Piecing together a full look at the Magic Kingdom is one of my obsessions. Unlike the prodigious amount of information about Disneyland from the early days, there isn’t much about 1970s Walt Disney World. I know, I sound like a broken record (kids—a record is like a Frisbee that has music on it. Like an iPod. Sort of). Trying to record the history of Walt Disney World has become the mission here at ImagiNERDing. I’ve referred to it as Theme Parkeology, since it’s sort of like theme park archaeology. Plus, I can listen to the Indiana Jones theme and carry a whip while I write.
Theme Parkeology (theem pahrk\ŏl’ə-jē) = the study of details, minutiae and history of theme parks. Akin to the archaeological study of human habitation, theme parkeology looks at the often layered and detailed surroundings. Theme Parkeologists relentlessly pour over the tiniest scraps to glean any information about an area of a theme park, past or present.
So, let’s journey to the darkest and deepest reaches of Magic Kingdom Main Street, USA from a 1972 Walt Disney World Information Guide. The guide was sponsored by GAF (General Aniline and Film) and GAF was the official film and camera sponsor for Walt Disney World from 1971 to 1979. GAF operated the Castle Camera Shop and the GAF Camera Center on Main Street. They produced a spectacular little guide to Walt Disney World that offered maps, information on the parks and hotels, what else to do at Walt Disney World and how to take photos!
When you visited the Magic Kingdom during the first few years, there wasn’t a guidemap produced for the park as we see today. The image below is from the 1974 a pictorial souvenir of Walt Disney World. The gentleman is holding a fold-out map, but it’s the same one that we’ve seen hanging in Contemporary and Polynesian Village rooms. Jeff and I reviewed the Vacation Kingdom of the World map, here. The Walt Disney World Information Guide by GAF was the main source of theme park navigation and was the main way to see the Magic Kingdom as a whole.
I’m assuming it would have looked something akin to the 2011 40th Anniversary map, below.
Main Street USA – 1972
I love this map because of the detail that is afforded with the layout of the shops and restaurants. You get a great sense of how the buildings were spaced out as well as how much real estate each place had. Let’s explore Main Street, USA!
Main Street, USA Town Square
Town Square Adventures and Attractions
1. Walt Disney World Railroad “D” (a D-ticket was required, which cost 75 cents). Board an old-fashioned steam train for a grand circle trip around the Magic Kingdom.
2. Jitney “A” (an A-ticket cost 10 cents).
3. Fire Engine “A” – “Answer the alarm” in an old-fashioned fire wagon.
4. Horseless Carriage “A” – A trip down Main Street aboard chugging replicas of America’s classic autos.
5. Horse Cars “A” – Board a horse-drawn trolley for a leisurely journey along the turn-of-the-century avenue.
6. Omnibus “A” – Ride an old-fashioned double-decker bus along Main Street, USA.
So, what’s missing? The current building for the Chamber of Commerce is on the map, but there’s no listing for it. For a period in the late 1970s, it operated as a SunBank (eventually SunTrust) branch before becoming the Main Street Gallery.
Town Square Food and Refreshments
9. Town Square Cafe – Breakfast, luncheon and dinner in the setting of a Victorian Hotel. Sponsored by Oscar Mayer.
With Oscar Mayer as the sponsor for the Town Square Cafe, I do wonder what kind of meals were served. Anyone have a menu or some great memories of this restaurant?
Town Square Shops and Stores
13. Souvenir Stands – News, souvenirs, character merchandise.
14. The Chapeau Hat Shop – Gentleman’s and ladies’ hats, monogramming.
15. GAF Camera Center - Film, photo supplies, slides, and information.
16. Emporium - Souvenirs, apparel, toys, books and records.
One of the changes was the loss of the GAF Camera Center. GAF ended their sponsorship in 1977 and the Kodak (and Polaroid) Camera Center was lost in the expansion of the Main Street Confectionery.
Town Square Information and Assistance
32. City Hall
33. Hospitality House (Gulf)
34. Railroad Station (Ground Floor)
Town Square Services
35. Strollers and Wheelchairs – Rental of strollers and wheelchairs.
36. Storage Lockers–Lost and Found Articles
Main Street, USA West Side
Main Street West Side Adventures and Attractions
8. Penny Arcade
I still am amazed at the amount of space in the Penny Arcade.
Main Street West Food and Refreshments
11. Refreshment Corner (Coca-Cola) – Coca-Cola and hot dogs.
12. The Crystal Palace – Breakfast, luncheon, dinner, exotic salads, buffet a la carte.
Main Street West Shops and Stores
18. Greenhouse Flower Shop – Flowers, bouquets, corsages, gift wrapping.
19. New Century Clock Shop (Elgin-Helbros) – Watches, clocks, accessories.
24. Card Shop (Hallmark) – Hallmard cards, stationary, party items.
28. House of Magic – Magic tricks, puzzles, masks, with demonstrations.
29. Tobacconist – Fine cigars, cigarettes, pipes, accessories.
The changes to West Center Street changed the fabric of Main Street USA more so than any other shop closing or move. We lost the Greenhous, Clock Shop, Card Shop and a few facades, including the Chinese Laundry, Livery Stables and Champion Cycles. Read about the changes to West Center Street here.
Main Street West Services
37. Harmony Barber Shop
38. Baby Center
39. First Aid and Lost Children
Main Street East
Main Street USA East Adventures and Attractions
7. Cinema “B” – Main Street Cinema – Enjoy classic films of the silent screen era.
Main Street East Food and Refreshments
10. Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Borden) – Sandwiches, crepes, sodas, fancy sundaes, and Borden ice cream cones.
Main Street East Shops and Stores
17. Confectionery – Candy making, chocolates, nuts, peanut brittle.
20. Cup ‘N Saucer China Shop – China, gifts, decorative ornaments.
21. Wonderland of Wax Candle Shop – Candles and wax creations, candle holders.
22. Art Festival – Color portraits while you wait.
23. Market House (Smuckers, Dixie Crystals) – Smucker’s jams, jellies, Dixie Crystals products
25. Crystal Arts–Glass Blower and Cutter
26. The Shadow Box Silhouette Studio – Silhouettes created and framed while you wait.
27. Bakery (Sara Lee) – Coffee shop, Sara Lee pastries, cake decorating.
30. Upton Jewelers – Ladies’ and men’s quality costume jewelry.
31. Disney & Co., Toys, Novelties – Toys and novelites, souvenirs.
The amount of stores and services from 1972 Main Street, USA still surprises me. Did people really buy candles, jam and blown glass?
We’ve reached the hub! Where to next? We’ve got five more lands to discover…
Do you have any memories of early Magic Kingdom Main Street? Any special souvenirs or dining experiences?
We have announced our very special, Cadet-only trip: The CommuniTour! It will take place April 27th-May 2nd 2014!
That’s right, you have the opportunity to spend a week with your favorite Communicore Overlords by going on this special Adventures By Disney: Backstage Magic! See the wonderful sights of Southern California, including Disneyland, California Adventure, Imagineering, The Jim Henson Company, and much, much, more!
Here us talk about it in this special announcement episode on our iTunes feed!
Space is very limited, so be sure sign up today! For more information and the full itinerary, head over to
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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