Retro Disney World

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Restored Films (57)

Our 1974 visit to the Magic Kingdom begins in the castle hub. Some men in brightly colored Hawaiian shirts await Mickey and his friends parading with the Main Street Band.  All of the familiar characters of the day are there (including Dumbo) and the Dapper Dans on tandem bicycles. Be sure and catch Robin Hood at the 1:40 mark attempting to steal a youngster from the crowd.

Our footage then takes us outside the park to entrance plaza with the Roy O. Disney overhead in Main Street Station. In Town Square we are again reminded that uncommon sights in the early days of the Magic Kingdom were blue jeans and, often, children.  Sometimes you can’t see either anywhere in footage of the day.

A quick pose with the totems outside the Jungle Cruise area in Adventureland before our friends head to Fantasyland and glimpse of the Carrousel with refurbishment walls around it. Obligatory footage of the Nautilus plying the waters of 20,000 Leagues lagoon before we meet some more characters outside Fantasyland’s toy shop.

We often purchase home movies of trips to Walt Disney World from ebay, estate sales, flea markets etc. Many times much of what we receive that isn't WDW related hits the cutting room floor: Edna and Earls anniversary, little Susies 5th birthday party, etc. While it is sad to see these memories crash to the ground, every now and then we find some interesting bits that we think should be restored and shared. 

Brian came across some films recently and one of them had a few minutes of the Cleveland airport; being a fan of aviation I just had to restore it. Some wonderful United 737s and a DC-8 are featured as well as a great shot of an Eastern Airlines 727 with ground service equipment. Remember, Eastern was the official airline of WDW! To see a bygone era of air travel in photos is one thing, but to come alive after 42 years is another. Sit back and imagine it is 1974, and you are behind the camera; documenting your trip to are cleared for take-off!

[Notes: We believe this dates from 1974 based on our research of other clips in the film]






If you thought 8mm film was rare, try 16mm. Its not often someone had the budget or the patience to lug a big heavy camera - but we stumbled up on this film and just had to have it! The details that 16mm picks up are amazing. Enjoy!

This film opens at the Contemporary Resort’s outdoor recreation areas capturing the tables and chairs, volleyball pit and captures monorails entering and exiting the hotel. There is footage of the circular “bullseye” pool which has been in continuous operation since the resort opened but this film shows fountains of water used to stream from the side into the pool.  Very cool.

The main pool is also seen in its original state, before they added waterslides and play areas. From the pool we also catch some activity at the marina then some footage of the entrance driveway to the hotel and its landscaping. Our guests are seen prancing among the topiaries that once occupied the area across the street from the hotel.

Quality footage of the Magic Kingdom entrance plaza and landscaping yields to some excellent 20,000 Leagues lagoon scenes. A few shots of the obligatory afternoon parade and outstanding footage of the bicentennial landscaping near the hub.

After a quick shot of the old Adventureland entrance area bench our friends head to Lake Buena Vista to do some shopping!

A long shot of the Pottery Chalet opens the scene then gives way to a bevy of red umbrellas and tables outside Heidelberg’s Deli in the Village is their first stop (they must have been hungry). Mrs. Lady stands among the flowers.  In this position Heidelberg’s would now be over her left shoulder just out of the camera’s view.

Be sure to notice the security guard and his white belt walking behind the flower garden on patrol.

A ferryboat gliding into the landing at the Ticket and Transportation center opens our 17 minutes 1974 visit to the Magic Kingdom. Views of the Contemporary and Cinderella Castle onboard yield to Main Street USA and then our subjects step through the arches of the castle. Note the two vehicles on a sparsely populated Main Street.

Friar Tuck is greeting guests in the rear of the castle while a solemn looking Snow White boards the Carrousel for a little mid-morning merriment. Perhaps she’s upset that the cameraman can only find three Dwarfs instead of seven. No matter, he finds happier parkgoers at the Fantasyland Skyway Station in all its alpine glory. A few seconds of footage from the Skyway station is too dark to really make out but then we board the Skyway for a journey above Fantasyland and Tomorrowlandd with views of 20,000 Leagues lagoon.

A few men can be seen working atop the under-construction Space Mountain as the Walt Disney World Railroad passes by. A few shots of Frontierland before we head inside the Mickey Mouse Revue. This is some great footage for those of you who have never seen the figures before. Can you spot the Three Caballeros? These same animatronics were recently installed in the Gran Fiesta Tour ride at EPCOT.

We then board If You Had Wings with a little on ride footage to give you the flavor of this attraction as well. There’s on ride footage from the Magic Carpet Around The World (a Circlevision 360 attraction) and even a little bit of Mission to Mars.

Running out of things to do in Tomorrowland our filmmaker heads to Adventureland and boards the Jungle Cruise. In search of some live entertainment we heads into the Diamond Horseshoe. There’s some footage of the Disney World marching band before we head outside the gates of the Magic Kingdom for a few shots of the monorail and the entrance plaza where our subject sports a Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers shirt (go Flyers!).

There is footage inside the Penny Arcade and then of our Main Street ragtime piano player followed by some character greetings including Mickey Mouse! Brief footage of a few attractions and locations gives way to the obligatory chronicling of the daily parade. Be sure to watch for Herbie The Love Bug complete with his hood that opens to reveal a full mouth and tongue. Yikes. After the parade there is some on ride footage from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and then a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

The topiaries that formerly occupied the area in front of the Contemporary Resort that now hosts the bus loop depot is glimpsed before we head back to the Magic Kingdom for an afternoon visit to Tom Sawyer Island and a ride on the Rivers of America where we spy the burning cabin and Mike Fink Keel Boats among other sites.

Our friends conclude their visit in the best possible way: a visit to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.

We've had this film completed and uploaded for a number of months now, but other projects forced us to back burner this release for a little bit. We're between podcast episodes so this is now a good as time as any to let the world in on this little gem.

Our 1978 visit to the Magic Kingdom starts wwith footage in Adventureland of JP & The Silver Stars, the steel drum band in permanent residency for many years in this location. A brief parade shot of Pluto and Goofy (and a cupcake) yields to a flood of people exiting the riverboat and some character greetings (notice the costume improvements today over the visible headpiece on Chip n Dale).

Racing along the Tomorrowland Speedway we see some of the old posters for famous raceways that used to line the starting point. A more genteel ride follows on the WEDWay Peoplemover. Peoplemover fans are in for a treat as our cameraman took extensive footage of his ride along the futuristic transport. Our subjects exit Tomorrowland alongside the spires (I can’t tell if the water jets were running or not) before taking in the afternoon parade where Mickey is wearing his 50th birthday hat (Pooh and some other characters have birthday hats on too).  For some reason Alice and Mr. Smee have pom-poms. This film was an eBay find for us from an estate collection.


Title screens were the purview of real film enthusiasts and our cinematographer sets the stage by showing us the Winter/Spring 1974 WDW guide map. This is really unique because it chronicles all facets of the arrival and entrance to Walt Disney World property and the Magic Kingdom.

On the open road headed to the Disney World exit and then approaching the parking plaza. Our driver is seen paying his fee and collecting his guide for his Walt Disney World adventure.

The orange parking trams (the ones that actually worked and didn't overheat) squire our guests to the Transportation & Ticket Center. This journey is familiar to many of you but the surroundings all look different. I love that on the tram ride you can see another member of this party setting up and taking his own movie footage.

Monorail Gold glides in to carry us to the Magic Kingdom, past the garden of topiaries that used to camp out on the lawn that is now the Magic Kingdom's bus loop station.

The hub, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Jungle Cruise (with one of it's old entrances) are visited before we see the area outside of Pirates of the Caribbean and then the start of a lengthy daytime parade featuring some characters that are rare or unheard of today, especially Herbie the Love Bug with eyes who opens his mouth. Thankfully this Herbie has been permanently retired (we hope).

After the parade we view the Richard F. Irvine and some canoes carrying passengers along the Rivers of America before boarding the Skyway for a twilight ride as the sun sets on a fun filled 1974 day in Walt Disney World.

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