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Wednesday, 01 February 2017 14:55

Jungle Cruise - Restored 8mm Souvenir Film

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Our restoration of Disney 8mm souvenir films next takes us to Adventureland's legendary Jungle Cruise. The film opens with the earliest of Jungle Cruise's many signs and entrance designs over the years. We see ships leaving the dock and entering a covered thicket canopy which you might not recognize because you're usually sailing under it and looking at the giant butterflies on either side of you.

As Rutshuru Ruby glides past ruins and waterfalls we see our first
wildife: a giant snake! (that doesn't appear to be moving). The next is one of a series of cool shots showing you the boat from the perspective
of the animals and ride scenes.  It's also noteworthy how thin some the
vegetation on the banks of the ride was before it had 40 years to grow.

The film takes us into the darkened temple and we see those ride scenes before 40 years of enhancements were made to them (it seems every time Jungle Cruise goes down for refurbishment they tinker with that scene).

The elephant bathing pool and wading hippos give way to footage of the famous (now retried) firing cap guns. You'll see the overturned jeep that is still in the ride but you won't see the back half of the airplane that appears today. That wasn't added until 1989 (when the front half was used in Disney-MGM studios Great Movie Ride in the Casablanca scene).

After passing the headhunting natives we glide back safely from the jungle to the wilds of Adventureland. High time for a Citrus Swirl from Sunshine Tree Terrace to refresh yourself.


Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:01

It's a Small World - Restored 8mm Souvenir Film

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NOTE: This restoration has a soundtrack added; the original film was silent.

Our series of restored Disney souvenir films takes us around the world on the Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed. it's a small world is, perhaps, Disney's most famous attraction. The original premiered at the
1964-65 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY before moving to Disneyland in 1966.

In 1971 it's a small world was an opening day attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and is the second of an eventual five copies of the attraction (the others are in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo).

The souvenir film shows the attraction's exterior with the Seven Dwarves apparently protesting it for some reason. We sail through Europe and Africa, South and North America, The Arctic and Antarctic, Australia, Asia and everywhere in between. Much like the Country Bears the changes here have been minimal over the years - improvements almost always being visual as opposed to material changes to the ride content.

The film condition prevents us from really seeing Imagineer Mary Blair's brilliant use of color and whimsy but you get a nice glimpse of ride footage that home movie makers rarely captured due to the difficulty shooting 8mm home movies in dark conditions.

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:53

Country Bear Jamboree - Restored 8mm Souvenir Film

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Our restoration of Disney souvenir films continues with a look at Frontierland's iconic Country Bear Jamboree. This attraction was the brainchild of Imagineer Marc Davis and was originally intended as entertainment to be offered at Walt Disney's never built Mineral King ski resort in California near Sequoia National Forest.

The film opens with a view of the attraction entrance and exterior. Note the sign showing the two original sponsors Pepsi and Frito-Lay. This is of note for two reasons. First, because these were the only two sponsors the attraction ever had from 1971-1981. Second, this was a time when Pepsi co-existed in the parks with Coke, which has been the main soft drink supplier to the resort since it opened and sponsored attractions in the park at the same time. Some restaurants even offered both Pepsi AND Coke during Pepsi's sponsorship days.

The attraction footage begins with the opening scene showing the bears in their original splendor. While you won't note many glaring differences from the show you see today you may note today's animatronics look a little more colorful. Some of that is owed to advances in technology of their synthetic exteriors. However, some of that is due to a 2012 refurbishment which controversially trimmed a few minutes from the show.

At that time several of the bears got completely new fur done in colors and hues more closely matching Marc Davis's original concept art. As the scenes haven't really changed over the years this film will seem very familiar to most of you.

20k Leagues under the SeaWelcome to Episode 26 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: "Tiny Bubbles" - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Listener Mail - First off, we have a real letter! Rob wrote us discussing history on the Golf Resort and some new facts we didn't cover. Next, a listener wrote in asking about updates to the utilidors. Cameron wrote us about the corrugated wall and how he found it. Joey was next, asking about our opening title music. We give you the history and also details on each section of the song. For questions, comments and concerns, please write us - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Audio Rewind - We are back with a new audio puzzler. If you think you know the answer, email us! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - This month the winner will get a pack of RetroWDW Pins!  All entries due 2/12/2017 and a winner will be selected. Even if you don't win, you will gain an entry into the NEW PRIZE POT! 

Prize Pot - This year, we are going to do a new and exciting prize giveaway. The RetroWDW Podcast will have two prize pots this year; one summer, one winter.  The first prize pot item is the Walt Disney at the World's Fair CD Set. This is an amazing start to the Summer Prize Pot, so be sure to get your entries in.20k Leagues under the Sea

Main Topic - This month we take you back to the Magic Kingdom and onto the classic ride, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. How & Todd take us back to the 1950s, giving us a bit of history to begin. As we continue, you learn all about the subs, the ride, sounds and everything down to the smallest detail. This is one attraction where nearly all of us have some experience actually riding and loving. Gone but not forgotten, this ride never made it to "Classic Status" before it was too late. Our own How Bowers is one of the few people on earth to take the final ride around on the sub... Hope you enjoy going back with us to Fantasyland, before it was new and when you could ride with Captain Nemo.

RetroWDW Merchandise - How has given us an amazing design based on the Home of Future Living. This one is absolutely amazing and you can get it in shirt form and many other products. Give How some feedback on your favorite design by tweeting at us, showing your purchases. As always, we appreciate your support and love seeing you out there sporting your RetroWDW gear! Be sure to get your shirt, iPhone case, tote bag, pillow or coffee mug-


Film Restoration - Todd gives us all an update on our film projects coming soon.... Lots of goodies are being processed as we speak, so if you are one of our film buffs, it is time to get excited.....

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!

-Join us next month for a grand and miraculous journey, as we take you to EPCOT Center and into Spaceship Earth-

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.


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..


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