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ImagiNERDing

Vintage Walt Disney World Guide Photos

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by , 05-13-2012 at 05:22 PM


I've talked about my love of souvenir guides before and I constantly find myself pulling those books off my shelves and taking a trip back to vintage Walt Disney World. 1970s and 1980s Walt Disney World was a vastly different vacation than you can have today. It's not only fun to see the strange fashions, but also to see the attractions and areas that are gone.

I started sharing photos from the guides on Instagram (which you can also see on Twitter) and realized that it would be a fun column for my Mice Chat readers. I took the images from four different sources and I'll tell you about them as we go. Are you ready for a trip down memory lane?



The first source is a magazine-style guide that was published in 1978. It was quite obvious that is was geared towards businessmen that would hold conventions and meetings at Walt Disney World. Doesn't the cover make you think about the Vacation Kingdom of the World as an outdoor and activities lover's paradise?



I have seen this image used in a few publications. I assume that everyone is lined up for the afternoon parade, including the guests on the Omnibus. Can you imagine watching the parade from the top of the double decker bus? Check out the colors of the balloons, too.



Who doesn't love tikis? The section on the hotels spends time describing the amnities and the resort grounds.



I found another Bob-A-Round! If you want to learn more about the short-lived watercraft, check out my article on it.



I love maps of Walt Disney World. The included map has a caricature of the Magic Kingdom that is fantastic. Check out the ornamentation on the Haunted Mansion. Tom Sawyer's Island and Pirates of the Caribbean got squished together. Notice the 20,000 Leagues sub?



Wait, you mean these people aren't at the Magic Kingdom? Apparently, this is what you do at the Golf Resort. You dress up and drink wine.



We zip on over to the Village Marketplace. What caught my attention was that you could drive up to the Empress Lilly.



The advice offered is that it will take at least three days to enjoy all of Walt Disney World's activities.



Goofy did a lot of water skiing in the 1970s.



The last image was to advertise the convention facilities. Is it a New Orleans party? Are those flappers? We might never know!



The next book is a 1991 souvenir guide about the Magic Kingdom. Minnie has some nice blue eye shadow.



Goofy spent the 1970s skiing and moved on to weightlifting in the 1980s. Dig those Disney made Chuck Taylor's.



This was the former West Center Street at the Magic Kingdom before the 2001 expansion of the Emporium (we lost the Harmony Barber Shop original location and the Livery Stable, Champion Cyclery and Chinese Hand Laundry facades). It corresponds to Flower Street at Disneyland.



A shot of the quaint, tree-lined Main Street, USA.



A sneak tiki!



The Haunted Mansion before the addition of the canopy. You can see that the entrance is through the family crypt and that the lamposts really make a difference in the lighting of the spooky house.



I love this shot because of the planter/bench in front of the Carrousel. And the skybucket!



An image from the exit of Space Mountain. The future is full of exploding stars, right?



Another guidebook from 1991, this one is called EPCOT Center: a Treasurebook of Memories.



Are you a SMRT-1? Check out the guy in the back on the corded phone. I am assuming it was a way to listen to the exhibit.



The Exxon oil rig. Some of the Future World Pavilions didn't have promotional space and the companies were afforded space in Communicore.



Horizons. 'Nuff said.



The banner says: EPCOT Center World Fest, a Ten Nation Celebration. This might need to be a future column!



Fezzes are cool! Mickey hangs out in Morocco.



The double decker World Showcase bus in France! The World Showcase buses operated like the Friendships (also pictured) and only stopped at a few pavilions around World Showcase.



This photo is spectacular because of the popcorn container. I just wish the kid would move his left hand so I could see the logo.



The back cover of the book features Pluto, Mickey and Minnie decked out in their Future World finest. I can remember the days when rainbows equaled the future! It also looks like they just landed from the Mother (Space) Ship (Earth). Get it?



The 1991 souvenir guide to the Disney-MGM Studios features some great shots, too. Mickey has made some interesting fashion choices over the years. I wonder if he was directing or producing?



Goofy is not to scale. Or he is having a Godzilla-inspired fantasy.



Real traffic and fog during the construction of the New York Street backdrop.



I love it when it is obvious that Disney used castmembers and their families in promotional shots. They look too polished to be sweaty and tired vacationers. Check out the guy in red in the middle; great expression.



Herbie the Love Bug in the Residential Street of the Backlot Studio Tour.



The Dipmobile!



This is the best shot from the whole post. it is an ultra-rare photo of the Catwalk Bar which was located above the Soundstage Restaurant. From what I can find, the Catwalk Bar closed permanently in 2000.

Do you have any specific memories to share about these photos or other long-gone attractions? Do you have a favorite time period of Walt Disney World history?

Even better: any photos of the Catwalk Bar?



ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Be sure to visit Imaginerding.com for Disney book reviews and more! (I just celebrated five years!)

You can follow me on Twitter @imaginerding
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I also write at Everything Walt Disney World.

I am one half of the incredibly talented, handsome, charming, sanguine, lucent, refulgent, beguiling, hilarious and intelligent duo behind Communicore Weekly. You can find them on the Mice Chat Youtube Channel.


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Updated 05-13-2012 at 08:52 PM by ImagiNERDing

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Comments

  1. Dustysage's Avatar
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    You found another Bob-A-Round!

    I love vintage WDW photos. I really miss how quirky everything was in the early days.

    I've never even heard of the Catwalk Bar! Great find. I knew there was a bar upstairs at the Brown Derby. I still hope they'll reopen it.

    Love your columns!
  2. mratigan's Avatar
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    Thanks
  3. JeffHeimbuch's Avatar
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    Vintage photos FTW!

    It was quite obvious that is was geared towards businessmen that would hold conventions and meetings at Walt Disney World.
    Clearly, the luau chick and the volleyball playing bikini babe were geared toward their business needs! Haha
  4. Bill's Avatar
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    Love the Dr. Who reference...
  5. lnsemsf's Avatar
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    The phones you see at SMRT-1 were used to interact with him. There were something like 8 or 10 phones around in a circle and one at a time SMRT-1 would rotate and point at you to indicate it was your turn to talk to him. He'd ask you a question and you would respond in to the phone and he would talk back to you. I remember waiting something like 30-40 minutes when I was younger to get a chance to talk to a robot and it never seemed to understand my voice and rotated on to the next person. I didn't know at the time I'd eventually have a computer in my pocket I could talk to that would have all the known information in the world or I'd have put that time to far better use!
  6. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Oh how I miss the double decker bus around World Showcase.

  7. Avilos's Avatar
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    My family visited Walt Disney World in 1991, I was 12. I think we went before that in 86 or 87. But I was old enough to really enjoy it and remember it in 91.

    These guide books bring back a ton of memories. I probably looked at all 3 of those. I have always been fascinated by guide books on all vacations. Though I don't think I got those. I was not old enough to get everything I wanted.

    That MGM book looks familiar. I think that was my favorite part of the trip because it was new. I completely remember that restaurant.
  8. ImagiNERDing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mratigan
    Thanks
    You're welcome!
  9. ImagiNERDing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnsemsf
    The phones you see at SMRT-1 were used to interact with him. There were something like 8 or 10 phones around in a circle and one at a time SMRT-1 would rotate and point at you to indicate it was your turn to talk to him. He'd ask you a question and you would respond in to the phone and he would talk back to you. I remember waiting something like 30-40 minutes when I was younger to get a chance to talk to a robot and it never seemed to understand my voice and rotated on to the next person. I didn't know at the time I'd eventually have a computer in my pocket I could talk to that would have all the known information in the world or I'd have put that time to far better use!
    Thanks for the details! That makes a lot of sense and probably the only way to hear your voice in such a loud space.
  10. danyoung's Avatar
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    Excellent walk down memory lane! I remember the SMRT-1 thing, one of the earliest examples of simple voice recognition. I also had problems getting it to recognize my voice, and it turned away from me way too soon. Remember right next to SMRT-1 was the build your own roller coaster display. Ahhh, memories!
  11. ImagiNERDing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avilos
    My family visited Walt Disney World in 1991, I was 12. I think we went before that in 86 or 87. But I was old enough to really enjoy it and remember it in 91.

    These guide books bring back a ton of memories. I probably looked at all 3 of those. I have always been fascinated by guide books on all vacations. Though I don't think I got those. I was not old enough to get everything I wanted.

    That MGM book looks familiar. I think that was my favorite part of the trip because it was new. I completely remember that restaurant.
    The Catwalk Bar has become the holy grail of Disney-MGM people. I would love to see more photos of it!

    Did you get to eat there?
  12. PixieLeslieH's Avatar
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    Excellent article, what a treat to be able to see these gems!

    I have vivid memories of those vibrantly colored Mickey balloons...they were the ultimate treat for the day. I have a photo of me with Mickey in a fez from my high school band trip, I need to dig that one out! And I still miss the skybuckets...they were always a favorite of mine because I loved the bird's eye view of the park. I could ride again and again!!