Monday, January 15, 2018

More 1976 WDW from Warren Nielsen

GDB reader Warren Nielsen has been on a tear, slaving over a red-hot scanner to preserve some of his personal photos from various trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other destinations. And he's sharing a bunch with all of us! All of today's scans are from a trip that Warren and his wife Kai took to WDW in 1976.

Let's start with this interesting view taken from the front of Cinderella Castle looking south toward Main Street Station. Even in '76 the trees in the hub are so large that they block most of Main Street. They probably worked fine looking from the opposite direction, as the castle is so darn huge. 

I believe that the vehicle is a Jitney - not sure if the Magic Kingdom had more than one of those, but they certainly held a lot more people than the smaller vehicles found at Disneyland.

Here's Main Street Station as seen from inside the park; I love the way it looks, but it almost feels like it would be more appropriate for a city like Paris than any midwestern town. Was it based on a real train station?

Next we have this nice view looking north from Town Square, toward the castle; this one reminds me of some early postcards. 

I guess there were daily parades, based on the next two photos. There goes the Fife and Drum Corps; these guys were like rock stars in 1976! The high school drum lessons really paid off.

Here come four (or is it five?) disparate characters. We can't see the two in the back, but the fellow on the left looks like a carpetbagger - or maybe the mayor. Then there's a fireman (wearing period-accurate Foster Grants), and next to him... a bank teller? Sure, why not. They were like an early version of The Village People.

And finally, I love this lovely view of Town Square as the sun was setting, and the lights were already working their magic. I wish I could have seen the Magic Kingdom the way it was back then...

That's it for today, but never fear! Warren Nielsen has more photos from this trip. Thanks, Warren!

(Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day)


Nanook said...


The Park does look lovely in these images. I think that motley group of five-? fellas were merely looking for the Doo Dah Parade and got really lost-!

Thanks, again Warren for sharing.

TokyoMagic! said...

These are some really nice WDW shots. Thank you for sharing them with us, Warren and Major! By the way, what is going on with the kid (kids?) in that stroller in the first pic? (Right side of the photo.)

K. Martinez said...

The classic view of Cinderella Castle from Town Square is a real beauty. I also like the back view of Main Street Station which I always thought was pretty grand.

Speaking of Walt Disney World Railroad's Main Street Station, it was inspired by and modeled after the Saratoga Springs Station in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Thank you for sharing more of your personal photos with us, Warren.


About 95% of Walt Disney World's MAIN ST. USA is greatly modeled after SARATOGA SPRINGS NEW YORK ( where the potato chip was born!) this includes the Train Depot as K. Martinez mentioned above. The WDW MAIN STREET -Saratoga Springs design also shows up as the first design intended for Disneyland's Main Street Station - first appearing on the foumous Herb Ryman weekend Disneyland concept plan. The cost was a bit much for Disneyland's opening year so a less elaborate design was used.
Other cities structures that inspired WDW's Main Street include Philadelphia ( City Hall),St. Louis ( fire station) San Francisco ( Crystal Palace Restsurant)

Florida had/has (2) Omnibus (3) Horsless Carriages (red, yellow, blue) (1) Fire Engine (1) Station Jitney. The Jitney and fire engine have the same chassis and hood/engine .


I would never be caught without my Foster-Grant's!!

stu29573 said...

As Mike mentioned, Main Street USA in WDW is based on more Eastern Seaboard locals than DL's Midwestern Main Street. It's interesting that most people (including me) failed to realise the difference.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Can't really add much to what K. Martinez, Mike C. and Stu have stated. In WDW, you can definitely see the influence of the grand resort towns of the east coast, like Saratoga Springs, with its grand hotels servicing summer visitors seeking respite from the city.

Melissa said...

Oh, the memories! This is how I remember Main Street in 1983 when I first saw it. The crowds are so thick and impassable now that the Main Street Vehicles only run for a brief period in the morning.

Picture #3 - look to the left of the flagpole; it's the Man in the Big Yellow Hat! He's headed to the Emporium to buy a jigsaw puzzle for Curious George to eat.

The Fife and Drum Corps were awesome! I don't know why they got rid of them; they really added to the atmosphere of Liberty Square. Even Freddie Prinze is enjoying the show! (Fifth from the right in the row of pavement-sitters.)

Dean Finder said...

I'd suspect that we are looking at snapshots from "America on Parade" that ran for about 18 months around the Bicentennial at both parks.

Nanook said...

@ Ken & Mike Cozart-
Thanks for the links and the info.

@ TM!-
I was gonna say those two toddlers were merely acting out a scene from... but I came-up blank.

@ Melissa-
I, too, remember WDW when it looked like this, as this image dates from the time close to my first visit there. Those really were the days.

I'm afraid I was so busy looking at some of the smaller details, I failed to notice a much-more obvious one: The base of the flagpole in Town Square. As I'm certain many folks remember, Disneyalnd's flagpole base was "sourced" from discarded lamp posts from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power - originally used on Adams Street, as far back as 1919. And without much sleuthing, this is quite obviously the same style as used at Disneyland. Evidently, whoever was scavenging for 'parts' for The Happiest Place On Earth back in 1954/55, grabbed more than one lamp post, and then it was saved long-enough [and someone remembered it] to be installed at WDW, creating matching flag pole bases [at least]. (I wonder how many posts were procured, and if there were other plans for their use-?)


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, they aren’t even interesting enough for the little Doo Dah Parade! I can’t imagine anybody at the Magic Kingdom being excited to see those guys.

TokyoMagic!, kids are spazzes, that’s all you need to know!

K. Martinez, interesting about the Saratoga Springs station. I’m not sure I’ve seen old-time illustrations of it before. The front of WDW’s station definitely looks like the drawings, but I wonder where they got the idea for that huge glass and iron canopy on the back side?

Mike Cozart, I wonder how they chose Saratoga Springs, of all places? And I wonder if Walt was in on that choice, even though he passed years before the park opened? Oh, now I have to go look at the Herb Ryman map to compare the station to the Disney World version! Fascinating if that was what they wanted for Anaheim all along! Thanks as always.

stu29573, I just assumed that it was based on the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. The “White City”. Obviously I was mistaken…

Steve DeGaetano, somehow I was never aware that there were such grand “resort towns” back in those days!

Melissa, I wondered if they ever ran the vehicles in Florida, but my friend said the same thing you did… they can only run them first thing in the morning, and then it gets way too busy. I wish I had a big yellow hat. And they got rid of the Fire and Drum Corps because disco is king!

Dean Finder, it seems funny that Warren only took photos of these small groups of people, and not the floats, and characters with the oversized heads!

Nanook, they are acting out a scene from Fellini’s “Satyricon”. Probably. And yes, I had noticed that flagpole base looking just like the Anaheim version as well. I suppose it’s possible that they just made a fiberglass copy of the California example, but I hope that it is a genuine antique.

Anonymous said...

Having never visited WDW I always get an odd feeling looking at the Florida Main Street. It's like some weird dream of Disneyland. Things are so much the same yet different.

Warren Nielsen said...

I am happy that everyone is enjoying these. I wonder if one of the kids is bailing out of the stroller ("I'm getting out and going over THERE!) and little sibling is just practicing how he lands when he crashes his tricycle. And Major, you are right. I don't have any shots of the floats and big heads, and I have no clue why.

Melissa said...

One of the nice things about the size of the train station is that there was room there to relocate a few of the Penny Arcade machines after it closed.


Well there is a reason WDW's Main Street was heavily influenced by the Eastern Seaboard and specifically Saratoga Springs - the art director for FLORIDAS Main Street was John Decuir Sr. Decuir was also the art director for the sets for the 1969 film HELLO DOLLY. From 1966-1967 Decuir and location scouts searched for location shooting sites to represent Yonkers New York in 1890. The team went all over areas of new New to find current towns that could easily be "back-dressed" to create various towns and communities along the New York Central route from Yonkers to New York City. The fancier elaborate architectecture of towns along this route and resort towns like Saratoga Springs is far more appropriate for the larger scale Florida park than a small farm town like "Marceline" in fact real photos of Marceline have in no way any resembling toanyrhinf ever built st Disneyland .

I love both parks - but Walt Disney World's Main Street represents a higher budget and 20 years of WED theme park experience. In 1955 if Walt had more money and his imagineers had more theme park experience , I think Disneyland's Main Street would have liked more like Florida's.

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm pretty sure that those musician/band photos are not of "America On Parade." That parade didn't feature any performers whose faces were exposed. All of the performers were either in Disney character costumes, or those large doll-like people costumes. Plus, we wouldn't see the large gap of space in the street between parade units. I guess it's possible though, that these musicians could have been some kind of pre-parade entertainment for the people that were waiting for "America On Parade" to begin. Now I am wondering why the musical groups are walking in two completely different directions. The crowd along the street is the same, so they must have been taken pretty close together in time. Maybe one of the groups temporarily did an about-face?


TOKYOMAGIC is correct. Besides not being America On Parade , there is none of the bunting and lampost decorations along Main Street which would have been up as part of the decorations.

I have some images of the Liberty Fife and Drum Corp marching across the Tomorrowland bridge between Tomorrowland and Fantasylsnd - I think in the early years this group marched around everywhere for a quick entertainment

Anonymous said...

Thanks Warren Nielsen for sharing your photos with us, and thanks for all the great comments that they bring forth. It's very entertaining and I am grateful for it.