Walt Disney World Research Distractions

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

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Published on August 04, 2014 at 2:00 am with 4 Comments

I’ve run across some more interesting bits and pieces from Walt Disney World’s history as I’ve been researching topics in the Eyes & Ears cast member newsletter. There are some great images from a September, 1972 issue that cover a lot of different subjects, most of them extremely distracting, but in a good way.

The Golf Resort?

I covered the Golf Resort last summer and I assumed the following photo and accompanying text is about the Golf Resort being constructed.


They may not look like much more than an assortment of steel beams here, but it won ’t be very long before they’ll be the ceiling of a modular motel/hotel room. The laying out of beams like these is one of the steps in turning out the unique rooms, which are then “plugged into” the building framework, creating an “instant hotel!” All rooms come complete with facilities and carpeting, and are produced in the Administration area’s U. S. Steel Building at the rate of one every two hours!

I haven’t seen any documentation about U.S. Steel building the Golf Resort, but there wasn’t an expansion of the Polynesian until 1978 and that was all done onsite.

Eyes & Ears Gets a Little Flirty…


It’s getting’ to be more and more enjoyable mailing letters these days at Lake Buena Vista branch of the U.S. Post Office. Largely responsible for this is lovely Lynda Ratclíff, who helps provide postal services to residents of City of Lake Buena Vista and the Motor Inn Plaza. The branch Office operates from 8am to 5pm.

Not much else I can say about that, right?

Toby Tovar and the Yankee Peddler (Pedlar)


Toby Tovar isn’t kidding when he says he has designs on something! A Project Designer for WED Florida, Toby has worked on designing various buildings and other uniquely Walt Disney-style projects here. Construction on two of his latest designs. . . the Yankee Peddler Shop in Liberty Square and a Gourmet Shop . . . will begin shortly.

I do love the way Toby is looking at someone else in the photo. Makes him seem aloof and confident. Like he’s the most interesting Imagineer in the world! Seriously, I wish I could get a better look at the two drawings on the wall behind him. The Yankee Peddler would actually open as the Yankee Pedlar as seen in the image below from Meet The World.

It would remain the Yankee Pedlar until 1973 it was renamed the Yankee Trader according to the January, 1974 GAF Guide. (Special thanks to Disney Parks Earchives for the research assistance.)

$10,000 Speed Boat


Wow, it’s dark out there! Barbara Newcomer is one of several hosts and hostesses who spend their evenings cruising the waters of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Piloting a $10,000 speed boat here, Barbara admits her job is sometimes the easy life but, nevertheless, hard work. Many’ Recreation and Watercraft employees navigate houseboats and luxury yachts for private parties.

So, $10,000 in 1972 is equivalent to over $57,000 today. I can’t imagine seeing a houseboat on Bay Lake or the Seven Seas Lagoon today!

Date Nights


Steve Lafayette of the Steam Trains and date Ann Burnsed pause to present Steve’s ID card to Ticket Taker Shirley King at the Main Entrance Complex during our “Date Nights” program. Any employee and a date are permitted free entrance and parking at the Vacation Kingdom any night after 5:00 pm.

Free parking and free entrance to the Magic Kingdom after 5:00 pm? Besides, who remembers those turnstiles?



Janice Smith, Head Nurse at the Orange-Vista Hospitals, adjusts a “Defibrillator,” a device used in the cardiac unit for emergency treatment. Janice is one of a staff of nurses who stand 24-hour watch for guests and employees seeking medical care at the south end of the Vacation Kingdom’s property.

The Orange-Vista Hospital was located close to the Crossroads Shopping Center and was the primary medical center for Walt Disney World until the Florida Hospital in Celebration opened. Quite a different emergency medical response than today!

The Lawnmower Tree!


Ever see a “Lawnmower Tree?” The site of our Fort Wilderness Trading Post was at one time a private fishing lodge. Construction crews clearing the land were surprised to find the old push mower with a pine tree growing through its middle. Discarded years ago, the pair still remain intact at the campground.

The Lawnmower Tree is gone; it was removed sometime in the past year. Fort Fiends has an entry dated November 2013 that mentions the Lawnmower tree being gone, but I can’t find a firm date for its removal.

Do you know when the Lawnmower Tree was removed? Any idea if U.S. Steel built the rooms for the Golf Resort?

Looking for a great book about the creation and building of Walt Disney World? David Koenig’s Realityland is one of the few books that documents the construction of the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center with tons of interviews and first-hand research.

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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  • jcruise86

    Thanks, George! Interesting stuff.

  • Timon

    The Golf Resort – The original part of the hotel was modular built like the Contemporary and the Polynesian. The one off-property hotel USS made was the former Hyatt at I-4 and 192 which has seen better days and is currently closed.

    Yankee Trader – Currently being converted to a Haunted Mansion Store featuring an expanded line up of Mansion merchandise.

    LBV Post Office – Located in various places in LBV on & off property. Started in the Preview Center, Sun Trust Building and several store fronts in LBV.

    Boats – There have been all type of boats from Cruisers, whalers, various pontoon party boats some for which could be $10K and up. And of course Bob-A-Round Boats with built in radios those were cool!

    Date night – I thought parking was always free to employees

    Orange-Vista Hospital – is now a Centra Care Clinic run by Florida Hospital

    FTW Mower tree – Last time I saw it the tree had just about covered the mower, I guess you would have needed an x-ray machine to enjoy it today.

    Best column at MiceChat!

    • Timon

      Oops – Got the off-property hotel wrong. It was the Court Of Flags at I-4 near Florida Turnpike. It has since been bulldozed.

  • KENfromOC

    “Besides, who remembers those turnstiles?” – Unfortunately they are still in use at many Disneyland attractions – Why? Who knows!