Monday, February 04, 2019

WDW Postcard Folder, Part 2

Here is part two of Warren Nielsen's scans of a vintage Walt Disney World postcard folder - those folders were super popular souvenirs that probably cost 50 cents or a dollar at the time. And of course the vintage photos give us a great impression of the park as it was 40-ish years ago.

First up is this view of the impressive Grand Canyon Concourse in the Contemporary Resort Hotel, with the massive Mary Blair tile mural at one end. So fantastic!

Even after seeing hundreds of photos of the A-frame Contemporary, I think it's a striking edifice. 

The Country Bear Jamboree was an opening-day attraction in the Magic Kingdom, while the Disneyland version opened about 6 months later. I am almost positive that this exact same photo was used on a Disneyland postcard.

The Crystal Palace definitely makes a big impression in the evening, with the warm glow of lights - in this case, set against a violet sky. Romantic!

Fireworks burst above... well, I don't know where this is! Did the Polynesian Resort have a pool like that? Is that Bay Lake, or the Seven Seas Lagoon?

The Fort Wilderness campgrounds look like a pleasant way to escape the hustle and bustle of the parks. Relax in your deluxe camper, ride a horse, fish for bass, or take a canoe along peaceful waterways.

This worm's eye view of the Haunted Mansion makes the building feel like it is looming over us; and the upper windows and doorway seem to make an angry face - something I've never noticed before.

Many thanks to Warren Nielsen! We have two more installments from this great postcard folder.


Melissa said...

I have this same folder! Boy, the Mansion looked even grander back when the trees were shorter!

Nanook said...

As usual - these early images of the "World" bring back great memories.

That grey vehicle with its taillights pointed in our direction appears to be a 1967 Dodge Polara. And for a moment there, I thought the guest atop the white steed was Chief Wavy, who just got tired of waving.

Thanks, Major & Warren for sharing.


I so miss early Walt Disney World. I do love early EPCOT CENTER as well - but after EPCOT the Magic Kingdom always seemed a tad neglected.

I’ve seen that Haunted Mansion imagine hundreds of times - but never noticed the “angry” face seen in the facade before!!

Despite all our advances with digital photography, the staff photographers employed by Disney back then created and shot photos that resulting in some stunning images — not exceeded yet.

Pegleg Pete said...

Thanks, Major and Warren - these are great. Who among the Gorilla Scouts out there is working on that time machine? And when will it be ready?! I really need to return to this WDW.

K. Martinez said...

The 1970's Walt Disney World era was my favorite. It was new and exciting with much promise for the future. Unfortunately, the Western River Expedition/Thunder Mesa Railway complex and Walt's original vision of E.P.C.O.T. went by the wayside.

These images are great. I especially love the Fort Wilderness Campground image. I liked how the resort hotels were connected in theme to the different "lands" in the Magic Kingdom. The Contemporary Resort for Tomorrowland, the Polynesian Village for Adventureland and Fort Wilderness for Frontierland. Of course later, The Grand Floridan would echo Main Street, U.S.A.

Anyway, I always enjoy your posts, Warren. Thanks for sharing your collection with us.

JC Shannon said...

Ken just said everything I was going say in his first paragraph. In anticipation of the first time machine, I have begun to stockpile period clothing. If only I still had those red bell bottoms and chartreuse sweater. I think these shots are great, and I can't wait to retro visit Disney World in this time period. Now where did I put my Nixon in '72 button?

Stefano said...

Good eye, Major, in finding that angry face; it's reminiscent of the angry muttering wallpaper face which was so scary in the 1963 "The Haunting". The HM looms here much as Hill House did in that movie.

steve2wdw said...

I too, have this collection of postcards....they are beautiful. In answer to the fireworks question, yes, the Poly did have a pool like that, and the water in the distance is the Seven Seas Lagoon. That's the Poly boat dock stretching into the water. The Mary Blair mural is definitely a treasure and it's awesomeness can't be conveyed to see it in person in inspiring. By the way, that mural covers the cluster of elevator shafts that run through the center of the building. While the Crystal Palace is a beautiful setting and a wonderful place to eat, for many years now, it's been character dining. No more popping in for a quick lunch or dinner....reservations must be made months in advance and your final bill reflects the fact that you're paying for foam heads to pose with you. (insert angry face here!)

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks Warren and Major.

The Contemporary Resort looks brilliant here. Looks like we can expect Captain Kirk to come out of the monorail any moment.

That's the next media franchise Disney needs to buy. Then they can remake Tomorrowland into Starfleet Command-Land.

Now that I see the face in the HM, I can't believe it wasn't done on purpose.


Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I’ll bet Disney made a bundle off of those postcard folders at Disneyland and Disney World.

Nanook, a Dodge Polara, what a kooky name. Maybe that IS Chief Wavy, he needs a break now and then.

Mike Cozart, I don’t know if the angry face is intentional, but my guess is that it is. Like you, I have never noticed it before in spite of looking at many pictures.

Pegleg Pete, I am working on a time machine, but so far have not gotten past the Lego stage.

K. Martinez, I understand that the Disney company was not what it is now, and that they had spent a ton of money on WDW, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates, etc. It was probably just too darn expensive. But it is hard to not think of what could have been. These postcard images show a place that was somehow simple and beautiful.

Jonathan, ha ha, just show up in 2019 clothes and see if anybody even notices. I really wonder what would happen! If you wore jeans and something fairly low key, you probably wouldn’t get a second glance.

Stefano, I’m sure the angry face was one of those subtle, almost subconscious things that John Hench (or one of those guys) would have considered. It’s pretty cool.

steve2wdw, I’ll bet it would have been amazing to watch the fireworks from that location; I wonder if they piped the music in so that you could get the full effect? Ugh, character dining - I suppose if one had kids it would be great, but I would avoid it personally.

JG, I have never heard of Walt Disney World being considered a huge risk the way Disneyland was; it’s almost as if people expected it to be successful from the beginning. They sure seemed to try to make the park as beautiful and appealing as possible. I know that things have changed in big ways over the past 40+ years, but it seems a shame that the original feel of WDW has been altered so drastically. I have little desire to see it the way it is now, but a tremendous desire to see it the way it was in the beginning.

Melissa said...

They pipe the fireworks music in to the Ticket and Transportation Center, the roof of the Contemporary, the beach at the Polynesian,band I believe some other spots.

The Oil Crisis hit pretty soon after WDW opened, so although it wasn't the same risk as Disneyland they didn't get the numbers they would have liked to see. Pirates wasn't an opening-day attraction, but it was there by the time of my first visit! (I miss the Barker Bird)

Dean Finder said...

In the days of expensive film and prints, I used to buy these packets of photos so I didn't spend any of my shots on less-good versions of these.

JC Shannon said...

Major, I would do that, but being the 70s fashion icon that I am well known as, I am going for it all. Besides, no one who voted for Nixon ever wore jeans.

Melissa said...

You're better off going to a vintage clothing shop, like Christopher Reeve did in Somewhere in Time. (Hey, didn't I read that the hotel in that movie was one of the Inspirations for the Grand Floridian Resort?)

The Haunted Mansion really does remind me of those big Hudson Valley estates, mostly Wyndcliffe in Rhinebeck.

Chuck said...

I know that back in the day, they didn't pipe the music out to the beach at Fort Wilderness, but you could sure see the display from there.

Character dining can be fun with kids, but I have mixed feelings about it, particularly at a previously-established restaurant. We did the Winnie the Pooh breakfast experience at the Crystal Palace when my Pooh-crazy eldest was just shy of his third birthday, and he honestly thought (and we didn't realize at the time) that he was meeting the real Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, and Eeyore. That was a lot of fun. But...I also remember eating at the previous incarnation of the Crystal Palace as a kid, a teenager, and on my honeymoon, and that experience - the "as-designed" experience as intended by the original project Imagineers - is now (and probably forever) unattainable. And that makes me a little sad.