Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Walt Disney World, November 1972

We're getting down to the last few slides from this lot of 1972 views (3 more after today). In my opinion, these are pretty nice!

Like this one. As much as I loved Disneyland's fleet of realistic nuclear submarines, they can't compare to the Florida subs - each one a spiky, magnificent Nautilus. Wow! And then they were place in a tropical lagoon (Vulcania?) surrounded by palms and other leafy plants; with the beautiful Florida skies, and the deep green-blue of the water, this scene was a real knockout. I wonder how they made that rock work, which looks like the remains of an old weathered coral reef?

Walt Disney World's trains are bigger than Disneyland's; the locomotives were purchased from Mexico, and date back to as far as 1916. I haven't seen them for myself, but friends say that they are wonderful (and I believe them). This one is the "Roger E. Broggie", named after one of Walt's original Imagineers, who was so instrumental in the building of Disneyland and WDW.

This one is interesting! I believe it was taken from the WDW Railroad as it passed through Frontierland - which looks like it was barely finished. Dumpsters and metal containers of all kinds can be seen amongst the mud, although a few totem poles can be seen to our right. Was something specific being built back there in '72? Or was it really just not completed yet?

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EXTRA! Following up from yesterday, here's a scan of the "Jumbo" Columbia postcard. I think that there are at least 26 cast members up in the rigging (though I am sometimes assuming that if there is a guy on one side, there will be another guy on the other side that we can't quite see). Pretty crazy!


Nanook said...


For all the reasons you mention - the WDW subs are (ah.. make that were) pretty spectacular. And I'm have this odd thought the third picture is 'flopped'. And even if true, doesn't help answer your question. Oh, chime-in GDB faithful...

Thanks, Major for these swell images.

Chuck said...

I don't think that third picture is reversed (or at least isn't as of 6:51 a.m. CDT). You can see Fantasyland to the left, the Hall of the Presidents' entrance structure just to the right of Cinderella's Castle with its huge show building to the left of the Castle, the Liberty Square waterfront to the right of that, and above that the tops of those glorious, downward-shooting fountains that graced the original entrance to Tomorrowland. The totem poles were the extreme end of Guest Territory at the northwestern edge of Frontierland.

The construction we see in the center foreground is Tom Sawyer Island, which wouldn't open until May of 1973. The building under construction in the background is most likely Tom's Landing. The river is drained, and the construction walls and shed are probably there to support construction on the island. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a temporary bridge across the riverbed just to the left of this shot.

Meet the World shared some pictures a few years ago (http://meettheworldinprogressland.blogspot.com/2010/01/vintage-walt-disney-world-part-1.html) that featured TSI construction and the totem poles (as well as a link to a 1973 keel boat photo with some TSI construction in the background from another blog we all know and love). The comments under that post confirm that there are still totem poles near this spot (although they weren't able to confirm that they are the same poles in the same location), which today is the guest viewing area for Big Thunder Mountain. I seem to have vague memories of collecting my wife and my oldest from this spot after a 2007 ride with my youngest, the coaster freak, on BTMRR.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics today, Major! I'm sad to hear that we're reaching the end of these – I've really enjoyed them. The third photo isn't flipped. In the foreground is the area that would become home to Big Thunder Mountain eight years after these shots were taken and I believe what we're seeing just beyond is the construction work for Tom Sawyer's Island which wouldn't open until the following spring. It's impressive how much the Hall Of Presidents/Mickey Mouse Revue theatre building dominates the skyline in the background. And, as ever, shots of the Nautilus lagoon make me swoon with nostalgia!

Pegleg Pete said...

Chuck, you beat me to the punch!

Chuck said...

...and I love the picture of one of the Nautili from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! The lagoon was indeed intended to be Nemo's Vulcania from the 1954 film.

My greatest regret from our week-long 1993 honeymoon (only my third visit to WDW and my first since 1987) was somehow managing to miss riding this attraction. And by the time we returned in 1996 for the WDW 25th Anniversary, it was closed, having ceased operation in 1994. And as much as I like, I can't blame that one on Pressler, either.

There's a fantastic write-up of 20K at Widen Your World: http://www.omniluxe.net/wyw/20K.htm. It's a little dated in its descriptions of what's there today, but well wortyh the read if you have the time.

Chuck said...

Sorry, Pete! :-)

K. Martinez said...

I rode 20,000 League Under the Sea a few times when it existed and thought it okay. There were some differences, but overall the on-ride experience felt almost the same as Disneyland's Submarine Voyage. The Nautilus ride vehicles were definitely cool, but I didn't care as much for the lagoon. Although it was nicely themed, it seemed to lack the multiple intersecting attraction overlays and layering the Disneyland sub lagoon had around it. It just seemed to be placed there as an afterthought contained within its own footprint and felt horizontally flat. Maybe, I’m just used to a certain Swiss peak rising above our sub lagoon. I'm sure it just comes down to personal preference and what one grew up with. Overall, I preferred the Disneyland version. Still I admire the imagineers for trying something different.

All good batches come to an end. Always appreciate the 1970’s WDW images. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it wouldn't surprise me… once in a while a slide gets away from me on the scanner!

Chuck, thanks for the info about Tom Sawyer Island… interesting. Does this mean that the river remained empty for a long time while they did work on the island? Thanks for the link to the Meet the World blog (RIP?). I'm sure it was just a matter of priorities, but it seems strange that they wouldn't be able to have something as relatively simple as TSI ready.

Pegleg Pete, I do have more WDW slides. Just like Disneyland, most of them show the same things over and over. But there ARE some good ones to come! This batch was definitely above average though. Thank you for all the info!

Chuck, I guess the lesson is, if you are at a park and even *think* you want to ride something, you should do it! Back then I would have never dreamed that the 20K ride would go away. It was replaced by something like "Pooh's Playful Spot", wasn't it? Maybe now it has been absorbed into the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride or something. I'll definitely check out the Widen Your World article this evening.

K. Martinez, I've seen videos of the 20K ride, and it is pretty much the same (with a few differences). I see what you mean about the lack of complexity (no Monorail, Autopia, or Peoplemover tracks intertwining overhead). Maybe the photos are misleading, but I do love the "tropical lagoon" feel of the WDW version. It might also be a case of my being so used to the Anaheim version that the differences are the appeal.

Melissa said...

That was the short-lived "Big Dumpster Mountain Railroad" attraction. Guests got confused when they didn't see any Wild West sanitation workers, because they didn't understand that THEY were supposed to be the Wild West sanitation workers. Rather than hastily add a few WWSW figures as they had in the Snow White dark rides, they simply scrapped the attraction due to guests' other major complaint: the constant sexual activity between real wild raccoons and the animatronic raccoons programmed to root through the prop garbage. Apparently the wild raccoons found the animatronic raccoons' voice tracks, provided by Disney Legends™ Wally Boag, Thurl Ravenscroft, and Paul Frees a powerful aphrodisiac.

In an ironic twist of fate, none of the components of BDMRR were able to be re-used, and ended up in a set of larger Dumpsters a few yards away.

K. Martinez said...

@ Major - The lagoon was beautiful and I loved the queue structure. It just felt like a ride unit was dropped into place and not integrated into it's surroundings as well as other attractions at the park were. Personally I wish the attraction was still there.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck; @ Melissa-

I figured I was wrong about the image being flopped (thanks), but the castle's spires had me fooled. I keep forgetting just how deep that castle is, and depending on where an image is captured in relation to it, throws-off what should be steadfast identifying positions. Thanks for identifying the yet-to-open Tom Sawyer Island, following in the fine tradition of delaying opening some time after the rest of the park's official christening.

And Melissa - I don't know how you do it, but BDMRR was the original name for BTMR @ WDW. But the powers-that-be felt the name would be too confusing to guests familiar with the attraction at Disneyland

Melissa said...

20K would have fit in beautifully in the modern Hollywood Studios.

Chuck said...

Major - I would guess that the river was drained while major construction was in progress on TSI. When WDW first opened, the islands that make up TSI today (there are actually two, connected by a suspension bridge) were initially covered with trees, so they would have had to get heavy construction gear out there to clear trees they didn't want to keep, lay sewer lines, build concrete caves and a fiberglass fort, terraform the landscape, and generally make it fit for human habitation, just like the early pioneers did. It would probably have been cost-prohibitive to ship all of that stuff across the pond (the Admiral Joe Fowler was stuck on that track, and Mike Fink's freight rates were astronomical until Tom & Huck's raft venture finally broke his monopoly), and there wouldn't have been much of anything for guests to see from the river craft other than a construction site anyway.

I've found a series of photos showing various stages of construction.

First, it's original state, 1971-72:




Next, construction, 1973:



It's interesting to note, however, that at some point before TSI was finished they did refill the river and start running watercraft again, as evidenced in this 1973 photo from GDB: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v470/bananaphone5000/NEWGORILLA/WDW_Gullywhumper4-73.jpg Once heavy construction was complete and all of the larger construction elements were pre-positioned on TSI, it would have been easy to raft over the construction crews every day to complete the work.

It does seem kind of strange that a lot of the things we think of as existing key elements brought from Disneyland to the Magic Kingdom weren't in operation on Opening Day, especially since they had so much more time to get them ready. The Circle-Vision theater and Flight to the Moon opened later in 1971 due to technical problems, TSI and Pirates of the Caribbean didn't show up until 1973, the Star Jets arrived in 1974, and the PeopleMover wouldn't debut until 1975.

I hope your "RIP?" comment is referring to the blog "Meet the World" rather than Mr TokyoMagic! He commented on GDB just a week ago.

I'm sad to see some of my favorite Disney history bloggers hanging up their hats lately, but I can see how it could easily turn from a joy to a chore, and burnout and family and work obligations take their toll. I'm just glad you and Messrs TokyoMagic!, Dave DeCaro (Daveland), Matterhorn1959 (Stuff From the Park), Vintage Disneyland Tickets and the rest have taken the time to share your collections, interest, and expertise with the rest of us obsess-, er, I mean "interested parties" to brighten our days.

Chuck said...

Oh, yes - and ride everything every time you are at the Park in case it isn't there next time. I opted not to wait in line for the Rocket Rods on an afternoon and evening visit in 1998 and never had another opportunity to ride. I can't even complain that the ride sucked because I don't really know for sure.

I'm so thankful that my wife and I rode Disneyland's Skyway in October of 1994. It was gone by our next visit in mid-November. Just wish I'd taken a photo.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Thanks for the additional images. Also very telling.

And as to your point about not missing any ride, experience, etc., when visiting the parks - you've said a mouthful. As one of the 'more seasoned' members of this blog and a regular visitor to Disneyland for its first 45 years - I've seen a lot of things - never realizing some would be for the very last time. And now when I cast my memory back to those experiences, the images are not always so clear. They're there, to be sure, but not with the detail I would like. Thanks to GDB, Daveland, Stuff From the Park, Vintage Disneyland Tickets, etc., those memories can be bolstered and re-lived anew. Thanks to all.

K. Martinez said...

@Chuck - I did the same thing as you did with the Rocket Rods. From what I've been told, I didn't miss much.

You always do a fantastic job on your research with providing additional images and information. It's much appreciated. Thanks!

@Melissa - I thought they should've expanded on the Jules Verne/Vulcania theme with the 20K Leagues attraction. Sort of make it a sub-theme within Fantasyland like they did Caribbean Plaza in Adventureland. I would've loved that.

Chuck said...

Ken - aw, shucks. You do a pretty good job of digging up additional imagery and information yourself.

I agree that they could have done much more to develop the Vulcania theme. Mike Lee at Widen Your World suggests that the entire attraction was misplaced, that it would have fit better thematically on the border between Liberty Square and Fantasyland and provided a nautical transition between the two areas of the MK. Interestingly, this roughly corresponds to the equivalent location of the Discovery Bay area proposed for Disneyland that would have been built on the ruins of the Living Desert. The Barbary Coast-themed waterfront would have included a replica of the Nautilus and a hint of Vulcania.

I understand that the Vulcania theming was finally fully realized at Tokyo DisneySea. If I ever make it to Tokyo (other than to change planes at Narita), that's on the top of my planned itinerary.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I remember the slogan for "Big Dumpster Mountain RR"… "Come for the thrills, stay for the smell!". Aromas were changed seasonally, including a nice Christmas garbage scent for the holidays.

K. Martinez, it really would have been amazing if they could have had more of a "land" for the 20K ride - maybe something along the lines of Tokyo Disney Sea.

Nanook, I can only thank goodness that I am perfect and never make any errors.

Melissa, you might be right, but from what I've heard I have never had any real desire to go to the Hollywood Studios park. It sounds like a snooze!

Chuck, I wonder if those trees were there originally, or if they planted them only to have to remove them. I suppose the fiberglass fort was a necessity in humid Florida (I assume that they still have their fort). I feel guilty that you are doing all this research that I have not done - but in a way maybe it's more fun for readers. Yeah, that's my rationalization for being lazy! As for all of the unfinished areas at WDW, I can only assume that the sheer enormity of the project almost guaranteed that some things would fall behind. No worries, Mr. TokyoMagic! is doing fine (as far as I know)!! Sorry for not being more specific. I wish Vintage Disneyland Tickets was still a going concern, but that one is all done.

Chuck again, of course I need to follow my own advice, there are things that I never experienced, like the Keel Boats. Who would have ever thought they would go away? Not me!

Nanook, I find that I am way more interested in the Disneyland of the past than I am of the park and its goings-on today. I will still go, but I'm just not invested the way I used to be.

K. Martinez, I somehow managed to ride the Rocket Rods a few times. It was fun-ish. But the lines were horrendous. Maybe a 30 minute wait would have made the ride feel more like it was "worth it".

Chuck, it is interesting to think about the 20K ride being in that other location. However, I feel like it really would have thrown off the historical feel to have these fantasy submarines plying tropical waters. As for Discovery Bay, it looked sort of pretty, but I've never heard of anything that guests would actually DO there for fun. Based on that, I'm sort of glad they didn't build it. Maybe I'm way off though!

Spooly said...

I was a weekly visitor to WDW in 1971-72, and it was amazing how much was still incomplete at the park opening. There was literally nothing finished in Tomorrowland other than the skyride station and the Grand Prix Raceway. Lots of fencing, construction debris, and other items were very visible throughout the park (and the lack of foliage didn't help.)

Major Pepperidge said...

Spooly, it must have been very exciting to watch the park evolve in those early days!