Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Beautiful Walt Disney World, November 1971

Here are four more nice photos from Walt Disney World, circa November 1917, and courtesy of my friend Mr. X.

Check out this lovely twilight view of the Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner. Just look at all of that architectural detail. Minimal Christmas decorations remind us that it is the holiday season. Go in to the Coke Corner and order a Pepsi, I dare ya. Apparently this was a good place to grab a hot dog. It became "Casey's Corner" in 1995

I've posted several nice night shots from inside the Contemporary Hotel's Grand Canyon Concourse, and here is one more. I think it looks pretty impressive today, so it must have been really stunning back in 1971. Notice the escalator bringing guests up to the level of the Monorail platform. I wonder how late you could eat dinner down below? 

And... I posted a similar photo of the GAF Camera Center a few weeks ago. You can read all about it HERE, if you are so inclined. 

There is a kid with blinding red, white, and blue patterned pants on near the curb - he is my fashion hero. 

This one is not the most exciting thing in the world, but I do appreciate that it shows Tom Sawyer Island before it was a destination for guests. All they could do is look, which made it much more mysterioso! With Disneyland's river having been recently truncated, it would be nice to take a boat around the still-pristine river at The Magic Kingdom.

Thank you, Mr. X!


Nanook said...


Once again, these images from a [very] early WDW always impress. And in spite of the flopped date of the first image, had there been color film back in 1917, it could very well have looked just like this image did in 1971.

Thanks, Major - and again to Mr. X-!

K. Martinez said...

Most all 70's WDW pics are good, but my favorite today is the Rivers of America shot.

Tom Sawyer Island and Frontierland looks like it has a good mount of foliage on it for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom only being open a couple of months. Perhaps because it took several years to complete WDW and/or that there were a ton of trees on the property that is why it looks more full grown than Disneyland's Rivers of America looked opening year.

Thanks, Major and Mr. X!

Chuck said...

Major, in answer to your question, you could eat dinner in the Grand Canyon Concourse until the restaurant closed for the night.

I was nearly certain that the establishment at the NW corner of Main Street had originally been called the Coke Corner, but after a Disneyland AP period, I was beginning to think I was conflating the two. Thanks for confirming a memory.

Stu29573 said...

Every time I go to WDW I make it a point to ride on the river and go to Tom Sawyer Island. I love that they are essentially exactly as they were when they first opened...something Disneyland will never be able to claim. The laid back feeling of boyhood wonder still lives there. I recently introduced my grandson to the place. He was in awe. It all still works...

Jonathan said...

Ya gotta love 70s fashion. What the heck were we thinking? Great shot of the monorail concourse. I also love the magic hour pic of Casey's Corner. Make fun of me if you will, but I still think the Mark I monorail at Disneyland is the coolest version. Yes it's true, I just love the fins! Thanks Major for the cool scans.

Anonymous said...

The original monorails at WDW were Mk IV's.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I'm a dope. I thought you said Mk 1's at WDW. Shame on me.

Patrick Devlin said...

Are the majority of the trees on TSI just native growth that was maybe moved around, as opposed to DL where the majority had to be brought in?

I wonder if too if WDW's rivers never had the soil drainage problems that Anaheim's sandy soil induced, what with the naturally higher water table...

Chuck said...

Patrick, WDW actually has the opposite problem - too much water. They had to build canals all over the property to provide proper drainage. The Seven Seas Lagoon was actually a swamp before they dredged it.

Patrick Devlin said...

Thanks for the info Chuck, that all rings a bell of familiarity now...

Chuck said...

Patrick, more WDW water trivia - the RoA is connected to but at a higher elevation than the Seven Seas Lagoon. There is a lock west of the MK that allows watercraft to transition from one to the other. It's how they get the Liberty Belle into the drydock NE of the Contemporary (and how they get it back, too).

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I wrote “1917” and I MEANT “1917”!

K. Martinez, I do kind of wonder how many of those trees were native to the property, even if they were moved to the island? With all of that Florida rain, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for things to grow considerably.

Chuck, well, you’re not wrong, I suppose…as for the “Refreshment Center”, it’s there on the sign (to the left); I usually have to do at least a little research for these WDW posts.

Stuart Powley, I would love to see an un-piratized Tom Sawyer Island. As far as I’m concerned, Disneyland’s TSI was perfect the way it was.

Jonathan, interesting that you think of it as “Casey’s Corner” - not surprising, since it has had that name for over 20 years.

Anon… no shame… hey it’s still good info!

Patrick Devlin, say, it’s almost like you read my comment to Ken Martinez! I’m sure that at least some of the trees must have been imported, but I’ll bet that many were just “on property”.

Chuck, Mars also had the same problem, which is why we see the canals to this day.

Patrick Devlin, Chuck knows all, sees all

Chuck, so, presumably, water is pumped into the RoA?

steve2wdw said...

Being very familiar with TSI at the MK, I wouldn't hesitate to say that most, if not all of the trees were brought onto the island, if only because of the way it was constructed. Florida (and especially the 43 square miles of WDW) is mostly flat. With the exception of the paths around the perimeter of the island, the rest of the attraction was built atop the very large building containing the Mystery Mine, and Injun Joes Cave. To get to the center of the south island (where these two tunnel systems are located), is a series of steps, stairs and steep paths. There's actually quite a view from there right now, since the last hurricane took out a large number of the bigger trees atop the hill. The northern island, where Fort Langhorn is located, is a bit flatter than the southern isle, and the vegetation appears much more in line with that of the forests surrounding the MK.

Refreshment Corner (now Casey's) is always one of my must-dos.....the dogs are amazing, and since Casey came to town, the theming is awesome. I remember visiting the Refreshment Corner at DL for the first time, and was quite surprised how small it is, compared to the Florida version. Like everything else they learned at DL, Refreshment Corner/Casey's Corner at the MK, was designed to handle much bigger crowds. Thankfully it's as big as it is, because it's still packed to the rafters!

The GAF Camera Center is now of course, the Candy Shop. It would be great to see photos from the Camera Centers interior, as I probably only visited it a few times in it's original configuration. The original corner store layout was greatly expanded to each side, swallowing up whatever was to the north and east of the early MK. I wish I'd spent more time on Main Street back then, but I was much younger, and the thrills in the rest of the kingdom beckoned.

That's a great shot of the Grand Canyon Concourse! I miss the plexiglass trees and the big red booths of the restaurant.

Patrick Devlin said...

And thanks again, Chuck for some Google Maps searching fodder. It's pretty hard to miss a canal lock in aerial imagery and the dock facilities you pointed out over the East side of the lagoon.

Chuck said...

Major, I poorly phrased my comment on the Coke Corner. What I was trying to say was that I thought I remembered it as having been the Coke Corner (okay, technically, the "Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner"), with the same name as Disneyland, on my earlier visits in 1979, 1987, and 1993, but I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to it.

Later, after my wife and I were AP holders, our normal departure routine from Disneyland on a Friday night (really early Saturday morning) was to buy a drink at the Coke Corner and a candy bar at the Candy Shop and split them to stay awake on the hour-long ride home.

When we went back to WDW in '96 for the MK's 25th birthday, we spent a lot of time noting and discussing the differences from DL. When we ate lunch at the corner establishment, we noted it was called Casey's Corner at WDW, and while we had always thought of it as the Coke Corner, we convinced ourselves that it had always been Casey's and that we had just made the "Coke Corner" connection because of the sponsor. Your research just confirmed that our memories weren't as wrong as we had thought.

I'm not 100% sure where they pump additional water into the RoA to maintain the higher water level. I know they pump water to the top of the hill on the southern island to power the mill and keep the waterfalls going (similar to what they do at Disneyland), but I'm not sure if that water comes from the RoA or from Seven Seas Lagoon.

Patrick, Google Maps is a wonderful resource. I could easily spend half a day there. My only complaint is that they don't have high-definition, 3D historical imagery to help with my research obsessions.