Sunday, November 27, 2016

Walt Disney World, August 1972

I found a few slides from Walt Disney World, taken less than a year after it had opened; nothing amazing, but still fun. 

This first one was shot from the Skyway as it passed above the massive show buildings that contained  Fantasyland attractions. From up here it looks fairly utilitarian, and yet interesting to a kid who liked getting a glimpse behind (and above) the scenes. Notice how the "tile" roof of the structure in the lower left continues over the wall a bit - presumably to channel rain, just like a roof is supposed to do.

In the distance, the very pointy Cinderella Castle looms, while the Contemporary Hotel looks super cool.

Moving right along, we now see the Walt Disney World Railroad passing below. I have a friend who is kind of critical of the Florida trains, but I'd still love to ride them. Is that a canal to the left? Just beyond it is a road that appears to have been used by park (or hotel) visitors.

Uh oh, are rain clouds moving in? Gramps doesn't look too concerned, and neither does his Pepsi-lovin' grandson. I've seen many MANY photos of Cinderella Castle, but I don't think I've ever seen one taken from this vantage point. Any idea where these two were standing?


Nanook said...


Roofs-!! What could be more fun-? Actually, where else but at a Disney park would a roof appear so 'manicured'-? And not only do we get to see the Contemporary Resort Hotel, we also get to glimpse the left "giganto" waterfall which greeted guests as they entered Tomorrowland.

And as for Gramps and the Pepsi kid, they're standing where the House of the Future would be, had they been lounging-about several thousand miles west - more or less.

Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

Sounds about right, Nanook.
Underneath that roof would be, if I recall correctly, Snow White, the Mickey Mouse Revue, Welch's Grape Stand and (directly below us) Peter Pan.

Yes, that's a drainage canal in the second pic. They drained the drainage canal and moved the train tacks during construction of Space Mountain. The road runs alongside the monorail spur that leads to the barn where the monorails are fed, watered and housed during off hours. That road would have led to one of the planned-but-shelved themed hotels - the Persian, I think - but is (or was) only used by employees, as far as I know.

Chuck said...

Major, that third photo was taken on the bridge that cuts across the Plaza moat between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. It's the Florida analogue of the walkway between Alice and the Matterhorn (I know there's a name for it, but I can't think of what it is).

Nanook, that is a nicely "manicured" roof. I wonder what those bulbous protrusions on the wall are. Security cameras? Lights? Martian heat-ray guns?

That roof layout reminds me of an area on the roof of a building I worked in in Baghdad. We'd climb up there to get a view of the city and the nearby park that was off-limits to us. It was a preferred location for photos to send back home to family. Not much like the Magic Kingdom at all, but it had its own unique charm.

Scott Lane, in that second photo, the future site of Space Mountain is actually at the extreme left of the frame. While the drainage canal was rerouted around SM when it was built, the drainage canal and pond in the photo between us and World Drive is still there. At least as of 2007, that portion of World Drive was open to the public, although not commonly used as such. I brought our family onto the property that year using a roundabout route that included the remote parts of World Drive to surprise the kids.

Thanks again, Major!

K. Martinez said...

I like how the boxy expansive warehouse looking building contrasts against the intricately detailed towering castle thingy. Even one of the Tomorrowland pylons is peaking through.

It's not the actual trains that bother me, but the "grand circle tour" which seems removed from the action in the park. But, it's been so long since I've been that perhaps it's different now. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Make that the 'extension' or 'Matterhorn extension'.

Chuck said...

Thanks, Nanook!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, oh yeah, I didn’t really notice Tomorrowland over there. Love the big waterfalls. Imagine if WDW had had their own, updated House of the Future!

Scott Lane, interesting - I actually have an aerial view or two from when Space Mountain was being built, I wonder if the drainage canal will be visible in them (they’re from awfully high up, so some details are lost).

Chuck, I’ll bet those are lights up there; probably a lot of work was done at night, after all. I wouldn’t mind getting the opportunity to climb around up there! So you’re saying that Baghdad was NOT like a Disney park? I can’t believe it!

K. Martinez, I think my friend feels the same way. He likes the big trains, but thinks that the “tour” is lacking, which is a real shame.

Nancy said...

It's hard to imagine the park so "bare" for lack of a better word during the early days. Those are actually my favorite pictures of Magic Kingdom. My first visit wasn't until 1979. I so wish I had taken more pictures (I have only a few :(

The Tomorrowland waterfalls are the feature I miss the most! :)

Melissa said...

Thanks, Chuck - I was pretty sure that across the castle from Gramps is about where Frontierland and Adventureland ooze together, but there had already been some construction by 1983 when I first got there, so I was a little disoriented.

Melissa said...

And yes, Nancy, I still have dreams about that Tomorrowland entrance. Walking through it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Whether that says something about the architecture or about my life is up for anyone's interpretation.

Mark H. Besotted said...

Melissa, disoriented is okay. There's no need to worry until you find yourself disconcerted.

From there, it's a slippery slope to distraught, disordered, and finally discombobulated.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, the Magic Kingdom is very similar to Disneyland in that way - the early years look so “larval”.

Melissa, what kind of construction has been added there??

Melissa II, I only know the Tomorrowland entrance from photos, but it sure looks beautiful.

Mark H. Besotted, I have definitely reached the “discombobulated” stage.

Melissa said...

distraught, disordered, and...discombobulated.

Which is easy to remember, because it was a song by Cole Porter.

steve2wdw said...

A few days late to the party....Scott Lane, in the first photo, yes, the Mickey Mouse Revue, Peter Pan, and the Troubadour Tavern (juice stand) are in the western block of Fantasyland, but Snow White is in the eastern block of Fantasyland, just out of the frame behind the carrousel.