Thursday, July 12, 2018

WDW Vacationland Magazine - Spring 1975

After a brief hiatus, Ken Martinez is back with more scans of items from his collection! Today we'll be looking at a Spring 1975 issue of Walt Disney World Vacationland. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Spring 1975 - Space Mountain – A Universe Waiting for Discovery at Walt Disney World 

Like Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt Disney World had its own Vacationland Magazine published every quarter.  This is the second magazine I’m going to cover here on GDB.  This is one of my favorite covers from this quarterly publication.  It was the 1970’s and the Vacation Kingdom was brand new with an exciting future ahead. 

The first article in the Spring 1975 issue of the Walt Disney World Vacationland magazine is “Space Mountain – A Universe Waiting for Discovery at Walt Disney World”.  I really like this spread showing off the completed Tomorrowland of 1975 with RCA’s Space Mountain towering over the land of the future.

This was a Tomorrowland of science and exploration.  Several visions of tomorrow would pass before Stitch, Buzz, Mike and Sulley would arrive on the scene.  Here we learn of Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, the WEDway PeopleMover and Star Jets.  Especially interesting is RCA’s “Home of Future Living” in which much of the technology has already come to pass.

The final page of this article features a shot of Space Mountain’s interior.  The original “rockets” held eight “astronauts” per double- car vehicle.  In fact the 1978 Matterhorn Bobsleds were modeled after this same configuration.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article.  There’s more to come from the Spring 1975 issue of Vacationland Magazine.  Stay tuned.  



Nanook said...


What a great brochure. The Tomorrowland aerial image from the first page of the Space Mountain article is a real beauty. With entrance fountains front-and-center, you really get the feel of how guests were greeted back in those halcyon days of 1975-!

Sometimes the descriptions were a bit more optimistic than the real thing turned out to be, but a fun read, nonetheless-! Again, I'm looking forward to future installments.

Thanks Ken.

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder who did the cover art and that artwork showing the aerial view of Tomorrowland. Both are absolutely gorgeous. The company doesn't seem to do artwork like that anymore. The "art" they produce now to show the public new/future attractions, often looks cheap and "cartoony."

Thanks for sharing this with us, Ken and Major!

Nancy said...

I agree. The colors are so nice, brings the excitement of wanting to see what it's all about. The concept art is just amazing; always my favorite pictures to look at. I so miss those fountains :(

Thanks for a fun post, and Im looking forward to more!! Thanks, Ken and Major :D

Chuck said...

That aerial view is simply gorgeous! The level of detail is amazing; if you zoom in, you can even see the pylon for the attraction's sign next to the entrance (although the sign itself is unreadable).

The second guy on the cover seems a little warmly dressed in comparison to the other passengers. He'd melt in a Florida summer. I wonder what he smelled like after a couple of hours?

I love this style of copy, and while the words used could give a different impression, it really is an accurate description of the attraction in the '70s. I love the way they had to use a lot of words to describe the new-fangled concept of a video teleconference. I'm not even sure the term had been coined in 1975.

And there's that PR shot of the inside of Space Mountain that they used for eons. And why shouldn't they have? It's perfect.

I miss this era of WDW so much. As always, thanks for preserving this bit of history and sharing it with us, Ken!


The Space Mountain cover illustration was done by G. Akimoto and is one of my favorites. It was actually done in 1974 for an unproduced WDW attraction poster but during a transition period when Disney was in the process of abandoning the production of attraction posters all together. The original illustration measures 25”x20” and also appears on a 1974 Disney News cover.
The second illustration is another of my all time favorite WED Imagineering paintings and was done by Imagineer Clem Hall. Hall was a trained portrait artist and was a master at overview concept illustrations. He did similar views for Disneyland’s Space Mountain complex and Big Thunder Mountain. He also did the very famous aerial view of EPCOT CENTER. He also painted the masters of the Haunted Mansion stretching portraits used as guides to once paint the prop portraits guests see in the Mansion attractions.

Pegleg Pete said...

I love both those pieces of artwork – thanks Ken and Major! And thanks Mike for identifying the artists. The Tomorrowland overview does indeed have a similar look and feel to the EPCOT aerial concept artwork – I should have realised that the two were by the same artist. At the time, WDW's Tomorrowland never really grabbed me in the same way that Disneyland's Tomorrowland seemed to have appealed to West Coasters, but now I really do miss it: those wonderful entrance fountains, the gleaming white architecture of mid-Seventies utopianism, not to mention the chance to cool off for a while on a ride through 'If You Had Wings. Sigh.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, thanks for that info. What a shame that artwork wasn't used for the attraction poster. Upon studying the cover again, I now see G. Akimoto's signature near the bottom! Is that unusual for Disney to let an artist sign their work? I don't think I've seen that before.

stu29573 said...

I now have "RCA...leads the way...leads the way!" streaming through my brain. But that's not a bad thing! What an exciting time at WDW! I too miss the entrance fountains. I heard they were removed because people got sprayed (like that's a bad thing in Florida?) but I suspect it had more to do with maintainance costs...

Stefano said...

Thank you, Ken and Major, this is another post that is like walking back into one's childhood. A California kid, I had the first news of Florida's coming Space Mountain in a 1974 amusement park article in my grandpa's Catholic Digest magazine; "ion-charged vehicles will glow as they hurtle through deep space" was the description. And then at a friend's house I poured over this Vacationland issue, excited because at about the same time construction started on the Anaheim Space Mountain.

There was also that TV special with Lucie Arnaz and Tommie Tune celebrating the WDW Space Mountain debut, though the interior shots were as bogus as those for the 1977 Disneyland commercial.

A question: when did the Carousel of Progress open at WDW?(I've never been there). I recall that the Progressland model was still visible to PeopleMover riders for some time after America Sings opened, but by 1975-76 it was replaced with large color illustrations for the 1977 Space Mountain.

JC Shannon said...

Illustrations one and two are so cool I don't even where to start. Creating excitement and anticipation, beckoning us to experience Space Mountain and all of Tomorrowland. These are some of the best Disney art examples I have ever seen. Thanks to Ken and Major for sharing them.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, the aerial artwork really does it for me. Yes, the descriptions were a bit more optimistic than the real thing, but they sure fired the imagination. I love old Disney theme park articles for that very reason. Nowadays, an article would read something like “Come and take a picture with all you favorite Pixar Pals and Disney friends!”

TokyoMagic!, It looks like Mike Cozart answered your question which is a good thing because I had no clue. Glad you enjoyed today’s post.

Nancy, those fountains were one of the best entrances to any Tomorrowland I ever saw. I still remember my disappointment when they turned off the fountains. It was like “Oh, man! Why did they do that?”

Chuck, one of the reasons I love sharing stuff like this with others is something new is discovered with different eyes. For instance, I never even noticed the guy warmly dressed on the cover. He’s very 1970’s. And yeah, that PR shot of the Space Mountain interior is a winner.

MIKE COZART, Thank you for chiming in with the information on the artists. It really is a shame they didn’t use that as an attraction poster. All the artwork you mention is in both “The Art of Disneyland” and “The Art of Walt Disney World”. Those books have lots of great artwork. Again, thanks for your contribution to this article. Your experience and knowledge is always great.

Pegleg Pete, Like you, being a west coaster, WDW’s Tomorrowland didn’t have the same impact on me as Disneyland’s version, but I did like certain elements of the Magic Kingdom version. The entrance for one was a masterpiece in my opinion and I really loved the “Star Jets” space shuttle style ride vehicles as well as the massiveness of Space Mountain. It was different, but I still loved it. And yeah, “If You Had Wings” was my favorite Tomorrowland attraction. It was FREE!

TokyoMagic!, after reading Mike’s comments, I was thinking the exact same thing about the attraction poster. And now you’ve got me curious about whether artists signed earlier Disney theme park artwork.

Stu29573, Ha, ha! “Here’s to the Future/RCA Leads the Way” was in my head the entire time I was compiling this article. I read somewhere that the pavement was usually wet at the entrance to Tomorrowland and Disney didn’t want anyone slipping and injuring themselves for obvious reasons. But who knows the real reason the water was turned off. Perhaps Mike Cozart knows?

Stefano, “Carousel of Progress” closed at Disneyland on September 9, 1973 and opened at Walt Disney World on January 15, 1975. At least according to Wikipedia. As for the TV special with Lucie Arnaz, that would be “Welcome to the World” from a 1975 episode on “The Wonderful World of Disney”. It’s a great time capsule for Walt Disney World in the 1970’s.

For some this may be unwatchable due to the musical numbers, but it does show WDW in the 1970’s.

JC Shannon, you described the illustrations perfectly. Glad you enjoyed.

Anonymous said...

Wowser. I love this.

This seems very familiar, almost certain there was a Disneyland version of this edition since I remember serious Space Mountain Envy that lasted until the California version opened.

Thanks Ken and Major, I know how much work it is to do this.


Major Pepperidge said...

This is definitely all Ken’s work - I just got it ready to post here. I just thought I would add that Neil Boyle, who I mentioned a few weeks ago, signed his artwork for a cover of a “Vacationland” magazine. It’s pretty prominent, but I admit that it seems to have been very rare to see a signature on any Disney artwork. (See the Vacationland cover at this link:

Melissa said...

I miss this Torrowland so much. It fired my imagination in a way I'm not sure the current version could do for any kid. It really felt like stepping into the future - a great big beautiful future at that.

Nanook said...

Hey - why stop with: “Here’s to the Future/RCA Leads the Way”. How about: "RCA keeps the color on track" - or was it on trak-? Referring to their ColorTrak line of televisions.

Chuck said...

...aaaand now I have an earworm. Thanks, Stu; I'd somehow managed to get through the entire post without recalling the tune (and the dog in the flying saucer).

I guess it could be worse; I could have an earwig instead.

stu29573 said...

Insert evil laugh here...


The WDW Tomorrowland Water Fall Pylons we’re shut off at various times during the later part of the energy crises. Eventually they were left off altogether ( like Disneyland’s entry fountains that were turned into tiered planters) I don’t think overspray was really an issue since Florida gets a ton of showers all year long.
The plylons remained until the New Tomorrowland of 1994 began construction. In a sad detail, the imagineers responsible for the WDW New Tomorrowland (“ the future that never was is finally here!” DECO-TECH style) we’re very intent of removing/hiding the symmetrical 70’s Tomorrowland entry - especialy the entry pylons .
The first WDW 1994 New Tomorrowland design team planed on keeping the plylons in the new design, however on side was going to be made subststialy taller - but they would still not be fountains. This Unbuilt New Tomorrowland was themed as TOMORROWLAND 2071 -Galactic Expo to balance Disneyland’s (also unbuilt) New TOMORROWLAND 2055-Spaceport Disneyland.


Auto correct changed all my WERE’s to WE’RE

K. Martinez said...

JG, I actually experience both Space Mountains close together in time so if I had Space Mountain envy it wasn't for long. glad you enjoyed.

Major, I'd love to see that Vacationland cover you're referring to, but unfortunately it doesn't work for me.

Melissa, I always liked the sense of discovery that the Magic Kingdom's original Tomorrowland had. Like everything was new and exciting.

MIKE COZART, Thanks for that extra bit of info. And yes, since it rains in Florida quite a bit it wouldn't be an issue with water on the pavement, would it? Duh! It was disappointing to see those pylons removed.

Also, your comment about turning of the falls reminds me of the wonderful fountains in Caribbean Plaza that were converted into planters. I get saddened when Disney removes any of their water features or elements from the parks. For me, water is such a vital element to the Disney theme park experience.

Dean Finder said...

I don't know if the Matterhorn bobsleds had this rule, but when Space Mountain had those ride vehicles kids had to ride in the lap of an adult. When I was a fat 8-year-old in the 1980s, I could only ride in the lap of my granddad. He was not a coaster guy.
When I came back as an adult a few years ago and realized that he tolerated what must have been a really unpleasant experience, I really wished I could have thanked him for doing it.

Melissa said...

The entrance pylons were still impressive and beautiful even when the fountains weren't running.

And Ken, those ex-fountains in Caribbean Plaza make me sad. The sounds of running water and steel drum music really added to the atmosphere.

K. Martinez said...

Dean Finder, I'm pretty sure the same rule applied to the Matterhorn Bobsleds, because I remember sitting in my dad's lap as a child on the Bobsleds and my little niece had to sit on my lap when she wanted to ride it.

Melissa, You and me both. I was so sad about the alteration of the Caribbean Plaza fountains. And each one had a cool Spanish name.