Monday, December 12, 2016

Walt Disney World, December 1971

I have another small group of slides from Walt Disney World from its first year - it had only been open since October 1st, as you know. None of them are anything amazing, but like Disneyland, I like seeing photos from the early years.

I put these in the order in which they were taken (based on the number stamps on the slides), just because. Here's the first one, taken by a sandy beach at what I believe was the Polynesian resort by the Seven Seas Lagoon. If the photographer had panned to our left a bit, we would have seen the spire of Cinderella Castle. 

I'm not sure what that station is - a Monorail station? Or perhaps that's where guests disembarked from boats that had crossed the lagoon? Whatever the case, this is the most exciting photo that has ever existed in the history of the world.

Hooray, we're inside the Magic Kingdom; Town Square, to be precise. There's the Christmas tree, so we know this really is December. A Horse Drawn Streetcar passes - does anybody know if those are exactly the same as Disneyland's? Looks like there's a slight breeze, do the Florida parks ever get cold?

There's more from WDW to come!


Nanook said...


I'm thinking the beach in the first shot may be a bit beyond (west) of the Polynesian, but who knows. (Someone, I'm certain).

Second shot = Magic Kingdom Monorail Station. The Ticket booths and the entrance are just off to the right.

And, yes, the Florida parks can get cold - sometimes with a bit of wind, so it feels colder.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm wondering if it used to get colder in Orlando back in the seventies. Pics from the early days of park operation often show people wearing long pants and sometimes even a jacket or sweater. You just don't see that too often in person today. It seems like 90+ percent of the guests today, wear shorts. Maybe people were just more modest back in the early seventies? Maybe the earth is experiencing a slow progressive warming?

My, that certainly is a smart outfit on the lady in the last pic (the purple pantsuit on the far right).

Steve DeGaetano said...

While I haven't studied the Disneyland horsecars in-depth, I do believe that aside from very minor details (the shapes of the brass "finials" on the car roofs, for example), the cars are the same in each park.

There also may be differences that are invisible. For instance, the WDW horsecars use drum brakes from an automobile (forget the year/make). I'm not sure if the DL versions use car drum brakes; however, if they do, the ones they use will be from earlier cars for obvious reasons (1955 v. 1971).

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I think you're location is pretty accurate to where the first shot was taken. I was thinking the beach area of the future site of the Grand Floridian DVC which is pretty much the same area.

Major, The first shot is amazing to me. It illustrates the difference in concept and feel between Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World. WDW really did feel futuristic when it first opened in 1971. Always appreciate 1970's WDW. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you’re right, I wouldn’t expect a broad sandy beach right at the Polynesian, but it could be nearby. I hear so much about the heat and humidity at the Magic Kingdom that it’s hard to imagine it being chilly.

TokyoMagic!, based on very little evidence, it sure seems like it used to be colder everywhere. I have photos of my grandparent’s house in Encino covered in snow! Some of the pics are neat, maybe I should share them on one of my “anything goes saturdays”. Ol’ Purple Pantsuit will be seen several times in this batch!

Steve DeGaetano, I did not even know that the streetcars had brakes! I just figured “Horse stops - streetcar stops”. But I suppose there is always the slim chance that a horse will go nuts.

K. Martinez, the Florida parks definitely have a very different feel to them. All that land - flat, flat land, and big clear skies. Not to mention the much more “late 1960’s” style of buildings.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would love to see pics of your grandparents house in Encino covered in snow! I remember it snowing in Palm Springs in the late seventies. And there are postcards out there showing that it snowed in Whittier in the forties.

Nanook said...

What.... are you saying purple pantsuits are not a fashion trend-?? Uh oh-!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, you were supposed to say, "Oh, do you like it?" and then I was going to say, "You know I always have!"

I remember my great-grandmother had a purple pantsuit that she made herself. I would actually wear a purple suit to the right a "Dick Tracy" or "Clue" theme party.

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

I believe the proper remark goes something like this: "I love your black pantsuit. Black is sooooo slimming-!"

(And who said purple isn't in good taste-? There are shades of it and times that are perfectly correct. Remember my 'mini' bikini bathing suit-??) So, there you go.

steve2wdw said...

Ahhhh.....the monorail station indeed! As far as history goes, this IS one of the most exciting photos that has ever existed. Want to know why? The MK monorail station and the Transportation and Ticket Center station, although thematically different, were pretty much the same. They are the two stations that have center and outside platforms. In the very early days, guests boarding the monorails at either of these two stations, would proceed up a shared ramp between the express and hotel beams. Guests departing the monorails would use the outside ramps, on opposite sides of the station. While the TTC station still operates in this fashion, the station pictured here switched out the boarding and departing ramps. The ramps on each side of the MK station were covered and are now boarding ramps. I assume it's because their capacity is much larger for the masses waiting to head home (or to their resort hotel) after a day of fun in the MK. The side pictured here is used for the Express Monorail boarding to the TTC. On the opposite side (nearest Seven Seas Lagoon), is the Resort Monorail entrance. I can't even imagine the congestion using the original configuration pictured here. There are few pictures documenting the original MK station in use like this.....this picture is AWESOME!

steve2wdw said...

The location of the beach in the first shot is between the current Grand Floridian and MK. If you notice the small sailboat at the far right of the picture, that piece of land that juts out into the lagoon is the site of the Grand Flo. This "bay" is the piece of water that the monorail crosses between the GF and the MK. There is an early picture (it may be on the back of the first Souvenir Pictorial) of a monorail crossing this "bay" with a brilliant sunset behind it...that beautiful sky piercing through each of the monorail windows.

steve2wdw said...

I'm a bit dyslexic, Pictorial Souvenir!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I actually have the slides of the snow right here - they are from 1949, I believe. My mom is heading to school in the snow - so crazy!

Nanook, I think Prince would have a different opinion about purple.

TokyoMagic!, purple is a perfectly good color of course, but I had it hammered into my head by certain teachers that it should be used sparingly. It has stuck to this day and I avoid it unless necessary!

Nanook, purple clothing only counts if you are old enough to choose it yourself.

steve2wdw, thank you for the great info about photo #2 and the Monorail station! I had no idea, obviously. Now of course I wish it was a better photo of the station - not sure why 1/3 of the composition is rather boring landscape. But I’ll take it I guess. Now I’ll need to look for photos of the station as it currently looks.

steve2wdw again, I’ll bet that photo of the Monorail crossing the bay is somewhere on the internet - time to search Google!

Nanook said...

@ Major-

And what makes you think I didn't choose the purple swim suit myself-?? I'm still partial to purple to this day.