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It's A Quest...

A (badly delayed) Trip Report - Florida 1976

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by , 07-15-2013 at 10:59 AM
A few weeks ago we got our newly transferred home movie back from the processor. I picked it up and somehow resisted the temptation to preview it before the family got together three days later. Mom, Dad, The Brother, The SIL, The Boy, my Beloved and I sat around the old TV and watched the DVD copy of “Florida 1976.” We started by watching it on the new HDTV, but quickly changed to the low tech non-HD because of the picture quality. Yes, it looked better on the old TV.

Of the 27.25 minutes on the DVD, a full 12 of them were from the Magic Kingdom, including:

  • A lovely pre-entry shot of vintage cars (late 50s to mid 70s) waiting to get in to the parking lot. It seemed like the traffic was very slow, but continuously moving.
  • A few moments approaching the dock on the ferry with Tomorrowland in the background. There was what looked like a canvas tarp (not a permanent canvas wall) flapping in the breeze on the dock.
  • A good shot from the entrance by the flagpole up Main Street toward the castle, including a sign for the bus stop and a set up of white chairs and music stands for a band (no band, though). This is the “magic moment” I remember, emerging from the tunnel under the Main Street DLRR station. Just as lovely as I remembered it.
  • A small amount of footage in Pirates of the Caribbean, including the jail cell scene, the wench auction and the dunking scene. The pics were not too bad, considering the technology at the time.
  • Very shaky, bluury pics of the drained lagoon from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was down for refurb when we were there. It was closed due to technical problems when we went again in 1978, so I never did get to ride it.
  • The Brother and I waiting to see Minnie Mouse, but oddly no footage of us with her. Minnie was in a yellow dress with white polka dots. Seemed odd, after having seen her in nothing but pink for so long…
  • Scenes from the first half of its a small world (we all shuddered when that footage came on)
  • The Haunted Mansion exterior shots by Dad, followed by spliced-in stock footage sold at the gift shop at WDW (which had all turned hot pink/magenta!), followed by exit exterior shots by Dad. I remember him filming like a madman during that second ride through; unfortunately none of his own footage came out. It was just too dark.
  • A very blurry shot of Main Street at night. It reminded me of being out at night and taking off my glasses to clean them. All the lights had a bit of a halo effect and you can’t make out much detail. In my memory, of course, it is just as crystal clear as can be. Dad said these were shots he took right before the Electric Parade started. Imagine what that footage looked like!

The rest of the reel was other attractions in Florida (yes, there is more in Florida than WDW).

  • Driving from the intersection into a tunnel through a building onto Daytona Beach, followed by footage of The Brother and I waving from the back window as our ‘75 Chevy Malibu drove by and us frolicking with seagulls. I remember doing this quite well. It seemed so strange, driving right along the ocean on the sand. I have heard that they limit the traffic there now, and even charge admission to drive on the beach. Honestly, I am surprised some eco-conscious group hasn’t worked to get it banned altogether.
  • Scenes on Venice Beach of Dad dredging the surf edge for sharks teeth, plus The Brother and I running around in our very 70s swim suits. The Boy wondered how he got into these movies… amazing how much The Boy and The Brother look alike. The Boy was also confused about who “that tall girl” was. I don’t think even now he understands it was me. Somewhere in one of my memory boxes I still have a small jar full of those black fossilized shark’s teeth. Good memories…
  • Several acts and parades from the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, which we watched from their winter, home in Venice (Sarasota County) with Dad’s parents. It was the first time The Brother and I saw the circus, so it was doubly impressive. Funny, I still remember the big cat trainer’s name after all this time. Gunther Gebel-Williams.
  • A brief shot of some Arabian big-head character from Busch Gardens, followed by clips of almost the entire African Safari monorail ride. I seriously don’t remember much about Busch Gardens except for how the whole place smelled like warm beer. That was back in the day when the brewery had a free tour and all ages were allowed to go, but only those 18 and over could sample the beer.
  • Highlights of tourist sites in St. Augustine with Mom’s parents. Another place of which I sadly have few memories.

When we finished, it was a little bittersweet. When we asked Dad what happened to the rest of the film, he quietly said, “I put together one reel of the best stuff and, well, sort of threw the rest away.” We can only wonder what was lost. We will be going through the shoebox full of snapshots soon.

When we go to California on our Quest for DisneyBliss©, I know I will have the digital camera and Dad will again be filming, this time with a digital Camcorder. Although we will surely make a highlight DVD, I can guarantee that every bit, byte, and pixel of documented vacation time will be saved. Who knows what The Boy will find 37 years after his visit to the Mouse House…

T-1,058 days and counting…

~ Attic Haunt

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