Retro Disney World

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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.


All RetroWDW pins are on sale and we have a VERY limited number of Lake and Lagoon tour pins availabe, only 100 were made!

Order yours at



We continue with our series of EPCOT Center B-Roll footage

EPCOT Center B-Roll Restoration Series

Future World

World Showcase

Our series of 1980s and 90s era EPCOT Center B-Roll footage continues with Future World East.

Before Ellen it was Exxon who reigned at the Universe of Energy. We visit this much loved pavilion with plenty of dinosaur footage to please your prehistoric palette. For those of you who never experienced the original you get a glimpse of what it was like before Alex Trebek and Jeopardy were the backdrop.

The spanking new Wonders of Life pavilion is up next. See it in all it's glorious, active and crowded 1989 aesthetic. A fair amount of time is spent on the exhibits under the dome. Be sure to check out Goofy teaching golf and Chris Evert teaching tennis tips on video screens!
And how about that pedal bike looping around the hub at Disneyland!

A visit to Body Wars and Cranium Command attractions was a must in the Wonders of Life and our footage gives you a glimpse at both attractions. A healthy dose of 90's jeans are omnipresent in this visit.

The glorious Horizons presented by General Electric is the next stop.
This EPCOT sequel to the Carousel of Progress is well documented in this footage. We see the majestic exterior and ride along through many of the most famous scenes from the ride. The legendary "choose your own ending" segment features the space landing.

No trip to Future World East would be complete without visiting the World of Motion presented by General Motors. A fine selection of key scenes featuring the record setting number of animatronics in this ride are on our ride-along as well as a post-trip visit to the TransCenter, GM's post-show area.


Monday, 31 October 2016 21:41

Podcast Episode 24: The Golf Resort

Written by

Aerial View of Golf CourseWelcome to Episode 24 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: "The Golf Resort" - 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 some emails regarding the Carousel of Progress. Animatronics, the father figure and lots of detail from the whole group.

Listener Mail - Chad wrote us mentioning he purchased some shirts from us. We also get into Chad's question about the Gold Key Vacations, which Todd has first hand knowledge of. We also got some tweets this month, discussing World Key and which attractions might have scared us. 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 - Congratulations to our winner from last month, Suzanne Gill, she guessed "Journey Into Imagination". Suzanne won a the brochure and Vacationland package! If you think you know the answer to the audio rewind this month, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a chance to win the first Walt Disney World Cookbook: Cooking with Mickey. Send your guesses by November 28, 2016 - All answers will also be entered into the drawing for our next BIG PRIZE, which is a huge prize pot slowly built over the course of 2016.

Prize Pot Items - As you may have heard, our year end prize this year will include a different prize from every month. So far, we have 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 Coing, a WDW Pocket Protector, and new this month........the RetroWDW Pin Collection! The pot will continue to grow each month with new and exciting prizes! To win the prize pot in December, just answer any audio rewind question each month for one entry.

Main Topic - For this month, we talk Golf. The Golf Resort is one of those early attractions that most people have never heard of. We take you back to the origins of golfing at WDW. Big thanks to George Taylor, Foxxy, and Passport to Dreams; we used some of their expertise to guide this podcast.  Brian starts us off by explaining how this resort came to be and from there we head into the Trophy Room for some eats and also delve into room sizes. This little known location, which is gone but not forgotten now, is truly going take you back. We all learned lots during this episode and we hope you do too, enjoy!

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-

The RetroWDW Lake and Lagoon Tour - Much faster than anticipated, the Lake & Lagoon Tour sold out in record time. We are accepting standby reservations, which will basically be a waiting list, in case an opening pops up or if we have the ability to open up another boat tour.  Thank you so much for your tour reservations and we are super excited to take this cruise with you all! We will all be around all weekend during Destination D, so please check our social media accounts for postings on where we will be and how you can meet us all.

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.


We visit the Magic Kingdom during 1981's Tencennial celebration, marking the resort's first decade in business.

Our film opens with traffic along World Drive before we pass the Polynesian en route to the Contemporary Resort where a monorail glides seamlessly into the Grand Canyon Concourse. Our guests head into the Magic Kingdom where they meet Mickey and Pooh in Town Square before boarding the Tomorrowland Skyway for a bird's eye preview of a fun day ahead.

We glide over the Speedway and 20K lagoon, looking out over Fantasyland
and taking shots of Seven Seas Lagoon using a zoom lens.  More Main
Street USA character greetings and Cinderella Castle looking regal at 10 years old. We board our Speedway cars, race each other, meet MORE characters and then it's time to look at everyone lining up for the Tencennial parade before a riverboat cruise and a spin on It's A Small World before catching the parade!

All of our favorite Disney characters appear in the parade including a mustachioed Pluto! The film captures the entirety of the parade before heading to the Flower Market on Center Street (no longer there). Our visit ends with another Skyway ride before ending with a final glimpse of the riverboat.

We continue with our series of EPCOT Center B-Roll footage

EPCOT Center B-Roll Restoration Series

Future World

World Showcase


Our next installment of EPCOT B-Roll footage from the 80's and 90's focuses on Future World West and takes us first to the Living Seas.

The Living Seas opens with beautiful exteriors showing the LOUD United Technologies sign before we board the hydrolators for our Sea Cab journey to Seabase Alpha. Terrific interior depictions of The Living Seas with the scuba tank (note how much the interior resembles the color scheme used on the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation - they were designed around the same time). Beautiful views of the sea life on display and guests enjoying the antics of a baby manatee, among others.

The Land, presented by Nestle, is up next. We get panoramic views of the Sunshine Seasons food court, the much beloved and missed fountain that sat in the center of the dining area before heading to the Food Rocks show that replaced Kitchen Kabaret. Thankfully our visit to Food Rocks is brief as we board Living With The Land, EPCOT's marvelous boat ride through its greenhouse facilities. Note the presence of the live narrator, which was a staple of the ride for it's first 20 years of existence until a recorded narration replaced them. Terrific footage of scientists working in The Land's laboratory facility closes out our visit to The Land.

No visit to Future World West would be complete without EPCOT Center's flagship attraction: Journey Into Imagination. Our visit showcases the original Kodak entrance sign (note the flowers in the bed are Kodak's corporate colors) and also note the plants and flowers along the buildings first level. They add a decorative touch that's missing on today's Imagination building. A glipse of the "upside down" fountains with the original DNA-strand style fountain artwork is seen before we head into The Image Works on the second floor of the pavilion. Many fondly remembered activities and attractions are in the footage including - yes - the famous rainbow tunnel. This video really captures just how much there was to do up there and the kinds of attractions available.

No visit to Imagination is complete without seeing the leaping fountains and footage of the Dreamfinder and Figment doing their much missed live meet and greets!


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