Wednesday, December 23, 2020

More Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

It's time for more photos from Lou and Sue - Christmas themed, appropriately. And while most of the images feature Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom (circa 1983), this first one shows our favorite redhead, little Sue B. herself, with her faithful dog Fritz (also a redhead!). Sue still remembers posing for this photo in her warm "footie" pajamas in front of their aluminum Christmas tree.

Now we're continuing our look at Main Street, decked out with lots of cheerful Christmas garlands, wreaths, and tasteful red ribbons. I wonder if the park made those street decorations, or if they bought them from a company that manufactured them for other real cities?

It might be December, but the Florida temperatures must have been summery, judging from the number of people wearing shorts.

I think this is the Hospitality House? Look at the sheer size of it - I'm so used to the relatively intimate buildings at Disneyland. Stroller alert!

Maybe it wasn't so warm after all, these folks are all wearing coats and sweaters. Of course Lou may have taken photos on more than one day; I think that's likely. I'm not sure what any of the other "businesses" are, but the one with the striped awning is the Silhouette Studio.

This one is kind of neat, looking back toward Main Street Station and the big tree.

If you could throw a Valencia orange through all of those wreaths, you won a lifetime free pass to Walt Disney World. 

A Horse Drawn Streetcar waits for passengers near City Hall. Disneyland's City Hall (and other buildings) are known to be loosely based on structures from Fort Collins, Colorado. That's where early Imagineer Harper Goff grew up. Did the Magic Kingdom's architecture have any real-life ancestry? It seems hard to believe that any town was as grand as this.

And here's one final shot. It sure looks like it would have been a beautiful day to visit the Magic Kingdom!

Many thanks as always to Lou and Sue for sharing these wonderful photos.


Nanook said...

Look at Sue... aw, shucks-!

'Tasteful' Christmas decorations. What a lovely change-! 'Stroller alert'... how about 'scaffold alert' (perhaps used for the first, Very Merry Christmas Parade @ WDW, with hosts Joan Lunden and Mike Douglas-?)

Thanks to Lou & Sue, and The Major.

Melissa said...

#1: BABEEE! PUPPEEE! Now there’s a Christmas-cardworthy picture if I’ve ever seen one!

#2: That big bouquet of mouse ear balloons makes me so happy. This is the Magic Kingom I remember!

#3: I like that black and white striped top on the lady near the left. I had a similar one as a kid in the Eighties.

#4: Yep, former Hospitality House, now the Town Square Theater, home of character greetings. The last time I was there, one morning waiting for a rope drop, I overheard several mothers of young kids going on about how much they loved being able to go straight there at opening “and get it over with, boom, done.” Yes, they literally ALL used the words “boom, done.” It made me a little sad to hear meeting characters described as a tedious chore to be endured somehow. Always loved the gingerbread trim.

#5: December in Florida is Hoodie Weather.

#6: Hey, Waldo’s looking for someone instead of being looked for! It’s the old switcheroo! And I call twinsies on the hand-holding couple on the right.

#7: That is such a cool shot. Lou certainly knew how to set them up!

#8: Yeah, I wonder if other buildings were modeled on Saratoga Springs, or just the train station.

A truly fine crop of pictures today. A good way to start the day.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, what a wonderful shot of little Sue and little Fritz! And I LOVE aluminum Christmas trees! I have a couple of them, with the bases to make the trees rotate and the separate "color wheel," since you are not supposed to put electric lights ON a metal tree.

Awwww, that couple in the sixth pic, are holding hands and wearing matching shirts. It must be love!

Major, instead of a Valencia orange, can we use one of the many road apples on the ground, in photo number two or number seven?

TokyoMagic! said...

Darn, I always forget to thank the necessary people! Thank you, Lou, Sue and the Major, too!

TokyoMagic! said...

And little Fritz, too!

Melissa said...

And your little dog, too!

Chuck said...

Sue, that is an ADORABLE photo! My grandparents had an aluminum tree about this time period. I've seen it in photos and it was still in a box in their basement at least as late as 2004 (and may still be there; my parents & aunt & uncle still store things in that locked room in the rental house) but never experienced it myself. Neat that TM! has period-appropriate color wheels for his, which I do remember from a friend's house in the early '70s.

Melissa, DAILY DOUBLE!!! That lady in the striped top and her pal also show up at the left of #2.

I looked at these decorations and realized I had no recollection of them at all from our Jan 2-5 2004 trip. I just checked the photos and I don't remember them because they weren't up anymore. I wonder when they take down their decorations?

Thanks again, Lou & Sue (& Major, too!!


MAJOR: Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA’s City Hall gets all its architectural inspiration from Philadelphia’s famous City Hall - especially its very unique clock tower. The Hospitality House is a combination of two actual structures from Saratoga Springs, New York - a Hotel Resort and a Resort Casino. In it’s earliest planning stage The Hospitality House was considered to be a actually functioning hotel. About a dozen of WDW’s Main St. USA facades are inspired by actual structured that still stand or once stood in Saratoga Springs NY - including its Main St. RR Station. The rest of WDW’s Main Street takes elements from other major turn-of-the Century cities along the Eastern Seaboard as well as a few in St. Louis and San Francisco.

I think over time there has been confusion about Disneyland’s Main St. USA being a replica of structures from Fort Collins , Colorado - Harper Goff’s home town. The earliest Home Town buildings Goff designed for DISNEYLANDIA , OPERATION WIRE MAN and eventually the OLD TOWNE section of Walt Disney’s MAGIC PARK in Burbank feature the very rustic - almost frontier-like Fort Collins “Main Street “ buildings .... none of the 1955 Main Street USA buildings appear to resemble anything from Harper Goffs earlier Fort Collins inspiration.

EXCEPT : the WED WAGON WORKS structure - based on a early Fort Collins livery stable that was a earlier design that was replaced with the “brick” Beakins Moving co. /global van lines ( locker building ) that was ultimately built for opening . This building was designed because the opening day locker sponsor BEAKINS WAREHOUSE & MOVERS used “fireproof” buildings. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s you could legally call a building FIREPROOF if it was made from brick or stone or even had a facade with a veneer of brick !!!!
Parts of Disneyland’s early concepts for City Hall started out close to a similar building in Fort Collins , but apparently evolved into what was ultimately built for opening.

Andrew said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures, Sue! The baby picture is great - framed, it would be a good Christmas decoration!

I'm sure that Nanook is right about the scaffolding being for a parade, but my first thought was Candlelight Processional, given that the lights face the train station.

TM!, I wonder if Lou framed the picture of the castle specifically to include the road apples.

In the last image, we can see that the "Great Train Robbery" is playing at the Cinema.

Stu29573 said...

When I was a small lad (before I was 5) my dog was Fritzie and looked exactly like Fritz. What a small world, indeed!
Not much more to add other than the Magic Kingdom decorations still look very close to these We were there five years ago and it looked almost identical. By the way, they take the wreaths down for the taping of the parade for TV.
Thanks, Lou and Sue!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Great photos. Thanks to Major, Lou & Sue (and the memory of little Fritz) for sharing. My smooth red Dachshund (Miss Chloe) strongly approves these pictures.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know! Such a cutie. Joan Lunden and Mike Douglas? I guess I’m more surprised about Mike Douglas, he doesn’t seem like a Disney type to me.

Melissa, I can sympathize with those “over it” moms; it might be fun for the kids to meet the characters, but the mothers just want to be riding the Haunted Mansion or “20,000 Leagues”! On the other hand, it is sometimes fun to just watch other people (especially one’s children) having fun. I wonder if these were taken on different days? Photo #3 really does seem to show a lot of shorts-clad guests, while other photos seem to show folks more bundled up. Only Sue can say for sure.

TokyoMagic!, I have grown to like aluminum Christmas trees too, and as you said, you’d need a color wheel if you happened to own one. Can you still buy aluminum Xmas trees? NO, you may not use a road apple!

TokyoMagic!, I thank you, and Fritz thanks you.

Melissa, sorry, little cats, nobody loves you.

Chuck, whenever I think of “aluminum trees”, I can’t help thinking of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, when Lucy bangs her fist on a metal tree that seems to be made of 10-gauge steel plate. It sounds like the maintenance crews were right on top of removing the holiday decor. It only makes sense; I think it’s weird when haunted houses continue their business well into November.

Mike Cozart, I admit that my memory is less than reliable, but I thought that “The E-Ticket” magazine” had an article about Harper Goff, and mentioned the Fort Collins thing, and even had at least one photo of Fort Collins, looking kind of Main Streetish. I didn’t believe that Main Street was supposed to be a replica of Fort Collins, just that Goff used some of the buildings for inspiration. I guess Saratoga Springs gets most of the credit for the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, from the sound of it. “Operation Wire Man”?? I don’t know that one. Thanks for the info about the Bekins building, I always wondered about that unusual structure. And thanks for the other great info too!

Andrew, next year that photo should be Sue’s Christmas card! So was the scaffolding for TV cameras? Or for lighting? Or both? I know that for many years they televised the Christmas parades - something that never particularly interested me. But hey, I don’t begrudge anybody who enjoyed it. I think it’s terrible that they showed a film about a robbery at the Main Street Cinema, and think that they should have shown movies about puppies and people going to church. Controversial, I know.

Stu29573, ever since a neighbor’s dachshund used to bark at me when I was a kid (cornering me!), I admit to having a negative opinion of wiener dogs. It made me mad when the owner would say, “He likes you!”, and he clearly DIDN’T like me. But I know that there are nice ones too. Maybe this Christmas I need to finally open up my heart to those sausage-shaped dogs, and make a Hallmark movie about it. I guess WDW didn’t get the memo about overdoing the Christmas decorations?

Major Pepperidge said...

Alonzo, it sounds like everyone owned a dachshund! Except for us, we had a nice little terrier mutt who was friendly and liked to lick people’s faces.

DrGoat said...

Great photos Lou.
Sue, You and Fritz look adorable. You sure knew how to pose.
Number three is my favorite I think. The castle in the backround looks wonderful, in an ethereal kind of way.
Irene, Sorry I missed congratulating you on your results! Such good news! Will keep you in my thoughts.

Irene said...

Thank you DrGoat!
Sue - you were so darned cute!!!! When I was that age, or perhaps a tad bit older, my desire was to have a dog. Specifically a Cocker Spaniel the color of your dog. But it was not to be. Instead for Christmas I got a very nice stuffed dog. I guess they thought that would satisfy me and make me happy. I put on a brave front so as not to hurt anyone's feelings but instead I was disappointed. Never have owned a dog, though I do like them, but have owned many cats over the years.
I know very little about WDW but sure do like the way they decorated it!

K. Martinez said...

Sue! The photo of you with your faithful dog Fritz made my day! What a sweet and wonderful pic!

Thank you Lou and Sue for the Christmas at the Magic Kingdom pics too!

And thank you for hosting, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Sue, you're cuter than a peach in a little red Corvette. These are such great photos. The wreaths in front of the castle is a postcard worthy masterpiece. It's funny how temperature is relative to where one lives. I flew into Guam during monsoon season, and the islanders were all wearing parkas cause the temperature dropped into the low 70's. Irene, I posted late last night, so in case you missed it. WTG, I am so happy for you. Major, I can throw a navel orange at a Sasquatch from 20 yards. Montana is lousy with em around Christmas. However, you don't want to be around if he throws it back. Thanks everyone and Major.

Anonymous said...

Cute pic of Sue and the dog.

I remember our aluminum tree, with the color wheel, of course. It's my earliest Christmas memory, although I know from photos we had real trees before.

At some point in the 70's, the parents went to a fake green tree, which I liked better. We have one now, except the lights are pre-wired and the limbs don't come off. Much easier set-up.

TM, it's cool you still have yours. I think our aluminum one suffered somehow, prompting it's replacement, but I'm not sure.

WDW Main Street is always recognizable due to the extreme elongation of the buildings. Everything is so tall, and the sidewalks have the arcades, undoubtedly because of Florida rain. It just looks odd to me, but maybe if I visited I would understand.

After looking at Walnut Street in Ft. Collins, CO, the Harper Goff stories sound pretty plausible.,-105.0753666,3a,75y,351.63h,100.17t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbFsx1VPca8h-cjfTJaKgWQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Thanks L+S and Major.


Nanook said...

Your Memory is better than you think-! To quote from The "E" Ticket magazine's interview with Harper Goff... "When I started working on Main Street, I had photographs of Fort Collins taken. I showed them to Walt and he liked them very much. Disneyland's City Hall was copied from Fort Collins... so was the Bank building and some of the others".

Included along in that issue is an article about Main Street, and also a picture of the Fort Collins City Hall, next to a picture of Disneyland's City Hall - with a caption reading... "Similarities between these two City Halls are unmistakable. Goff used the overall style and specific architectural elements of this Fort Collins, Colorado landmark as inspiration for the Disneyland City Hall"


As I said - Disneyland’s city hall really is the only “lift” from Fort Collins - and in that E ticket article you see a few of the very early DISNEYLANDIA ( NOT DISNEYLAND) Main Street type buildings - but not MAIN STREET USA 1955 buildings . These were created for DISNEYLANDIA a traveling exhibit where guests would visit a small American midwestern town - in miniature - completed with animated figures ...the project to develop these animated figures was called OPERATION WIRE MAN and were basically upside-down “marionettes” but they are the grand daddy’s of Disney’s audio animatronics.

Several of the buildings designed for the OLD TOWNE section of Disney’s MAGIC PARK were used for several of the Rainbow Ridge buildings of Nature’s Wonderland.

The late Dave Mumford from WDI who helped facilitate that E Ticket interview later in other publications kinda clarifies the DISNEYLAND and PRE DISNEYLAND design links to Fort Collins Harper Goff mentions of the versions of Mumford’s Disneyland the Nickel Tour books explains that “Main Street” evolution to what becomes “ Main Street USA” a shows many other renderings Goff did for the early DISNEYLANDIA and MAGIC PARK projects which lead to DISNEYLAND.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, hey, I’M adorable too! I think I agree, #3 is the best, though there are others I like very much as well.

Irene, you got a lot of love yesterday. My family didn’t get a dog until I was around 8 or 9 years old. He was the only one we’ve ever owned, I think the trauma of losing him was too much for my mom, even though she has wanted another one. I like cats too, but there’s just something about a dog.

K. Martinez, yes, I hope that Sue sees today’s post, she probably thought that I was never going to share that photo (she sent it to me so long ago).

Jonathan, you’re right about the weather being relative. I remember going to LAX on what I thought was a hot day, and saw some Vietnamese (I forget how we knew they were from Vietnam) waiting for their baggage, and they were dressed as if it was in the 40s. I wish I had a Sasquatch friend, we could camp out and eat beef jerky and have a swell time. There’s some dumb show, it might be “Sasquatch Hunters”, and when the “hunters” are in a likely area, they say that it “feels squatchy”. I love it.

JG, my mom and dad always insisted on Noble Fir trees, not sure why. Even now it’s what my mom likes the best. I was a snob about fake trees because I would miss the wonderful pin scent, but of course now you can just get that in a spray can, and it’s pretty good too! Sue said that the needles on their aluminum tree were so sharp and pointy that they could draw blood, so that’s no good. I’m always a little weirded out by Florida’s Main Street, it is SO big and grand. Maybe I’m just jealous? Gosh, Fort Collins looks like a pretty great place to live!

Nanook, thanks for the refresher! Man, The “E” Ticket was such a wonderful publication, I still remember how excited I would get when a new issue arrived, and how I would force myself to NOT blast through it in one go. Today, I can pick up any old issue and be transported back to those days. Thanks again!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike, I do remember reading about the DISNEYLANDIA exhibit, and the “Granny’s Cabin” diorama was displayed at L.A.’s old “Museum of Miniatures” many years ago (who remembers that place?). Walt worked on that one personally, which was pretty neat. Wow, I am stunned that this is the first time I recall ever hearing about “Operation Wire Man”, very cool! Thank you for clarifying the history of Main Street.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Am on my late lunch break, at the moment, but I just wanted to clarify about the aluminum tree. I probably did a bad job of describing it, originally, to our Major...the "needles" weren't pointed, but long and flat - and the edges were like razor blades - so if you ran your finger across them, you'd slice your finger (sort of like a BAD paper cut). My dad ALWAYS cut himself several times when he'd put up that tree, even though he was always very careful. It was a Christmas ritual to watch him put up that tree (and bleed).

Thanks for all the wonderful and interesting comments...will be back later to comment more, after work.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I think you can buy a new aluminum Christmas tree, today. I saw a new one in a catalog some years ago, but it was very expensive. I bought mine at a flea market, back when the vintage ones weren't outrageously priced. That's also where I got my tree "turner" and color wheels. Back in the nineties, the mid-century stuff wasn't too expensive. Since then however, it seems like the price has just gone up on everything from that era.

I think you should get yourself a wiener dog and call him/her "Corn Dog," because of how much you like corn dogs. ;-)

Nanook said...

Yes - thanks for clarifying those factoids. I have the first printing of The Nickel Tour, so I can't access the evolution from "Main Street" to "Main Street USA". There is always a backstory - if not more than one-!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, this particular trip, my mom and dad were in Disney World with one of my dad's brothers and his wife - so they were there for a few days. These pictures could be from different days.

Later in life, my parents had another Dachshund - "Tommy Turtle" - he had long, red hair and his face looked like ALF. He was adorable.

I especially love Pic #7, now that a couple of you brought the horse/road apples to my attention. They definitely make that picture great(!)...sort of like DrGoat's castle and mop bucket photo - except DrGoat's picture is The Winner.

TokyoMagic! I still have that aluminum tree, color wheel and ornaments and will gladly sell it to the Major for $50,000.

Thanks again, everyone, for your nice comments!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, oh I think you can get more than that for your tree and color wheel! ;-)

Major, I forgot to mention that Mike Douglas did at least one whole week of shows from WDW. The week that I'm remembering was in 1975. He rode Space Mountain when it was brand new, and they even had a camera strapped to the front of the ride vehicle, to record every expression of his. He had guest stars like Annette Funicello, Adriana Caselotti, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, Bobbie Burgess, and Clarence Nash. Unfortunately, Anita Bryant was his "co-host" for the entire week. :-/

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, We’ve all learned an important lesson here: Major Pepperidge has poor reading comprehension.

TokyoMagic!, I remember when I used to haunt local antiques stores, you’d see mid-century Christmas ornaments, color wheels, and maybe even the occasional small aluminum tree as December approached. I wish I’d bought one, though I don’t want to get cut and bloody like poor Lou. “Corn Dog”? That’s my rap name!

Nanook, I wish I’d purchased one of the nice signed, slipcased versions of that first edition. But I just have the plain old unsigned one. Boo.

Lou and Sue, thanks for clarifying. Looking closely, I was pretty certain that they were not all taken on one day. You really can see that some days were colder than others. “Tommy Turtle”? He should have had his own cartoon series. I noticed the road apples, you know how things like that make me giggle (see: photo #2). Because I have the brain of an eight year-old. Can I give you $50,000 worth of S&H Green Stamps instead of cash?

TokyoMagic!, yes, trade that stuff for a new Ferrari! I used to watch Mike Douglas, he would have a guest for a whole week. John and Yoko did a week I think. And Forry Ackerman. I miss those old talk shows. I’d even watch Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett… not regularly, but enough so that they made an impression. I wonder if any episodes of The Mike Douglas Show are on YouTube? Time to look! Thanks for the info.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, YES, I'll gladly take the S&H Green Stamps - as there are a number of items I want to purchase from THIS BOOK. Thank you!

Vicki G said...

The picture of little Susie and Fritzie, as I called them, brought a big smile to my face and warmed my heart We all need that this year!! Thank you for sharing those! Merry Christmas to all and may God abundantly bless you next year!