For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to discover how and when several photographs were taken at Walt Disney World. I’ve had some fantastic comments and some amazing emails with satellite images, Google Earth views and photos with sight lines drawn throughout them. Everyone seemed to have a different opinion, from where on Bay Lake the photos could’ve been taken to how the photos were spliced together (70s style) to create a composite image.
Early last week, Chuck Snyder, author of the great (but short) book, Windows on Main Street, sent me a link to an eBay auction with an unbelievable photo that solved the mystery of the theme park photo!
Needless to say, I bought the photo immediately.
It’s obviously a staged series of photos, but it’s hard to imagine that this photo was ever meant for any public consumption.
So, the photo was taken from the shores of Bay Lake while the tower of the Contemporary was still under construction. Chuck Snyder reminded me that Charles Ridgway managed all of the PR of the opening and spent an inordinate amount of time making sure that the marketing photos taken pre-opening were missing cranes and construction shots. Spinning Disney’s World is a great book about working at Disneyland and opening Walt Disney World.
The photo would have been taken from somewhere along the blue and pink shaded area in the photo above.
I wanted to thank Gene C., Richard H., Nicholas W., Ladd B., Ed K., Paula S. and all of the commentors on the previous two articles. Thanks!
Main Street, USA Parkeology
Let’s take another trip into the 1974 a pictorial souvenir of Walt Disney World. Let’s focus on Main Street, USA.
I teased with this image last week. It’s such an odd angle because it shows us outside the Magic Kingdom from inside the theme park. I do love the amount of greenery you can see on Main Street.
So many awesome things about this photo: the pants, the jackets, the hair and the color of the hitching post. Also, the map is not a park map but a fold-out map of the Walt Disney World resort that hung on the walls of the Contemporary and Polynesian Village resorts. The lady in the back in the yellow outfit has one folded up in her hand.
The Walt Disney story was located in Town Square, to the left of the Gulf Hospitality House and the Town Square Cafe (now Tony’s Town Square Restaurant). It was opened from 1973 to 1992.
The pre-show area was full of memorabilia relating directly to Walt Disney.
Widen Your World has a fantastic article on the Walt Disney Story.
Animator and Imagineer Bill justice created this amazing mural with every major animated character (more than 170). You could still view this mural up until a few years ago, when the theaters for the Walt Disney Story were converted into a DVC showcase.
Decorating cakes in the Main Street Bakery. No hair nets during the Victorian days, eh? Also, you can see the signage for the House of Magic.
The Swan Boats. More on this later.
Inside the Crystal Palace. Notice the carpet? We never see carpets in official photos. I love Disney carpets. Also, check out the age of the people enjoying the restaurant. It seems like a little older crowd, doesn’t it?
An interesting choice of perspective and shots for a souvenir guide. With so many spectacular choices for photos, why would you choose this one?
Check out the tiny trees surrounding the Castle!
Our final shot is a rare image from inside King Stefan’s Banquet Hall. They’re obviously pushing a more sedate, grown-up and possibly romantic dining opportunity. Quite the opposite of today!
So, what do you think of the way that Disney promoted Main Street, USA back in the 1970s? Do you miss vintage Magic Kingdom Main Street USA?
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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