Walt Disney World Odd and Ends from Eyes & Ears

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

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Published on June 02, 2014 at 1:52 am with 11 Comments

As I go through my resources when I’m researching information about Walt Disney World, I find some strange things. A great source is the Eyes & Ears bi-weekly cast member newsletter. Not only will there be articles about new attractions and changes, but they do short profiles on different jobs throughout the Vacation Kingdom. There’s also a section in which cast members can ask a question about services and the editorial team will answer it.


There are also small snippets that will lead me to research other topics. Who’s heard of the Columbia Room at the Contemporary Resort? (That will be the focus of a future article.)

From the August 19, 1972 Eyes & Ears:

The NSA Has Nothing on the House of Mouse!


Inside Studio “D,” Tom Durell keeps busy monitoring and recording the “audio goings-on” at the Vacation Kingdom. Working with a stereo recorder, Tom is about to tape a guest entertainment group in Fantasyland whose show is picked up in the tunnel studio. Programs from any where in the Vacation Kingdom can be heard and recorded 24 hours a day.

So, who knew that Disney recorded a lot of the things that went on in the Magic Kingdom? Anyone know anything about Studio “D”? I would love to hear some of those audio recordings.

A Man from Outer Space?


A man from outer space? Not really, just Jesse McGowan at work in our Paint Shop in the North Service Area. Jesse tells EYES & EARS his special equipment is required to keep tiny particles of paint out of the lungs of paint sprayers. Any color can be shot from the gun which is aimed at an object. Rushing water and air behind the unit carry away unused paint.

This is a great little commentary since it hearkens to the days when Disney worked very hard to keep the show looking good all of the time.

Monorail Costumes


I included this photo because it’s not often that you see the monorail costumes from the first few years. Terri and Bill look like they’re ready for the highway in the sky!

Disney Land Purchase Rumor

Edward Cole is a Culinary Assistant at the Fantasyland Employees Cast Cafeteria and asks EYES & EARS “What’s this I hear about Walt Disney World owning some property on the ocean?” You hear right, Ed! The plot of land is really there! We own three separate pieces of land bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Indian River om the ether. The parcels lie in Brevard County and as of now there is no immediate program for development. Reports of a hotel and monorail are rumors with no plans for either of these ideas… The Editor

So, even after the monumental land purchases of the 1960s, people still had questions about the land that Disney might have acquired. This parcel was situated between Titusville and Vero Beach (where Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is). Does anyone know about this land purchase? Does Disney still own it?

From the August 26, 1972 Eyes & Ears:

Deputy Allen and Deputy Olson: Report for Duty!


Bob Allen (left) Director of General Services and our Walt Disney World hotels, and Jack Olson, Vice-President/Merchandising, have been sworn in as honorary deputies of Marin County, Indiana. The two were given the gold badges for contributions to civic responsibility. Handling the formalities is Ric Holt, Coordinator of Gulf Oil activities at Walt Disney World.

So, what does an honorary deputy do, anyway? I wonder how much travel time they get since it’s almost 1000 miles from Walt Disney World to Marin County, Indiana. I bet they got one bullet that they each have to share.

One Ringy Dingy


Speaking of telephones, Rosie Frost, Jean Beehler, Charlene Bloom and Laura Powell keep busy answering 12,000 incoming telephone calls a day at our main switchboard. A constant watch is stood on 800 lines, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Most of the girls have previous telephone experience also refer hundreds of calls daily to other Walt Disney World exchanges.

That’s over 500 calls an hour! Pay no attention to the overt sexism, either. The early Eyes & Ears were full to the brim with sexism.

Not Quite the Astuter Computer…


Perhaps one of the most popular machines around is the mini-computer that prints payroll checks! Morris Turner has placed a roll of magnetic tape on a “reader” that signals the main unit. The printer can process 6,000 paychecks and hour and print over 1,000 character lines a minute!

At a time when most smartphones are more powerful than the computers that sent the first men into space, it’s hard to imagine being excited over a payroll computer. But with that many employees on-site, it was probably a great time saver.

That man is playing Galaga! Thought we wouldn’t notice. But we did.

So, About that EPCOT Center?


Driving turn-of-the-century America everyday is Mark Hammond who operates vehicles on Main Street. Mark asks EYES & EARS. “Whatever happened to EPCOT?”

EPCOT stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” and construction, by the way, is scheduled for just then…tomorrow.

The city is years away but portions of it are already here in the spirit of innovation, creativity and technology. Many of the projects now underway in the Vacation Kingdom are being tried and tested for the development of Walt’s city of the future…..The Editor

So, even during the first year of operation, cast members were asking about Walt’s city. Throughout the 1970s, you will see a lot of references in internal publications about how Walt Disney World really is EPCOT Center because of the forward-thinking and state-of-the-art technology that was being used throughout. For us, it’s really hard to imagine Epcot not as a theme park. Company executives consistently pointed out how they were creating EPCOT all the time at the Vacation Kingdom of the World.

Do you know anything about the recording that was done in the Utilidors? What about the land that Disney owned near the Atlantic Ocean?

Looking for a great book about the 1970s 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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  • DizneGreg

    Exactly where is the overt sexism in the piece about the phone operators?

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      They’re all female.

      • DizneGreg

        Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, that’s sexist is it? LOL

    • NSObject

      “Most of the girls have previous telephone experience…”

      They are women, not girls.

      • DizneGreg

        And what is wrong with that? Haven’t you ever head of men referred to as boys? Hey, I’m going down to the bar to hang out with the boys?
        Some people’s PC radar goes overboard some times.

    • daveyjones

      “hey, i’m going down to the bar to hang out with the boys?” is an informal colloquialism between friends. so is a phrase like “girls’ night.”

      this is a formal, written, internal corporate communications piece. it does indicate that in the past, it was acceptable to refer to women, in a professional, formal context, as “girls.” and we are glad to have grown up gotten past it!

      • DizneGreg

        And I’m saying you need to get over yourselves. There are much bigger and important things to worry about in life besides a bunch of grown women being referred to as “girls.” The political correctness of this day and age is nauseating. Everyone thinks they have a right not to be offended in even the slightest manner. You do not have that right, and if you actually did, then that very notion would offend someone else anyway.

  • MyFriendtheAtom

    you got higher res of these?

    • George Taylor

      Sadly, no. It’s a PDF scan of the newsletter.

      Thanks for commenting, though!

  • Ppanfreak11

    Wow! Amazing look back and seeing how very much things have changed and evolved through the years. Dont think I would have liked to be a “girl” during those sexist times.

  • ScottOlsen

    Thanks for posting the picture of Bob Allen and Jack Olsen, two of Disney’s finest who left us all too soon.

    As an aside, I can assure you that whoever put this together back in the 1970′s heard from Jack Olsen about misspelling his last name. It’s “Olsen with an ‘e’”.

    Scott Olsen