Saturday, January 18, 2020

Random Magic Kingdom

I'm using up some random scans from Walt Disney World! I have kind of a lot of Florida park pix, but I don't know how interesting they will be for most of you.

First up is this neat shot of Tomorrowland's "Grand Prix Raceway", circa 1974. That ride appears to take up some considerable real estate, and yet I think I've been told that it is shorter than the Disneyland version. Seems crazy, with so much land available to them. 

From this angle we are looking down on a large number of cars (I dunno, 50?) that are not in service - maybe this was considered a slow day. You can see the "bleachers", which I gather was part of the queue; it was a clever idea to put people above the load area for a more interesting view. In the distance, the Star Jets are to the left, and Tomorrowland's entry pylons/fountains are to the right.

I've always kind of liked the racing stripes and grand prix numbers on the Orlando cars. Has the Florida ride been "toon-ified" like Anaheim's Autopia? Look at that poor mom, lugging that baby like a champ.

This next slide is date-stamped "January 1973", and shows a bustling crowd in front of the stately  Hall of Presidents building. It's only 10:32 in the morning, plenty of time to get in lots of trouble. I've heard that Florida can get pretty chilly in the winter months, but most folks have short sleeves in this photo.

And here's one last orphan slide, from November 1972, with a tour guide walking down Main Street. Perhaps she is returning to the main tour guide office, guided by instinct (using the Earth's magnetic field). For pictures like this, I always wonder if the photographer (there's his shadow!) just wanted a picture of one of the tour guides, or if he thought she was hot.


TokyoMagic! said...

The Star Jets and it's gantry lift elevator are still under construction in that first photo. And is that scaffolding in front of the Tomorrowland entrance pylon, or part of a Main St. building?

JC Shannon said...

Major, of course she's hot, its Florida. The Magic Kingdom has it's own personality for sure. I like the race car concept as well, it's kinda cool. Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Major, the covered area to the right of the glassed-in "tower" is part of the Grand Prix queue, but the area to the left really was bleacher seating for guests who were not riding. I can't remember (no time to research right now) if that the glassed-in area was cast member break area/offices or maybe a VIP lounge. There were quite a few corporate-sponsored VIP lounges built in to the MK (and later into EPCOT).

The tour guide is walking across the east side of Town Square, with the corner of the Gulf Hospitality House to the right and The Chapeau (which sold chaps and other cowboy gear on credit) to the left. Note the Borden dairy wagon in the background, featuring both an Elsie the Cow logo as well as the red-background, "modern" logo. Borden was an original sponsor at the MK.

stu29573 said...

Nope, the WDW cars were never "Toonified." The track was, however, shortened at one point. It gay be again (I'm not sure) for the Tron coaster that's taking over that side of Tomorrowland. For a coaster that's only made up of a bunches of 1s and 0s, it takes up a LOT of real estate!

stu29573 said...

That's "may be again." Kick in, coffee!

Andrew said...

I know this is kind of obvious, but the first pic was taken from a Skyway bucket. Like TM! said, the construction here (note the completely covered Peoplemover track) might be from c. 1975, when "Phase 2" of Tomorrowland, which added Space Mountain, was installed.

And Chuck, I'm pretty sure that the glassed-in area was the Goodyear VIP lounge (interestingly, the WDW Peoplemover's original sponsor was the "Edison Electric Institute").

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, thanks for pointing out the construction on the gantry. And I can’t tell what exactly is going on near that Tomorrowland pylon!

Jonathan, she definitely doesn’t look cold! I think it’s funny that they put the tour guides in what was basically a “Catholic school girl” uniform, with riding crop and riding cap added.

Chuck, thanks for the correction on the bleacher seating; you’d think that most people would want to ride the Autopia, it’s not one of those “spin and barf” attractions. I assumed that the glassed in area was for cast members monitoring the track, but it sure would be a swell place for VIPs. I thought the Chapeau sold Chap Stick, but what do I know. Aw, Borden… as of this writing, they just declared bankruptcy, claiming that milk consumption is way down. Poor Elsie!

stu29573, I wish our cars had never been toonified, I just don’t like the way the vehicles look. But I’m sure we will be stuck with them until the day they either switch to electric cars, or remove the attraction entirely. Even with the Tron coaster going in, I always thought that, with land the size of the island of Manhattan, they’d have plenty of room for even the largest of rides, like a really huge Autopia!

Andrew, I should have mentioned that the first photo is date-stamped “6-1974”, whatever that’s worth. And the second Grand Prix Raceway photo is from July, 1973. And I think this is the first I’ve ever heard about the WDW Peoplemover’s sponsor being the “Edison Electrical Institute”!

Nanook said...

@ Andrew-
My sources tell me the Star Jets attraction opened on November 28, 1974 - merely one day before the Magic Kingdom was forced to close its gates for four hours due to excessive attendance (74,597).

Melissa said...

That gorgeous Tomorrowland entrance. *sob*

The warmest clothing I've ever needed in a Florida winter is long pants and a light sweater. And that's only at night.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, you started out saying you don’t know how interesting these pix will be for most of us, but I don’t think any of the pictures are ever boring. And the readers’ commentary ALWAYS makes up for any less-than top-notch pictures or unfamiliar places.

I like the tour guide picture because you don’t always see them without a gaggle of tourists around them. Were there ever male tour guides? I don’t recall seeing any. Maybe they were around, but just didn’t stand out.

Thanks, Major!


Dean Finder said...

The Edison Electric Institute (a trade group for privately-owned electric utilities) sponsored WDW's Peoplemover because Goodyear didn't want to sponsor ride that didn't use their tires (urethane wheels and an induction drive system)
My understanding is that the Grand Prix was intended to be larger, but the geology (sinkholes, etc) prevented building more on that side of the park. Imagineering's issues with the foundation for the Tron coaster in that area seem to support that idea.

Chuck said...

Andrew, thanks! My gut was telling me "Goodyear VIP lounge," but I didn't trust it. My gut also told me it was a good idea to eat a half-jar of spicy pickles last night, so maybe there's good reason not to always trust it... :-)

Major, I'd missed the Borden bankruptcy announcement. Bummer. I just found a 1980 photo of that cart if anyone's interested.


All of Walt Disney World original Grand Prix Raceway cars (1971/1975) were recently replaced with “newer” 1983 Grand Circuit Raceway cars sent from Tokyo Disneyland . WDI property control was dumbfounded at the Tokyo cars - they had been immaculately maintained and looked as if they were brand new inside and out. Interested Walt Disney World has been discussing “retiring” their Grand Prix Raceway and replacing it with something else. If you look closely at the WDW Tron concept art people have missed the fact that what looks like the “Raceway” are actually futuristic speedboats “AquaPrix Speedway”

Just before Edison Electric Institute’s WEDWAY sponsorship was ending a revised Carousel of Progress was developed with hopes they would be interested in sponsorship. The show was planned to be duplicated at Disneyland as well called THE CENTURY OF PROGRESS. I have some of script fir that show as well as the new theme song on posts at TOMORROWLOUNGE blog. I have lots more about this show I’ll post one day. The new finale of CENTURY OF PROGRESS featured a home with a rotating sunken living room and and New Years Day tele-view call from Cousin Orville in the Bahamas. The city outside the futuristic home is San Francisco . Concept art for this scene is shown in the WDW WDI pocket guide and was some of Imagineer Colin Campbell’s last Disney work.

Dean Finder said...

That sounds like an interesting show. I don't think there's more "armchair Imagineering" for any ride than for how to update the CoP. (My suggestion, combine load/unload into a single theater and add a 5th scene, maybe do 1900s/40s/80s/now/future) But what I expect is that the next major change for the show will be sending the CoP to the Walt Disney Musuem in SF.

TokyoMagic! said...

I've never been on the Grand Prix Raceway at WDW, but I have been on the one at Tokyo Disneyland. Now I'm wondering if the WDW version had the cars with the automatic braking system? In the Tokyo version, the cars would automatically brake if you got too close to the car in front of you. They would also brake automatically at the end of the ride when you pulled up to the loading/unloading area.

Melissa said...

There are (or at least were) male tour guides. They wear/wore a blue vest and necktie, white shirt, and gray trousers. Or maybe the tie was blue plaid?