After my article last week requesting research help, I received a lot of great comments and emails offering anecdotes, images and original source material. One of my longtime readers contributed many photos from the 1970s. Before we get to the photos, let’s look at one of the comments left on the previous article about the location of the Gulf Coast Room.
The Gulf Coast Room was actually part of the Grand Republic Ballroom, made up of 3 rooms – the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast Rooms. The Atlantic and Gulf Coast had low ceilings of about 9 feet with dark walls, the Pacific had 15 foot ceilings. The Gulf Coast Room was the closest to the 2nd Floor Lobby and had a Chrome Frame with lights over the doorways. The restaurant was made up of chairs, tables, dividers etc and all removable if a big enough convention needed the space. The restaurant used part of the convention floor kitchens which run most of the length of the Tower front.
During the first incarnation of the area, the Grand Republic Ballroom was only three rooms. From left to right, on the map above: the Atlantic Room, the Pacific Room and the Gulf Coast Room. The Gulf Coast Room was the only one of the rooms with doors to the second floor elevator lobby, making it the better choice for an instant restaurant.
Does anyone else have insight into the layout for the Contemporary from the 1970s?
Vintage Contemporary Resort Photos
This is a fantastic shot of the South Grand Canyon Concourse from January, 1977. Diners are enjoying their meals in the Terrace Buffeteria/Terrace Cafe.
I’m pretty sure that’s the Outer Rim on the left side. I love this photo because you get a great shot of the trees and the layout of the floor. It also looks like people are dressed up for dinner!
Another shot of the Terrace Cafe. The structure on the right side looks like the way the shops were covered but I’m thinking that’s actually the buffet line for the Terrace Buffeteria.
This shot of the Top of the World bar (from January 1977) is spectacular. Check out the carpet! Check out the chairs! Check out the red ceiling! (Check out my article on the history of the Top of the World!) This had to have been an amazing place to enjoy a drink or two after a day at the Magic Kingdom.
This is the Fiesta Fun Center from January 1976. This was located on the first floor of the Contemporary where the Wave restaurant is currently. The comment from my secret source about the photo: “The shooting gallery was to the left and the snack bar to the right. Plus, a whole lot of new-fangled air hockey tables! The whole area is surprisingly utilitarian.”
One of my newest obsessions is the Golf Resort (check out my article on the Golf Resort). There simply aren’t a lot of photos available for this hotel so I was quite excited to get this photo of the lobby from March of 1978.
So many wonderful things! The word above the lady at the counter says cashiers. I would love to check out few of the thigs for sale in the gift shop! I’m assuming the shop is Golf Gifts and Sundries which sold souvenirs, books and magazines, daily newspapers, liquor, film, toiletries and a little bit of everything else.
An exterior shot of the Golf Resort from March, 1978. The gentleman are wearing their finest golf wear. Notice the tire tracks on the grass? The guy in yellow is looking up, as well. I wonder if they hit the ball into an upper balcony? They might be heading into their room to take a nap. I’m digging the yellow patio furniture.
Or was this the long-forgotten episode of Starsky and Hutch at Walt Disney World?
The Polynesian Village Resort
The Polynesian Resort is my favorite place to stay at Walt Disney World. This photo from June 1978 shows the lobby in its original form. Again, check out those floors! The tiled wall and benches are amazing, too. And the faux skylights!
On the left side of the photo is the News from Civilization shop. This was the standard shop at Disney for sundries like books, magazines, newspapers, films and gifts. It was noted for being the only place at Walt Disney World in which you could buy a grass skirt.
A shot of the Polynesian pool from June 1978. This was one of the earliest themed pools at Walt Disney World. It’s a series of large boulders with a very popular slide. To get to the slide, you had to duck under a waterfall to get to the ladder. At the bottom is the pool for toddlers.
River Country Construction
This is a shot from January 1977 and shows construction on the beach and lagoon. To the right are the body slides and tubes. Pioneer Hall would be off to the left.
Thanks to my secret source for providing these amazing photos! If you have any great photos or memories to share, feel free to email me at [email protected].
If you’re looking for a great read on the first decade of Walt Disney World, check out the fantastic book, Walt Disney World: the First Decade. It has a lot of great information and photos.
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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