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Restored Films (59)

Below you will find the restored film of my first trip to Walt Disney World in October 1980. I'm a tad over 6 years old in the film, a big time first grader that wears a sun visor without concern about his image. The Kodak processed Super8 film features sound and the run time is over 30 minutes.  The sights and sounds included are amazing - The barker from PoC, a brand new Big Thunder, Adventureland Steel Drum Band, the Empress Lilly character breakfast and The name a few...

But the content is not what is important here. My father filmed many events in our lives and I'm fortunate to have these memories preserved on film. The ability to see see my grandparents again is a gift I will treasure forever as they were the key inspiration for my fascination with WDW and now I want to share that gift with our followers.

As you spend time with the people you love, cherish the time you have with them. Remember the photos and videos you are taking aren't just capturing the present but creating memories that will last a lifetime for all.

I wish you and your family all the best during the holidays and a wonderful new year!


Ahead of our podcast episode devoted to the Contemporary Resort ( we bring you three restored home movies of the A-frame building bundled ito one 9 minute package!

The first of the three is a silent 8mm film and we were impressed at the filming locations and the steadiness of the camera. There are many shots of the monorail gliding in and out of the resort - almost to the point of ad nauseam; fortunately we soon move inside and are treated to the area that has now become Chef Mickey's. Look at the lights! Look at the Orange Juice dispenser on the buffet table! Then, surprise, more monorails again! This time taken from the balcony off to the side of the resort - I must admit the shots obtained from this perspective are very unique, especially at the 2:18 mark - what a unique vantage point! Out to the concentric circle pool we go - this time more monorails and some nice exterior shots before monorail glides away from inside the hotel.

Our second film is also silent 8mm and comes in at 3:45 and is very short but features a long shot from a boat on the way over from Ft. Wilderness. Then Bob-A-Round boats at 4:14 !! Finally we end with some wing shots and the pool area.

The third film is Super8 with sound, although what sound was recorded is really just the din of the cavernous interior of the resort. We start off with a slow pan of Bay Lake. Another monorail pulls in, get a load of the carpet color and design - now that would be a great cell phone cover case! Interior shots of the Grand Canyon Concourse continue, and then the party begins at the top floor of the resort looking down. The pan shot that ends this film really shows how the north side of the concourse was laid out.
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There comes a time when an eBay automated search turns up a diamond in the rough - this has surely got to be one of those times. Brian and I both found this film on the auction site and we immediately began to ensure that we would be able to secure it. We accidentally bid against each other, but no harm done, we got the film.

There are a few things that make this particular film unique. First it was taken on October 14, 1982 - a mere 13 days after EPCOT Center opened its doors. Second it is film, not video. In 1983 Sony released the first home camcorder and the influx of grainy poorly lit home videos boomed from there. It is very rare to find any film footage of EPCOT, let alone this early in its life. I believe this footage was taken by an older couple, there is a woman who appears in the film a few times wearing a long pink skirt - on top of that, they have almost zero interest in Future World. I can only assume, and maybe a stereo-typical one, that this couple made the pilgrimage to EPCOT and by 1981 they weren't about to spend any money on a "newfangled Super8 sound camera" and "fancy technology" wasn't that appealing to them, hence they spent their time at World Showcase over what appears to be two days.
The film starts off back in the parking lot of EPCOT. We see the monorail swing by and we are quickly whisked away to the fountain. From there it is a tour of World Showcase. There are some very nice slow pans of the Lagoon and a great shot of the chrome windowed Friendship boats. Note how the small trees make some countries look like they are on top of others. The Germany pavilion, which was going to house a Rhine River Cruise attraction, shows its massive size more than it does today. The first part of the film ends with a sunset over Paris.
Remember when I said the photographer had almost zero interest in the future? Well this all changes at the 6:02 mark when Horizons comes into focus, under construction. You can see welders and steel workers on top of the structure - the familiar Horizons shape is very clear. From there we are back to World Showcase and the film ends with a fantastic shot of the monorail gliding into the station.
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NOTE: This video was updated on 5/29/15 with a newly restored version with improved color correction.

Our podcast goes live tomorrow, but until then, here is a newly restored film from our Imageworks department...

If there is one thing that stands out in this film, it is the blue water... Seriously, the Rivers of America, the canals around the castle, the water in Adventureland has an almost fake looking blue tint to it. I can only assume a dye was used. Anyway, aside from the blue water this film really highlights the architecture of the park because whoever took it focused on buildings, landscape, fountains and other items that most people would overlook. Through Main Street USA and into Libery Square we go...some indoor shots of some shops are in here as well as evidence of a Florida afternoon rain shower.

The skyway was closed on the day this was taken...even back then a cast member stood guard at the entrance, fending off any would be trespassers and politely informing guests that the ride was closed for the day.

Technical Details: The color on this film was semi faded to start with, and in the end its just OK by my standards. Scene by scene adjustments is not warranted in this case as there is nothing really special in the film that would require massive restoration efforts.

Learn how to get 40% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films!

Learn how to get 40% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films!

Sometimes things on eBay pop up that are worth spending a few dollars on. Sometimes you know whats on there, and sometimes you are purely taking a chance. With the help of a friend we were able to secure a few reels of Magic Kingdom footage from 1976. With a total running time of of nearly 5 minutes we are first treated to ride on the Peoplemover - oh how I long for the days of the StarJets!  Next up is about 1.5 minutes of on-board Swan Boats footage. Jungle Cruise is up next (no frogs this time) and then a trip on the train. A fantastic shot of the Tomorrowland Speedway from the train is tucked away at the 4:06 mark.

Technical Details: The color on this film was terrible to start with, and in the end its just OK by my standards. You'll notice that the color in each scene changes, demonstrating a inexpensive camera, poor quality film/developing or a combination of all. Its very difficult to apply a general color fix across all scenes, but we did the best we could. Scene by scene adjustments is not warranted in this case.

Learn how to get 40% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your film!

Learn how to get 40% off your digital transfers and FREE restoration of your films!

Yes we here the collective groans..."What? another parade?!".. we agree, but this should be the last one for awhile, and after this we have 3 other non parade films to release. On the bright side this film does open with a nice shot across Seven Seas Lagoon, the ferryboat ride over to the Magic Kingdom and then some general shots in and around the park. The fife and drum corp does their thing and then Mickey's 50th birthday marches down into the hub area.

Technical Details: This film had tons of grain, and we did some look ahead frame interpolation to help reduce the grain even more. The color was in rough shape, and we bought it back to a general even color across the whole film. Some scenes are a bit off still however.



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