Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! 

I couldn't think of any images that I have that are themed to Turkey Day, but I did the next best thing; I'm posting slides that my friend Mr. X took during the Magic Kingdom's first Thanksgiving holiday in November, 1971. 

I love this beautiful shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland! I believe that, just like at Disneyland, the Florida version of Tomorrowland was not entirely finished when the park opened. I'm not sure how many attractions were up and running; possibly just the Grand Prix Raceway, and the Skyway to Fantasyland. Anyway, I've always loved those two tall fountains that flanked the entrance; at this point water was cascading down impressively. 

Did water also run down the smooth blue angled walls? I think so, but am not 100% certain.

For those of you with long memories, you might think that you've seen this photo before; but this exact image hasn't been shared yet, and it's a very lovely shot of Cinderella Castle at dusk. The warm lights on the upper towers contrast pleasantly with the cool blue sky, while various lights have come on all around the park. 

Even though this is the last of Mr. X's Disney World slides, I have more great stuff from him, to share with you.

I hope all of my U.S. readers (which is most of you) have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Nanook said...


You are correct on both counts: The Grand Prix Raceway and The Skyway to Fantasyland were the only attractions open on October 1st. By October 14th, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would open; and by November 25th - just in time for Thanksgiving - the Circle Vision 360 film, "America the Beautiful" opened. And... the water did cascade down the smooth blue angled walls.
The WDW Tomorrowland of my dreams.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all; and as always - Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

These are both gorgeous! All I can say about that pic of the Tomorrowland entrance is, WOWEEE WOW WOW! They TRULY do ruin everything, don't they?

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Major, to Mr. X, and to all the readers/commenters out there in Gorillas Don't Blog Land!

K. Martinez said...

I feel so lucky I got to see WDW's Tomorrowland with the original waterfall entrance. It never was better than this. Thanks Mr. X and Major.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

TokyoMagic! - It's true. They really do ruin everything.

Andrew said...

I remember when I first saw a picture of the old Tomorrowland entrance. I was stunned - everything about it was so perfect, it's such a shame it's gone. I especially like how the blue walls curve into the roof of the Peoplemover track. I guess now we'll just have to go to Tokyo to see it...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Chuck said...

Agree with everybody above, particularly Ken. I am truly thankful I got to see Tomorrowland this way. They may ruin everything, but at least we have our memories of what once was.

Note the crowd waiting to see America the Beautiful. And that second photo is just as fabulous. And look - Thanksgiving weekend without any holiday decorations at all.

Andrew, the funny thing about this photo is that when it was taken, although the right-of-way for the PeopleMover was built into the Flight to the Moon (which wouldn't open until Christmas Eve of '71) and Circle-Vision 360° show buildings from the beginning, the ride didn't actually open until the summer of 1975.

Finally, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Mike said...

Thank you thank you thank you for that picture of the original Tomorrowland entrance. I can NEVER get enough pictures of it. This is the way I remember seeing Tomorrowland when I first went to Disney World in 1976. I absolutely HATED the late 90's re-do with all of the CRAPPY black and gold that most definitely ruined the futuristic "The Jetsons" / "Logan's Run" look of Tomorrowland. Yes, water ran down the blue walls as well. If I ever became CEO of Disney you had better believe that one of my FIRST priorities would be to boot "Jules Verne" from the park and restore Tomorrowland to what it was and should have remained.

steve2wdw said...

Two VERY awesome pictures of the Magic Kingdom in it's early years. The Tomorrowland entrance pylons were truly spectacular, especially when the fountains were on. Yes, you are correct about the blue walls-water did flow down the surface. I believe it is actually flowing in the picture, but you can't see it. Hence, within a few years, triangular, raised tiles were added to the surface, which added a ripple effect as the water cascaded down the surface. During my first visit in December of '73, both water features were running, but also causing a lot of spray on the guests as they walked into the land (it was quite windy that first visit). Having no idea of a future PeopleMover attraction, we speculated about the purpose of the "raised walkways" that lined the main walkway above the entrances to Flight to the Moon, America the Beautiful, and If You Had Wings. Within a year, the Tomorrowland expansion was announced and it became apparent as to the purpose of those "walkways"...haha!
The photo of the castle just beautiful, especially with the trees with the twinkling lights, in the foreground, and the fact that there is no stage cluttering up the view!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Beautiful! Thank you, Mr. X and Major!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m thankful, Major, for you and all the time you put into GDB to bring so much happiness to everyone! And I’m thankful for everyone who shares their pictures, memories, knowledge and humor! This is such a fun blog, thanks to all of you!


JC Shannon said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Love the original Tomorrowland pic. So futuristic cool. I'm with Mike, restore it to it's original look, and ditch the steam punk. Thanks to Major and Mr X.

DrGoat said...

Echoing what Lou & Sue said. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and thanks again Major for brightening every day since I found you many years ago.

Pegleg Pete said...

Wow, what a fantastic photograph of the long-lost and much-missed original entrance to Tomorrowland! It was certainly a sparse land in the early days, but it more than made up for its lack of attractions with its distinctive future-utopian architecture. The waterfalls were especially spectacular back in the day. Thanks, Major. And thanks Mister X – these early WDW images have all been wonderful. I'm going to miss these regular time trips back to the early '70s.

Mark said...

With the Plaza Swan Boats sailing by, it made for a picture perfect photo of the Tomorrowland entrance!
Thanks for these photos.
Insights and Sounds

Chuck said...

Andrew (and for anyone else who's interested, feel free to eavesdrop), here's another photo from that same batch (originally posted on 19 Oct 2018) that shows just how barren WDW's Tomorrowland was at that time.

Major Pepperidge said...

Here’s hoping that Whole Foods’ Thanksgiving dinner (turkey with all the fixins) is good, because that’s what we’re doing this year (due to circumstances beyond our control)!! Happy Thanksgiving to everybody.

Nanook, thanks for the info! I didn’t even think about Circle-Vision 360. I thought that the 20,000 Leagues ride was a Fantasyland attraction? Not really sure though.

TokyoMagic!, yeah, these really show what a beautiful park the Magic Kingdom was in those early days. I have no experience seeing how they’ve been ruined, but can only assume it’s similar to what they’ve done to Disneyland.

K. Martinez, ha ha, somebody needs to trademark the phrase “They Ruin Everything!”, and sell merchandise. TokyoMagic!, it should be you!

Andrew, it drives me crazy when they update something to “improve” it, only they do a bad job and just make people miss the way it used to be.

Chuck, I guess I need to see when they changed/ruined WDW’s Tomorrowland. Was it in the 90’s? Thanks for pointing out the people waiting to see “America the Beautiful”, I would have never noticed it. I knew that the Magic Kingdom’s Peoplemover didn’t open until 1975, but there is something shiny and blue that almost looks like some sort of Peoplemover train up on that second level. Probably just windows, I guess?

Mike, I’m glad you liked that one in particular! Obviously I kind of saved it for a special occasion. And now I see that the redo was committed in the late 1990’s. Black and gold sounds OK, but of course it’s all in how it’s done. Better than purple and teal, or purple and pink, or purple and anything else! Poor Jules Verne, it’s not his fault that Disney used his work as insiration - and did a bad job!

steve2wdw, now that you mention it, I do remember hearing about the addition of the tiles to that smooth blue surface. I like that idea! And I love the water pouring from those pylons, even though I’m sure people got wet on breezy days. What’s wrong with a little water? Especially since I hear about that Florida heat and humidity - maybe a cool spray would be welcome.

Lou and Sue, thank YOU!

Jonathan, I admit that I thought the idea of a steampunk Tomorrowland sounded pretty cool, but ALSO have to admit that it doesn’t really work. It looks pretty neat at Tokyo Disney Seas…!

DrGoat, thank you for the nice comment!

Pegleg Pete, somehow even though the landscaping is sparse, it kinds of works as an ultra-neat and tidy “futuristic” place. Nothing askew! Because robots keep everything trim and nice. And even though we’re done with Mr. X’s WDW pix, I have many more from other photographers!

Mark, I wish I had a photo of the Swan Boats sailing by the castle!!

Chuck, I’ve always wondered if that striped wall in the linked photo (the wall in the distance) was a construction wall?

Andrew said...

Thanks for giving that link, Chuck. I think I was reading the blog back then, just not commenting. It's so weird seeing a straight shot though WDW's Tomorrowland. I've even read that without the Carousel theater, you could see the Contemporary!

Nanook said...

@ steve2wdw/Major-

Thanks to Daveland, HERE'S a shot from April, 1975 where you can see the effect from the addition of the triangular raised tiles.

stu29573 said...

I can't believe that I forgot to check in today! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Stu, forgetting to check in is like forgetting to breathe! ;)

Melissa said...

I guess I'm just an old softy, because that first picture brings literal tears to my eyes. Tomorrowland was the best part of my first visit to the Magic Kingdom, and I seriously just flashed back to that feeling of awe and wonder of going through that magnificent futuristic entryway for the first time. (And all those long-lost attractions, plaintive sigh.) I can also remember the awful feeling of going through the subsequent entrance for the first time, knowing what had been lost. I don't mind change per se, but not a sharp left turn into Dumpsville.

Oh, well, if we didn't get the old future we were promised, at least we got the one where we can share endless pictures and videos of the past.

Anonymous said...

Wishing a belated Happy Thanksgiving to Major P and all the Junior Gorillas.

I am very grateful for the GDB blog and all the participants. Thanks all, here's to many more years of memories.