disney Hotel, but instead off-property.  It was just too expensive for my budget.  I was only 18 years old when I first visited Magic Kingdom and I was on my own.  I did walk through the lobbies of both the Contemporary and Polynesian Resort hotels and investigated the grounds a little bit, but that was it.

As for the Gold Resort Hotel and Fort Wilderness Campground, I didn’t see either of those on any of the trips I took to Walt Disney World except in the distance.  Love the image of the Fort Wilderness Railroad train (Wilderness Line).

In Lake Buena Vista Village I visited The Walt DIsney World Shopping Village.  The place was very much removed from the core of Walt Disney World at the time.

Don’t know what I can say about the Villas as I never saw them.  Funny thing about the ad for their films here is that around this time (1979) I lost interest in Disney Studio output.  The only films I remember watching in the theater during that time were “The Black Hole” and ‘Tron”.  I wouldn’t bother with Disney movies again until Eisner came on board and brought the studio to current times.  

And of course there’s a Polaroid ad on the back cover because the guide is sponsored by Polaroid.  At least that’s how I think it works.

That concludes “The Complete Guide to Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom” (1979).  I hope you enjoyed the images and recollections of my early visits to the Florida property.  As I said before, I haven’t been back in over 30 years and I know it’s not the same as those early years.  Next stop…  EPCOT Center!

THANK YOU to Ken Martinez for all of his time and effort ( I know these take a lot of time ) in putting these posts together, I am very appreciative of all of his hard work.


Nanook said...
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Nanook said...


Again, thanks so much for taking the time to scan these pages. I remember this time at WDW quite well, as I did visit many times during the period mentioned.

The first time I saw the Electrical Water Pageant, I was charmed at both its beauty and the simplicity of the execution. Proving (to me, at least) - 'less really can be more'. Although the Baroque Hoedown music was first used on this 'parade', when it premiered back on October 26, 1971, when the Main Street Electrical Parade premiered the next year at Disneyland, that music moved to the west coast and the EWP music was then replaced with Handel's Water Music, along with other musical selections; although the music would change many times over its 40+ year operation. And strangely-enough, from the company whose mantra quite clearly is: More is Never Enough, the EWP is still chugging-away, (albeit with new music), but quite appropriate. Shhhh, don't tell anyone about this "low tech" wonder or it may suddenly get a total makeover destroying it forever.

Thanks again, Ken (and The Major).

TokyoMagic! said...

As a reader, I appreciate it too....thanks, Ken! Funny, but three of those photos from the "Picture Taking Tips" page were also used in the Disneyland guidebooks. In fact, I think that carousel pic is of Disneyland's Carousel and I believe the the pic with the yellow flowers was taken outside the entrance to Disneyland's Riverbelle Terrace. That ad on the back cover for Polavision movies reminds me of a commercial that ran back in the day. If I'm remembering correctly, the commercial featured a spokesperson taking "instant movies" of the Merry-Go-Round at Knott's Berry Farm and then walking over to a counter and popping the "film" into the mini television and viewing the footage right away. Does anyone else remember that commercial?

I always stay in non-Disney hotels that are off-property when I go to WDW and for every single visit, I have been perfectly happy with the experience AND the savings!

Chuck said...

I love the stylized logos for each of the resorts. It's interesting that the Fort Wilderness logo isn't shown here, perhaps because the graphic style was so different or because it doesn't render as well in small size. It appears that the logo has been changed over the years; the main logo is completely different, while in the secondary one Mickey still sports a buckskin outfit and coonskin cap but is now carrying a hiking stick rather than a firearm.

Note that the trailer in the Fort Wilderness photo is a Terry, "the official recreation vehicle of Fort Wilderness Campground Resort" (Polaroid wasn't the only sponsor that got a plug in this guide). Fleetwood, Terry's parent company, provided the "permanent" trailers that were available for guest rental. Changed out every year or so to keep the models fresh and in good shape, they were eventually replaced by pre-fab cabins around 1994.

And speaking of Polaroid, I was completely unaware of "Polavision" until this morning. It was an "instant" film process that, while an intriguing concept, suffered from dense, murky imagery and poor timing, coinciding with the earliest consumer videotape equipment. Introduced in 1977, 1979 would be its last year of production.

Thanks as always, Ken. Seeing the rest of this guide is still just like seeing an old friend again!

Scott Lane said...

Thanks for sharing, Ken!

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I agree with you 100% about the Electrical Water Pageant. There's something about it's simplicity and it being out in the middle of a lagoon/lake in the wilderness. I found it truly magical when I saw it.

I first became aware of the EWP while watching a "Wonderful World of Disney" episode called "The Magic of Walt Disney World" which included a Space Mountain preview. While I didn't actively seek out the EWP, even knowing about it, when I returned to the TTC via ferryboat, I was lucky enough to see the EWP in action.

TokyoMagic!, You have a good eye. Yes, it seems to be common practice for Disney to interchange their theme parks which it comes to publicity or ephemera. It's a practice they seem to continue to this day. Recently I saw a WDW vacation planner which had a segment on WDW's Jungle Cruise and of course Disneyland's Jungle Cruise was used for some of the footage. They must think for the casual Disney fan, they won't notice, but it doesn't get past us sharp-eyed diehard Disney fans.

I agree with you about the Disney properties. Way too high for my budget and besides, it's the theme parks I go for anyway. I did stay at the Disneyland Hotel a few times, but even that was before Disney owned it and it was a Wrather property. So technically I've never stayed on a Disney property hotel.

Chuck, I'm so glad you called attention to the stylized logos of the Disney resorts. It's one of my favorite things I love about the early ephemera of WDW. The logos were simple and eye pleasing. Upcoming I have an article on an Epcot Center guide and it will feature the early logos of the Future World pavilions. They just don't have cool logos like that anymore in my opinion.

Thanks for that bit of info on the Fort Wilderness Campground trailers. I knew about the newer cabins but didn't realize they were actually the replacement for the "permanent" trailers for rent. And I do remember those changes to the Fort Wilderness Logo.

Scott Lane, You're welcome. I hope you enjoyed.

Dean Finder said...

A few years ago, we stayed in the Treehouse Villas. They're expensive, but not so expensive compared to the 3 rooms we'd have needed otherwise for all the family. They've been updated, but you can really feel that they were part of the 1970's futurism of early WDW.

Mark H. Besotted said...

TM! -

YouTube remembers, Max.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mark H. Besotted, THANK YOU! That's exactly how I remembered it.....from almost 40 years ago! And those people in the background are standing in front of the Fiesta Foods building, which is still standing today (now Pancho's Tacos, I think). The only thing I didn't remember about the commercial was that the spokesperson was Tony Roberts. Thanks again for finding that and sharing it!

Mark H. Besotted said...

You're incredibly welcome. I'd never heard of it before, but it's fun to go down a YouTube vintage commercial rabbit hole. (Just don't eat or drink anything down there if you want to stay the same size.)

It bewilders me just how much of our ephemeral cultural past is available on demand for free like that, and the idea that a commercial like that has the potential to be seen by more people today than it did when it was on a third of the TVs in the country...