Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walt Disney World, September 1973

Here are three slides from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! The park had been open less than two years when these were taken. For some reason these were the only pictures of WDW in a lot of many hundreds of slides.

When I first held this slide up to the light, I assumed that it was a photo of a Jungle Cruise boat. Imagine my surprise when I scanned it and saw that it was a Swan Boat! It sure looks like it is going through the Jungles of the world. What's interesting is that Wikipedia says that the Swan Boats opened in 1974. Since this photo is clearly date-stamped "September 1973", somebody is mistaken. It also says that the boats (which lasted until 1983) took guests on a ride around the hub of the Magic Kingdom and the Swiss Family Treehouse; judging by that torch in the lower right, I can only assume that this photo was snapped from the Treehouse.

Here's a shot of one of the rafts crossing the Rivers of America from Tom Sawyer Island back to the mainland. This looks pretty similar to Disneyland, except that the trees are much smaller and there is no berm. Notice the canoe loading area to the right.

This one is a bit of a mystery to me, though I would wager that it was taken inside the Mickey Mouse Revue. As usual, I have no clue! But I'll bet one of you out there in blogland knows.


Nanook said...

It's always nice to see images from Disneyland's "sister park", especially from its early years.

And it appears to me this is another instance where the venerable Wikipedia is in error. (Yes I know; we're all shocked-!) The date should be May, 1973. Possibly May 20, 1973. Any other takers-?

Rich T. said...

It's so fun to see a Swan Boat doin' its thing!

Without Tom Sawyer Island in the shot, it almost looks like those folks on the raft are being evacuated.

K. Martinez said...

It’s always great to see images from the first decade of Walt Disney World. It’s what I remember as an early visitor to the place.

Nanook - Yes, the date of May 20, 1973 is also cited on two well known WDW historical sites.

Major - You're correct. The Steamboat Willie Statue is from The Mickey Mouse Revue in which there were several statues representing Mickey Mouse through the years. These statues were located in the holding area of the attraction.

If recall correctly, the Plaza Swan Boats were boarded across the entrance to Tomorrowland and traveled around the Hub Waterway, past the Crystal Place, on through Adventureland around the Swiss Family Treehouse Island, then returned to the Hub Waterway traveling under the Adventureland, Concord and Castle bridges before returning to the platform in front of Tomorrowland.

The shack on the shore is the landing for the Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island and the land behind the canoe landing is where Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was built.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, K. Martinez already answered your question about the last pic. Here's what the same artwork looked like when the attraction was moved to Tokyo. I took this pic in 2008. Sadly, the Mickey Mouse Revue was removed from Tokyo Disneyland in 2009. Mickey Mouse Revue Lobby - Tokyo DL

Anonymous said...

The "statues" of Mickey through the years in the holding area of the Mickey Mouse Review were actually trompe l'oeil paintings, I believe.

K. Martinez said...

Anonymous - You're correct about the "statues" in the holding area being trompe l'oeil paintings.

It was so long ago since I saw the Mickey Mouse Revue that all I remember was the actual show and even that memory is sketchy.

steve2wdw said...

Hiding in the backround of the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts is one of the Riverboats, docked in the canal by the railroad swing bridge. I believe the 2nd Riverboat was added in 1973 (a busy year for additions-TSI included). Can't tell which one it is though, as you can't make out the smokestacks.

K. Martinez said...

steve2wdw - According to couple of wdw sites, the second riverboat (Richard F. Irvine) opened on May 20, 1973 which was the same day the Plaza Swan Boats opened.

Melissa said...

It's really weird - I have very clear memories of riding the Richard F. Irvine, but all sources say she was retired shortly before my first trip. Makes me wonder what else I remember wrong.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I have a small bunch of slides from WDW that I am going to start sharing here soon. Some of them are really nice! And I guess I should know better than to rely on Wikipedia for my info.

Rich T., are those people trying to escape a horde of zombies?

K. Martinez, I've read that the swan boats were very popular… such a shame that they are gone. Maybe they can come back! The waterways are still there.

TokyoMagic!, thanks for the photo from Japan… it is VERY similar to the one that was in Florida.

steve2wdw, thank you for pointing out out the riverboat hiding in the background! I just looked at the original (much high-res) scan, and you still can't see a smokestack. Rats!

Melissa, I am now very suspicious of online resources. Too bad you don't have any photos from your trip. Or do you?!

K. Martinez said...

Melissa - Not sure where you're getting your information from, but the "Richard F. Irvine" was never retired. It was completely refurbished and renamed the "Liberty Belle" in 1990s.

The original riverboat the "Admiral Joe Fowler" was the one that was retired. It received major damage during a refurb in 1980, thus removing it from service. Hope that helps.

Melissa said...

K. Martinez - you're right; I was mixing up the Irvine and Fowler.

steve2wdw said...

I read somewhere that the ships bell from the Fowler was used in construction for the Tokyo DL Mark Twain. If true, at least there's some part of the twin-stacked Fowler still left!

Chuck said...

The track for the Swan Boats was still visible through the water near the jungle Cruise at least as late as 1998 (and possibly 2004; my memory of which visit I saw it on is s bit hazy).

Chuck said...

The Swan Boat tracks were still visible through the water near the Jungle Cruise at least as late as 1998 (and possiblt 2004; not sure during which visit I saw it).