The 1971 Walt Disney World Map: A Detailed Look at Bay Lake

Earlier, we looked at the 1971 and 1976 maps that were presented in the Story of Walt Disney World guidebooks.

Map from the 1971 Story of Walt Disney World and from the Contemporary and Polynesian guest rooms in the 1970s.

Since this map was released during the first phase of Walt Disney World’s development, you can see some areas that might look unfamiliar or not quite right. Let’s put on our theme parkeologist hats and take a closer look at the Bay Lake area.

One of the more familiar un-built hotels is the Persian Hotel located on the western shores of Bay Lake near Tomorrowland. A spur line for the monorail would have been the main route for hotel guests.

C Future Persian Resort-Hotel

The next area is known as the former site of Discovery Island. Unfortunately, the binding of the book prevents a great scan, but you can still see some interesting detail.

9. Bay Lake – 450-acre natural lake for swimming, sailing, fishing, and water skiing. Lined with four miles of white sand beaches.

10. Blackbeard’s Island – Wooded island with landing dock, beaches, clearings for picknicking and excursions.

Some of the obvious features of the island include a pirate ship, Spanish-style fort (very reminiscent of the Castillo Del Morro, which would be built a few years later at the Magic Kingdom) and a “cabin” next to an beached boat. From what we know of the island’s history, the name Blackbeard’s Island was followed by Treasure Island and ultimately Discovery Island. You can read more about Discovery Island, here.

11. Tri-Circle D Ranch – Home of all of the horses serving Walt Disney World guests, with saddle horses available for guided trail rides. Also a regulation-size arena.

12.  Fort Wilderness – 600 acres of campgrounds among the beautiful cypress, pine and bay trees of central Florida. Sites are available for campers, trailers and tents-seven day limit. Many planned recreation activities-nature trails, boating, campfire programs. Free transportation to the Magic Kingdom. Sorry, no private boats or pets allowed-pets can relax at the Kennel Club.

13. Lake Buena Vista STOLport – Initial air service planned from airports in Tampa, Daytona and other Florida cities directly to Walt Disney World.

Michael Crawford from Progress City, USA has the penultimate article on the STOLport. STOL is the acronym for Short Take Off and Landing. This would have been the preferred point-of-entry for most guests.

A final point of interest on our 1971 map is the island that still exists today, but acts more as a buffer between the Wilderness Lodge and the former Discovery Island. There is no designation for it on the map, but there is a pirate ship (assumed) moored on the eastern shore of the island near a dock. There is also a pile of logs that could be a cannon emplacement. A glance at the larger map shows a treasure box and flag on the larger island in the Seven Seas Lagoon and a barrel and boat on the smaller island.  Was this a plan for a larger themed area or just the artist’s attempt to create more visual appeal? Would this have been part of the story line of the World Cruise or similar jaunts? I can imagine how exciting it would be to catch a glimpse of a feared pirate ship while on your way to the Magic Kingdom.

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5 thoughts on “The 1971 Walt Disney World Map: A Detailed Look at Bay Lake

  1. I love this map.

    Beyond the geeky details, the choice to draw it without using diminishing perspective makes it look like a medieval illustration (or a background painting for Sleeping Beauty – take your pick).

    Thanks for the scan!

  2. By 1978 the World Cruise storyline referred to Blackbeards’ island as Treasure Island. The smaller island then became known as Blackbeard’s Island by those of us working on the World Cruise or other Watercraft ops. guest transportation.

  3. I still have one of the original maps that hung in the hotel guest rooms in the 70’s, this may be the only one as far as I know. I know they were all cut up at furnishings in the early 80’s and pieces used in the back of frames.

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