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One of our recent acquisitions was 6 different WDW souvenir films - each 3 minutes and each featuring a different attraction. Most WDW souvenir films had a longer run time and generally featured a whirlwind tour of the Magic Kingdom, but 6 these films are rare and unique in that they focus an entire 3 minutes on an attraction.

In the days of film no one would take a camera on a ride; the cost, size, weight and lack of low light sensitivity made doing so just awkward, expensive or downright dangerous. Disney wanted you to promote the resort for them in your living room,  so they would shoot high quality footage of the attractions with the proper lighting and cameras. Most were shot on 16mm film and then down converted to 8mm for the home market. These films were sold in the parks and were designed to be shown at home to their friends and family. A simple $3-$4 souvenir made them money and was free advertising.

Technically speaking, the majority of souvenir films were printed on inexpensive 8mm film. The quality of the dyes on the film is so poor that even after 40 some years of storage in a shrink-wrapped never-before-opened box, these films had faded. There is something to be said about Kodachrome and the longevity of the color and quality. Once transferred we did extensive color balancing on each of the scenes trying to get them as close as the original. We have not been able to find any other copies of these films in viewable condition anywhere. Be sure to check out both versions of the film!

1. Final Restored footage with added Soundtrack

Our visit to River Country begins looking across Bay Lake at the Contemporary Resort Hotel from the top of the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole’s slide. As the camera pans back you get a good glimpse of River Country’s swimming pool, barrel bridge and filtered Bay Lake water fed swimming hole just beyond the chlorine swimming pool in the foreground. It give you a nice glimpse of what the place was all about.

We see guests hopping and sliding into the chlorine pool. Check out the size of those drops from the slide into the water! Then the zip line, inner tube slide and wading pool of the lake-fed pool is featured. We also get to ride along with guests going down the biggest and fastest slide in River Country (the one WDW President Dick Nunis is alleged to have careened over the side of once). What a wild way to close out this short souvenir film!


2. Original vs Restored Footage Comparison

There isn't much footage out there of River Country and to find this film uncovered some of the best footage we've ever seen of the now shuttered park. It even features POV (Point of View) on ride footage of Whoop 'n Holler Hollow slides! Before watching the film with the additional soundtrack added, take a look at this comparison film showing the original and restored film compared. This film was a mess, but we were able to bring back as much color as we could with out making it look artificial.

Today we bring you early holiday stock footage released by Disney on 16mm film, presumably for use by television stations promoting Christmas in the parks. The color on this film wasn't great to start with and had many tint issues and color fades.

A balloon release over a Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA filled with marching drums during a daytime parade is the first scene. Then we see beautifully a decorated lamppost and Dickensian Carolers on Main Street USA in Disneyland. A crew decorating a heavily flocked Christmas Tree which will appear a few scenes later at night brilliantly lit with General Electric lights. Note the cast members who latched the Christmas ball ornaments to a belt around their waist. The faux snow sprayer is pretty neat too.

Tinkerbell then lights the lanterns as Mickey begins a Very Mery Christmas Parade in Disneyland featuring Santa, marching Christmas trees, soldiers on horseback and a closing image of the Candlelight Processional in front of Main Street train station with a “Merry Christmas” scrawl across the screen..

 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 10:37

Podcast Episode 25 - Anniversary Special

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EPCOT Center Entrance - 1986Welcome to Episode 25 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: "Anniversary Special" - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Comments & Corrections- To start this episode, we discuss things that scare us at WDW. Mike wrote in and said he used to be scared of Tick-Tock Croc on Peter Pan's Flight. Kate was scared of Body Wars due to her fear of shrinkage. Hipster Mickey wrote in telling us about being scared during the Studio Backlot Tour. Next up, Brian recaps his visit to the old Golf Resort. Currently, known as Shades of Green, Brian was able to worm his way over there and see what still exists. BJ Major sent us an Epcot Film which was absolutely amazing.

Listener Mail - We had lots of great letters sent in this month. Bernie wrote us to discuss character meet & greets and how it has changed over the years. Brian remembers a paper mache Pete's Dragon and also a walk-around dog from the Shaggy DA. For questions, comments and concerns, please write us - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Orange Bird Film - One of our holy grail films was released a few weeks back and we discuss as a group. The Orange Bird is back in amazing color and he even does a dance for you. We talk about the different types of bird head and give our opinions on which is best. Hope you enjoy the film and check back for more soon...we have lots of rare films that will be released very soon.

Main Topic - This episode is all about anniversaries, including our own! How starts us off with year one then quickly moving into the five year anniversary and tencennial. The fifth is when things got serious; this includes waterski shows, Boardwalk & Baseball and many other amazing events.  Who out there still has their "I'm a Winner" Visor? The Earforce One was another 15th anniversary special item along with the famous ticket system, giving almost every person who entered a prize. This included the Chevrolet Cavalier(one per day), pins, stickers, park tickets and of course the visor. The 15th was absolutely epic!

Prize Pot - Our year end prize is huge! Included are: An Orange Bird Yo-Yo from January, a brochure from The World of Motion given away in February, the March prize is a Golf Resort Mickey head logo golf bag tag, an Epcot Center salt and pepper shaker set, a Disney Glass Candy Dish, Tomorrowland Handbook, 1984 Disney News Magazine, The Walt Disney World Explorer CD Rom, expired Discovery Island Tickets, a Frontierland Viewmaster Slide, the WDW Tencenial Coin, a WDW Pocket Protector, and finally the RetroWDW Pin Collection.

Congratulations go out to Wes Hansen! He was randomly selected from over 600 entries to receive this years big prize! Congratulations Wes!!15th Anniversary

More Main Topic - How takes us back to the 20th anniversary! The infamous Castle Balloon was featured during this anniversary. How also got to see Michael Eisner, again... We also hear about 20 things that debuted for the 20th. Great walk down memory lane for this crazy annivesary. Brian discusses the Florida Legislatures Weekend and his amazing intvitation of the fold out Empress Lily. Brian takes us into the 25th, a topic that he has a huge amount of information on. This includes the two TV Specials, which includes Drew Carey eating a turkey leg. The unbelievable Castle Cake is discussed in great detail. So much mid/late 90s goodness with tons of highlights. If you still have your "Guest of Honor" pin, show your 25th anniversary pride - these things sure do bring back memories. Brian has a favorite shirt from this anniversary, showcasing the two castles. The how-to on this whole castle is super interesting. To round out the 25th, we bring on our buddy Matt to discuss to the road show, The Maigical Memories Tour.

RetroWDW Merchandise - Fantasy Pins are here! We have a great set of custom pins for sale now. Be sure to get your pins and add them to your collection as these are limited time and won't be around forever. Be sure to get your shirt, iPhone case, tote bag, pillow or coffee mug- www.retrodisneyworld.com/supportus

Listener Memories - Keep the calls coming, sharing your memories and giving us feedback. If you would like to call and leave us a message, please dial 978-71-RETRO. Keep the calls coming! 

Check back with us in January for  Episode 26 where we take you back to a time when you could journey under the sea...This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tweet at us, send us a Facebook post or message, tag us on Instagram or email us your thoughts..We hope you have 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.

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

One of our recent acquisitions was 6 different WDW souvenir films - each 3 minutes and each featuring a different attraction. Most WDW souvenir films had a longer run time and generally featured a whirlwind tour of the Magic Kingdom, but 6 these films are rare and unique in that they focus an entire 3 minutes on an attraction.

In the days of film no one would take a camera on a ride; the cost, size, weight and lack of low light sensitivity made doing so just awkward, expensive or downright dangerous. Disney wanted you to promote the resort for them in your living room,  so they would shoot high quality footage of the attractions with the proper lighting and cameras. Most were shot on 16mm film and then down converted to 8mm for the home market. These films were sold in the parks and were designed to be shown at home to their friends and family. A simple $3-$4 souvenir made them money and was free advertising.

Technically speaking, the majority of souvenir films were printed on inexpensive 8mm film. The quality of the dyes on the film is so poor that even after 40 some years of storage in a shrink-wrapped never-before-opened box, these films had faded. There is something to be said about Kodachrome and the longevity of the color and quality. Once transferred we did extensive color balancing on each of the scenes trying to get them as close as the original. We have not been able to find any other copies of these films in viewable condition anywhere.



This is the first of our 6 films and is one of the best. It features POV (Point of View) on ride footage of Big Thunder Mountain in the early years! We did edit the sequence of scenes as the original film was quite a bit of back and forth and was meant to give a taste of the ride - by putting the pieces back into their original order and adding some background music we're able to enjoy the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!!

 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 12:51

Podcast Episode 24.5 - Destination: Retro

Written by

Welcome to Episode 24.5 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: "Destination: Retro" - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Main Topic - Todd, Brian and JT are back to give you a recap of the Destination: D Trip and some other highlights. We discuss the D23 event, some interesting findings brought to our attention and also talk about the Lake & Lagoon Tour.  Bay Lake Aerial '72

The RetroWDW Lake and Lagoon Tour - The tours were a great success! We had seven boats go out over two days and they were filled to the max. The different sights and locations were all discussed in detail and on this episode, we give you a little recap of the different stops. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join us, we plan to release some audio versions of the tours very soon. This way you can take your own journey on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon.  

Dinner with Tom Nabbe and David Coolidge - We had two very special guests of honor at dinner and afterwards Tom told us monorail stories as we rode the restort beam in search of the elusive missing beams!

ReeseRileyReview -  A big RetroWDW Hello to Reese and Riley! We were special guests on Episode #8 of the ReeseRileyReview! - Be sure to follow the girls (@ReRiReview) and listen and watch their shows as they review Disney Resorts and more!

RetroWDW Merchandise - Fantasy Pins are here! We have a great set of custom pins for sale now. Be sure to get your pins (retrowdw.com/pins)  and add them to your collection as these are limited time and won't be around forever. Be sure to get your shirt, iPhone case, tote bag, pillow or coffee mug- www.retrodisneyworld.com/supportus

Listener Memories - Keep the calls coming, sharing your memories and giving us feedback. If you would like to call and leave us a message, please dial 978-71-RETRO. Keep the calls coming! 

Check back with us very soon for Episode 25 where we take you to the 25th Anniversary Celebration! Brian is super pumped to tell you all about this entire experience, in honor of our 25th episode. 

Tweet at us, send us a Facebook post or message, tag us on Instagram or email us your thoughts..We hope you have 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.

 

 

Podbean: podcast.retrodisneyworld.com
iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/retro-disney-world-podcast/id935548315
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By Brian Miles

When I began acquiring discarded home movie films from people's visits to Walt Disney World in the 1970's and 80's I developed a list of "holy grail" things I hoped to see captured on film. The Florida Orange Bird was a character developed exclusively for WDW by Disney Imagineers on behalf of the Florida Citrus Growers (Adventureland's original sponsor). Not long after park opening the character began doing meet and greet appearances in Adventureland. These continued throughout the 1970's and ended with the Citrus Growers sponsorship deal in 1986.

While one or two very poor, brief, long distance clips of the Florida Orange Bird have circulated on YouTube, the OB never appeared in the many WDW TV specials or souvenir films. So high on the list of "holy grail" items was finding good footage of an Orange Bird meet and greet. When I purchased the Magic Kingdom October 1974 film you are about to see I was prepared to have my hopes dashed as I have with dozens of other films. This one, however, was different.

Our film opens with a homemade title screen shot on the door of the family's garage before they arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center appropriately clad in vacation wear of the era. A nice shot of the Magic Kingdom's empty centrally located turnstiles (where we go through security now) are seen before we stop into Town Square and Main Street, USA catching a look at the Hospitality House (Tony's Town Square Restaurant) and then the hub and Crystal Palace restaurant from a distance.

As we moved into Adventureland and boarded the Jungle Cruise I was excited. Maybe we will finally strike Orange Bird gold! As our family steps off the Jungle Cruise they walk by Adventureland Verandah and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. We see a crowd off in the distance by the Enchanted Tiki Room and Sunshine Tree Terrace. Our family moves in closer to see what the commotion is all about.

EUREKA! The Florida Orange Bird, King Louie and Baloo spend the next 30 seconds dancing and entertaining the guests in Advenutreland. We see the Orange Bird sign an autograph book for some children before moving on to the Rivers of America.I will admit the first time these frames came into my view finder I got a little emotional. I had spent years searching for quality home movie footage of the Orange Bird. Now my mission was complete. It is worth noting that this is one of two variations of the Orange Bird character. This one had a solid plastic head. There is another version that had a fur/felt covered headpiece. We don't have footage of that one -- yet!

In our post-Orange Bird euphoria we sail by Tom Sawyer Island the Haunted Mansion and not much else, as the rest of Frontierland as we know it didn't exist until Big Thunder Mountain was built in 1980 and Splash Mountain in 1992. You do get a good glimpse of how much the scenes along the river took prominence then vs. how they often fade in the background of those two mountains in modern times.

We see the Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Pigs meeting outside Liberty Tree Tavern before our family AGAIN boards the riverboat. They must have liked the ride. They hop on the Skyway, glide to Tomorrowland, meet grumpy (because dwarfs are futuristic) and head back out to the hub to take in some more scenes of the castle before ending their visit with the daily parade.

So thank you Matty & Ruth, Alex & Josephine for taking us along on your trip to Walt Disney World and fulfilling a dream decades later.

 

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