Saturday, December 02, 2023

Some Magic Kingdom, July 1974

It's Magic Kingdom time! A somewhat random assortment, though all dated "July, 1974". Nearly 50 years ago! 

We'll start with this view of the Diamond Horseshoe building, with a crowd gathering for the next show. Was Wally Boag performing in Florida at that point? I admit that I am biased, but the façade of the Diamond Horseshoe is kind of "blah". I'm sorry, people who love it!

I'm sure that folks in 1974 never dreamed that the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction (and its beautiful tropical lagoon) would be removed in less than 25 years! I loved Disneyland's "Submarine Voyage", and it always seemed to me that the Florida iteration was even more wonderful. The "Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride" apparently now stands on this acreage.

My ignorance of the Florida parks kicks in! I can only assume that the charming bridge seen here is spanning part of the castle moat. Is it the same bridge that we saw before, with Alice talking to children?

And I could have sworn that I have shared this photo before, but if so I can't find it on any past blog post. I know you'll tell me if you've already seen it! We have a nice shot of one of the beautiful WDW locomotives crossing a bridge - presumably the waterway is one of the many canals on Disney World property? I think somebody once mentioned that this bridge could swivel sideways to allow larger boats to pass - maybe that was from the other time I posted this picture!

 I hope you have enjoyed today's visit to the Magic Kingdom.


Nanook said...

I'm afraid the facade of the WDW Diamond Horseshoe appears more 'cookie-cutter' in design than the more elegant building encasing the Golden Horseshoe out west. The design looks like it was pulled from a catalog, and might be found at many a theme park. (But like you, maybe I'm prejudice).

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Count me as prejudiced as well, because the Diamond Horseshoe doesn't look much like an old-west theater to me. More like an Aunt Jemimas restaurant or a present-day building. I think it's the pale blue coloring.
The young lady in the blue shirt (and short shorts) is carrying a large Disney shopping bag. It looks like it's full... and heavy. Much too heavy for little ol' her to carry (look at those skinny arms!). I think she would be ever so grateful if we offered to relieve her of that heavy burden.

In the 20k photo, I keep looking for the PeopleMover track and the Monorail beam. It seems nekkid without 'em. I guess the Matterhorn is behind us. ;-p

That IS a beautiful scene with the immaculate lawns, the water, and the bridge (sure looks like the same bridge in the Alice photo). I'm guessing this is part of the waterway that the Swan Boats traveled upon.

The Railroad photo does not look familiar to me, so I'll say it hasn't been posted before. On the left, that looks like an old-timey dock, but with new-timey garden hoses and (motor?) boat. What's up with that?

Too bad the sky is bland and uninteresting in these photos, but the subjects still look nice. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I agree about the Diamond Horseshoe building! Even before reading Nanook's comment, I was thinking it looks more like something out of Magic Mountain, or Busch Gardens (Van Nuys).

Major, as wonderful as you might think the Florida iteration of the submarine ride was, you didn't have the excitement of watching Dopey rip off Snow White's arm, and then fling it around with glee.

Yes, that bridge is the same "Alice bridge." And JB....yes, that is the canal that the Swan Boats traveled along. Before they were mercilessly ripped out. Sort of like Snow White's arm.

Major, I know you have posted a pic of that WDW R.R. bridge before, but I don't think it was this exact same pic. And yes, the bridge does swing around. Just like Dopey does with Snow White's arm.

Thanks for the trip to vintage WDW, Major!


In the defense of the Diamond Horseshoe Review facade….. it shouldn’t be like the Disneyland version in any way . They are two completely different periods of American architecture and theming . The Florida version is based on two structures : a music hall and a hotel that once stood in St. Louis in the 1840’s. And it is a segue from Colonial Liberty Square to the late Federal period and into the early second empire. As in literature of WDW the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon transitions the SPIRIT OF ‘76 into the SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS …. The jumping off point of the American West. The original name of The Diamond Horseshoe was THE GOLDEN LANTERN . The facades from The Diamond Horseshoe and up to the Frontierland bridge ( that crosses a waterway representing the Mississippi River features frontier architecture of the 1810 to the 1840’s period . Once in Frontierland it’s 1848 and after .

Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe facade is of a 1870’s - 1880’s style … post gold rush and railroad so it benefits from easier access to a fancier design … while it features elements from a few buildings in old Sacramento and Virginia City Nevada and LOTS of 1950’s Hollywood Studios!!

When Oriental Land Company was selecting the facades they liked best for Tokyo Disneyland - they chose The Golden Horseshoe Revue exterior.

The corner shape of WDW’s Diamond Horseshoe Review Saloon building started from the unbuilt opposite Frontierland block of buildings that appears in the famous HERBERT RYMAN pre opening concept of Disneyland’s Frontierland and would have been an opposing saloon. Lots of unbuilt Disneyland ended up being developed in Florida … Liberty Square … Space Mountain … some elements of the original the Mexican village in Frontierland - like the fountains were built in CARIBBEAN PLAZA .

Bu said...

ahhhh…the age old question: which coast is better? Well, they both have their merits, of course I am probably less objective than most. I agree, that because if scale- full scale- The Magic Kingdom lacks a bit of the charm of a Disneyland…and who doesn’t want to see cute puppies over a full grown doggie. They both have the cute facfor: but I think Disneyland is a puppy, and the Magic Kingdom: Marmaduke. And who doesn’t love Marmaduke: or “Mandrake” as my ex used to call him. I’ve think I’ve mentioned before the internal rivalry between parks: and we would probably be allll over this post speaking to Disneyland’s superiority over WDW. I enjoy that the Magic Kingdom has a parking lot: a boat or a monorail to take you in: which is a very pleasant way to disengage and then re-engage to reality. The Diamond Horseshoe is kind of “meh”, but it stands on some merit on it’s own: certainly less Frontier and more genteel. Hope it’s not painted purple now. I remember something about that mechanical bridge…but I have no memories of actually riding that train. I recall seeing the bag with skinny arms on ebay for a stupid price…Im sure there are many out there: those bags were BUILT. Very sturdy totes, and Disneyland had it’s own version that looked exactly alike except it said Disneyland. I think bags now say “Disney Parks”…how very …..generic….I’ll leave it there: Thanks Major for the GDB East Coast Edition!

JG said...

That is a huge sub lagoon, I regret never seeing it.

I hear this over and over, how big WDW is in comparison to Disneyland. I’m not sure I would enjoy that. I get tired enough slogging around the Anaheim Park, I’m not sure I could do a bigger park.

These are beautiful pictures, Major. Thank you.


Dean Finder said...

Thanks, Mike for the clarification on the buildings. I knew the iberty Square & Frontierland structures were patterned after historic designs, so a little more "verbatim" than Disneyland's versions, but not any of those specifics you added.

That swing bridge connects the Rivers of America to a canal northwest of the park that connects to the lagoon in front of the park, and then on to the drydock facilities on Bay Lake for work on the RoA boats. (Just the Liberty Belle now)

Chuck said...

Never noticed the “steeples” sticking up behind the Diamond Horseshoe before. Maybe I had always just assumed they were part of Cinderella Castle, but looking at them here I don’t think that’s the case. Now that I know that’s supposed to be St. Louis in the 1840s (thanks, Mike!), it makes perfect sense.

I don’t remember that specific photo of the bridge, although I do recall seeing the bridge here before. Your memory is correct - it is a swiveling bridge and an authentic piece of railroad history relocated from somewhere else (the location escapes me at the moment), although as originally built it supported two sets of tracks. The story they told us during The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour was that it actually cost more money to disassemble, ship, narrow, and re-assemble the bridge than it would have to just build a new swiveling bridge in the old style, but in the process they managed to save a bit of railroad heritage that would have otherwise been scrapped. I wholeheartedly approve.

The canal it crosses connects the Rivers of America with the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake and is used to transport watercraft (which I guess is just the Liberty Belle these days) between the Rivers of America and the dry dock on Bay Lake. Since the entire Magic Kingdom is built up from the natural ground level to deal with the high water table (the Utilidors are actually at ground level), this particular canal has a lock system (out of view around the bend to the left) to allow boats to move from one waterway to the other. I remember seeing one of the two riverboats tied up at that dock in front of the bridge on my first visit in 1979.

JB, that’s it! It never occurred to me before that part of why the 20K lagoon looks so different is the lack of other transportation system infrastructure.

Bu, that East Coast/West Coast Park rivalry was probably inevitable. We had the same sort of thing going between the two surviving Combat Camera units in the mid ‘90s, with one in Riverside (West Coast) and one in Charleston (East Coast). That sort of esprit de corps can be a very good thing.

Chuck said...

Dean - great minds think alike! :-)

Chuck said...

Found a GDB photo of the swinging bridge in this post from almost three years ago. It’s not the one I was imagining in my mind’s eye, but the discussion in the comments is familiar. Andrew also linked a really cool video of the Liberty Belle being towed back to the MK from dry dock that shows both the lock and bridge in action.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, I feel the same way about the Diamond Horseshoe building, it looks very inelegant and “Six Flags” to me. Strange considering how pretty many of the Main Street buildings are.

JB, even the Aunt Jemima’s restaurant at Disneyland had a better look than the Diamond Horseshoe. I’m worried about hurting the feelings of WDW fans who love the Diamond Horseshoe, which is not my goal. I sometimes see people at Disneyland carrying around large or heavy packages, and wonder why they don’t leave them at a shop and pick them up on the way out. Or have the butler carry them! The poor swans on those swan boats kept bumping their heads on that bridge. I’m glad if the RR photo has not already been posted! The mess on that dock was kind of “bad show”, but I guess somebody figured that it wasn’t really that visible to guests. They were wrong!

TokyoMagic!, exactly… I think of Magic Mountain’s buildings when I see the Diamond Horseshoe. I like Magic Mountain just fine, but they don’t go overboard on their style! I feel like I’m missing out on a reference when you mention Dopey ripping off Snow White’s arm. And I need to know! Instead of swinging around, that bridge should rotate at 300 rpm.

Mike Cozart, I’m not saying that the Diamond Horseshoe should look just like the Golden Horseshoe, and it may very well be based on actual historical examples, but it feels unimpressive. To me, anyway. Much of Disneyland is based on Hollywood representations of things like tropical marketplaces, turn of the century Main Streets, and frontier towns. They might not be historically accurate, but they play on audience expectations based on what they’ve seen in tons of movies and TV shows. If that makes any sense. I feel like they could have created a facade that segued from Liberty Square, yet still felt grand and impressive. BTW, I like the name “The Golden Lantern”! Thanks for all of the Diamond Horseshoe history and WDW information.

Major Pepperidge said...

Bu, I can’t really speak to which park is “better”, having never been to Walt Disney World. Based on photos, it’s as you suggest, some things are better in Anaheim, while the Orlando park has the benefit of more room and (theoretically) learning from problems encountered at the first park. And there’s all those waterways and lakes in Florida, which are beautiful. It’s clear that most people prefer the park that they grew up with, and that’s OK. Folks like what they like, there is no wrong opinion. The WDW Railroad intrigues me, with those full-sized locomotives that look so beautiful. My friend Mr. X complains that there should be more to look at from the railroad, though he does love it. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t do something along the lines of the Grand Canyon diorama. Maybe they could have had an Appalachian diorama?

JG, I have the feeling that you (and I) would adapt to the larger size. Millions of people walk around WDW all the time! If they can do it, so can we. I’d sure be curious to try it, anyway. Just be sure to wear comfy shoes.

Dean Finder, I think that perhaps they went too verbatim for the Diamond Horseshoe, but I’m also talking without a great deal of knowledge (even though Mike helped a lot with the context). For me it’s more a sense of the building feeling a bit unimpressive. I wonder if I can find a map or aerial photo where I can see that bridge in relation to everything else?

Chuck, I noticed the steeples, and thought that they might just be a bit of architectural sleight of hand (so to speak). Wow, I had no idea that the swinging bridge was a REAL piece of RR history, relocated to WDW. As you suggested, it seems like it would have been a lot easier to just start from scratch, but I appreciate that they did it the other way. I also never knew about a lock system to move watercraft from hither to yon. Why not just drag them with monster trucks? You’re right a rivalry was inevitable; hopefully it just drives a little healthy competitiveness, with no switchblades involved.

Chuck, hey, I have a great mind too!

Chuck, thanks for the link to that video, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. There’s the lock system!

DBenson said...

The glory of WDW's submarine ride was that it hewed to the movie, a Jules Verne fantasy. Of course, Disneyland's was more progress-themed to fit Tomorrowland, taking its cue from then-new nuclear subs and not referencing the movie at all. WDW's also had the luxury of being in the very back of the park, its setting uncompromised by sleek monorails or sky buckets.

The only deficiency in my view was a lack of a preshow or themed queue to ease you out of Fantasyland and into Verne. My memory is of waiting in the sun with Mr. Toad directly across the walkway. Also remember a bit where your sub was attacked by a giant octopus, simulated by tentacles dragging past the windows. Silly but still very cool.

After the subs closed there was a Winnie the Pooh play area using a fraction of the space, which was the last time I visited. Then came the Fantasyland expansion which included not only the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the Little Mermaid ride, twin Dumbos in a circus-themed area, the massive Be Our Guest restaurant, and lesser goodies. I'm guessing this covers more than the footprint of the 20,000 Leagues ride, huge as that ride was.

Chuck said...

Major, monster trucks don’t do well going through locks. And yes, you do have a great mind, but I didn’t want to mention it because I know how you are sensitive about making the rest of us feel inferior. With great power comes great responsibility.


There are two different church steeples set back on the liberty square roof of the Diamond Horseshoe and Adventureland Veranda building ( it’s one building with liberty square and Adventureland facades) the steeples are to create a historical looking colonial roof line visual from the hub, Concord Bridge ( incorrectly called liberty square bridge) and the tallest church spire is a copy of the one on The Old North Church” …. Off hand I cannot remember the historic prototype of the second church tower .

The WDW RR swing bridge was purchased used ( I think from a railroad in Florida - I’m out of town this weekend and cannot check on its origin) I think it’s from the early 1920’s .

A similar “grand canyon diorama” had been planed to be a part of the Thunder Mess show building … from one side guests would have seen AA figures similar to mine train thru natures wonderland vignette … to the left of the trains direction would be prairie and mountain scenery … with even a Bear River vignette …. Then a winter frontier snow storm …to the right railroad passengers Would get two desert scene glimpses from inside The Western River Expedition…. Including the famous “stagecoach & bandit hold up”

Another “diorama” was proposed for Tomorrowland …. In the segment right after the Tomorrowland Railroad station ( designed but unbuilt) guests would see a panorama of a future city tying in tomorrowland landmarks with an extended future scape . Thus was to hide the utility space where the WDW RR comes close to the Space Mountain building . The Tomorrowland Diorama was a casualty of the gas crises …. And the Thunder Mesa diorama technically was too.

While Disneyland was my “first” I probably have a greater fondness for it .. but WDW is Disneyland’s sibling … both parks have the same mothers and fathers … . Disneyland is charming and quaint not from INTENT …. But from NECESSITY. It’s that way because of financial , technological and time limitations. If WED imagineers didn’t have these restrictions it would be GRAND like Walt Disney World is … Walt Disney and all the imagineers said from day one regarding a DISNEY WORLD … that they were going to build in Florida everything they were unable to make Disneyland be. I think that’s why I love Disneyland and Walt Disney World both so much and different things about them both .


Disneyland is your older child you couldn’t afford to send to a university …. Walt Disney World is your younger child who benefited from college AND graduate school. But you still love them both! Tokyo Disneyland is your youngest child who learned so much from your older children and went to a few junior college classes and a short study abroad in Japan ….

Paris is the first and only child from a second marriage … it’s grown up with so many financial benefits and started out kinda arrogant but was never the success of HM its step siblings.

Hong Kong and Shanghai were both adopted when you were really too old to be having children anymore .

Ok I don’t know where I’m going with this …. And I left out Epcot Center … lol

JB said...

Both siblings, Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, get each others hand-me-downs. Actually, I guess that applies to pretty much all the Disney extended family.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, EPCOT's the kid who's been in and out of jail, a lot, recently.

I enjoyed today's visit to WDW, thank you, Major.