Retro Disney World

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Our community writes about their memories made in Walt Disney World..

Friday, 10 August 2012 10:37

Hidden Treasure

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WDW Book 1986I was cleaning out my closets the other day and came across this hidden treasure.  I actually forgot I had this book.  The cover isn’t in the best of shape, but the inside is pristine.  Of course I had to stop cleaning and get lost in WDW for a while.  This book was published in 1986 and there are some very good photos of attractions that are no longer around - the Fantasyland Skyway, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mission to Mars, American Journeys, Horizons, World of Motion and so many others.  I also realized that while I’m sad that these old attractions may be gone, some of my favorites have basically remained the same.  Photos of The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, It’s a Small World and many others basically look the same as they did 27 years ago.  Hmmmm, maybe I should do some more cleaning and see what other “hidden treasures” I can find.

Thursday, 26 July 2012 21:21

A Little Theme Park Music?

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As a child of the ‘90’s, I spent my childhood singing along to the music of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. However, long before those two invited me to be their guest or go under the sea, another duo had kids tapping their feet.

The Sherman brothers provided the soundtrack for some of Disney’s biggest hits, including Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. They had the honor of working directly for Walt Disney on films such as The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band.

Sorry, you have not enough rights to view this image.While the Sherman brothers wrote countless movie scores, it isn’t this music that sticks out in my memory. The duo also wrote the most recognizable theme park tunes Disney has to offer! Who can’t hum along to “It’s a Small World” or “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room?” THESE are the songs I can’t get out of my head, the songs with lyrics so catchy I’m singing them for hours.

Of all the Sherman brothers theme park jingles, my personal favorite is hands-down “One Little Spark.” This signature tune from “Journey into Imagination” never fails to put me in a good mood. Doesn’t hearing about it just bring back memories of the original Dreamfinder, and his signature red beard? Are you ready to fill up your “idea bag” and later empty it all into the “Dreamport?” Just remember, though: the Dreamport is never far away when you use your imagination!

Note: While I was born a few years too late to ride the original “Journey into Imagination,” the tune has been brought back. Thank goodness! Now a whole new generation (but mostly me) can enjoy “One Little Spark.” Although Eric Idle is now singing lead vocals in the new, significantly less cool “Journey into Imagination with Figment.”

Theme park music is an area largely overlooked by other theme parks, but Disney knows it can be an integral part of a visitor’s experience. What tunes were you humming as a kid? Any special memories of our favorite “loveable fellow,” Figment?

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 21:10

Whatever Happened to Tart 'n' Tinys?

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Tart n Tinys caseThis past weekend, I was going through my Disney Collection looking for inspiration for this article.  My brother and his family were with me and while we were discussing topics, we came across these old, empty candy containers.  My brother got very nostalgic and suggested I write about Tart ‘n’ Tinys.  I wasn’t sure.  Write about a candy once produced by the Willy Wonka Candy Company on   What would people think?  But, the thing is – it’s not really about the candy – it’s about the memories he has of that candy in Walt Disney World.

Personally, I am a chocoholic – always have been.  If it’s not chocolate, chances are I won’t eat it.  My brother isn’t quite that picky.  He has always loved sour and tart candies and he found his favorites in Tart ‘n’ Tinys.  We found them only in Walt Disney World.  They came in the coolest plastic containers shaped like your favorite Disney character.  In EPCOT Center, they came in square, plastic boxes.

Every time we went to Disney World, one of my brother’s first purchases was Tart ‘n’Tinys.  (Apparently, we bought lots of them over the years because I have quite the collection of plastic boxes).  He’d look for them in every store we went in.  It was almost like a scavenger hunt for him.  We’d even bring them home to friends and family as gifts.  Hey, they traveled well.  Those tiny little pellets of sugar were almost chalky when you ate them, but they were fun and easy to eat.  Just grab a handful while waiting in line for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. 

It was in 1989 that he discovered the inevitable had happened – they changed the way they made Tart ‘n’ Tinys.  Now they had a hard candy coating on them.  According to my brother, they “ruined” them.  He was terribly disappointed.   We searched all the gift shops hoping beyond hope to find one last box of the “old” Tart ‘n’ Tinys, but it was to no avail.  We returned to Disney World in the mid-‘90s and one of the first things we looked for was Tart ‘n ‘ Tinys, but they didn’t have any –not a single one!

My brother is now 40 years old and to this day, he will look for Tart ‘n’ Tinys when we go to Disney World.  Oh, he knows that the Willy Wonka Candy Company has discontinued them, but he still looks.  It’s now part of our family “tradition” when we go to Disney World.    It’s funny how finding something so simple in a Disney Park can become a fun, fond family memory.  We got to hunt for those little sugar pellets together.  We tried to see who could find the one character shape box we didn’t already have.  It was fun, it was simple and it’s one of my family’s favorite collective memories.  My brother now tells his kids about the Tart ‘n’ Tinys and how they were better in Disney World than anywhere else. 

Do you have a favorite Disney World candy that you can no longer find?  Share your memories with us in the Lounge.

Sunday, 01 July 2012 17:22

Retro Sunday - Being A Monorail Co-Pilot

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Monorail w/Contemporary Const.

This is a retro activity that like many of our favorites, is no longer available.  Hanging on a bulletin board by my computer is my monorail co-pilot license.  I did some researching and couldn't find a totally retro/vintage version, but it made me think about if anybody had any neat or fun memories of riding up front.  Being a kid, it always took some guts to ask if you could ride up front, well at least for me it did.  It seemed like I'd always strike out and the seat was already taken.  Every so often though, the front car was open and we were able to see the monorail ride from a new angle and view.  The accident in 2009 has pretty much, for the time being, eliminated all front car rides.  Any unique stories, facts you learned, or whatever else you remember about riding up front - Place a comment below if you have a minute. 


Well it was early December, 1973, and my dad came home from work and said, "get your stuff packed....we're taking a trip to Florida".  Can a 12 year old get much more excited when hearing those words?  Six of us (my parents, my grandparents on my dad's side, and my sister, piled into our brown Chrysler New Yorker and made the trip from Maine to Florida.  After two full days of driving (this was the beginning of the Arab oil embargo), we settled into a hotel in Jacksonville, FL (our first night was spent in Richmond VA).  Next day we'd be a Disney, but first we made a side trip to Marineland in St Augustine.  By 4pm the next day, we were driving onto Disney property.  At the time, all of Walt Disney World sat at the end of World Drive and there was absolutely nothing between 192 and the MK toll booths.  It seemed to take forever to get there.  By the time we reached the toll booth, we were met by the very first castmember we would ever encounter....I seem to remember his name as Jack.  Anyway, my dad asked if there were any rooms available for the night, to which he replied yes!  With that, he gave us directions to the Contemporary.  Couldn't get any better than that!  We checked in (as quick as we could) into our room in the South Garden Wing, then headed off to the Magic monorail of course! 

Stationed Monorail '72The resort monorail travelled in the same direction as it does now, so the anticipation was really getting thick as we pulled out of the Polynesian station.  We couldn't get out of the monorail fast enough, once we reached the MK.  We had bought our tickets books at the Contemporary, so all that was needed at the turnstile was the admission ticket out of the book, and we were in.  I'll never forget seeing Town Square for the first time as we emerged from the tunnel under the Main Street Train Station.  And as a bonus, everything was decorated for Christmas!  It was beautiful.  The other "first" memory I have, is that as we walked down Main Street, there seemed to be no one in the park.  Looking back, it was due to the oil crisis and also an extremely cold stretch in Florida.  I remember heading directly to Fantasyland (as my grandmother wanted to go on It's a Small World-her favorite attraction from their trip in March of that year), but we decided to ride Snow White first.  Since the park was closing at 7pm that night, we only ended up having 2 full hours in the MK that first day, but without any crowds, besides Snow White, we rode Toad, Peter Pan, It's a Small World, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Mickey Mouse Revue and the Skyway, which at the time was a round trip ride, since Space Mountain and the rest of the Tomorrowland expansion was going on, leaving the TL Skyway Station in the middle of a construction zone.  I remember seeing the Mad Tea Party, but 7pm rolled around and it had closed for the night.  We took a leisurely stroll out of the park, stopping at the Magic Shop on Main Street where my dad bought my sister a Charlie McCarthy puppet, and then rode the monorail back to the Contemporary, where we had dinner at the Gulf Coast Room. 

The next day we were up bright and early.  We had a quick breakfast at a restaurant in the Grand Canyon Concourse (it could have been the Concourse Steakhouse...) and then we were off again, to the MK.  The day was spent visiting every attraction we could find.  While waiting for the Tropical Serenade pre-show to start, we could see Caribbean Plaza being readied for its opening just 10 days away.  Once again, the crowds in the Kingdom were almost non-existant, and we saw very few kids.  In fact, we had 5 of the Seven Drawfs, and the Big Bad Wolf with us for almost 1/2 an hour.  I think the fact that there were so few kids in the park worked to our advantage.  They followed us around and actually accompanied us to lunch at the old Tomorrowland Terrace.  We have pictures (somewhere) of us sitting at tables with the characters around us.  Sadly, the days of encounters like that are long gone.  We ate at the Crystal Palace for dinner that second evening and finished our day with a trip on "if you had wings" was a complimentary (free) attraction, and we were out of tickets for that day.  Our well worn feet appreciated the monorail ride (albeit short) back to the Contemporary for the evening.

20k Leagues under the SeaPlanning on just two nights at WDW, we realized that the next day would be our last, and that we'd be leaving mid-afternoon.  Once again, we armed ourselves with new ticket books (with admission included) and decided on which attractions deserved one more visit.  I remember that the Haunted Mansion and 20,000 Leagues would be repeated, and so would Pan and Small World.  We also took another trip on the Skyway to look at Tomorrowland one more time.  As mid afternoon approached we knew the end was near.  Sadly, we said goodbye to the MK, but vowed to return again someday.  Little did I realize that this trip would begin a life-long obsession with Walt Disney World.  Now I'm a DVC Member, I'm married with two grown daughters, and we've spent literally hundreds of days at the Vacation Kingdom of the World.  Not bad, considering we live in Maine.  It's funny, but some of my strongest memories of the early Magic Kingdom are of things and places that don't exist there anymore....the Main Street Magic Shop, the flower market on West Center Street and the weird food at the Adventureland Veranda.  I also fondly remember the Three Caballeros in the Mickey Mouse Revue, and how amazing the Country Bears and the Hall of Presidents were.  By far, my favorite place was the Walt Disney Story, on Main Street, and the large model of the Magic Kingdom in the exit lobby.  It is my hope that Retro Disney World helps ignite more of these memories on a daily basis.  I plan to visit frequently!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:15

My First Time to WDW

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Monorail Leaving Hotel '711985.  The year I learned about Walt Disney World.  I grew up in Colorado and knew that Disneyland existed, but I never really knew that there was a Walt Disney World - until 1985.  I was 15 years old - lots of attitude and big hair.  Despite all that, my parents decided to take us on our first "real" family vacation.  My first airplane trip took me over 1,500 miles to a World I never dreamed could exist.  A Castle built for a Princess, parades, fireworks and MAGIC - I was hooked!

Armed with our four day World Park Hopper ticket, we rode Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Skyway to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.  But, my favorite part of that vacation was EPCOT Center.  Seeing Spaceship Earth for the first time awed and amazed me (it still does).  I remember seeing the France Pavilion and how real the Eiffel Tower looked.  The Swan and Dolphin didn't exist so the Tower looked very real.  There was no Norway Pavilion and The Living Seas was under construction.  My favorite ride was Horizons, but Figment was my favorite character.  He and Dreamfinder took us on an amazing voyage through our imaginations.  I still remember the song:  "Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow..."  We saw Skyleidoscope over World Showcase Lagoon in the afternoon and returned in the evening to see Laserphonic Fantasy.  It was pure Magic.

In just four short days I was seriously "infected" with the Disney bug.  We visited Disney World every couple of years until the '90s.  Five years after that first visit, I had the privilege of working in Disney World in the College Program.  And just two years ago, my husband and I were married in Disney World at Sea Breeze Point.  We've taken numerous vacations to the World as a family and even though I don't have children, I'm doing my best to help educate my nieces and nephew about the "Magic" of Walt Disney World.

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