Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Selection From Walt Disney World

Hopefully you are all enjoying a nice holiday weekend; today seemed as good a day as any to use up some leftover scans from Walt Disney World. Join me, won't you?

Let's begin with this view (date-stamped "January 1974") taken from the Monorail, looking across a parking lot (for the Contemporary Hotel?) toward the Magic Kingdom. 

Zooming in, there is a bit of construction going on over by Tomorrowland - any idea what that was for? Notice the little shack for a security guard, I'm sure that was cozy on a summer day.

From the same lot is this look at just a few of the many topiaries that were scattered about on grassy areas - something to look at I suppose. It was a golden age for topiary experts!

From June, 1973 comes this very nice view of the Grand Prix Raceway and the Skyway - you can see the structure where the Skyway jogged to the left toward Tomorrowland. I'm sure this feature was a significant added expense, but it made for a better ride experience for the guests.

Here's another view of the Grand Prix Raceway - we can see the pylons that flanked the entrance to Tomorrowland.

And finally, from July 1974 comes this nice shot of a tram - kind of an unusual thing to see from my experience. I once read that the original trams had a hard time climbing a particular gradient at some point on the way to the Magic Kingdom, I wonder if this was one of those trams? Or maybe this is a "new improved" version.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Walt Disney World!


TokyoMagic! said...

It looks like that construction might have been for the Carousel of Progress and/or the Rocket Jet platform and PeopleMover station. If the photographer had panned to the right just a bit, I wonder if we would have seen Space Mountain under construction?

Nice set of WDW pics, Major. Thanks! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas!


I LOVE early Walt Disney World. Major I believe today’s ( 1974) trans were the new and improved trans as the first WDW trams were similar to the Disneyland 1968 parking lot tram tractors.

The abundance of topiary at WDW in the early years was an attraction itself and a major element to the beginning of the Vacation Kingdom. At one point a series of topiary tableaus were planed to be seen along the waterways of the PLAZA SWAN BOATS - even some were designed to be partially motorized/ animated but operations decided to retire the attraction all together.

JC Shannon said...

-WWW a looks always looks so spacious. Stephen King ruined the topiary experience for me, back in the 70s. I think we should open a park in Montana. Think about it, all the Matterhorns you could want. We already have a tram or skyway. Bear country is any time you don't cover your trash bin and we are lousy with mine trains. We could call it Grizzlyland. Major could run it and the rest of us could be cast members. One word of advice, if a bear steals your Snickers bar, do not try and get it back. Now, who's with me?

Stu29573 said...

Ah, WDW. Although I've only been to Disneyland once (in 1973), I've been to WDW about nine times. I guess that's why it feels so much like "home." I actually have 7 day park hopper passes for 6 people that never expire plus some cool add ons (long story) and I plan to take the fam again in a couple of years when Covid is a distant memory. Although it has changed a lot, shots like these make me hope that is very soon...

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics, Major, thanks! In the fourth picture, beyond the Grand Prix, one can see the rockwork around the show building for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. When I was a child, the topiaries as seen from the monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom always provided a tantalising foretaste of the magic to come – in the same way, I suppose, as the sight of the Matterhorn in the distance or of the Disneyland sign on South Harbor Boulevard did for Californians en route to their park.

Chuck said...

That looks like construction for the Rocket Jets/PeopleMover platform. Note the abrupt ending to the PeopleMover's covered right-of-way at the end of the north and south Tomorrowland show buildings, built in 1971 in anticipation of the attraction's eventual installation.

Seeing the topiaries from the Monorail always reminded me of Disneyland's it's a small world. I'm sure if I'd visited WDW first, I'd have thunk it the other way around.

We are looking NNW in the first Grand Prix Raceway photo, so the jog to the left we see on the Skyway is actually towards Fantasyland. If the Skyway hadn't had a jog in it and they'd used the same station locations, the cable would have gove right over (or possibly through) Cinderella Castle. The direction change was a pretty neat feature to experience first-hand.

I've only parked at the MK twice, and both times I lucked out and was so close to the TTC that we could wak, so I have no recollection of any trams at all. That's too bad - I think it would be pretty cool to see one light off its afterburner to get up that grade.

Jonathan, just for clarification - are you asking who's with you on the Grizzlyland concept or trying to get your Snickers bar back from a bear? I'm on board for both, but wanted to make sure everyone else was tracking.

Andrew said...

It's fun looking for icons in the first image. From left to right, I see the Sunshine Pavilion (Tiki Room), Crystal Palace, Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion, Carrousel pavilion, Pinocchio Village Haus, and Mad Tea Party.

Anyone who has went up the Speedramp to the Magic Kingdom Peoplemover will definitely recognize that construction as its structure. It's impressive that these photos were likely taken in January 1974, as the Starjets opened on November 28th.

Chuck said...

Star Jets, not Rocket Jets! Thank you, Andrew. One more example of my thunking being backwards because I went to Disneyland first.

JC Shannon said...

Chuck, I meant the park. Snickers is a bear favorite, as are Paydays and the occasional Zagnut. They have quite the sweet tooth. When you track them, just look for the candy wrappers, bells and empty bear spray bottles in their enormous scat piles.

Chuck said...

"Empty bear spray bottles." Uh-oh - i guess I should have burned that REI gift card on something else...

Melissa said...

Those teams look like the ones I remember from the early 1980s. One tends to forget how much empty space there was in the early days!

Melissa said...

Since we talked about DisneyChristmas trees here a while back, if anyone wants to see mine I put some pictures online here:

DrGoat said...

Didn't get to check in on Christmas, so I hope everyone had a good one. From the Christmas day comments, it sounds like everyone did. Our one and only visit was to my sister's had we had a great time. Safely of course.
Still running around today but I also had to say that that coffee table in pic #2 of yesterday's post stopped me in my tracks. How could a thing of obvious, incalculable, unbelievable kitsch exist and I've never seen one before. Like a birdwatcher stumbling on a rare specimen out in the field. Like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
Thanks Major.
Happy Holidays!

JG said...

For some reason that tram reminds me of the Viewliner. Maybe the color?

Jonathan, I’ll go along with Grizzyland. Bears repeating, I’ll go along with Grizzlyland.

Melissa and Pete, thanks for the WDW memories and details.

Thanks Major!


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, ah, thank you, I really had no clue. “Yes, Major, you never have a clue”. It is possible that some photos of Space Mountain under construction that I have already posted were from this same batch, but I’m not sure. Hope you had a great Christmas!

Mike Cozart, yeah, I thought that it was likely that by 1974 they’d probably replaced the trams that were not doing what they needed them to do. Interesting about the topiaries that were going to be part of the Swan Boat attraction, I’d never heard about that. Partially motorized? That’s also interesting! One of the parks, maybe Tokyo Disneyland, has done other topiaries where parts of the figures are sculpted and painted instead of “all plant”, and I can’t say I liked them very much.

Jonathan, it kind of kills me that WDW is SO spacious that they’ve used large chunks of the land for mundane things such as housing developments. Snore. They definitely *SHOULD* open a Disney park in Montana! Michael Eisner would probably have approved such an idea. You know how he loves bears. I will run it with an iron fist! I mean, er, I will be a good steward and make all of the Junior Gorillas proud. I have had several not-very-close encounters with bears, and never want to get any closer!

Pegleg Pete, ah yes, I see the rockwork! The 20K ride is one of those attractions that took up a LOT of real estate. Not that I’m complaining. I can imagine being a kid and looking down from a Monorail as it quietly zoomed above the landscape, and seeing scattered topiaries. It would definitely excite those “imagination” brain cells!

Chuck, I always give Peoplemovers the right-of-way, and pull over to let them pass me. Because I am Joe Citizen. I just found two interesting Small World topiary photos, but will not spoil them just yet! You’re gonna have to wait. And yes, you are right, I should have said “Fantasyland” and not “Tomorrowland”. The Disneyland Skyway went over parts of the Disneyland castle (or very nearly so, anyway), but I guess Cinderella Castle was too big to mess with. Gosh, it sounds like you have REALLY lucked out with your parking, most of what I hear about any of the experiences at WDW involve lots and lots of walking. Especially EPCOT.

Andrew, you did a better job of IDing stuff than I did. And thanks for the link to that photo of the Peoplemover structure, I was wondering what that thing was!

Chuck, it’s a perfectly understandable mixup.

Jonathan, it sounds to me like bears have excellent taste in candy bars. Except maybe for Zagnut, which I admit I kind of like, but it is weird. I bought a few at Rocket Fizz a few years ago, and they were a real blast to the past.

Chuck, I didn’t know that bear spray was something that people just carried around like it was a usual thing.

Melissa, yes, I am sure that with some exceptions, the park was not that different when you saw it in the 1980s. I will always regret that I didn’t get to see WDW in its first two decades.

Melissa, aw, thanks for the photos of your Christmas tree! I love the Disney ornaments.

DrGoat, even I barely got to check in on Christmas! I hope yours was excellent. I feel like we tried to keep things safe, but also felt like maybe we shoulda stayed home. But… what’s done is done. I agree with you, that coffee table is so wonderful (for what it is) that it would probably be worth big money today!

JG, OH YEAH! Why didn’t I think of the Viewliner?? I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me.

swafun said...

This was the Tomorrowland expansion after opening to include the WEDway Peoplemover, the Starjets, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and Space Mountain. If you zoom in, you can see the red-colored framework for the Starjets.