Walt Disney World 1984 Vacation Guide

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

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Published on July 08, 2013 at 1:00 am with 5 Comments

In my last column (you can read it, here) we looked at the basics of a 1984 Walt Disney Travel Company vacation package. It really surprised a lot of the readers that Disney was so openly promoting other Orlando-based attractions. Let’s take a look at how Disney promoted themselves with their Walt Disney World Vacation Guide.


This is a large-format magazine with 20 pages and a copyright date of 1983. Right off the bat, I love how Spaceship Earth, the icon of EPCOT Center, takes up most of the cover. I guess it was time for Cinderella’s Castle to step aside after being Walt Disney World’s centerpiece for the past 13 years.

As you might know, I’m totally obsessed with Disney maps. Anytime I run into a new one, I have to spend some time looking at how Walt Disney World presented itself based on the current marketing and latest parks.


This two-page map really focuses on orienting the guest with a lay of the land that looks at the major areas of the vacation resort and points out the resorts more than anything else. The two theme parks are represented by their iconic centerpiece, but notice how Epcot Center is done with a heavier and more obtrusive line while the Magic Kingdom has a softer and more fanciful line drawing.

One really interesting notation on the map is A: Bus Parking. According to my trusty 1984 Birnbaum Walt Disney World Guide, all resort guests were dropped off at the TTC (of course, the Contemporary and Polynesian guests could use the monorail). Also, there was no mention of walking from the Contemporary, either.

Welcome to Our World

Spreading over the lake and forest country of Central Florida, the Walt Disney World resort complex is the most complete vacation destination anywhere. With 43 square miles of recreation and entertainment, it offers guests countless opportunities to get the most fun ever from their vacation.

Here is a world as old as yesterday, as timeless as a dream and as new and exhilarating as tomorrow. It‘s a world embracing all nations in friendship. A world where young people can enjoy the adventures of adulthood and grownups can once again join in the pleasures of being a child.

It’s also a world of unique accommodations, fine dining, shopping and outdoor activities designed to create a truly different vacation experience.

Whether it’s your first visit or an adventure that has become an annual tradition, your stay at the Walt Disney World resort is certain to be filled with matchless excitement.


The next section is entitled Where to Stay and showcases the Disney owned properties at the time: Treehouse villas, the Fort Wilderness Campground, Polynesian Village Resort, Contemporary Resort, Golf Resort, Fairway Villas and the Vacation Villas.

Where in the World to Stay

Located within the bounds of a World brimming with vacation excitement, Walt Disney World resort accommodations are as varied as the lands of the Magic Kingdom. Whether you prefer a themed hotel, a wilderness campsite, or a private villa, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Walt Disney World resort complex.

The Contemporary Resort Hotel rises majestically from he shores of Bay Lake. With sleek monorails running silently through the center of the A-framed tower building, the Contemporary Resort is a unique headquarters for visitors who dream of what a vacation of the future might encompass.

The Polynesian Village Resort Hotel, set along the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, is a tropical “world of entertainment,” filled with the atmosphere, charm and romance of the South Pacific. Hidden among palm trees are nine guest “longhouses,” each named after a primary culture of Polynesia. In the center of the resort of the Great Ceremonial House, an expansive building housing a number of shops and restaurants overlooking an indoor miniature rainforest.

The Walt Disney World Golf Resort lies nestled amid the rolling greens and sparkling lakes of the championship Palm and Magnolia courses. The Golf Resort offers golfers and golf fans a like a complete vacation along with excellent accommodations.

Fort Wilderness Campground Resort promises an unforgettable experience among stately stands of cypress and pine, winding streams and a white ribbon of beach on a sparkling lake. More than 800 campsites, many with fully-equipped trailers, lie scattered throughout native Florida foliage which provides each site with enough screening to preserve the feeling of pristine wilderness.


More Walt Disney World accommodations lie tucked away in the resort community of Lake Buena Vista, just minutes from the Magic Kingdom. Here, you’ll find the ultimate vacation lifestyles — your own private Treehouse, Vacation, Fairway or Club Lake Villa. Hidden in the woods bordering the Lake Buena Vista golf course, the two-bedroom treehouses are unusual treetop retreats. For larger families and groups, the spacious one- and two-bedroom Vacation Villas provide plenty of room along with a picturesque view of either Buena Vista Lagoon or the Lake Buena vista golf course. The handsome Fairway Villas combine energy saving design and an ideal location along the manicured links of the Lake Buena Vista Club course. The Treehouse, Vacation and Fairway Villas come equipped with a full kitchen. Our newest accommodations, the Club Lake Villas, feature vaulted ceilings and skylights plus a wet bar and refrigerator.

Of course, all Disney World resort guests are also entitled to special-value Epcot Center and Magic Kingdom passports, plus unlimited use of a unique transportation system which connects you with all points within the resort.

In addition to the Walt Disney World Resort Villas, Lake Buena Vista also hosts the six excellent high rise hotels that comprise the Walt Disney World Village Hotel Plaza. The Hotel Royal Plaza, Viscount Hotel. Howard Johnson‘s, The Americana Dutch Resort, Buena Vista Palace and The Hilton all offer superb accommodations and amenities — with all the shopping, dining. entertainment and special charm of Walt Disney World Village just a short stroll away.

Finally, whoever said that work and play don’t mix obviously had never enjoyed the magic of a Disney World convention or conference. In addition to the expansive facilities of the Contemporary Resort Hotel, the Walt Disney World Conference Center, which accommodates up to 500 people, offers one of the most innovative meeting environments anywhere. Small wonder that readers of Meeting and Conventions magazine continue to rate Walt Disney World as one of the nation’s top meeting centers. And, of course, a Walt Disney World convention makes a marvelous family vacation, too!


The next section, entitled Playgrounds of the World, is a last hurrah of the marketing that started in the 1970s with the Vacation Kingdom of the World moniker. Over time and with the addition of two more parks and many hotels, the emphasis on recreation at Walt Disney World would diminish significantly.

Gift-wrapped in warm, golden sunshine, the Walt Disney World vacation resort is the perfect year-round play-ground for outdoor fun. Offering an abundance of sporting pastimes, the resort complex is designed to help you make the most of all of that Florida sun.

For the vacationing sailor, who fancies the skies above and the sea below, there is a variety of watercraft available and 650 acres of sun-spangled lakes and lagoons on which to navigate. Race the wind on a sailboat, zip across the water in a mini-speedboat, or canoe along miles of meandering streams. Water sports also include water-skiing and, of course, swimming in the hotel pools or the crystal clear lakes.

For tennis enthusiast, there are 11 lighted tennis courts within the Vacation Kingdom. Group development sessions provide an overall review of the basic strokes, while the use of videotape, equipment supplements (cont.)

So, vacationers were still able to swim in the lakes in 1984? I hope the young lady in the photo below takes her Ears off before swimming at the Polynesian!


(cont.) professional instruction. All players have access to two teaching/practice lanes equipped with automatic ball machines.

Three magnificent 18-hole golf courses await both pro and duffer alike. Play the Palm and Magnolia courses at the Golf Resort or the Lake Buena Vista Club course located near Walt Disney World Village. Featuring lakes and wooded areas designed to enhance their beauty and challenge, these courses are sites of the annual Walt Disney World Golf Classic.

If some professional assistance could improve your game, you’ll want to sign up for the Walt Disney World Golf Studio at the Golf Resort. The Studio emphasizes correcting and improving each golfer’s own individual style of play.

At the Fort Wilderness Resort, you’ll find an outdoor recreational haven. Besides enjoying water sports, you can rent bicycles, hike along nature trails, fish, or play volleyball and tetherball. There is also a horseback riding trail. For exercise buffs, there is a two-mile jogging/exercise trail following wooded paths. And, chartered fishing excursions explore winding waterways throughout the natural woodlands.

River Country

Cut from the sandy shores of Bay Lake, within Fort Wilderness, is River Country — an Old-fashioned swimming hole where you can ride, slide and splash into the water in umpteen different ways. Take a rib-tickling glide down a spiraling 260-foot slide. Sail through the air on a rope swing. Navigate a tube down winding rapids. Or just soak up some sun on the sandy beach. You can enjoy a whole day of water adventuress, all for one River Country admission ticket.

Discovery Island

Just across from Fort Wilderness, you’ll find Discovery Island, one of the country’s most beautiful certified zoological parks. Set like a jewel in the center of Bay Lake, Discovery Island provides sanctuary for such wildlife as African cranes, scarlet ibis, and other rare and exotic birds. Explore the splendid landscape of a gigantic walk-through aviary, visit with our resident slowpokes, the Galapagos tortoises, and don’t miss the comic antics of those tropical clowns, the cockatoos and macaws.

Discovery Island is a tropical paradise where everyone should be shipwrecked for a while.


Walt Disney World Village

For a truly unforgettable afternoon or evening, visit Walt Disney World Village. The Village blends a picturesque setting, a collection of shops and restaurants, and a variety of entertainment into an unprecedented adventure.

Stroll through more than 25 shops clustered around sparkling Buena Vista Lagoon. Each shop is a new experience holding treasure troves of fashions, home and garden decorator items, arts and crafts. Handmade crystal and damascene are just two examples of one-of-a-kind merchandise featured from all over the world.

For hungry visitors, the Village also offers delectable dining opportunities from palm-stretching sandwiches to full gourmet dinners. Enjoy frozen strawberry Margaritas and raw oysters, or dine in elegance aboard the Empress Lilly riverboat restaurant.

The Village is also the place where  music lovers can enjoy top-name jazz entertainment in the cozy, living room atmosphere of the Village Lounge.

Eye-catching merchandise, taste-tempting treats, and lively evening entertainment—a world of discoveries awaits you at Walt Disney World Village

What would have been your favorite place to stay in 1984? Would you have spent time playing at Walt Disney World?

ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

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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  • tofubeast

    I’m also fascinated to look at the map and the lack of roads…or that Buena Vista drives just ends at one point. Nice write up. So where’s the time machine so we can go experience some early WDW magic?

  • Johnny

    Thanks, George. I love browsing these old vacation guides. I have an early 1982 (pre-EPCOT Center) version of this guide that is nearly identical in both photos and text as the ones you posted. The cover is a bit different, tho — showing a close-up of Spaceship Earth with the Monorail superimposed in front of it.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    What a treat. And doesn’t it sound like a delightful and relaxing vacation?! Love it.

    The focus of WDW marketing has changed dramatically over the years. The focus is more more on planning, theme parks and technology these days.

    Great stuff George.

  • OrangeFlash

    Always wanted to stay at the Treeehouse Villas.

  • clewandowski

    Let me just say I’m 22 years old, and LOVE Disney probably more then anything else in the world. As an avid enthusiast, I have searched and read just about all the articles ever written within the last few years. I cannot stress how badly I wish I could have been born in a different year, to be able to experience this Disney. It is so completely different then today. I want to step back in time for a day to feel the atmosphere that Disney used to have. I can only imagine how everyone who had grown up with that feels now. I love Disney, but I think they really need to take a HUGE step back to a simpler time.