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  1. #1

    • MiceAge Columnist
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    February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    My first visit to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World was in January 1983. My most recent visit to the park was earlier this month. I went back to some of the same spots where I had taken pictures in 1983.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    Werner, thanks for the comparisons. I really think that the 1983 Pirates entrance looks better than the today's version. I don't care for the shopping mall type theming. (Ship masts would hardly be found on land!) I think that in 1983, the look of the park just seems a tad be more clean and less cluttered too. Thanks again for the pictures.
    Jiminy Cricket Fan
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  3. #3

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    I agree that a lot of the settings looked better in 1983. Thanks as always, Werner - love these comparison essays!

  4. #4

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    So much has changed since the 80's. I remember the Main Street Cinema when it actually showed cartoons. It was a great place to cool off during a hot summer day and get a Disney cartoon fix at the same time. Now it is nothing more than another souvenir shop hocking overpriced Disney "art". Although I understand the marketing aspect of the business, I feel that the parks have become too saturated with merchandise and have lost the charm that they once had. It was the little things that made the trip special for me as a child, now sadly, most are gone. Change can be a good thing sometimes. Change just for the sake of change can eventually hurt the bottom line as the parks begin to lose repeat visitors. Sure there will always be those who think Disney can do no wrong, but they are blind to the fact that Disney is still a corporation driven by profit just like every business. Give me fewer shops and hokey additions to already existing attractions.

  5. #5

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    In your comparison of 1983 Big Thunder Mountain, you have the date of building Splash Mountain as 1982. I think you meant to type 1992 as if it was under construction in 1982, it would be seen in your 1983 picture. That ... plus, I know that Splash Mountain was not added to the park until the 1990's.

  6. #6

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Showoffca View Post
    I think you meant to type 1992 as if it was under construction in 1982, it would be seen in your 1983 picture.
    Yes. Thank you.

    I just fixed it. When I fixed it, I almost accidentally changed the year to 1922.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  7. #7

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    In the immortal words of Bob Cummings, July 17, 1955 -

    "The year is 1886, er, 1986, 1986 - that's WAY ahead!"

  8. #8

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    I personally don't mind the sail but why remove the marquee above the entrance?

  9. #9

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    Great stuff Werner!!!


  10. #10

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    I actually like the building letters better, but as a WDW newb, I would appreciate the over-the-top, beating me over the head with signage type of entrance. It's not that I check my brain at the gate, it's just that when you're in a totally strange and unfamiliar environment some 3,000 miles away from your home, there's just too many new things to take in and absorb and process. Granted, I am extremely familiar with Disneyland and this would help ease into WDW somewhat I'm sure, but if I were visiting that park for the first time (or very infrequently), I would almost be sure that I'd miss some letters on a building, especially if I didn't know to look for them.

    From an aesthetic and Disney-fan point of view, I'd say the building letters are much better. But as someone who has never been to WDW before and would be completely dazzled by being in such a different and rich environment, I honestly have to say I prefer the out-of-place sails.

  11. #11

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    I was in the MK in January 1983, but I don't have any pictures. These are bringing back all kinds of wonderful memories! I agree that the theming back then was more immersive, and stimulating to the imagination.

  12. #12

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    Re: February 25, 2011 - WDW Then and Now: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

    It's sad how great the attention to detail used to be compared to now.


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