Interested in learning about the life of Walt Disney and the history of The Disney Company? Dave Smith’s book is a great introduction to the first 100 years (starting in 1901) of Walt and the Disney Company. The book covers his life, animation, live-action films, theme parks and o many other projects.
Introduction of the energy efficient Fairway Villas of Lake Buena Vista!
Disney News for Spring 1978 shares an article about new energy efficient town home villas in Lake Buena Vista. With the energy crisis of the 1970s, companies were turning towards energy efficient buildings and other means of conserving electricity.
As part of the mission of Walt Disney World and EPCOT Center, Disney was looking at ways of bringing new technologies to the forefront of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It also gave executives an easier time when being hounded by the press, the public and the cast members on the future of Walt’s vision for EPCOT Center.
Let’s take a look at how Disney promoted the new Fairway Villas!
Lake Buena Vista Introduces The Energy Savers
Walt Disney World is saving energy while they create a unique, new type of accommodation for vacationers in Florida.
Sixty four Fairway Villas are being built along the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course in Walt Disney World’s Resort Community, each with a predicted energy savings of up to 50 per cent compared to similar structures without the power-saving features.
Several of the power-pinching design features depend not on expensive machines, but on well- studied positioning of buildings and energy-conscious application of construction methods and materials. And, say the designers from WED Enterprises (the Disney architectural, master planning and “imagineering” firm), all of these energy saving features—ranging from site selection to the unconventional heating and cooling system—can be incorporated into the construction of new single family homes.
Another concept incorporated in the Fairways Villas is unique room flexibility. Each tri-level living unit has a living room and kitchen area which may be connected to one, two or three bedrooms just by opening or closing certain sections. With these modifications, a single building can accommodate a large or small family or even a business meeting.
Building sites for the clusters of homes were selected to take maximum advantage of existing shade trees. The Villas are also oriented to give less window exposure toward the south and west, providing shade for the larger glass areas during the hottest part of the day.
Exaggerated roof overhangs will reduce the amount of heat absorbed through the walls by shading large exterior wall areas. Clerestory areas with five-foot-long overhangs will provide natural light to the living, kitchen and mezzanine areas without increasing the interior temperature.
The heating and cooling system for the Villas is a highly efficient air-to-air heat pump. In addition, hot water is provided by heat recovered from the condenser when the air conditioning is in operation—about eight months of the year.
Provisions have also been made in both the heating/cooling system and the building orientation for the future addition of a solar energy system which would employ liquid- type, roof-mounted solar collectors.
High efficiency lighting fixtures in the Villas give adequate lighting at minimum energy cost and heat gain. All interior lighting will be done with fluorescent fixtures employing an electrically efficient frequency converter. Fixtures designed for domestic use, indirect lighting methods, and reflectors will be used to accent and develop relaxing living areas.
The Fairway Villas have also been designed to take advantage of the forces of nature for cooling at certain times. When air conditioner use is marginal, a chimney draft, which augments the ventilation effect of open windows, will create a constant cross-circulation of cool air.
In planning all of these energy-saving features, the WED designers didn’t forget about the good looks of the buildings. The exteriors are finished in attractive, natural cedar siding that will blend into the wooded surroundings. The roofs are covered with cedar shingles.
Inside, heavy beams across the ceilings again show off the beauty and texture of natural wood, while an open mezzanine gives a spacious but cozy feeling to the living area. All of the Villas will be fully furnished in a luxurious, comfortable style practical for families or business groups.
The new resort lodgings are being built in accordance with the goals of the Disney EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) plan to demonstrate practical ideas and systems for better living.
In all, there will be 24 two- story buildings with 64 Villas and 128 bedrooms. The first six buildings are nearly finished, with the entire project scheduled for completion in late summer.
Vacationing in one of Walt Disney World’s new Fairway Villas will be like experiencing a preview of the future, when saving energy will become a way of life.
Paying any modicum of attention to social media, and you would think that the ubiquitous Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears headbands had only been invented recently.
The invention of the Mickey Mouse ears is attributed to Mickey Mouse Club Big Mooseketeer Roy Williams who says he was influenced by a gag in the 1929 animated short Karnival Kid. In the short, Mickey tips his ears to Minnie, creating this wonderful sight gag.
Apparently, this gag was also performed by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit while the series was still being produced by Disney.
I ran across a one-page piece for Disneyland hats in the Winter 1976 Disney News…years before Instagram-posing became the norm!
Wear a Disneyland hat With a ribbon or a feather, No matter the season, No matter the weather. All kinds to choose from, All sizes and styles. They’re wonderful hats: they Bring on the smiles.
So once you’ve “ooh”ed the chapeaux And “ahh”ed the frilly bonnets, Have priced them in poems And written cap sonnets, There’s one thing to do To honor them: that’s Bow very low-and take your Hats of to hats!
At the time, film and the process of developing photos was still an expensive process. A photo shoot lie the one in the one-page piece would have been done with a professional photographer and model. Still, it’s interesting to see that things haven’t changed!
The Disney News from the summer of 1976 showcases two very important murals at Walt Disney World: Cinderella Castle and the Grand Canyon Concourse murals. Both of these works have stood for almost 50 years and are a part of every Walt Disney World vacation. Check out the article to learn more about the artisans and how the murals were created.
Murals, an art form originated in 5000 B.C. by the Mesopotamians of southwest Asia, have been popular through the ages and are still used as ornamentation on many buildings. At Walt Disney World, two charming tales are visually depicted through this ancient art.
Adorning the foyer walls of the Magic Kingdom’s 18-story, gold-spired Cinderella Castle, five glittering, richly hued glass mosaic murals beautifully portray the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. Each ornate panel, shaped like a Gothic arch, is 15 feet high and 10 feet wide.
Expertly designed by Disney artist Dorothea Redmond at WED Enterprises, Disney’s “Imagineering” firm in Glendale, California, and skillfully crafted by world-famed mosaicist Hanns-Joachim Scharff, the murals took more than two years to complete.
Each of the murals was redrawn from Ms. Redmond’s paintings to life-size proportions on heavyweight brown craft paper. The entire finished drawing, called a “cartoon,” was then divided along natural lines into work- able sections, called “sheets.”
Meticulous attention to details in the original paintings was faithfully maintained by Scharff as he re-created the design on mural sheets in his California home. In the first mural there were approximately 55 sheets, each less than two feet wide.
Then, using the indirect method of mosaic design, the tesserae (tiles) were first glued in reverse (both backwards and upside down) on the paper sheets bearing the design.
When completed, the sheets were packed for shipping across the country. After being sprayed with a water mist to prevent the glue from drying and the mosaic from bulging and shedding the glass tiles, the sheets were wrapped tightly in polyester film.
Then, when all the sheets arrived at Cinderella Castle, they were reassembled on the wall by pressing the reverse side into the wet plaster. Later, the glue and brown paper were sponged off.
The five completed murals contain hundreds of thousands of exquisite jewel-like pieces of glass; some of them are fused with silver and 14-carat gold. More than 400 regular colors and 100 additional accent colors are used in the picturizations.
Both smooth-faced Venetian glass and rough, irregular pieces of glass called “smalti” (used traditionally by Italian craftsmen) are included in the mosaic panels. Some pieces are as small as the head of a tack and many were hand cut and shaped by using a power grindstone.
Grand Canyon Children
Another tall tale in tiles can be found in Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort Hotel, only minutes from the Cinderella Castle via the futuristic monorail system. Towering above the hotel’s longer-than-a-football-field concourse mall is a massive 90-foot-high ceramic mural, unlike any in the world. The design of the mall and mural were inspired by the concourse’s theme—the Grand Canyon—appropriately named because of its vastness and similarity to a great open canyon.
Based upon the culture of the Grand Canyon and southwestern Indians, the mural’s motifs were designed by Disney artist Mary Blair at WED Enterprises. Her inspiration for the mural came from a broad spectrum of resources, including Pueblo murals and Navajo ceremonial art, such as sand paintings. She also designed the two tile murals adorning the main concourse of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
“Children and animals are such a part of the art of Disney that they were chosen for the mural to show activities of the people of the Grand Canyon—with a whimsical touch of fun,” explained Ms. Blair. “If any Indian art sources were to be singled out they would be Pueblo, Navajo and Apache”
The mural and concourse colors are keyed to the earth and sky tones of the Grand Canyon as well as the vibrant colors commonly used in Indian art. The glazes used on the ceramics are both mineral and chemical based; the color pink is made partially from gold.
Brilliant oranges, yellows, blues and greens blend to show happy-faced Indian children playing with birds, rabbits, little brown bears and other animals of the plains. Other children are shown gathering flowers and merrily doing their daily chores as white, fluffy clouds float by overhead.
Using a full-scale paper model of the mural, tile setters, working in sections, used high-rise lifts and scaffolds to mount the tiles. A 54-ton jigsaw puzzle, the nine-story mural took more than two months to assemble; the complete creative process took more than a year and a half.
What Do You Think About These Two Murals at Disney World?
FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the company for the purpose of a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!
In a previous video, I looked at a proposed concept for a redo of the Horizons pavilion. This 1996 concept would have kept the original Horizons building intact and kept most of the interior attraction layout…and added a second attraction with it’s own pre-show: The Speculator.
This concept for a Space Pavilion would have straddled pre- and post-millennium Epcot with an attraction that, well, had the best of both worlds. The first segment, which would have retained a major portion of the original attraction layout showed us how we saw space throughout our history. It would have been a bit slower, like World of Motion and Spaceship Earth, as it explained how we came to understand outer space. The second half of the attraction took us into another pre-show and debuted a fairly new style of vehicle that would have been a cross between Soarin’ and Flight of Passage. Sort of…
All Aboard The Fire-Breathing Locomotives of Walt Disney World!
The Winter 1975 Disney News offers an article about the Walt Disney World Railroad and how the engines were acquired and brought to Central Florida. I ran across an interesting tidbit concerning the name that the Maya Indians called early locomotives. Read on to to learn about the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Nowadays, that familiar conductor’s cry, announcing that a train is ready to depart the station, is rarely heard in America. Faster modes of transportation have left most passenger railroads by the wayside and many children are unaware of the charm of riding across the country in a coach or Pullman car.
But reviving the days when clouds of billowing steam, the shriek of a whistle and the distant clickity-clack, clickity-clack meant “Old No. 1″ would soon be rounding the bend are four steam engine relics, chugging down the railroad tracks of Walt Disney World in Florida.
Disney railroad scouts acquired them in Mexico before the Florida theme park opened. Each narrow-gauge locomotive and its five passenger cars takes guests on a grand circle tour of the fabulous Magic Kingdom.
Originally built in the United States, the engines had hauled freight and passengers through the rugged countryside and jungles of southern Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula since the early 1900s. The trains were smoke- blackened and shabby when they were purchased by Walt Disney World from the United Railways ofYucatan in late 1969.
Frightened Maya Indians nicknamed the first wood-burning, fire-breathing locomotives to appear on the Peninsula “Huakax-Kaak,” or “fiery bull.” Today, Mexico’s remaining steam- powered locomotives are still called “Toros de Fuego” by the Spanish-speaking people.
Before the steam engines could be put into service at Walt Disney World they had to be completely overhauled and renovated. They were loaded onto railroad flatbeds at the Mexican yard and transported to a ship repair dock in Tampa, Florida.
“Every nut, bolt, screw and part was removed, inspected and reworked or replaced,” remembered Bob Harpur who was the Disney assistant project engineer during the reconstruction.
“New boilers and fiberglass cabs were built, and new tenders and tanks were added, using the original tender trucks (bottom portion, including wheels). The cast-iron wheels, side rods, frames and some of the hardware are all original parts,” he said.
When first constructed, the engines ran on coal or wood, but were eventually converted by the Mexican company to burn oil. Now, the boilers are heated by diesel fuel, which does not emit the sooty smoke that blackened the trains and, sometimes, the passengers.
Walt Disney World Railroad passengers ride aboard open-sided cars lined with benches for comfortable scenic touring. The shiny cars were completely fabricated in the same warehouse where the locomotives were rebuilt.
“Years ago,” said Bob, “the railroads had beautiful colors and polished brass, but the public began to think that they had to pay for all this. So, a big railroad owner had all his trains painted black to make the public stop complaining about the money they thought was going into maintenance.”
Disney’s trains are brightly painted, like those of earlier years. To help celebrate the nation’s bicentennial, they have been festooned with red, white and blue bunting and flags. Every day, the brasswork is polished, and the engines are completely steam cleaned once a week.
One of the alterations made on the vintage engines was to replace the headlights with a type more common in the heyday of the railroad. Real oil paintings of nature scenes decorate the box-shaped lamps which were installed.
Behind the lamp on each engine sits the smoke stack, a bell, a sand dome and a steam collecting dome. The sand dome releases sand on the track when the brakes are applied or during rain to help prevent slippage on the slick steel.
“There is a certain romance and a lot of nostalgia associated with the steam trains,” said Bob. “At one time, every small boy in America wanted to be a steam locomotive engineer.”
Railroadiana, a craze which befalls many rail fans, prompting them to collect and study anything to do with railroading, must have struck Walt Disney. Some readers may remember television films of Walt riding on the tender box of his 1 1/2-inch-scale train, which ran along a track in his backyard. It was named after his wife, Lilly Belle. Now, a larger namesake chugs along the tracks of the Walt Disney World Railroad. The Magic Kingdom’s “Lilly Belle” is a Mogul engine, meaning it has two small front wheels and six drive wheels.
The “Walter E. Disney” and the “Roger E. Broggie” (named for the man who worked with Disney on the engines and railroad systems of both Parks) are 10-wheelers, having four small forward wheels and six drive wheels.
The “Roy O. Disney” was named for Walt’s brother, who was a lifelong partner in Walt Disney Productions. Before his death, Roy served as President, and later Chairman of the Board of the company. The engine is an American Standard eight-wheeler, with four small wheels in front and four drive wheels.
A blast on the whistle signals that one of the trains is leaving the Main Street Railroad Station bound for Frontierland Station and points beyond.
Building up 150 pounds of steam pressure on its 1 1/2-mile journey, the locomotive operates at speeds of 10-12 miles per hour. The train must stop at the Frontierland water tank as many as five times a day to fill up the tender to its 1,500-gallon capacity.
Clanging the same bells that for half a century an- nounced their arrival at the Mexican stations, the Walt Disney World Railroad steam locomotives continually roll into the Main Street depot. For them, time has brought the glory of a returned youthfulness.
The Summer 1972 Disney News presented an article on the Fife and Drum Corps, an idea that was borrowed from Colonial Williamsburg and played heavily of the Bicentennial fever that was sweeping the nation. Let’s check out how they presented the Fife and Drum Corps in Liberty Square.
“And the fifes they made a fearsome sound, and the long roll of the drum did strike terror unto the enemy.” Anonymous…1779.
Special thanks to RetroWDW for use of the photos of the Fife and Drum Corps from Liberty Square.
Brandywine, Bunker Hill, Yorktown, and Valley Forge are familiar names that ring clearly across the long reaches of history. Almost every American schoolchild has read of the battles waged there by the Continental Army of General Washington. But the pages of history can only summon up silent images, they cannot conjure up the fierce sounds of the piercing fifes and booming drums that routed the Redcoats during the Revolution.
Today, in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park, the same sounds of those distant drummers fill the air of Liberty Square.
The Liberty Square Fife and Drum Corps is composed of eleven musicians—five fifers, four drummers, one color bearer, and one drum major—dedicated to preserving the ancient style of fifing and drumming. Known as “Ancients” among devotees of fife and drum music, the corps was organized and trained by George P. Carroll, formerly Director of the Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) Fife and Drum Corps and one of the foremost drum authorities in the world.
“The art of fifing and drumming is very old,” George explained. “It is martial music, actually, and was used to issue commands on the field during battle.The drum, principally, beat the different commands, and the fife was used as accompaniment.
“Ancient fife and drum music arrived in this country via Europe prior to the American Revolution and is quite unlike contemporary military music. Today’s instruments are different in size and composition and the cadence or marching beat is much quicker. Even though tunes dating back to the Revolution are still played—like “Yankee Doodle”—the versions are generally modernized and not authentic.
“To qualify as an Ancient Corps, a group must fulfill certain requirements. Uniforms, instruments, tempo, and tunes must be as authentic as possible.”
The “Ancients” of Liberty Square wear uniforms that closely resemble those worn during the Revolution. Dark-gold knee breeches and waistcoats are worn under long-tailed jackets of bright blue with royal red cuffs and lapels. A black tricornered hat with a white cockade is precisely centered on each man’s head.
The instruments of the corps are exact replicas of those used during the Revolution. The six-holed fifes are 17 inches long and handmade from boxwood, a wood that is increasingly hard to find. The three snare drums and the one bass drum are also handmade with an American eagle emblem painstakingly painted by hand on their Birch plywood shells.
“Our drums are very special for several reasons,” George pointed out. “First, of course, because they exactly reproduce the drumming of 200 years ago—and until you’ve heard that sound you haven’t heard anything! And, second, because they were the last drums made by the famous drum maker Charles Soistman before his death last year.
“Mr. Soistman was acknowledged to be the greatest maker of antique drums during his lifetime. He came from a long line of drum makers that began with his great-grandfather who made drums for the Union Army during the Civil War. A drummer can recognize the timbre of a Soistman drum immediately.”
The rope-tension snare drums created by Charles Soistman for the Liberty Square drummers are much larger than modern drums with wooden shells and leather heads. On a clear day, the sounds of the drummers can be heard for several miles.
“You have to remember,” said George, “that these drums had to be heard over the sounds of neighing horses, cannon fire, and rifle shots. “To give you an idea of just how loud and effective they were,” he continued, “two sisters in Massachusetts, Abigail and Rebecca Bates, were able to scare off a British warship by playing one fife and one drum while hidden behind a sand dune. The British decided against landing troops because they thought a regiment of militia were preparing to fight. And that,” he laughed, “is not a drummed-up story.”
When the men of the Liberty Square Fife and Drum Corps came together one year ago, several of them had never held a fife or heard a Revolutionary drum. Hard work, extensive research, and great pride have earned them the right to be called a truly AncientCorps.
And when the visitor to Liberty Square hears the fifes and drums render the ancient tune of “Yankee Doodle,” he will hear the same sounds heard by General Cornwallis when he surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
Do you remember the Fife and Drum Corps from the early years of Liberty Square?
America on Parade was one of Disney’s first “Just-Over-a-Year” celebrations. America was in a frenzy over the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 and there was no end to the parades and events over the summer of 1976. You could even attribute Liberty Square and the Hall of Presidents to the fervor over the Bicentennial. The Fall 1975 Disney News offered a preview of the parade that was over two years in the making!
COVER STORY: “America On Parade,” Disney’s colossal tribute to America’s Bicentennial celebration, continues to enthrall guests at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. See page 2 for story and pictures.
Every day becomes a Fourth of July celebration as Disneyland and Walt Disney World present “America on Parade,” a spectacular salute to America’s 200th birthday. “America on Parade” premiered last June as a joyful, colorful, wonderful patriotic pageant of the music, people and heritage of America- both past and present.
Thousands of Disney guests have already watched and cheered as Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck proudly lead the three-quarter-mile-long procession through the center of each theme park.
The 50 giant-size parade units in the fun-filled musical extravaganza depict a variety of historical and memorable moments in the nation’s 200-year past and highlight the contributions and achievements of the country’s people. They present a stylized, whimsical and never-to-be-forgotten festival of America as only Disney can present it.
Towering above the throngs of young and old who gaze with delight and amusement are Disney’s newest creations, the eight-foot-high, doll-like “People of America’-from Indians to auto drivers, Can-Can dancers to Ben Franklin, a Keystone cop to Uncle Sam—they dance their way through America’s history and into the hearts and memories of those who watch one of Disney’s most unique and delightful creations. The parade, which features more than 150 people, is performed at both Disney theme parks daily at 3:00 p.m. During the summer months and some holidays there will be special evening performances of the parade followed by a red, white and blue fireworks display. As an extra attraction, each week the parade will salute one of the 50 states.
The parade’s grand finale features high school and college marching bands especially invited to take part in this bicentennial salute. From the first strains of “Yankee Doodle” to the closing bars of “God Bless America,” Disney’s “America on Parade” is itself destined to become a part of the Americana it celebrates: something to be seen, remembered and treasured for years to come.
Did You Ever Get to Experience Disney’s America On Parade?
Back in the mid-1990s, Disney was looking to redo the Horizons Pavilion. G.E. decided not to renew their corporate sponsorship back in 1993. This left the pavilion without the deep corporate pockets to spring for a refurbishment. The original EPCOT Center sponsorship contracts were for ten years and only Exxon signed up for affectional terms with the Universe of Energy. Horizons officially closed December of 1994, but was brought back online a year later since the World of Motion and the Universe of Energy both went down for refurbishment (and more, in the case of the World of Motion).
One idea kicked around since the beginning planning stages for EPCOT Center has been a Space Pavilion. The lack of a sponsor and an unattainable scale kept this pavilion firmly grounded. I ran across an amazing 26-page document from 1996 that offered a vision for a Space Pavilion that re-used most of the Horizons building and ride system. And offered a tantalizing new ride system called The Speculator. So why didn’t we see a Space Pavilion until 2003 with the opening of Mission: Space (still one of my least favorite attractions)?
Space Pavilion Concept Video Part One
Part two of the video will take us to the Digital Imaging Center of the Space Pavilion and we’ll take a ride on the attraction’s new experience: The Speculator.
What Do You Think About This Concept for the Space Pavilion at Epcot?