Vintage Magic Kingdom Visit – 1974

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

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Published on April 29, 2013 at 12:01 am with 16 Comments

Tim Hollis, co-author of the fantastic book Mouse Tracks and the Mouse Tracks Online site sent me some photos of a trip to the Magic Kingdom that his family took in 1974. Besides the 1970s outfits, there are some great shots of Tim with various long lost friends. We’ll also look at some Jungle Cruise and parade photos from Tim in future columns.

Here’s Tim outside the Main Gate. Mickey looks a little grayed out, though.

A shot down Main St. USA. It’s a pretty crowded morning. I wonder what Tim and his family are going to do first. Pay attention to the trees, too. The trees in the hub aren’t quite blocking view of the Cinderella’s Castle and the trees along the street are more decorative than shade-providing. The charming trees would be removed when it was discovered that they blocked the views of the castle stage shows.

It looks like we’re headed to the Tiki Room! You can see Clyde and Claude perching on the tiki statue.

Let’s take a break at the Sunshine Tree Terrace. You can see the Little Orange Bird greeting guests near the orange and green umbrellas. So, where was this photo taken? The area right before you head down to the Jungle Cruise queue?

Check out the wonderful article on the Sunshine Tree Terrace over at Widen Your World.

Long, Lost Friends!

Let’s spend some time meeting some long, lost friends with Tim.

We’re obviously standing outside a  Fantasyland attraction. Is it Small World? The trees behind the building could belong to the Skyway to Tomorrowland building, where the Tangled restrooms are now. When’s the last time you saw the Mad Hatter?

Tim meets up with Tweedle Dee. Or is that Tweedle Dum? It’s still amazing to see these shots of the characters with people just milling around.

It’s the Walrus from Alice in Wonderland! That’s a seriously long, lost friend. With the full view in this photo, it’s obvious that we’re outside of it’s a small world.

Tim meets Prince John inside the castle! This was long before the days of queued and time-based meet and greets. I’d be surprised if the Prince even had a character handler. Or any of the other characters, either.

Do you have any vintage shots of characters? Any long lost characters you’ve run into recently? Send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll feature them here at ImagiNERDing.

Be sure to visit Mouse Tracks and check out the work of Tim and Greg Ehrbar.


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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16 Comments

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  1. Very cool. Those were the days: random character sightings and big-head costumes. Although it looks uncomfortable, and their arms were “sticks”….they somehow looked more like their celluloid namesakes. Pooh, the Dwarfs, etc. They ‘fooled’ the eye by being bigheads, because they were small in stature in film. (normal size characters didn’t get the bighead treatment: Prince John, Baloo, Captain Hook, etc). Nowadays, it’s still weird to see a tall Pooh and tall Grumpy. They look too skinny and stretched.

    More please!

  2. That’s the Tiki Room as I remember it. And those Alice characters are awesome. Creepy but awesome.

  3. Also, good to point out How FEW strollers there are in these shots, especially the on on Main Street. Today a child Tim’s size would still be in a stroller.

    • Yes, in the 1970s, children could still walk. Not sure when that changed, but apparently children under the age of seven are no longer capable of walking. (We went to WDW when my younger brother was three and again when he was five, and we NEVER had a stroller — but again, it was the 1970s).

    • I think the prevalence of strollers is due to the way the parks are priced and sold today. In the 70′s, you paid a small fee to get in, and bought ride tickets. Just experiencing the park was a big part of the trip, and leaving when the kids got tired of walking wasn’t a huge waste of money. Now, with high-priced “all you can eat” park tickets and FastPass, you are encouraged to “hit” as many E-ticket rides in a day as you can. Parents feel like they’re wasting money unless they spend all day in the park, even in that means literally carting kids from ride to ride.

  4. Awesome! 1974 was the year of my first visit. Great pics!

  5. There used to be a pond between Tropical Serenade and Sunshine Tree Terrace, close to where the Carpets are today. It is visible in the lower left of the Orange Bird pic.

    • Never noticed that! Wish it was still there. I dont know any friend or familiy member who’s ridden the carpets. I don’t even LOOK in that direction. Adventureland could be so much more…….

  6. George, I got some photos from my first visit in 1978 I can send you. Just need to scan them in!

    • Scanned ‘em yet? ;)

  7. George, Great to see Walt Disney World in 1974, as it had opened in 1971, and so many New additions and attractions were being completed at WED and MAPO and being shipped to there. That was a “Great” time in Disney history. I finally got to first see it in 1979.

  8. The Mad Hatter is still around, I saw him several times on our last visit, and he sat down with us and had a nice conversation at breakfast (I’m an Alice fan and had all my “bling” on so I might have gotten some special attention ;) ). He is an actor now though with costuming and prosthetics instead of the big head. I would love to see the Walrus though!

  9. I will never get tired of seeing these kinds of pictures. NEVER.

    Editors take note! :)

  10. Proving once again that the mid- to late-70s were the best years for Walt Disney World:

    Random character encounters.
    People dressing in more than shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops.
    NO STROLLERS (Yeah, our “abusive” parents actually made us walk and we somehow survived).

  11. I was hoping in 1974 you would show the new Pioneer Hall and Fort Wilderness area which lead to the opening of River Country in 1976. What a package that whole environment was.

    • If anyone wants to send in some photos from that era, I’ll be happy to share them with the rest of the world! :)