Thursday, October 05, 2017

Special Guest Post - Walt Disney World, 1972

A few weeks ago I shared some personal photos from GDB reader Mark H. Besotted - photos that were taken by his mother during a trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa (this was before Mark was born). Well, they also went to Walt Disney World when it was brand-new. As before, Mark provided a fun commentary to accompany the pictures.

After their visit to the Gardens of Busch, my parents headed up the road. The swampy backwoods of Orlando was less than a year into its new life as The Vacation Kingdom of the World, and WDW still had less than a thousand five-star restaurants. 

Mom was a little off-kilter (what? too soon?) with this monorail picture.
The bottom right features a corner of the Floral Mickey, and I suspect they must've been aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad. 

On the other side of the Main Street station, we get our first glimpse of Cindy's Castle. 

There aren't a lot of crowds, and even fewer children. (By my count, only two kiddos spent an A ticket on the horse-drawn carriage.)

And there's Mr. Mouse himself, unmobbed by anyone. 

Note the fetching tour guide, who's so used to the giant parading mouse that she doesn't even turn her head to look anymore.

Snow White and a quorum of dwarves show off the fun a balloon can bring. Tag yourself -- I'm the big-haired girl waving at Snow.

Wait a minute -- is this the actual parade? Where are the families who saved their Parade-viewing spots for hours? Where are the multitude of crowd-control CMs? The past truly was a different time.
(The big-haired girl has already succumbed to capitalist pressure and bought a balloon.)

Here's that silly old bear, stumping for political office. A few weeks later, he would accept the nomination from The Children's Party, based on "votes" cast at Sears stores nationwide. 

I'm a tad suspicious of the sideburns on that trombonist -- they might be be hazardous when he's called to a fire.

If this picture were 8 months later, it could include Swan Boats. Instead, it's just part of the castle.

Frontierland Station sits at a dead-end, long before there were any mountains on that side of the park.

THANK YOU to Mark for sharing these fun, early photos from the Magic Kingdom! I'll have part 2 coming up soon.


Nanook said...


The big-haired girl - with the platform shoes-! What a fine time it was back then. Elbow room, you ask-? Why, it's just about everywhere.

Thanks for sharing.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, these are fantastic! I love vintage WDW and I also love vintage Disney parades! In that Snow White pic, it appears that there are three more large balloons backstage. I wonder if those belonged to the remaining three Dwarfs or if other characters in the parade had those large balloons tied onto them?

Thanks for sharing more of your family's pics, Mark!

Scott Lane said...

Thanks for sharing! Yes it was a different era. When attraction wait-times were calculated in less than whole hours. (except possibly 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. That line CRAWLED)

K. Martinez said...

These early WDW photos are awesome! Love the "Pooh for President" fire Engine pic. Great write up too! Thanks for sharing your collection with us, Mark. I look forward to more.

Pegleg Pete said...

Great photos - thanks Mark and Major! This is the park I remember from my first visit the following summer!

Btw, as part of the Watergate hearings, was anyone from CREEP ever questioned regarding any dirty tricks towards the '72 Pooh campaign? I just can't understand why such a lovable bear didn't get more votes...

Steve DeGaetano said...

That photo of Frontierland Station is rare indeed.

The Disney Dudebro said...

Don't feel bad about your mother's "off-kilter" monorail photo. Dutch angles can be quite artistic when used properly. The same can't be said for their use in "Battlefield Earth." LOL! :D

The Disney Dudebro said...

Also, it feels rather uncanny to see the Frontierland train station without being squeezed in-between Splash and Big Thunder Mountain. As a 90s kid, I must be spoiled!

Melissa said...

Oh, man, these are pinging my nostalgia button so hard! This is basically what I remember seeing on my first trip in 1983! Characters just wandering around unattended, and I never even bothered to take any pictures of them.

I do have pictures of myself next to that pillar where the lady in white trousers, and later the big haired girl with the balloon, are standing. That's where the Harmony Barber Shop is today, after the Emporium-Mart expansion.

What a great shot of the old frontierland station, too! And another reference picture of the original wdw tour guides if I ever got around to that craft project.

The color scheme on Main St. isn't BAD, but it's clear in this shot how much better the old one helped the forced perspective.

Anonymous said...

Everything in WDW is So BIG.

Thanks Mark and Major for a look at a place I've never been.


Mark H. Besotted said...

Thanks, all. And, acourse, special thanks to the Major for hosting as always.

Nanook, that's what Walt called "the blessing of elbow room." I'm fairly certain I got that quote right.

TM, now I want to see Jaq and Gus Gus tied to balloons.

Scott, I can just imagine it -- ten minutes for If You Had Wings? Outrageous!

Ken, even back then, politicians were hopping on the firefighter bandwagon. Or Chemical Wagon, as it were.

Pete (can I call you Pegleg?), you just KNOW Pooh was at the top of Dick's enemies list. I believe that's why Nixon gave the "not a crook" speech at The Contemporary, to keep an eye on his closest rival.

Steve, any photo that impressed you must be a good one indeed.

Dudebro and Melissa, I still can't quite figure how that relates to the current station's location. It feels so different from what I'm used to.

JG, there's still time. We still have Country Bears, the Swiss Family still own the Treehouse, and Tom Sawyer still owns his island. And you can ride the original Mansion at Halloween. I'm just saying.

Dean Finder said...

I don't think I've ever seen that records & toys shop before the barber shop was moved there. It's too bad they didn't keep the look of that building.

Melissa said...

Mark, if you're facing the doors of the firehouse and turn right you'll walk straight into the barber shop. It's in the little alley between the fence with the diagonal pattern and the end of the building with the sort of round balcony.

Melissa said...

Here's an okay reference picture:

Mark H. Besotted said...

Thanks. During my last visit in March, there were construction scrims up all over the Emporium, so those are my strongest recent memories.