I was fortunate to stumble across a Walt Disney Travel Company vacation package from 1984. It wasn’t my vacation (sadly) but it had some amazing material in the envelope. Speaking of the envelope, check out the amazing artwork of Mickey on vacation and the Walt Disney Travel Co. logo.
So, what was it like to travel to Walt Disney World in 1984?
The label states that the package is at the Hilton at Lake Buena Vista. The check-in was October 20, 1984, which was a Saturday. The first thing we see is the Walt Disney World Information folder. I love the graphic images on the cover. It screams early 1980s. I guess it’s supposed to be a quick look at what a Walt Disney World vacation is supposed to be. We’ve got theme park attractions, camping, golf, park icons and young people on the beach playing volleyball. I always play volleyball on the beach at the Contemporary when I’m on vacation.
The back of the folder is pretty interesting because it focuses solely on EPCOT Center. I’ll try not to shed a tear for the missing attractions.
The next item in the package is a welcome letter titled Vacation Magic 1984. I’ve quoted the letter because it has some really interesting and surprising vacation amenities.
WELCOME…And thank you for choosing a Walt Disney Travel Company vacation plan. The Walt Disney Travel Company combines the Disney tradition of the finest in family entertainment with the expertise and knowledge of professional travel coordination to create a unique and enjoyable experience especially for you.
Please take a few minutes to carefully read the following IMPORTANT INFORMATION about your vacation plan:
WORLDPASSPORT entitles each guest on a 3-, 4- or 5-Night Vacation Magic Plan to three day’s admission and use of attractions Within the MAGIC KINGDOM and EPCOT CENTER (including transportation as described on the Worldpassport). Each guest on a 6- or 7-Night Plan receives a 4-Day Worldpassport.
At this point, we’re still less than two years into the changeover from ticket books to a single gated charge.
Like current vacations, the prices for packages are usually a bit less than purchasing them separately. So, staying in one of the WDW Village Hotel Plaza establishments adds a two-dollar increase in the Three- and Four-Day World Passport. The multi-day Passports allowed you to parkhop before there was parkhopping.
GRAY LINE OF ORLANDO TICKETS are to be used for transportation to the MAGIC KINGDOM and/or EPCOT CENTER. Each Gray Line ticket is valid for one round trip between your hotel and the WALT DISNEY WORLD Vacation Kingdom (EPCOT CENTER and/or MAGIC KINGDOM). Each ticket is perforated in the center, dividing it into two parts. One part should be presented to the Gray Line Bus driver upon boarding the bus when departing your hotel for the MAGIC KINGDOM and/or EPCOT CENTER; and the other part should be used when leaving the MAGIC KINGDOM and/or EPCOT CENTER and returning to your hotel.
Enclosed is a Gray Line Bus schedule for your convenience. However, since there are frequent schedule changes, it is recommended that you also check with the Bell Captain’s or Guest Services’s Deck at your hotel to obtain last minute schedule changes. (Gray Line transportation is not included with rental car or when driving your own car.)
So, it sounds like the transportation to and from the non-Disney hotels was a little more regular but they don’t let you use it if you bring or rent a car. Okay. So, not as convenient as staying at a Walt Disney World hotel.
PARKING TICKETS are included if your vacation plan is booked with a rental car or when driving your own car. Each parking ticket is valid for one day’s parking in either the MAGIC KINGDOM or EPCOT CENTER parking lots.
Parking was $1.00 a day in 1984, unless you were staying at a Disney resort, then it was free.
VACATION KINGDOM LUNCH COUPON entitles each person on a 3-Night Vacation Magic Plan to one lunch in the WALT DISNEY WORLD Vacation Kingdom at specified locations in either the MAGIC KINGDOM or EPCOT CENTER.
How interesting is that? One free lunch? A pre-cursor to Free Dining? Probably not, but it’s still a benefit. I wasn’t able to ascertain any prices from the 1984 Birnbaum’s Guide for lunch at the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT Center. I know an order of popcorn in 1984 was 60 cents which translates into $1.35 today. Sadly, an order of popcorn today is close to $4.00. So, is it safe to assume a lunch in 1984 would have been about $3.00 a person? Anyone know?
VACATION CRUISE COUPON (not included with 3-Night Plan) may be exchanged for one admission to Discovery Island or the Moonlight Cruise. The Moonlight Cruise departs from the Contemporary Resort Hotel. Reservations are required for the Moonlight Cruise. For reservations and departure times check with City Hall in the MAGIC KINGDOM or Earth Station at EPCOT CENTER or call Guest Services at 824-1000.
The World Cruise, like the Pueblo Room at the Contemporary Resort has been an obsession of mine for years. Foxxfur at Passport2Dreams has the definitive post about the World Cruise at her site. I urge you to check it out! You won’t be sorry.
WET’N WILD/VACATION KINGDOM LUNCH COUPON entitles each guest on 4- and 5-Night Vacation Magic Plan to one day’s admission to Wet’N Wild, Orlando’s 15-acre water park located on International Drive. Or it may be exchanged for one lunch in the MAGIC KINGDOM or EPCOT CENTER at one of the locations listed on the coupon. Guests on 6- or 7-Night Vacation Magic Plan receive two coupons per person.
At the time, River Country was in existence,too. This must have been part of the Good Neighbor program. Or you could just get TWO lunches at the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT Center. River Country admission in 1984 was $7.75 for an adult/$5.00 for a child (it was cheaper if you stayed in a WDW hotel). Wet ‘N Wild admission was $8.50 per adult/$6.50 per child 3-13. I’m not sure how someone staying at a Walt Disney World Hotel Plaza establishment would actually get to Wet ‘N Wild without taking a taxi. The free lunch does sound like a better deal.
GOODTIME EXCURSION entitles each guest on a 6-Night Vacation Magic Plan admission and transportation to one of the following attractions: Kennedy Space Center/Cypress Gardens/Circus World/ Sea World. Each guest on a 7-Night Vacation Magic Plan receives two GOODTIME EXCURSIONS. Transportation is provided by Gray Line of Orlando. Please read carefully the front and back of the GOODTIME FEATURES voucher and present the entire voucher or appropriate portion to the Gray Line driver upon boarding the bus.
Please refer to the enclosed Gray Line Bus Schedule and also check with the Bell Captain’s and Guest Service’s Desk at your hotel to obtain last minute schedule changes. Transportation is not included with rental car ‘or when driving your own car. Your GOODTIME voucher will entitle you to admission only and should be presented at the appropriate attraction.
So, this is odd. I wonder if it’s part of ANY package or just ones with the Good Neighbor hotels. Honestly, to see Disney offer transportation and lunch coupons to other attractions is odd.
PORTRAIT COUPON (one per vacation plan) is included with 6- and 7-Night Vacation Magic Plans. This coupon may be exchanged in the MAGIC KINGDOM at the Camera Shop on Main Street, USA. or at Portrait Deck at the Caribbean Plaza in Adventureland.
I’ve seen lots of these photos on the interwebz throughout the years. The one at the Camera Shop was usually an old-timey photo taken with a caboose as a backdrop and the members of the group dressed up in period costumes.As far as the Portrait Deck, the location was an arcade and then was converted into the Portrait Deck, sometimes referred to as Lafitte’s Portrait Deck sometime around 1980 and existed until (maybe) 2003. It’s the area to the extreme right of the Pirates of the Caribbean area where the bathrooms are.
According to the 1984 Birnbaum’s Guide: Laffite’s Portrait Deck Hidden away near the Plaza del Sol Caribe, this is the Adventureland counterpart of the photography studio in Main Street’s Camera Center. Here, though, instead of posing in the genteelest of Gay Nineties garb, you dress up as swashbucklers and pirate maids amid what look to be pieces of eight and chests brimful of pearls and precious jewels.
The 8″ X 10″ Polaroid portraits were slightly under $10.00, so that’s comparable to the photos taken before character meals today.
AIRPORT TRANSFER SERVICE is provided by AMERICAN SIGHTSEEING TOURS, INC. Advanced reservations MUST be made 24 hours prior to your departure for transfer from your hotel to Orlando International Airport. Please call 859-2250 from the International Drive/Florida Center area. From the Kissimmee Mairi Gate area, please call 933-1709. Plan to depart from your hotel approximately two hours prior to your flight time. Present the American Sightseeing voucher to the driver upon boarding the bus. (Airport transfers are not included With rental car or when driving your own car.)
If you need further assistance or information, please call Walt Disney Travel Company at 828-3232. HAVE A HAPPY VACATION!
Well before Disney’s Magical Express, they offered regular pickups from the airport and return trips. Of course, you still had to manage your luggage.
That last thing we’ll look at as part of the information packet is a postcard of the hotel. The vacationers were staying at the Hilton at the Plaza. The Hilton opened in 1983 on 23 acres across the street from the Walt Disney World Shopping Village (now the Disney Marketplace). At the time, it was the closest hotel to EPCOT Center. The 814 guest rooms ran from $95.00-$125.00 a night. The Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts offered rooms from $100.00 to $130.00 a night. They also offered suites from $280.00 to $400.00 a night.
The most convenient way to share the magic of WALT DISNEY WORLD and EPCOT Center. Dining, entertainment, recreation and meeting facilities.
That’s just a small part of the vacation packet information. Tune in next week for the theme parks and dining!
What was your favorite part of the packet? IS there something you would have liked to experience?
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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