Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Walt Disney World, November 1971

Today I have some nice photos taken around the Magic Kingdom's Main Street and Town Square - at night! As everyone knows, being at a Disney park at night is almost a completely different experience.

This first one shows the "New Century Clock Shop", sponsored by Elgin (see the name in the pediment above the doors). I wondered how long that shop was there, so I found a very helpful site called "Walt Dated World", which said:  This was one of the original Magic Kingdom shops when the park opened in 1971.    It was on the west side of Main Street, next to the Emporium.  There was also a New Century Clock Shop at Disneyland.  The shop sold Elgin watches and clocks but early park maps listed the sponsor as Elgin-Helbros. Elgin National Industries and Disney had signed a five year watch and clock contract in 1971 that stipulated that Elgin be the official manufacturer of timepieces sold in Walt Disney World.  Most of the Disney watches were produced by the Bradley Time Division of Elgin National Industries and bear the Bradley name on the face. The shop closed in 1986.


Next is this picture of the front of the Gulf Hospitality House, which operated in the park from 1971 to 1990 (although Gulf only sponsored it through to 1979). It seems to have served a function much like the INA Carefree Corner at Disneyland; a place where guests could ask questions about anything from nearby hotels and motels, to routes to and from Walt Disney World, or queries about attractions and the best way to maximize your fun. Apparently, early on, it was actually intended to be a real hotel.


And finally, here is the GAF Camera Center. Buy film and other camera supplies, have your film processed, or even rent a camera. For a number of years you could follow the GAF Photo Trail - similar to Disneyland's old Kodak "Picture Spots" using the small complimentary guidebooks that GAF provided. I can't find any info on how long GAF sponsored this shop, but did glean that it went through a variety of sponsors, including Polaroid and Kodak, before becoming the Confectionary.


There are more night photos of Main Street coming up!

24 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Nice evening shots, Major! I wonder if the Clock Shop was open yet? It looks like there are drapes or something covering all the windows.

Nanook said...

Major-

With what seems to be 'the shades drawn' at the New Century Clock Shop, it almost appears unoccupied. I wonder. Sure is nice to see the Park, after dark - especially in Year One. (And a special shout-out for those stripy, flared pants in the last image).

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The only thing I remember at the Gulf Hospitality House building was watching "The Walt Disney Story" film in the theater and the miniature model display of the "Vacation Kingdom" of Walt Disney World. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I have no memory of the Clock Shop. I do remember thinking that the lobby of the Hospitality House reminded me of the Florida resort hotel the Marx Brothers run in The Cocoanuts. I never took the time to go in and see "The Walt Disney Story," cause I was a dumb kid and figured it would be there whenever I felt like it.

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice shots. I wonder how the photographer managed to have no blur at night shooting with only ambient light and color film. Did a good job of it regardless.

Chuck said...

I think it's safe to say he didn't use GAF color film. The giveaway is the absence of cerulean blue.

Anonymous said...

Everything on WDW Main Street seems so big.

Imagine a hotel right inside the Park, now that's amazing.

Thanks Major.

JG

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, the alarm clocks didn't go off and they overslept.

JG

Melissa said...

It's weird, though - when I finally got to Disneyland, I didn't really feel a sense of Main St. being small.

steve2wdw said...

Speaking of a hotel on Main Street, I've read that the Hospitality House was almost going to be a hotel, which is why it's so big, being almost real world scale. Now that would have been cool!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I was thinking the same thing. In fact, I did research to see if the Clock Shop opened a few months late, but could find no such info.

Nanook, with all of those blinds drawn, you know some funny business is going on in there. I had striped pants at around that same time, though I am almost certain they were not flares.

K. Martinez, I did not know about the model you referred to - are there photos of it anywhere? I love a good model!

Melissa, I may have liked watching “The Walt Disney Story”, but in reality I probably would have been squirming to get out of there and on to some rides.

Patrick Devlin, I’ll have to ask him! Maybe he was careful to always set the camera on something steady, like a handy trash can.

Chuck, thank goodness he didn’t use GAF color film! The worst.

JG, it’s the fact that all the lights are on that makes it extra creepy!

Melissa II, that’s because when you walked under the railroad tracks you were reduced to 5/8 scale.

steve2wdw, somebody doesn’t read my text! ;-) I read that it was originally supposed to be the “Hostility House”, but somebody changed it at the last minute.

Patrick Devlin said...

Yeah, Major, the blurs I was thinking about being avoided are from ones dang subjects moving during what might have been a half second or longer exposure. I wonder what kind of ASA numbers were around back then? I will photo-geek out , if allowed.

K. Martinez said...

And I read that the Hospitality House was built so big and bulky to block out the Contemporary Resort Hotel tower from Main Street, U.S.A. I guess there's all kinds of stories going around about that one. Now I don't know which story to believe. Just more Disney lies, I tell you.

Major, I could be wrong, but I believe this is the model I saw on view.

http://www.omniluxe.net/wyw/pc1969model.jpg

Patrick Devlin said...

Oh that's a slick model, and thanks for the view there, KM! Who doesn't love a good landscape type model like that? I'm thinking of the wonder of Progress City, and the "Not bad yourself-ness" of the opening day model of Disneyland while waiting for Mr. Lincoln at the Park. I'm sorry I never got to work on model like that.

steve2wdw said...

K. Martinez....I read about the Hospitality House blocking the Contemporary too. I've got to do some home research (it's in a book I have, somewhere), that when they designed the building, they knew that had to build it BIG, to block the Contemporary...and since it was being designed so big, maybe they'd put a hotel in it. I believe at the time, logistics on operating a hotel "within" a theme park was something that Walt Disney Productions (at the time) did not want to wrestle with, BUT, the large-ness remained.

steve2wdw said...

By the time I saw the Walt Disney Story (late '73), the model in the "coming soon" room was just the Magic Kingdom (including the Western River Expedition). The model from the Omniluxe site must have been changed out by then.....although, that also looks like the model from the Preview Center in Lake Buena Vista. Later, when the WDS featured an EPCOT Center Preview, a model of that park took it's place. I don't know if the Studios model was ever featured in that space, but when WDW was celebrating it's 25 Anniversary, the WDS was turned into a Welcome Home type attraction, where you'd receive a button featuring the year of your first visit....the movie was a "coming attractions" type trailer of all that the Walt Disney Company was doing in Florida (including the Animal Kingdom and Cruise Line) and the featured model was of Discovery Island and the Tree of Life at DAK.

K. Martinez said...

steve2wdw, the model of the Magic Kingdom including the Western River Expedition may very well be the model I saw too. It's been so long ago that my memories of 1970's WDW are foggy at best these days. Also, thanks for the clarification on the Hospitality House. Perhaps both stories are true. I only remember reading about the blocking out of the Contemporary tower, but what you said makes sense. Thanks again!

steve2wdw said...

K. Martinez....Sometimes a comment from you will jog my memory about some aspect of 70's WDW that I'd either forgotten about, or like you, was foggy about. If the cost of film and developing hadn't been so prohibitive to me as a teenager, I would have photographed every single inch of the place (like I do now). Digital technology would be the only thing I'd change about the 70's....but then, if that were the case, we wouldn't be picking each other's brains on great websites like this one!

Melissa said...

It only becomes the Hostility House at the end of the day, when people are passing by on their way out of the park and everyone is tired and crabby and one kid is crying and Mom's feet hurt more than Dad's wallet.

MIKE COZART said...

The plans for a REAL hotel on Main Street USA at WDW we’re long abandoned before the Hospitality House was actually designed. It is true There was was a need for a larger structure to block the view of the contemporary resort. The hospitality house is a HOTEL for Main Street ( line Disneyland’s two hotel buildings on its main st.) it was very much inspired by a still standing hotel & casino in Saratoga Springs New York.
There was a model in the Hospitality house and was later incorporated into the Walt Disney Story. There was also a panel featuring “WDW future”

I’m sure everyone here knows Disney will be demolition the HOSPITALITY HOUSE to build a new broadway size theater based on a 1918 Chicago (or Kansas City - I can’t recall) the new building in NO WAY fits with the style of architecture of the existing Main Street. Both Disneyland and WDW main streets represent the 1890-1910 period. WED specifically chose that time - and especially pre WW 1 . WDI throws everything g out the door these days . Either lazy or uneducated.

Melissa said...

I thought the plans for the new theater had been axed!

MIKE COZART said...

I hope that they are! The new building is horrible and looks like a giant mouselem.

steve2wdw said...

Yes...it appears that the $ for the theatre (which was to be located on the Main Street bypass, not the site of the Hospitality House) have been funneled in a different direction. Seems there were underground services in the way with too big a price tag to move/remove/update, along with the thought that the MK needs more theoretical hourly capacity than a theatre could provide. A theatre with a capacity of 2000 used maybe 5 times a day can't compete with something like Space Mountain with a theoretical capacity of 2400 per hour or better yet, the PeopleMover with a theoretical capacity of 3600 per hour. Hopefully, that expansion space (which is currently cast member parking) will be filled with a nice Tomorrowland addition.

The Disney Dudebro said...

A camera store to buy film? Now that's a rare sight to see these days in the age of digital cameras. I wonder if they even still sell film cameras. Hmm.