Visiting Walt Disney World today is a vastly different vacation than it was in 1971. Back then, there was one theme park, a few hotels, some recreation and lots of plans on the boards. Let’s take a look at a map from the 1971 (through about 1975) Story of Walt Disney World Commemorative Edition. This was also the map that hung in all of the guest rooms at the Polynesian Village and Contemporary Resort hotels. (Yes, I’m quite obsessed with maps from Walt Disney World—but you knew that, right?)
I can imagine staring at the map in the hotel room and dreaming about the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. Thanks to Alison at Walt Dated World for the image.
Walt Disney World is a completely new kind of vacation experience. Here you’ll find all the fun of California’s Disneyland-and many new attractions created especially for Walt Disney World. And that’s just the beginning: Here you can dine in the banquet hall of a medieval castle . . . sail for miles, or sun on the beach of a Polynesian Village . . . watch the sunset from the deck of a 19th-century steamboat . . . ride a swift monorail train right through the interior of a resort-hotel, as contemporary as tomorrow.
These adventures, and many more, await you and your family when you visit Walt Disney World — a completely new kind of destination-resort. Come for the day . . . or better yet, plan to stay for your entire vacation!
Here are just a few of the exciting adventures and attractions awaiting you and your family in The Vacation Kingdom of the World.
I love the description of the Vacation Kingdom. Obviously, Disney was trying to promote everything else you can do in addition to the Magic Kingdom. Don’t forget that some of these descriptions were written before Walt Disney World was opened and finished.
1. Magic Kingdom Theme Park — As exciting as Disneyland, with six “lands” themed to the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, adventure and fantasy: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. There are restaurants, shops, free entertainment and more than 30 major attractions, including The Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, Mickey Mouse Revue, It’s A Small World, The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight and Flight to the Moon.
2. Championship Goll Courses — Two championship courses open to the public, including the Magnolia (18-hole, 6,550-yard, par-72) and the Palm (18 hole, 6,410-yard, par-72). The Magnolia Course – selected as the site of the PGA’s “Walt Disney World Open” — December 2-5, 1971.
3. Golf Resort & Clubhouse — A bi-level clubhouse featuring a pro shop, restaurant, and complete locker facilities for men and women.
4. Surfrider Beach — Where you can “hang ten” on real ocean-style surf, rolling in from Beachcomber Isle.
Interestingly enough, the wave machine equipment can still be seen from the walkway between the Polynesian and Grand Floridian on the island across from the Wedding Pavilion. Before opening, Dick Nunis fought for a $400,000 wave machine for the Seven Seas Lagoon that would lap waves on the shore of the beach at the Polynesian. Dick hoped that professional surfers would be able to put on shows and that children and body surfers would be able to enjoy the inland ocean experience. The wave machine worked, although it mostly eroded the Polynesian’s beach.
5. Polynesian Village—A 500-room resort hotel designed in the style and leisurely manner of the South Seas. Swimming, boating and beach facilities are just a few steps from every room in seven “longhouses” clustered around the central main building, the Great Ceremonial House. Theme of the Papeete Bay Verandah restaurant is French Colonial, while other restaurants are casual — Barefoot Snack Bar, Captain Cook’s Hideaway, Tambu Lounge, Coral Isle Coffee Shop.
6. Main Entrance — Monorail trains, steamboats and motor trams carry guests from this area across and around the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom. Guided Tours, Guest Relations, Public Lockers and Lost & Found are located here, as is the “pet motel” – the Kal Kan Kennel Club.
7. Seven Seas Lagoon — A 200-acre, manmade lagoon for sailing, swimming an special nighttime water shows.
8. Contemporary Resort-Hotel—One of the “wonders of the world” for its dramatic design. Walt Disney World monorail trains run through the Grand Canyon Concourse located at the fourth-story level in the 14-story, A-shaped Tower Building. The resort has its own shopping Plaza, health club, beauty shop, three swimming pools, marina, beaches along Bay Lake, and many restaurants, including the “Top of the World” showroom and lounge. Extensive convention facilities include the Ballroom of the Americas, Grand Republic Ballroom, Sunshine State Exhibitorium, and a dozen meeting rooms. 1,057 guest rooms are located in the Tower Building and the two Bayside wings.
9. Bay Lake — 450-acre natural lake for swimming, sailing, fishing and water skiing. Lined with four miles ad white sand beaches.
10. Blackbeard’s Island — Wooded island with landing dock, beaches, clearings for picnicking and excursions.
- I wrote about the early years of Discovery Island here.
11. Tri-Circle D Ranch—Home of all the horses serving Walt Disney World guests, with saddle horses available for guided trail rides. Also a regulation-size arena.
12. Fort Wilderness — 600 acres of campgrounds among the beautiful cypress, pine and bay trees of central Florida. Sites are available for campers, trailers, and tents — seven-day limit. Many planned recreation activities – nature trails, boating, campfire programs. Free transportation to the Magic Kingdom. Sorry, no private boats or pets allowed — pets can relax at the Kennel Club.
13. Lake Buena Vista STOLport — Initial air service planned from airports in Tampa, Daytona and other Florida cities directly to Walt Disney World.
The STOLport is still there. You can see it as you drive to the Magic Kingdom (across from the Parking Lot) on the other side of the Monorail line. You get a good view of it on the Epcot Monorail trip. As of this writing, the STOLport is being used for Imagineering and construction offices for the Fantasyland Expansion.
14. Parking Area — Space for 12,000 cars. Adjacent Gulf Car Care Center offers complete automobile service facilities. Connecting road from U.S. 192 and other nearby Florida highways.
If you look closely enough at the full map, then you will notice a few hotels that aren’t there right now and had never been built.
A. Future Asian Resort—Hotel
B. Future Venetian Resort—Hotel
C. Future Persian Resort—Hotel
Notice the monorail spur line heading to the resort?
So, do you remember seeing this map? Which of the unbuilt hotels would you like to have stayed in?
Epcot 30th Anniversary FREE MiceQuest – September 29th, 2012
Join MiceChat’s Kevin Yee and the Communicore Weekly crew for a FREE fun-filled scavenger hunt game celebrating Epcot’s 30th Anniversary. The Quest, designed by Kevin Yee, is fun for the whole family and will take place on the Mexico side of World Showcase from 3:30pm until 6:30pm on September 29th, 2012. Create a team of 1-4 people, and compete for the title of biggest Epcot geek. Fun prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.
While this event is free, we are asking that you register here so we can prepare your team materials in advance. This helps us run a smooth event. We appreciate your help in sharing the news about this free and fun tribute to Epcot. Invite your friends and family and have them sign up here!
Word on the street is that anyone wearing a Communicore Weekly shirt will get some extra special help from me and Jeff!
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at [email protected].
Be sure to visit Imaginerding.com for Disney book reviews and more!
I am one half of the incredibly talented, handsome, charming, sanguine, lucent, refulgent, beguiling, hilarious, perturbable, welcoming, sentient, loquacious, side-splitting, mesmerizing, scintillating, lustrous, invigorating, incandescent, inescapable, rollicking, perceiving, wayfaring, devastating and intelligent duo behind Communicore Weekly. You can find them on the Mice Chat Youtube Channel.