Obtaining just returned from a research trip to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, I was genuinely able to get my time in what is my favorite portion of the total resort. I invested a fantastic part of my working day on Main Avenue, United states of america, and was introduced back to my childhood, walking down the street, parents in tow, marveling at the sights, appears, and of course, the Home of Magic.
So, on this set up of my WayBack Device, I wanted to focus on a time when the Magic Kingdom was nonetheless in its relative infancy, and a great, however extinct Primary Street, United states attraction.
(Lou borrows four quarters from his dad, plunks them into the WayBack Machine’s coin slot, and sets the dials for 1973).
The sounds of Tony Orlando and dawn singing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree” are quickly drowned out by the sounds of kids laughing, prepare whistles, and a ragtime tune getting performed on a distant piano.
I am on Main Road, Usa in the spring of 1973. There is no EPCOT Middle. No Blizzard Beach front. Not even a Port Orleans or Grand Floridian. The Magic Kingdom IS Walt Disney Entire world. Nicely, for now, anyway.
What you CAN locate here now is The “Fantastic Globe of Drinking water” Ski Show, a new attraction known as “Tom Sawyer Island”, and even a rootin’ tootin’ “Country and Western Stunning” present with stars like Anne Murray, Faron Youthful and Freddie Hart. These mini-live shows will be taking place in the evenings at the Tomorrowland Terrace (you now can locate Sonny Eclipse doing there), the Diamond Horseshoe (unfortunately, you can now locate an empty building there), and the Fantasy Faire (where you can now enjoy in Ariel’s Grotto).
You could also still journey alongside the Rivers of The united states on one of Mike Fink’s Keel Boats, or for the particular person who’s just not sweating ample in the Florida heat, you and your family members can electrical power your possess small canoe on the exact same human body of water many thanks to Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. ( Disney Parks swimming, remember to). Do not even get me commenced on 20,000 Leagues Underneath the Sea, Mr. Toad’s Wild Journey and the Skyway. (Lou wipes away a tear, blames the heat, and moves on)
I’d love to commence off with a breakfast with some of my favored people, but we is not going to see anything like that for a even though now. Talking of which, where is Holidayland? It really is intended to be between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, but, oh properly. And what about Thunder Mesa and the Western River Expedition? So wait around – you are telling me we’re likely to get the “Plaza Swan Boats” but NOT Thunder Mesa? Oh, the humanity.
Anyway, let’s get again to Primary Avenue – this jap seaboard, Victorian-era design city, with architecture and elements which ended up discovered in the late 1800’s.
I could virtually invest hrs (or must I say, “webpages”), conversing about just the outlets, equally existing and extinct, the architecture, the windows, specifics and so significantly a lot more, but I will have to save that for one more vacation. Even so, what I want to focus on is one thing that you may possibly not really bear in mind all that nicely. Let’s head on in excess of to the Primary Street Exposition Hall… I suggest – The Gulf Hospitality Residence.
Alongside with Tom Sawyer Island, it Walt Disney World’s latest attraction. Positioned adjacent to the Hospitality Home, The Walt Disney Tale depicted Walt’s lifestyle from his early childhood times in Marceline, Missouri, to the creation of Mickey Mouse and the development of Disneyland and Walt Disney Planet.
The attraction performed in a theater constructed explicitly for this film. The film itself was a project that started in June of 1969, and was not finished and previewed until March of 1973. In purchase to precisely tell Walt Disney’s lifestyle tales, a employees of far more than two hundred individuals at Walt Disney productions pored above 75 several hours of interviews conducted with Walt ahead of his premature demise on Dec. fifteen, 1966, ten times right after his sixty fifth birthday. One particular of the theory contributors was Bill Bosche, an artist and producer who labored for Disney for much more than thirty a long time. Having excerpts from these interviews, Walt Disney posthumously narrated considerably of his very own autobiography.
This 23-moment film would engage in concurrently at the two Disneyland and Walt Disney Planet, with the WDW version opening in April, 1973 and being committed on May possibly 6 of that very same year. It would eventually operate until finally Oct five, 1992. This attraction was unique originally in that it was, much like If You Had Wings, totally free (as Walt Disney Planet was nevertheless utilizing a coupon method of ticketing), and was sponsored by Gulf Oil, the same sponsor of the attraction developing.
The theater was built on the south west aspect of the Hospitality Residence, and even had a independent entrance made. Looking at the Principal Avenue Exposition Hall right now, the limited staircase to the appropriate of the building’s principal entrance was originally produced for the Walt Disney Story.
Inside of the constructing, the lengthy hallway which made up the queue spot was crammed with Disney memorabilia, which includes the 1 of a kind Oscar offered to him by the Academy for the 1937 masterpiece Snow White. In contrast to a traditional Oscar statue, this 1 had seven smaller Oscars at his facet. You could also uncover a scale model of the Nautilus, employed in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Below the Sea. (Till lately, you could have identified that very same design in the Residing Seas queue. It is mysterious whether it will continue being when the Nemo-ization of the pavilion is complete).
The hallway was crammed with not only displays, but the appears of Disney’s classic movie tracks as well. At the stop of the hallway had been entrances to two equivalent, 300-seat theaters. In between the two sets of doorways was a mural with one hundred seventy Disney people. Up right up until the mid 80’s characters from new releases ended up additional for every single film up until finally the Great Mouse Detective. 1 of these theaters was reworked and now shows classic Disney cartoons. The door to the other (now unused) theater can be seen at the back of the Corridor.
The film alone took Attendees on a transferring journey through Walt’s personal and professional daily life, and concluded with his plans for Disneyland, sooner or later WDW, and most importantly, EPCOT the town. The film was offered on a specially-made screen, created to give guests the impression they ended up hunting through a virtual scrapbook of Walt’s daily life. It was introduced as a photograph album, with uncommon audio accompanying images and illustrations.
The submit-display location was constantly in a point out of adjust. It confirmed every thing from plans for the growth of WDW, to the futuristic EPCOT Centre. Most notable was the brief exhibit of the model of a single of WDW’s latest initiatives, the Western River Expedition. In addition to a functioning design, Hoot Gibson, an audio-Animatronic owl, advised Guests he would be the star of the attraction. He also explained some of the processed of AA, and was accompanied by an Animatronic storybook, which flipped web pages as he instructed his story.
The Walt Disney Story shut from June of 1981 till October, 1982 to grow to be property to the EPCOT Middle Preview Heart. The unique film was changed with one particular that far more specifically outlined Walt’s dreams of his futuristic town. In Oct, 1982, when EPCOT Middle opened to the public, the Preview Center was taken off and the original film returned.
Just six years later on, though, The Walt Disney Story was eliminated after once again, this time to preview Walt Disney World’s third topic park, the Disney-MGM Studios. It was renamed, aptly adequate, “The Disney-MGM Studios Preview Middle.” Oh yes, our friend the owl was redressed yet once again, perched in a director’s chair, and narrated this as nicely.
Following the Studios opened in 1989, The Walt Disney Story returned once once again, but closed permanently in October 1992. Disney explained that the authentic movie had deteriorated so a lot that it could no longer be revealed in the theater.
The first exit from the movie took Attendees into the Disneyana Collectibles shop, which sadly is prolonged gone. It can be argued that this keep, with its great collectibles, was the very first of the pattern toward obtaining themed stores at the finish of attractions. It experienced superb products this kind of as commemorative plates, unique hand painted animation cels, and numerous restricted edition reproductions. You could also make a reservation for a seat at the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree even though there.
To preserve the movie and keep on to make it accessible to Attendees in the potential, it was released in a a lot abbreviated edition on VHS tape in 1994. Sadly these days, the video clip is unavailable on DVD, other than any remaining copies of the a hundred Year of Magic DVD, which had a considerably shorter, pan-and-scan model, minus the unique opening and ending.
In October 1996, the developing that as soon as housed The Walt Disney Tale turned the property of the Walt Disney Globe twenty fifth Anniversary Welcome Center. Like the before “preview centers” just before it, the developing was loaded with versions and reveals introducing the Disney Cruise Line and other approaching assignments. The Welcome Centre shut in 1997, and the displays taken off. It afterwards hosted the “Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcome Centre”
While the mural is nevertheless there at the again of the theater, most of the original displays are prolonged absent. The remaining kinds are themed in the direction of photography, as the constructing is now sponsored by Kodak.
(To get a very small sampling of what this attraction was like, I hugely advise taking time to go through the reveals and film “Walt Disney: One Man’s Aspiration” at the Disney-MGM Studios).
As we get all set to head back again property (darn this true occupation of mine), we can see some indications of factors to occur afterwards this 12 months, like the Plaza Swan Boats, which will ply the waterways of the Magic Kingdom, the Fort Wilderness Railway (hop on boards quick, as this is not going to be all around for prolonged), and some new attraction known as “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Nah, that’ll in no way capture on.
On a personal notice, I frequently wander via the City Square Exposition Hall, to reminisce about the previous attraction, check out the reveals and see what me on the horizon. It saddens me to see this kind of a superb, personalized tribute to Walt getting gone by the wayside, and the developing remaining practically vacant for all intents and needs. That becoming mentioned, I did do a minor snooping, and it appears like there may possibly be some thing new on the horizon for portion of the developing… Hold your eyes and ears peeled!
In any case, I can see by the docks up ahead that… oh wait. Incorrect attraction.
Err… What I intended to say was that this is heading to do it for this installation of my Walt Disney Globe WayBack Equipment. Time to return to the Magic Kingdom of 2006 and get pleasure from Stitch’s Grea… ah neglect it.