Vintage Magic Kingdom Photos from 1972

Vintage Magic Kingdom photos from 1972

If you’ve looked online for vintage Magic Kingdom photos (who can define vintage anyway), you’ll find the interwebs sorely lacking. There are numerous sites dedicated to Disneyland photos and, frankly, there isn’t much about Disneyland that isn’t documented with photographs. I’ve talked about this with other Disney historians and the best theories we can bring forward deal with generational differences and camera equipment.

In the 1950s, the growth of the Federal Highway system made inter-state travel much easier and desirable. Home movies and photographs were a way of displaying your conspicuous consumption to your friends and neighbors. Unintentionally, guests photographed every square inch of Disneyland while recording their own family vacations. So, what is different about Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom? Obviously, the country suffered an energy crisis in the 1970s that stunted both the travel to Walt Disney World and the planned growth of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. But the more intriguing theories surround the less than high quality camera equipment (like Polaroid-style cameras and cheaper film stock) and photographs that are still stored in basements, attics and closets waiting to be discovered and shared.

A while ago, Instagram user DRASABREED (Trevor) tagged me in a vintage Walt Disney World photo. I contacted him and asked if he had more and if I could use them. He quickly responded with 30 vintage Magic Kingdom photos from several trips that his grandparents took in 1972 and 1973. Thanks to Trevor Clor for sharing these photos taken by Robert and Corliss Marowske. Here are the 1972 photos!

Vintage Magic Kingdom photos from 1972

vintage magic kingdom photos Walt Disney World Band on Main Street, USA!
Walt Disney World Band on Main Street, USA!

What a great shot to start our photographic tour! The Walt Disney World band decked out in red catches our eye first. There’s also a security officer on the left with some sort of patriotic bunting near the train station stairs. Was this taken during the Flag Retreat? You can also see someone selling balloons and a great garbage can. The guests also seem to be pretty well-dressed!

Cinderellas Castle from 1972
Cinderellas Castle from 1972

This is a great vantage point of Cinderellas Castle.

vintage magic kingdom photos A shot of the Contemporary Resort from the Walt Disney World Railroad.
A shot of the Contemporary Resort from the Walt Disney World Railroad.

We’re on the Grand Circle Tour! No space Mountain but a great view of a retention pond, the Contemporary Resort and the monorail beam. It looks like there is a parking lot tram above the person’s shoulder. This is a pretty great example of one of the vintage Magic Kingdom photos.

vintage magic kingdom photos A shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland with the Sea Serpent topiary.
A shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland with the Sea Serpent topiary.

A shot of Tomorrowland from the Hub. On the left is the outdoor seating for the Tomorrowland Terrace. You can see the tracks for the Peoplemover (which wouldn’t open until 1975) and the amazing color scheme of the future with yellows and oranges (like the 1970s Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary). Is that a dragon?

The exterior of the Haunted Mansion.
The exterior of the Haunted Mansion.

Welcome, foolish mortals! A close-up view of the Spooky House before the covered queue. It’s the way the Mansion was meant to be viewed.

vintage magic kingdom photos The Admiral Joe Fowler overlooks the queue for the Haunted Mansion.
The Admiral Joe Fowler overlooks the queue for the Haunted Mansion.

The Admiral Joe Fowler is packed! I’m not sure if the line is for the Mansion or the riverboat, but I assume it’s for the Mansion. The Admiral Joe Fowler continued service until 1980, when it was damaged in a dry dock accident. Apparently, the hull was damaged.

vintage magic kingdom photos The Skyway to Tomorrowland Station in Fantasyland.
The Skyway to Tomorrowland Station in Fantasyland.

Here’s the queue for the Skyway to Tomorrowland. The Skyway closed in 1999 and the Fantasyland Station is now where the Tangled restrooms are in Fantasyland. Look at that crowd! This is one of my favorite of the vintage Magic Kingdom photos. Does anyone remember how the queue worked?

I’m assuming that you went up a ramp once you passed under the arch.

vintage magic kingdom photos Skyway over Fantasyland.
Skyway over Fantasyland. Look at how crowded it was!

This is an amazing shot of Fantasyland. Looking at the top of the photo, you can see the Haunted Mansion by itself with no buildout of Tom Sawyer’s Island (TSI didn’t open until 1973) or the space for Big Thunder Mountain. It was just a large field-like area. There’s the Fantasyland Ticket Booth near the left tower of Peter Pan. Also, can you see the wall around the outdoor dining area of Pinocchio’s Village Haus where the red umbrellas are.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage from the Skyway
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage from the Skyway

A great shot of the 20,000 Leagues lagoon. Notice the railroad tracks in the background.

The Walt Disney World Railroad from the Skyway.
The Walt Disney World Railroad from the Skyway.

Who doesn’t love the Walt Disney World Railroad? The engine pictured is the Walter E. Disney, which did begin service on October 1, 1971 (check out my article on the Walt Disney World Railroad for more information).

vintage magic kingdom photos The Grand Prix Raceway from the Skyway.
The Grand Prix Raceway from the Skyway.

I’m not sure what the building in the upper-left corner is. It’s not the Grand Prix Raceway building. Any thoughts on the road in the back? Is it World Dr. or Center Dr?

You can also see the construction and storage area that is now Pluto Park Ln. The paint jobs on the cars are fantastic!

Which one of the vintage Magic Kingdom photos is your favorite? Do you have any photos of the 1970s that you want to share?


Looking for a great book on the first few years of the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World? Check out the Story of Walt Disney World: Commemorative Edition. There are some amazing vintage Magic Kingdom photos in the book!

cover_the-story-of-walt-disney-world-1976-version

5 thoughts on “Vintage Magic Kingdom Photos from 1972

  1. In the Skyway shot of GPR:

    The building in the upper left is the show building for 20K.

    The road you see in back of the park is what eventually became Floridian Way, wrapping around the back of the park to what is the Production Center/Parade Warehouse, heading to the Disney Inn and the Poly. The road to the right is World Drive heading to Cast Parking, the WDWRR Roundhouse and Monorail Barn.

  2. Thanks for sharing some cool pics!

    On the Fantasyland skyway entrance, if memory serves, you went into the tunnel, and there was a ramp that did one loop back to get you up to the level of the skyway – it was at about 2nd floor level, 10 or so feet above ground level. So it was a gentle ramp that curved around.

    On the picture of the speedway with the building in the left corner, I’m not sure what that is. That would be close to where the Tea Cups are; and at about the entrance to where Toontown would later be built. Was there a stage or something back there? I don’t recall if they did shows in that area, but maybe?

    There is a sign on the building that I can’t read.

  3. How sweet that Trevor’s grandparents’ photography can live on and be shared through the internet! They took some GREAT shots; I’m in love with the one of the castle! Seeing the Nautilus is really cool too! Great idea and article George.

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