Old Fantasyland Vintage Photos

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Disney Parks, Features, Imaginerding, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on February 25, 2013 at 3:01 am with 12 Comments

When you think about the development of the different iterations of Fantasyland, it’s difficult to put the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland into perspective since it was so overshadowed by the 1983 Disneyland redo. In 1971, Fantasyland was a revolutionary design and reflected more about what Walt had originally intended. The Magic Kingdom version was still built for the stroller crowd, but the Imagineers tried to create a more European feel. You can look at the progression to see how Fantasyland developed: Disneyland 1955; Magic Kingdom 1971;Disneyland New Fantasyland 1983 and Tokyo Disneyland Fantasyland 1983 (an interesting combo of Magic Kingdom 1971 and Disneyland 1955); Disneyland Paris Fantasyland 1992; Hong Kong Disneyland Fantasyland 2006; and, finally, Magic Kingdom New Fantasyland 2012.

Let’s step back in time to look at the 1970s Magic Kingdom Fantasyland. The following images are all from the 1974 a pictorial souvenir of Walt Disney World.

I shared this image as the bookend to my previous post. It’s a great shot of the castle from Tomorrowland (the image always reminded me of a scene from Cinderella).

Dumbo the Flying Elephant has always been a staple of the Magic Kingdom-style parks. This version operated with only ten flying elephants and no water features (it would be redone in 1993 adding six more elephants). It’s a fairly iconic view with the castle, the carousel and a Fantasyland building (was it the Royal Candy Factory or the Round Table?).

A good friend of mine brought my attention to this photo a while ago. She called it Child Vs. Dwarf. It always seemed to be part of the marketing that Walt Disney World tried to do early on with random character interactions. I’m hoping that’s her parents’ shadows on the castle wall behind her.

A more interesting look at the cast member costume from the days of yore.

Was this image taken from the Fantasyland Skyway Chalet? You can see the mixture of architectural detail that mixes the renaissance fair look of the 1955 Fantasyland with the European Village style we’ll see in the 1983 Fantasyland. Besides, who wouldn’t want to take a Skyway trip right now?

A rare inside shot of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that shows off the dual track design. The guy in the red vehicle really does look surprised!

The Mickey Mouse Revue, which lasted from 1971-1980 before being shipped off to Tokyo Disneyland.

Another former Fantasyland attraction, Snow White’s Scary Adventures. It’s interesting to see how Disney photographed and presented their dark rides.

Nope, not proof that Gene Hackman visited the Magic Kingdom, but it shows that the Mad Tea Party used to be uncovered, like the one at Disneyland. The Florida sun proved to be too much and we would see this attraction covered within eight months and a cover for the queue of the Haunted Mansion soon after that.

I’ve written more about the Fantasy Faire stage featured in this image than anyone could possibly care about, right?

I’m assuming that Disney took this photo from the Skyway. It’s a great nod to the outdoor cafes of Europe, yet it feels so hastily placed to me.

Our last photo is a fantastic view of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage. It’s a beautifully posed shot of the enormous lagoon that was a fantastic bookend to Fantasyland.

Is there something you really miss about the 1971 Magic Kingdom Fantasyland?

ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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  • Trumpet

    Great Article George

    These photos are great, and makes me pine for old atractions that I never experienced, such as the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage. that photo shows how good the Submarine. Also, the Skyway Buckets look good in that shot over Fantasyland. Sad they are not around today, but when you can see the supports of the attraction all over the park, it does not look that good. They still need to do something with the old station in Tommorrowland, as the Fantasyland one has been demolished for the new Tangled Toilets.

    Thanks Again George. i love looking into old Disney books, and your articles show books that I do not own. Where do you get them, and can I purchase any.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Child Vs. Dwarf = Classic!

    Still can’t look at those Skyway photos without getting sentimental. They are missed, as is the Sub Lagoon.

  • Timon

    Fantasy Faire Stage – I’m surprised no one mentioned that the stage was on a lift from the tunnel like the one in Cosmic Rays. You can tell when the stage is up in the photos when you see double pink column left and right of the front of stage. The lift unloaded next to the Wardrobe/Locker room hallway in the tunnel.

    Also, a lot of early 70′s kid shows featured the 3 Pigs and backstage we called that working the “Pig Shows”

    • George Taylor

      Timon–thanks for the comment.

      I did a ton of research when I wrote about the Fantasy Faire stage at Imaginerding.com. You are the first person to ever mention that the stage retracted. It makes a lot of sense that it would, since they had done it at *both* Tomorrowlands.

      I wonder if any of the lift still exists in the Utilidors. Or if anyone has photos of the lift in action!

      • Kidgenie

        The Fantasy Faire Stage did not retract. Ariel’s Grotto was to the immediate left (as you exit, right as you enter) of the utilidor’s main entrance and directly above that of the original woredrobe facility. Like the Lagoon that it was right next too, it was not actually above the “the tunnels”.

      • Timon

        George – Yes indeed it was a lift stage like in Tomorrowland. I was a stage tech and ran the stage on occasion. The outdoor queue/ playground was where the stage was located not the actual meet Ariel cave. When Ariel was added the old stage and lift was removed. the lower space was annexed into wardrobe. I’ve got pictures (somewhere) if you want them.

  • eicarr

    Loved the funky ’70′s photos. While I always skipped through that fantasyland due to a lack of rides (i.e. no alice, Pinoccio, casey jr., storybook land) I did really enjoy the 20,000 Leagues theme to the subs. The divers and giant squid being electrocuted was really cool. While I can still enjoy Snow White’s scary adventure and Mr. Toad’s irreplaceable/popular classic dark rides at DL, I’ll have to give the new Beauty and the Beast restaurant and Snow White kid coaster a try on my next 70′s/’12 Fantasyland visit.

    • George Taylor

      Thanks for commenting.

      When you think about Fantasyland, a lot of space is taken up by the three restaurants that border or are in the area (Columbia Harbour House, Pinocchio’s Villlage Haus and Cosmic Ray’s). It seems like the Magic Kingdom was designed for strollers and food.

      Don’t tell anyone but Disneyland’s Fantasyland does have better attractions. ;)

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    My first visit to WDW was in 1978, so this is a HUGE flashback to my early childhood. Mickey Mouse Revue is one of my most vivid memories of that trip (I told you the hilarious/embarrassing story about that already, George ;) ).

  • Disneylandfan85

    Hong Kong Disneyland’s Fantasyland, along with the rest of the park, opened in 2005, not 2006. Just thought I’d mention it.

  • ex-wdi

    Is it me, or are the people in the Snow White’s car facing backwards?

  • holierthanthoutx

    I really miss 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. That was one of my favorite rides when I was a kid. There have been few rides at WDW that are as immersive (literally and figuratively) as that attraction.

    I believe many of the changes that have happened to Fantasyland over the years have been positive — Mickey’s Philharmagic is a prime example — but I do miss Mr. Toad, and I think the closure of Snow White’s Scary Adventures is simply a travesty. Why remove a ride that is enjoyed by people of all ages, only to replace it with a meet-and-greet that is only of interest to little girls?