Thursday, February 05, 2015

Walt Disney World, December 2, 1975

I recently noticed an interesting phenomenon: whenever I post vintage photos of Walt Disney World, the number of views quadruples! This is primarily a Disneyland blog (as you know), but I can be swayed by popular opinion. Which is why I am sharing some old Magic Kingdom pictures today. There are some nice pics in the lot - and a bunch of the usual suspects, as you'll see over the coming weeks. 

I like this interesting (to me) view as guests approach the Speedramps up to the Monorail Station. It must have been exciting for visitors, knowing that they were going to take those futuristic trains to WDW.

As always, I have plenty of photos of Cinderella Castle. There's nothing to be done (unless you want me to skip them, and I wouldn't blame you). Still, at least you get a great view looking up Main Street; it's so uncrowded. Wow. These have the hand-written date of December 2nd on them… and look at how gorgeous the day was.

Moving northward, and crossing the street, we get a look at the Horse Drawn Streetcars, and the buildings on the west side. Notice the patriotic bunting, as well as the shields on the lamp posts, all in anticipation of the impending Bicentennial. There's a guy up on top of that building to our right, apparently repainting. Or whatever.

I have no idea where this photos was taken; somewhere up near the castle, I guess? It's a topiary swan, maybe it has something to do with the old swan boats that used to be there.

My unfamiliarity with the Florida park drives me crazy. This walkway seems to lead from the Plaza toward the entrance to Tomorrowland? There's Space Mountain in the distance, which debuted in January of 1975 (Disneyland's version wouldn't open until May of 1977).

That's it for today, but there's more to come!


Nanook said...


These certainly are nice, sharp images. I'm afraid if you're looking for Speedramps, you better head towards Disneyland. It's all people power here.

And aren't you a bit suspicious of the December date-? Where are the Christmas decorations-? Shouldn't we be able to spot something...

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Major - in that last photo, we're looking across the Plaza towards Tomorrowland from the walkway between the Hub and the entrance to Liberty Square.

Interesting how your viewership jumps with vintage WDW photos. I wonder if it's because of demographics - the sheer number of people who live east of the Mississippi who are more likely to have visited that park (and call a visit "going to Disney") - or if there's actually a dearth of vintage WDW stuff out there. Would be interesting to research. But I'm not going to - some things are more fun by leaving them behind a mysterious veil (which may actually just be a theatrical scrim, but I'm not quibbling - I want the mystery)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it is true, I just assumed that there were Speedramps; I find it surprising that they didn't use them. As for Christmas decorations, I thought the same thing; but why would somebody write a date on the slides that was incorrect?

Chuck, I guess that's sort of what I was thinking, though I wouldn't have known about the Liberty Square bit. I do wonder about the jump in views… how do all the WDW fans know that there are images of their park on this blog? It's a conspiracy!

steve2wdw said...

The topiary swan is (was) located just after you passed the ice cream parlor at the end of Main Street on the east sde. The path that leads to the right, heads down to the outdoor seating along the waterway, in front of the Plaza Restaurant.
The last picture is actually on a walkway between the outdoor seating of Casey's (Coke Corner) and the waterway. In fact, if you look straight across Main Street, you can see the swan in the previous picture. The tip/time board, was eventually placed where the yellow umbrella is.

Nancy said...

you know I love Disneyland and Walt Disney World equally, even tho I have been to my "home" parks (being from Pittsburgh) more than the west coast original.

I also wish I knew more about the early days; after my initial trip in 1979, I never got back until 1994, and much had changed by then already.

I never visited Florida until 1979, so any pictures are great with me!! Keep them coming. Who can really grow tired of looking at Cinderella Castle? Its just so majestic and pristine, especially on a sunny day such as this. :)

Looking forward to more. Thanks for making my day, Major!

steve2wdw said...

There actually wasn't much in a jump in views, as the photographer took the picture of the topiary swan, turned left towards the Crystal Palace, then swung around, looking back at the walkway they're currently on. I'm walking that route in my head right now!

steve2wdw said...

To further help everyones bearings, in the last picture, just to the left of the yellow umbrella, is the Main Street bridge that crosses the waterway. This whole area to the left has now been filled in with a new faux bridge just over the photographers left shoulder. The same has happened on the other side of Main Street (straight ahead). From pictures I've seen of the recent progress, they are finally ADDING big, mature trees to the hub area.

Chuck said...

Thanks for the course correction, steve2wdw.

I have spent much more time at Disneyland than WDW (and even more time staring at pictures of Disneyland, wishing I were there), and I forget about the fact that the lands to the east and west of the Plaza are oriented on different axes at the MK than they are at DL. When you combine that with vast difference in size between the two places, it can lead to misjudging distances and directions when I don't check my work, which is exactly what happened here. A discerning look at the bridge in that last photo should also have made it obvious that the walkway was far too narrow for a major thoroughfare at that park, and now that you've oriented me, the location seems obvious.

I'm reminded of a quote attributed to one David Crockett of Tennessee - "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." My posting history this week suggests I may need to spend a little more time concentrating on the first part before executing the second... :-)

steve2wdw said...

No big deal, Chuck! If I had a dollar for every time I posted something, then had to go back and correct it, well I'd probably have enough for an annual pass at DL. Having been a "very" frequent visitor to WDW since '73, it's pretty rare that I see a picture of the MK and DON'T know where it was taken. I really just enjoy the ensuing conversation that happens here, when any of us can chime in with any bit of info.

Tom said...

For what it's worth in the grand scheme of popular opinion, this reader will always prefer the Disneyland images.

K. Martinez said...

For some reason, 1970's images of Walt Disney World seem rarer in both quality and quantity, unlike Disneyland images of which there seems to be plenty (which I appreciate). For that reason, I get excited when I see images of the Florida property in its early years. They always bring back my memories of those visits to the Magic Kingdom when attractions like the Mickey Mouse Revue, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and If You Had Wings still existed.

Disneyland has always been my favorite park as I've grown up with it since my first visit in 1963, but I also have a love and fascination for Walt Disney World's first decade. For me it was an exciting era when it was full of future possibilities, including a future city. Needless to say, the development of the property since then has disappointed me. Walt Disney World images are always appreciated. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

"... why would somebody write a date on the slides that was incorrect?" Oh, come now, Major, haven't you post-dated a check just for the fun of it-? It's the same thing with slides-!

PsySocDisney said...

I love early photos of WDW, but it's all so strange and foreign to me, as much as current shots are. I'm planning my first ever WDW trip this year and can't wait to finally feel some sort of recognition or connection when I see pictures! I do wish I could have seen it in person in its early stages though... time has changed it so much. Thanks for these!

Major Pepperidge said...

steve2wdw, I am making a guess here, but it sounds like you know the Magic Kingdom like the back of your hand!!

Nancy, didn't you go to WDW at the end of last year? Why no trip report?!

steve2wdw, for a change I actually AM going to be posting these in order… I usually just choose whatever appeals to me. Since I have never been to WDW, the details of the area are sort of lost on me; I just sort of think, "Disneyland, but BIGGER", even though I know it's not completely accurate. Is it good that they are adding large trees to the hub? Won't that block views of the castle, or fireworks, or other things?

Chuck, your comment illustrates just what I meant in my comment to steve2wdw! The 2 parks are similar in many ways, but of course there are huge differences as well. No worries about making a mistake, I do it all the time!

steve2wdw (again!), I am hoping to stump you someday… but I'll bet it won't happen. Even I know where most of my slides were taken.

Tom, me too, though I do have an interest in WDW, particularly early images.

K. Martinez, when did you first go to the Florida park? When I was a kid I remember seeing and reading so much about WDW and wished I could see it for myself. Especially when they would show a photo taken from a high vantage point, and it seemed like the large park was surrounded by nothing but a vast sea of green trees. It DOES seem like they are developing the hell out of the property, even letting other companies build hotels, or selling off pieces for certain projects. I get that hotels are a huge money maker, but…. yuck.

Nanook, I can understand post-dating a check (though I have never done it!), but I don't see the point in post-dating personal slides. Presumably they knew when they were there!

PsySocDisney, I am envious of your upcoming trip; how many days will you be there? Sounds like many people allow at least 5 days, and some allow a week or more. $$$$! I'm like you, I so wish I could have seen the park in its early days. But I'm sure you'll still have fun.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I agree with Tom. For many of us there’s just no nostalgia factor for us at WDW. Please don’t give in to popular opinion Major. If you bring in an east coast demographic, the rest of us Anaheim fans will end up feeling outcast and persecuted. And then we’ll have to start reading the posts out loud with southern and east coast accents, who wants that?

steve2wdw said...

Major.....over the years, the hub has lost most of its large trees, as to create cleaner sightless for Wishes as well as the castle projection shows. With the hub reconstruction, a second ring of paths is being added, and it appears that it will be used as a "traveling lane". The planters between the inner (original) ring, and the new outer ring, are being filled with some larger, more mature trees. I would assume that these new trees, will discourage guests from stopping to watch whatever presentation is going on at the castle, as they will obstruct said view. Not only will these new trees provide some needed crowd control, most importantly, they'll add the vertical greenery accompanied by some much needed shade. The hub has been a large, desolate island, in the past few years, so this revamp is actually welcome (imo).

dennis said...

Major- Why haven't you ever visited WDW ? I was in Disneyland last week. It's fun visiting the other coast!How come you've never visited Disney World in Florida? Dennis, Levittown NY

PsySocDisney said...

Well I'm lobbying for at least 6 days, but we'll see how much time we can get off. I almost started a mutiny over on Twitter when I asked if 5 would be enough. The outrage! Haha I'm just not used to needing that much time when Disneyland can be covered in a few days. It'll be a new and strange experience for sure!

K. Martinez said...

Major - In all, I took four trips to Walt Disney World, first time in Summer of 1978, then in Summer of '79, Spring of '83 (with a focus on EPCOT Center) and finally in Summer of '85. Horizons was the last big attraction I remember.

I stopped going after 1985 because for the amount of money and energy it took, it I didn't think it was worth it anymore and after Eisner took over, I had lost all interest in returning. I would like to see it one more time though.

For me, both the west and east coast properties contain that nostalgic factor. WDW specifically for my early adulthood as it reflected the optimism of my youth back then. Like you, I read lots of material on the Florida project as a kid and I really wanted to see it. I did the summer after I turned 18.

Major Pepperidge said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, I have no nostalgia for WDW (having never been there, as I've said), but I am still interested in it - at least in the earlier days. My collection of WDW slides in minuscule compared to Disneyland, so there will always be more Disneyland!

steve2wdw, it still seems weird to me that they are adding trees that will "discourage guests from stopping to watch whatever presentation is going on at the castle". Isn't the whole point of presentations that they be watched? Still, I will trust that the designers know what they are doing!

dennis, it is not for lack of interest; it's probably more about money, since I would want to stay for at least a week, if not more. And when I have time to travel (which isn't often), other destinations beckoned. Also when I lived on the east coast (Pennsylvania) many years ago, I could never convince my parents to make the trip to Florida.

PsySocDisney, do you think you will be making any day trips to Universal? I think I would want to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, at the very least.

K. Martinez, I am curious at what point most folks think that WDW reached a level of maximum awesomeness. Sort of like Disneyland circa 1967, which many DL fans hold up as an example of when that park had achieved a special kind of greatness. Presumably it took WDW a number of years to get over the initial growing pains and get the kinks ironed out.