Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Walt Disney World Selection

I have a bunch of slides from the Walt Disney World that I have yet to scan; like Disneyland slides, many of the WDW show the same old stuff. But the blog is a hungry monster that requires content every day, so why not feature some of the latest scans today?

First up is this view of the Grand Prix Raceway, circa 1976. As someone who has never been to Florida, I always assumed that the WDW version of the Autopia must be huge, with miles of winding track for drivers of all ages. And yet... Mr. X tells me that it was always smaller than the one at Disneyland, and in fact has been reduced in size more than once. With all of that acreage?? I don't get it. I haven't seen a recent photo of what is now the "Tomorrowland Speedway", but it seems as if they did not take the care to landscape the attraction the way they did at Disneyland.

Here's an oddball shot from Bay Lake, looking toward the steamboat landing, with the Monorail Station beyond that. I love the idea of arriving at the Magic Kingdom (or anywhere!) via Monorail or boat, but I guess that buses are the main mode of transport these days. I know there's the new Skyliner, but am unclear as to how much use it is for guests.

Next is this 1973 photo looking down on the main corridor through Fantasyland from the Skyway. It's so empty! The only attraction that I can ID for sure is the Carousel, and I think that maybe "it's a small world" is in the lower right.

I like this unusual view of the much-missed "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" load area. Those Harper Goff "Nautili" are the coolest! His iron-plated, riveted design is practically the definition of "steampunk", though the subs predate that word by decades. I love the green "eyes" (did they glow at night?) that fooled mariners into thinking that Captain Nemo's submarine was a hideous sea monster.

I have lots more Walt Disney World for you!


"Lou and Sue" said...

I love that face on the sub!

And the 2nd to last picture has some great fashion - with Mr. Fancy Red-Pants and more. Boy, those really stand out now, but really were in style, at the time.

Major, you can post anything and we'll keep coming back, so don't worry if it's some of the 'same old stuff.' It's always fun for us readers - thank you!

TokyoMagic! said...

Seeing that Nautilus sub from that straight-on angle, with the hatch just partially open, really does make it looks like some kind of monster or mutant alligator!

Nanook said...

That shot of the Grand Prix Raceway seems to incorporate the Peoplemover into the Raceway, thus making the diminutive Raceway attraction much larger than it actually is. That should be Peter Pan's Flight in the lower right. It's a Small World would be behind us and to the left. And yes, that's a great shot of the Nautilus Sub. The "green eyes" on each Nautilus were actually 'death rays' that could be used on unruly guests. It was quite a sight.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

After a little googling, I can say that the sub's face looks like a "Deep Sea Anglerfish." I don't know my fish, off the top of my head.

JC Shannon said...

I love those pants, I had a pair just like 'em. Not everyone can pull off the trousers aflame look and a shirt to match. I would have gone with white shoes though. I don't see Wally Gator in the lake shot, so it's adult swim time. I am a submarine purist, gray, not that PC research yellow. But I gotta admit, the Jules Verne version is pretty darn cool as well. Did they save any of them, or did they scrap them all and make toasters out of them? Thanks Major.

stu29573 said...

Yay! My stomping grounds! Yes, the speedway takes a hard left after going under the Peoplemover track. The ride was never landscaped much, since it was supposed to be a raceway.
Almost all resort guests arrive by bus, but the busses are a fair walk away from the entrance so they don't mess it up. The TTA and MK resorts are still all only connected by boat or monorail.
As pointed out, the ride to the right is Peter Pan. There is a ticket booth straight ahead (now gone). The structure to the left is Pinocchio's Village Haus restaurant, which has a window that overlooks the load area of It's a Small World.
Other than cosmetics and a few references to Captain Nemo, 20,000 Leagues was identical to its Disneyland counterpoint. Still, it was just enough to make it an incredible fantasy ride. I still miss it!
Thanks for the pics!

Andrew said...

There's that carousel roof pattern that influenced Disneyland! That nearby planter doesn't look very "fantasy" to me.

If you arrive to Magic Kingdom by car, you have to take a ferry or Monorail to reach the gates. Only resort guests take busses right to the front.

JC Shannon, when the ride closed, some of the pieces were ripped off, put into souvenir pins, and sold before all of the subs were carted off to the WDW boneyard, where they sat for years until being scrapped.

Chuck said...

Note the odd juxtaposition in the third photo of the very modern planter/bench and the European village design of the main structures. They appear to be painted some variation of "Look Away Gray" or "Go Away Green" so they don't stand out so much. That planter and tree are no longer there.

The brown-roofed structure to the left is the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, which is connected to the iasw show building, behind us and to our left as Nanook has described. The dining room features a giant window that overlooks the iasw load area. The roof of this part of the Village Haus is now about the same shade of bright blue as a plastic tarp.

I found a 1982 ground view of essentially that same scene, contributed by our very own Ken Martinez back in 2014. You can see how the Village Haus blends into It's a Small World (capitalized here because that's Ken's preferred spelling and it's his photo :-).

I also found a 1971 reverse angle of Ken's photo, which gives a bit more context to the area. If you were to walk to the right of the ticket booth and look left, you'd see the castle and the entrance to the Mickey Mouse Review.

I always enjoy seeing photos of that ticket booth because it's the only one I remember from my first visit in 1980. I have no idea why we stopped there since we had the Magic Kingdom Club unlimited attraction (with the exception of the shooting galleries) passes. Maybe we wanted a guide map?

Jonathan, I know one of the subs' upper superstructure was on display for a while in the late '90s in the water effects show area of what was then called Disney-MGM Studios, and a portion (or maybe all) of one or two were sunk as diving targets off Castaway Cay, a Bahamian island that's a day stop for the Disney Cruise Line, but I seem to remember reading something about them being swept out to sea in a hurricane. I'm sure somebody here has more recent and accurate information.

Thanks, Major!

Chuck said...

Ha! Looking at Stu & Andrew's comments above, I can see what happens when you take too long to compose a post. Beaten to the punch! :-)

Pegleg Pete said...

These are some great photos, thanks, Major! Vintage WDW always makes my day, especially when there's a shot of '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' subs. I had forgotten about those castmember's jaunty blue outfits. Those last two pics are dated to the month of my family's first trip to the park, but alas, I can't seem to find my Donald-Duck-hatted six year old self among the visitors. That Fantasyland shot does look rather too empty for August; I can only assume it was taken very early in the day.

Pegleg Pete said...

I just noticed you can see that structure through which the Skyway changed direction in both of those last two shots. In the photo from the Skyway it's visible straight ahead while in the '20,000 Leagues' queue shot you can just see it beyond and to the right of the red Mickey balloon. I mention it because you don't often see it in photographs.

zach said...

Though I've never been to WDW I'm sure once inside the Nautili the experience was the same as the DL subs, but the outside design is SO cool. I was always jealous of WDW subs.

BTW, Major. I missed the 5000th party. I was away from the internets for a few days. Thank you, thank you, for the dedication and this labor of love you've created.

Tomorrow is Saturday; I wonder where we will go?


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I remember in those years I would see guys wearing pants that were burgundy red, and even mustard yellow. Even *then* I thought it looked dumb!

TokyoMagic!, of course those green things were supposed to look like eyes, but the “hull ripper” looks like a nose, and then the hatch makes a frowning, angry mouth. Pretty cool.

Nanook, I see what you mean about the Grand Prix Raceway and the Peoplemover being incorporated, but it isn’t as impressive as the 1967 Tomorrowland at Disneyland, in my opinion. It’s hard to tell from that photo, is the whole Peoplemover track protected from the weather with plexiglass? Thanks for the correction on Peter Pan’s Flight.

Lou and Sue, those anglerfish are weird critters, but I was surprised to learn that many of them are so small that they would easily fit in the palm of your hand.

Jonathan, now that I think about it, I believe that we’ve seen the Strawhatters at Disneyland wearing matching red pants. And you never can see Wally Gator, that’s what makes him so dangerous! I wonder how often they had to deal with gators back in those days? There was a time when they were being hunted to the point of being endangered, but now I know that Florida’s canals are full of the reptiles. I believe that all of the Jules Verne subs were scrapped except for one that they placed in the water as a sunken wreck on one of the Disney-owned islands that the cruise line berths at.

stu29573, I never thought about how the Grand Prix Raceway was… well, a race track, and that’s why it wasn’t landscaped. Still, it seems like a bummer, think of how lush the plantings could have been in that tropical climate. I’ve heard about the many busses at WDW, that seems like the most mundane way to be transported from here to there. You can easily find the soundtrack to the 20K ride, and there are some definite differences, but you’re right, essentially it was the same as the Anaheim ride.

Andrew, I’m sure that planter was a welcome, shady spot to sit for a lot of guests! Folks online speculated that the Florida subs might be relocated to California, but as much as I would have liked that, it didn’t really make sense, theme-wise. Jeez, how many thousands and thousands of pins could they have sold with tiny chunks of the subs??

Chuck, it’s true, it might have been nice if the planters looked a little more “fantasy” or “medieval”. But I think that you are on to something, most people’s brains edited the planters out of the scene. I like the idea of a restaurant overlooking the load area for IASW! The bright blue roof is yet another example of bad art direction. However, if guests are asked, they always say, “I love it! It’s colorful!”. This is why you don’t let the general public design your theme park. Thanks for the link to Ken’s photo - and to one of my own photos! ;-) I guess it makes sense to remove the ticket booths once tickets were no longer necessary, but I miss the little structures.

Chuck, that happens to me all the time! It can take a while to respond to 10 or 15 comments, and by the time I’d done, a few more have been added. Not that I’m complaining!

Pegleg Pete, I’m always happy to find pix of the 20,000 Leagues ride, it just looks so cool! It would have been super amazing to find YOU in any of the photos, but what are the odds?!

Pegleg Pete II, even with your description, I’m having a hard time knowing where the Skyway is in the last photo.

dzacher, I seem to remember seeing photos of a giant squid with a submarine in its tentacles, and maybe another scene or two that differed from Disneyland, but overall it was the same. Thanks for the 5000 post congrats.

steve2wdw said...

Awesome pictures today....Thanks. One more attraction note in the third picture. Although the elephants are out of view, the yellow striped umbrellas, under the skyway and to the left of the carrousel, are for the Dumbo queue. You can actually see Timothy, perched atop a "disco" ball, peering over the roof of Pinocchio's Village Haus.

steve2wdw said...

Almost forgot, but the entire area, seen in this photo, is essentially the roof for the Utilidoors below. Most of Fantasyland was built atop the biggest section of Utilidoors. There are cafeteria's, wardrobe, barber shops, lockers, computer control room for the attractions, all under the buildings and courtyards pictured here. Cast Members arrive via bus, behind the Pinocchio building, one level down. Beyond this huge section of 'basement', tunnels head southwest and southwest, towards Liberty Square/Frontierland, and Tomorrowland. Then the tunnels angle back towards the front of the park where another collection of rooms and halls sit beneath all the buildings on Main Street and Main Street proper. There is also a long tunnel that connects the lower Main Street complex, directly to the Fantasyland section, passing under the hub, moat and castle. There are upwards of twenty portals throughout the park, that take CM's down a flight of stairs into the Utilidoors. It would seem exciting to go into the system, but once down there, it's nothing more than a GIANT sized basement.

Nanook said...

The entire length of the WEDway Peoplemover is covered with a roof, but no plexi sides. Guests have to 'rough it'-!

Omnispace said...

Wonderful transportation theme for today's pics of WDW, Major. It's too bad the subs couldn't have been repurposed to cross the lagoon, eh? Would have made for an exciting way to get to the Magic Kingdom! I rode the Skyliner just a few weeks ago and I have to say it's a very nice means to get about. Our trip was from Hollywood Studios to Epcot, and back. It doesn't go direct, requiring a change at one of the resorts, but that just adds to the flying-through-the-sky goodness of the experience. The route out of Epcot even goes through two direction changes, similar to the ol' Skyway. Again, more opportunities for exciting take-off's and landings along the cable-way. ;)

K. Martinez said...

Nice WDW pics today. Glad to hear you have lots more. Thanks, Major.

Chuck, I had forgotten about that pic. That was when I visited WDW in it's early days for sure. My favorite era of WDW.

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, OMG! Those photos that you provided the link to, are incredible! Sad, but incredible! Thanks for sharing the link to that site!

When I went to WDW for the very first time, the 20,000 Leagues ride was closed, but the lagoon was still there. For some reason, I didn't take a single photo of it. I'm not sure why. It seems like the kind of thing that I would take a photo of. Then by my next visit, the "Pooh's Play Place" or whatever they called it was already there and I didn't take a pic of it, just out of bitterness! I'm really wish that I had been able to experience the WDW version of the DL "Subs"!

Dean Finder said...

RetroWDW have assembled a set of images documenting the shrinkage of the Tomorrowland Speedway at WDW

"Lou and Sue" said...

Andrew, Chuck and Dean: Great links - thank you for adding those!

Melissa said...

One of my favorite parts of iasw is waving to the diners above at the Village Haus as our boat takes off into the show building. It's just one of those traditions that makes for something extra.

We never took the Monorail from the TTA when I was a kid; the way the Magic Kingdom would grow from a speck as you crossed the lagoon on the ferry was, well, magic. Those first-generation Imagineers really knew their stuff.

Anonymous said...

Big regret for me, never getting to ride the Nautili...

Thanks for this load queue pic, it makes me wish I had gotten to do so.


WestCoastNerd said...

Looking forward to seeing more of your WDW posts! My family spent 2 weeks at the Contemporary in March 1977 so my fingers are crossed you have some images from that time. Never got to go back so my memories are frozen in that year. :) Fantastic trip! I loved 20,000 Leagues and remember being confused by the fact we seemed to be diving but when you watched from the surface, the subs didn't actually go under. I guess that's the great thing about being 8 ... some stuff still seemed pretty magical. (like all the "invisible dogs" I saw on Main Street!) Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain ... great stuff!!!!

Thanks again!