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If you've been following my restoration projects over the past year you may be familiar that my first restored film was one that my grandparents took in 1972. I complemented that with their return visit in '75 a few weeks later and around the holiday season I posted my first trip to WDW in 1980. To be honest, I thought that was all Disney World film my family had stashed away; turns out I was wrong, really really wrong. A year before I came into this world my parents vacationed in the Bahamas and on their return back to New Jersey made a detour through Orlando. The Magic Kingdom was on their to-do list and my father, a cinematography major in college, took the opportunity to film a good portion of their day, nearly 14 minutes worth. This film is silent, but it contains some incredible gems...

My father never spared an expense when it came to home movies. He exclusively used Kodak film and processing, a decision that was a smart one - to this day his films are some of the best preserved I have ever seen. He also had pretty decent camera for the time...combine that with his knack for framing a scene, gentle pans/zooms and his eye for people and scenery and you get, well, some incredible shots. His footage captures things you aren't going to see anywhere else - signage, unique angles and people (yes that is my dad eating the hot dog and my mother walking along a few times).

My parents day was well captured in the 14 minutes. The early morning monorail ride shows the topiaries along the way and soon we are inside Main Street USA. Notice that there is no full-on castle shot until a bit later, as if my father purposely delayed its entrance into the film.

The on-board footage of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a wonderful gateway to past memories. We're treated to bits of the parade, the show at Fantasyland Faire and a few other rare sights before a sincere focus on Main Street USA. Aboard the rail road we see a unique site, the Admiral Joe Fowler riverboat tied up on the back dock. We then climb aboard the Richard F. Irvine for a tour through the Rivers of America. Step inside the Crystal Palace, wander through Adventureland and end your day with a monorail cab ride back to the car.

I hope you enjoy this look back at the Magic Kingdom through the lens of my fathers camera!

Learn how to get 10% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films! retrodisneyworld.com/imageworks

World of Motion Welcome to Episode 5 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: "Stubborn Donkey" We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of the previous shows along with our latest. Thanks for listening!

Introductions - The regular crew is all here, Todd, Brian, How & JT are all present and accounted for.  There isn't much housekeeping this month, mostly because we are just that good, but Todd starts us off with a touching dedication that is more than appropriate. We also experienced record downloads and listens last month; thank you so much for that and we appreciate all of your interest in what we do here.

Main Topic - Our main topic this month is the GM sponsored World of Motion pavilion in EPCOT Center. The facts and figures in this ride are simply staggering, we also talk about animatronic carry over and how this attraction shared so many characters from other WDW rides. World of Motion is analyzed section by section, discussing each scene and our memories. How is the expert this month and even does some audio forensics on the ride...Brian forgets what side of Future World he is on, JT marvels at Albert the monkey and Todd continually says "Tee Hee Hee"...We hope you are excited to learn all about this gone, but not forgotten attraction!

Audio Puzzler - Congratulations to our two winners this month, Laura Bowles and Kelly Heft. The correct answer was The Living Seas. If you think you know the answer to the audio puzzler this month, email us! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - There is an opportunity to win a custom 3D printed Spaceship Earth container which you cannot find in your favorite Disney gift shop. All correct answers will also be entered into a drawing December 2015 for a Paul Hartley reproduction map from wdwmap.com!!

Viewer Mail - We received a great email from Jeff, who has/is creating remastered versions of the Electrical Water Pageant digitally and posts them all to his site and Youtube - Take a gander at what he is up to.  We always love hearing positive emails and comments about how/where you listen to the show and even will answer your Retro Disney questions. Thank you!  Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Film Restoration - We watch and discuss a retro film that has been restored with Pixcel and Imageworks. Follow along with us as we add color commentary to this 1976 Magic Kingdom film that includes the Swan Boats, restored to glorious retro perfection. So many good things in this one!

Tomorrowland Pole

We hope you enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Be sure to check back with us very soon for Episode #6 - We discuss World of Motion or Stubborn Donkey Part II, the highly anticipated sequel to Episode 5.  The team is also in contract negotiations to possibly record some mini episodes from time to time... 

Until next time... "Please stand clear of the doors; Por Favor Mantengase Alejado de las Puertas"


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We're humbled by the overwhelming response to our recently posted restoration of a 1975 WDW press film. Many of you shared our pages and rewteeted us thousands of times - we thank you for the wonderful exposure! There were many questions about the process, color, etc. We decided to show a complete side-by-side comparison of the Before and After restoration (see bottom of this page). Enjoy!

Why no sound?

With that said, many people questioned why there was no sound and why the color seemed to be less than perfect. First for the sound, the simple answer is that there was no sound. This film was meant to be distributed to newspapers and television studios for reporters to view so they had a visual of what WDW was all about...much cheaper than making a trip down to Florida. We can only assume that some sort of paperwork accompanied this film to help provide a narrative. Some suggested we add a musical soundtrack, but in the end we try to preserve how the films were meant to be originally viewed.

How does the restoration work?

So where does this leave us in the restoration? First the restoration has many steps - color is just part of it. We digitally "clean" the film by removing the dirt; accomplished by software comparing one frame of the film to the previous and next frame. If there is a speck of dust on the current frame, but not on the frames surrounding it, the software then averages the information on the previous and next frames to "erase" the dirt on the current frame. Crazy isn't it? On top of that the system is also busy decreasing the amount of film grain and comparing the relative position of each frame to each other and then averaging the position of all the frames to stabilize it. Of course we crop the film as well to get rid of the nasty edges and sprocket holes.

What about the color?

Now for the color...When screening was done the films were often discarded with no appreciation for the content within. Additionally these films, as well as the 8mm souvenir films sold in the theme parks, used very inexpensive emulsion, dye and processing chemicals. The upside was they were cheap to produce, the downside is that they were not meant for any type of archival purposes. With out proper storage the dyes in the films, even with out exposure to light, would eventually fade over time. The cyan fades first, followed by yellow, red pretty much hangs around for a very long time - so most of the time you are left with a very red/pink looking picture.

The color was nothing short of horrid which you will see as you watch the comparison film. We've done our best to gently balance the color as best as possible across the entire film; while this isn't the best method, it is the quickest color correction method. Understand that the Disney Company mashed many different sources into this film - you'll see footage from Disneyland (PoC), the Worlds Fair (Small World) and film shot specifically for WDW. Each type of shot has a different exposure and a different color balance - you'll see this as the scenes change. To restore this film to 100% perfection would require each individual scene to be painstakingly adjusted separately and then joined back together - manually. Something made even more complicated by the fact that each scene fades into each other. Can it be done? Yes, but it would be extremely time consuming. Possibly as software improves the man hours to do such a task will be greatly reduced. The important part is that we will retain the original HD scan of the film, so as software improves we can go back and make an even more accurate restoration.

Another item to note is that computer monitors have gone through a change in color temperature over the years. Many LCD screens in the past were backlit by CFLs which produce somewhat of a warm color on the screen. Recently more and more screens are designed to be backlit by LEDs which often give the screen a cool blue cast. Your perception of the color of the film may vary as you move from computer to computer...we use a balance between warm/cool but of course there is no telling what the end viewer's screen is like. If you prefer a warmer tone, I highly suggest Flux (https://justgetflux.com/) - software that not only saves your eyes (the cool blue color is strangely annoying to your eyes and brain) but will give almost any computer screen a warmer more natural tone of colors.

Thank You!

I'm sure this is more than most of you wanted to read! We again send a hearty thank you to all of our followers for their sincere interest in the films we restore; we have many more coming! We also look forward to any that you may be willing to share - please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you do!

Now sit back and enjoy the complete side-by-side comparison!

Learn how to get 10% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films! retrodisneyworld.com/imageworks

We've been quiet here at RetroDisneyWorld - focusing in the background on our next podcast episode and special music video that we hope to release in late 2015 (or sooner if we get more footage!). With that said, we wanted to release a film for our followers to watch...while the snow still falls here in New England on the first official day of spring we present to you a 16mm press film. Why is 16mm so interesting? The size of the film is twice that of the 8mm film we often restore, this provides a more detailed and sharper image.

It's very rare to find any 16mm films of Disney World, but when you come across one that the Disney Company produced you put your cards on the table and make a move to secure it. We stumbled upon this one on eBay and it was worth the purchase and digital transfer.

Think back 40 years ago, these press films would be distributed to newspapers for in-house screening or television studios for use in newsreels and such. When done, they were often discarded with no appreciation for the content within. That content has some incredible finds however! Despite the film using stock footage of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean you'll find the Fort Wilderness Railroad in operation, amazing helicopter shots and the original Tomorrowland in all of its white glory!

While the color was nothing short of horrid we've done our best to gently balance the color as best as possible across the entire film. Sit back and enjoy this 6 minute film, let it take you back to the Vacation Kingdom of the World! (If you are interested, we have posted a short article on the restoration process as well as a complete side-by-side comparison of the film, before & after restoration: http://www.retrodisneyworld.com/imageworks/films/before-after-restoration-comparison-1975-wdw-press-film)

Learn how to get 10% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films! retrodisneyworld.com/imageworks

Monday, 23 February 2015 11:59

Podcast Episode 4 - One Little Spark

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Opening CeremonyWelcome to Episode 4 of the Retro Disney World Podcast. We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of the previous shows along with our latest. Thanks for listening!

Introductions - The regular crew is all here, Todd, Brian, How & JT are all present and accounted for. We discuss the original Fort Wilderness sign whereabouts and also a little Fort Wilderness Railroad trivia is brought up thanks to some viewer mail. We also speak of a eBay auction of an original Resort Wall Map fom the 70s and then How analyzes the he monorail loading zone at the Contemporary along with the missing elevator.

Main Topic - Our main topic this month is the conception, history and early years of EPCOT Center. We look into the original vision of how it wasn't really thought to be a theme park and that Walt wanted this to be the community of tomorrow.  Brian and the gang also discuss the 1966 film Walt made to promote the concept and also get people excited about what was going to happen in Florida. How talks about the original EPCOT Center mailer that was sent to him prior to park opening and we also touch on the Magic Kingdom Club.  This episode is loaded with tons of early EPCOT facts and ideas, some failed concepts and missing characters - Be sure to listen to this episode carefully, as you may miss all the great information Brian shares with us.   

Audio Puzzler - Congratulations to William Winikus for winning the Episode #3 Audio Puzzler, the answer was the Magnetic Mystery Mine on Tom Sawyer Island. William wins the "brand new" bar of retro Contemporary Resort Soap. If you think you know the answer to the audio puzzler this month, email us! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - There is an opportunity to win one of TWO retro EPCOT souvenirs with this months episode.  All correct answers will be entered into a drawing in December 2015 for a Paul Hartley reproduction map from wdwmap.com!!

Viewer Mail - We received a great email from Jim, who is a current cast member at Walt Disney World. Jim gave us some great feedback and also mentioned how he uses the podcast to motivate him with his job at the Magic Kingdom, in Tomorrowland.  We always love hearing positive emails and comments on how you listen to the show or what it does for you - Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Film Restoration - We watch and discuss a retro film that has been restored with Pixcel and Imageworks. Follow along with us as we add color commentary to the October 14th, 1982 EPCOT Center Film that has been restored to glorious perfection.

We hope you enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Be sure to check back with us very soon for Episode #5 - We discuss World of Motion and learn how it's always fun to be free.

Until next time... "Please remain seated. Your time machine vehicle is rotating for your trip back to Earth."


Podbean: podcast.retrodisneyworld.com
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/retro-disney-world-podcast/id935548315
Stitcher: www.stitcher.com/podcast/retrodisneyworld/retro-disney-world-podcast

Friday, 20 February 2015 15:57

Trains, Trains and More Trains

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Trains, Trains and More TrainsSo things have been a little quiet around here, but it’s not because we’ve wondered off, we’ve been a little busy.

 Over the last year we’ve been super busy designing, building and shipping wooden toy trains for a certain large train transportation company. They shall remain nameless at this point due to NDAs but it’s a given us a lot of experience in the design and manufacturing process that goes into making those little wooden toy trains that everyone loves. As of this writing, we’ve designed and produced three locomotive engines, five cars, a train station and various accessories to go along with the trains. We’ve also designed and produced all of the packaging that goes along with them.

One day, as we were working, it occurred to us that we’d never seen Disney produce any wooden toy trains as souvenirs to sell in their theme parks. And hey, we just finished up a round of wooden toy train production…hmmm…I wonder what the Walt Disney World Railroad trains would look like if they were made into wooden toy trains…

So using the experience we gained developing the toys for our client, we set out to design wooden toy train versions of the Walter E. Disney, Lilly Belle, Roger E Broggie and the Roy O. Disney. This is what we came up with:

 

 

Trains, Trains and More Trains

 

We’d like to think these would make awesome toys. And we’re seriously considering making one-off prototypes to further refine the designs. We’d like to hear what you think about them. Would you buy one (or more) if Disney sold them in their theme parks?

We’re trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to get in touch with the right people at WDW for proper licensing and approval. If you have any contact information please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trains, Trains and More Trains

Trains, Trains and More Trains

Trains, Trains and More Trains

Trains, Trains and More Trains

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