Disney Publishing sent a review copy and I couldn’t wait to make a preview video for you.
Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks Video Review
If you won’t be able to visit this parks this year, is this book a good substitute?
This large-format coffee table-sized book will enchant you with photos from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and more. It’s hard to imagine that Disney could capture all of the magical details of their celebrations worldwide. They cover the twelve parks, cruise ships, resorts, and shopping districts. There is something for every fan of the parks, including a rich look at the history of the holidays starting at Disneyland.
The price tag seems hefty at first, until you crack it open and leaf through the pages. You’ll notice that there are four to five pictures per page. And at 384 pages, that’s almost as many photos as I take each visit!
Along with the Disney Monorail book, you have two fantastic reads for this holiday season. Are you going to get both? As a general rule, Disney books have small print runs and go out-of-print fairly quickly. If you wait too long, the price will skyrocket.
Are you going to order the holiday book for yourself or as a gift?
FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the company for the purpose of this 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!
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.
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!
The Dec. 1973, Jan., Feb. 1974 Disney News magazine offers an interesting piece on the new townhomes in the Lake Buena Vista Community at Walt Disney World. Milt Albright, Executive Director of the Magic Kingdom Club, spent time at the new townhouses and wrote an editorial piece. there were some pictures included, they just didn’t scan as well as could be, based on the source material.
At the time of publication (1973), Disney was working on a plan to create the EPCOT Center that Walt had envisioned.
Lake Buena Vista was the host community to Walt Disney World. What does this mean? Well, the cities of Bay lake and Lake Buena Vista are the incorporated cities at Walt Disney World. The cities are the governance for the Florida property and offer insight into the direction that the company was taking.
Lake Buena Vista is a totally new concept in “second home” living. Quietly nes- tled in a colorful Florida setting, this new Walt Disney World community is located on a lush, green 4,000 acre site, less than 10 minutes away from the Magic Kingdom theme park. The abundance of land is evident in a sense of spaciousness, large recreation areas, and a rich natural land- scape—virtually unmarred by roads and automobiles.
Automobile use will be sharply curtailed by keeping all through-traffic on the perimeter of the community. Inside the recreation and residential areas, all roads are private. It will be possible for residents to go to all the important places within Lake Buena Vista—clubhouse, shopping, recreation— without using an automobile, via a system of waterways, pathways, and trails. These pathways will be the “main street” of the community.
Most Townhouses have at least one side opening onto a major open space; a lake, a waterway, or the woods. These are not houses “along a street” with paths to the park; they are houses within and a part of the park. The idea is to try to make the house a part of the natural environment, with the possibility of seclusion, while it is part of an active, vital community—in other words, to offer a sense of community and a sense of privacy. Pervading theme is the dominance of the natural landscape and living with nature.
Inspired by the sunny and ever-bright Florida environment, Academy Award win- ning designer, Emile Kuri, has decorated the Townhouse interiors with a wave of contemporary colors . . . highlighted with elegant and artistic accessories. Perhaps best known for his work in motion pictures (he’s won two “Oscars”), my friend Emile has created many of the fantastic interior settings for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. To his design talents, Emile’s staff has added Disney know-how and flair. The result is a choice of exciting interiors . . perfectly suited for the Village Townhouses . . . and suited perfectly to your comfort and enjoyment.
Unique to business and family communities, Lake Buena Vista offers exclusive Residential Hostess Service to Townhouse residents and guests. Whether you are meeting with business associates or vacationing with the family, our hostess will assist you with any request; information on church services, shopping, travel, air departure times, scheduled sports and cultural events, registered nurses, road maps or stock brokerage houses.
Just say the word, and it will all be awaiting your arrival … a car for your personal use . . . Magic Kingdom theme park ticket books . . . guided tours through the Magic Kingdom . . . starting times on our Magnolia, Palm, or Buena Vista Club golf courses . . . even flowers or gifts personally delivered to your Townhouse with your suggested card or message. Dinner reservations are yours for the asking … at the Polynesian Village, the Contemporary Resort or the new Walt Disney World Golf Resort Hotel … or perhaps you prefer an evening meal or cocktail party specially catered in your Townhouse.
Our hostess will also set up your business meetings. She’ll even arrange for a conference room in one of Walt Disney World’s hotels, space permitting . . . she’ll assist in catering breakfast, mid-morning coffee, lunch, dinner or cocktails . . . make arrangements for chauffeured limousines or rental cars, audio-visual equipment, secretary for dictation, notary public or photographer! Hostess service is provided seven days a week. Costs incurred in the execution of a request can be billed to your Townhouse account.
For golfers, the private Buena Vista Club will embrace many of the social and recre- ational activities of the community. Already available for play is an outstanding 18- hole golf course. Coming is a multi-purpose clubhouse, clubhouse pool, and tennis courts. The club’s golf course was designed by Joe Lee, who has created some of Florida’s finest courses. . . including the spectacular Magnolia and Palm championship layouts in adjoining Walt Disney World. The Buena Vista Club offers social and golf memberships. Initiation fee and social membership are included in your Townhouse lease.
Maybe it’s the freeways, or the smog, or the mad pace “out west”. . . I’m not sure . . . but I was truly impressed with Lake Buena Vista. Good air, sunny skies, warm nights, and a leisurely life-style. Great place for a second home!
For additional information, write or phone, Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club, P.O. Box 40, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830, (305) 828-3333.
Did you ever get to stay in the Townhouses or the Villas?
Vacation Kingdom of the World Takes Shape in Florida
The Disney News from the Spring of 1971 offers an interesting article on the construction and development of Walt Disney World. Remember, this is still about six to eight months before the opening of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. Let’s check out how Disney updated Magic Kingdom Club Families, who would be some of the most ardent Disney fans of the time.
It won’t be long now. With approximately 4,000 construction workers on the job, all aspects of Walt Disney World’s 2,500-acre Phase I project are moving steadily toward scheduled completion next October.
Currently the nation’s largest non-governmental construction project, the new destination vacation resort, located 15 miles southwest of Orlando, is being built at the northern extreme of the 27,400-acre Disney property. It will include a theme park similar to Disneyland, a 650-acre lake and lagoon area, resort hotels, camping facilities, and an almost limitless variety of land and water-oriented recreation facilities.
First among the new “Magic Kingdom’s” six lands to show signs of its finished shape is romantic Main Street, U.S.A. The architectural overcoat of a bygone era is now being applied to cover the structural skeletons of modern buildings. Ornate cupolas are being framed, gracefully curved windows are being set into place, and the look of the past is coming to life again. The Main Street train station is farthest along, with City Hall, Bank, and Fire Station not far behind. The intriguing facades of the Main Street Cinema, Emporium, Penny Arcade, old-fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, and other landmarks are also beginning to take shape.
At the entrance to Fantasyland, construction on the curving battlements of Cinderella’s Castle has passed the 125-foot mark. (The magnificent spires of the castle will soar to an ultimate height of 180 feet.) And thousands of steel beams are in place — no two pieces alike — supporting reinforced concrete floors and walls. (Movie set-builders have covered the walls with a “makeup” so real that they will look exactly like granite.)
Instead of dungeons beneath the castle, workmen have completed service tunnels and storage facilities providing underground connections to many parts of the “Magic Kingdom.”
In Fantasyland itself, the building to house “It’s A Small World” is near completion, and in Liberty Square, the exterior of the Haunted Mansion is complete.
At Walt Disney World, the Haunted Mansion takes on an entirely Eastern look. Instead of a “Gone-With-The- Wind” flavor, complete with stately white columns, magnolias, and iron- laced balconies, the Florida mansion features architecture of the “early-Edgar Allan Poe” variety — a building made of granite, a dagger-shaped belfry, and a gargoyled doorway that looks like the entrance to a massive tomb.
Adventureland’s Jungle Cruise river channels have been excavated, and many tropical trees and shrubs (among 55,000 that will eventually be transplanted from the Horticultural Center throughout Walt Disney World) are now in place.
In Frontierland, work continues on the setting for the “Country Bear Band,” a foot-stompin’, country and western hoedown featuring the zaniest group of bears ever assembled.
The male members of the cast include: the master of ceremonies, a seven-foot tall bear that wears a beaver hat and talks with a drawl; a five-bear string band; Comer and his rinky-tink piano; Big Al and his un-strung guitar; and the grizzly singing voices of Wendell, Ernest, Terrence, and old Liverlips McCraw.
Among feminine performers, the cast includes: the original swinger, Teddi Bara; the lonesome loser, Trixie; and three little golden-haired bears in blue.
And, for a change of pace, the program features a trio of horn-tooting fugitives from a taxidermist: an elk, a buck, and a moose.
As far as the Walt Disney World Navy is concerned, more than 200 ships and other watercraft are beginning to move down the shipyard ways in Florida.
Ranging from paddlewheel steam-boats to replicas of Captain Nemo’s submarines, the vessels will play important roles, both in the theme park and in the transportation network linking Walt Disney World’s five major resort hotels with the Park.
Work continues on 12 adventure-seeking submarines patterned after assembled at the Martin Marietta Captain Nemo’s vessel in Walt plant in Orlando, are 171-feet long, Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.” Carrying 36 passengers each, they will tour a vast underwater world to view lost continents and ocean marvels.
In addition to water craft, a new monorail system is being built for the Walt Disney World transportation network. Carrying up to 7,700 passengers an hour, the system enables guests to travel from the parking area and transportation center to the theme park or to the major theme resort hotels nearby.
The new Walt Disney World Mark IV monorail trains, which are being assembled at the Martin Marietta plant in Orlando are 171-feet long, wider than their Disneyland counterparts, and incorporate a new air-suspension system for the smoothest ride possible. They are designed to attain speeds up to 45 miles an hour.
The silent, all-electric trains, which travel atop concrete beamways soaring up to 60 feet above ground level, are fully air-conditioned, operational in either direction, and boardable from either side.
In the area of food, a whole new world of dining experiences is being prepared for Walt Disney World guests.
Each of the six major lands in the theme park — Adventureland, Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland, Fantasy- land, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland — will have refreshment and themed eating facilities. At the resort hotels, foods from many lands and cultures around the world will be featured in dining rooms, nightclubs, and lounges. And, on romantic steamboats, in picnic areas, on golf courses, and at other recreation sites, unusual eating services will become part of the fun.
According to Food Service Division Director Jim Armstrong, Walt Disney World will be prepared to serve up to 175,000 meals a day. According to John Cardone, Manager of Food Production at the “Magic Kingdom” theme park, “Walt Disney World will serve the largest variety of foods anywhere in the world, everything from French pancakes to Polynesian ‘carry- away’ lunches.”
Variety is the key word in the entertainment area, too. By opening day, the “Vacation Kingdom” will need at least 350 entertainers, including singers, actors, pageant helpers, and production personnel. Bob Jani, Entertainment Director for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, is already beginning to recruit production crews and initiate training programs.
In the “Magic Kingdom” theme park, both “atmospheric” entertainment and special shows will fill each of the six major lands. For example, on Main Street, U.S.A., a barber-shop quartet and the 20-piece “Magic Kingdom” Marching Band will be featured; in Fantasyland, a Black Forest Tuba Band, an English Pearly Band, court jesters, and the famous Disney characters; in Tomorrowland, rock music; in Liberty Square, fife and drum parades; in Frontierland, entertainment with a western flavor; and in Adventureland, steel drum bands.
In addition, famous entertainers will appear regularly in such locations as the Celebrity Lounge atop the 14- story Contemporary Resort Hotel, and other entertainment locations in the hotels will feature top musical groups and personalities, as well as talent developed by the Disney organization.
Beyond the perimeter of the theme park, construction work is underway for the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village hotels, two of five major theme resort hotels to be located in Walt Disney World.
Located on the south shore of the “Vacation Kingdom’s” 200-acre lagoon, the Polynesian Village will offer an informal, leisure way of vacation living in keeping with the romantic South Seas mood it creates.
At night, it will take on a special magic with dining, dancing, and entertainment, all keyed to the South Pacific theme. Luaus under the stars or moonlight excursions on the lagoon will be a part of the total experience for each guest.
The main dining, shopping, and lobby areas will be in the Great House, resembling a royal Tahitian assembly lodge, with “open” peaked roof and brown-skinned rafters reaching through the swaying palms of a central atrium.
Glass walls will give an open feeling to the main dining room, as guests look out over cascading waterfalls and garden lagoons shaped like huge pearl shells.
The contemporary-styled hotel, unlike any building in the world, resembles a long, hollow pyramid. Its sloping walls rise like the lower half of a giant “A” toward a 1 4th floor penthouse restaurant and lounge.
Within its pyramidic hollow, the huge central concourse — nine stories high and one-third longer than a football field — will become a park-like landscape of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.
Colors will range from the cool blues and greens of the canyon floor, rising through sandy reds and oranges, to the heights in lighter yellows and golds.
Sunlight will stream through bronzed-glass end walls and skylights, pass by a magnificent tile mural 90 feet high, and reflect off the pools, fountains, sculptured shapes and walkways that wind past simulated open-air shops and restaurants.
Restaurants, shopping areas, and lounges within the concourse mall will be defined, not by walls and partitions, but by light, shadow, color, raised and lowered floor levels, and suspended space forms.
Two of Walt Disney World’s proposed three golf courses have been planted and will be ready for challengers on opening day. Fairway, tee, and green sites have been cleared, and thousands of large palm trees and magnolia trees have been planted on the two courses, in keeping with their names — the Palm and the Magnolia golf courses.
Sparkling white sand traps, jewel-like lakes, winding creek-like canals, and lush, wooded groves have been used in many different ways to challenge golfers. According to Joseph L. Lee, one of the nation’s foremost golf course architects, “Each golfer will find varying degrees of skill required, de- pending on how he chooses to play.
But each hole is designed to provide a mental challenge for everyone from beginners to professionals.” The Palm Course will be a 6,410-yard par 72 layout; the Magnolia Course will be a 6,550-yard par 72 layout; and the third course will be a 6,500-yard par 72 layout. (Unusually large tees will allow greenskeepers to extend each of the courses to more than 7,000 yards for tournament play.)
Conservation is also playing a major role at the “Vacation Kingdom”. More than 7,000 acres of Walt Disney World have been set aside by the Disney organization for permanent protection as a Conservation Area.
One of the major objectives of the Disney organization in establishing the Area is to demonstrate that with imaginative planning and use of available technology, urbanized development can be achieved without causing deterioration of the environment or disturbing the ecological balance of adjacent areas.
To these ends, extensive water level control facilities have been constructed so that environmental factors can be maintained for optimum benefit to the flora and fauna of the area.
The most advanced methods of water and air pollution controls have been initiated, including the use of natural gas in virtually all vehicles and in the project’s central energy plant, automated trash disposal, and three-stage sewage treatment system to obtain a virtually pure effluent. This effluent, in turn, will be used for irrigation of the golf courses.
Hundreds of thousands of new plants, trees, and shrubs have been imported to help in beautifying the developed areas, while leaving untouched those natural primitive areas which will be protected from human encroachment. Truly, there is no destination-resort today quite like Walt Disney World will be tomorrow. And tomorrow is less than a year away.
FTC Disclosure: In some cases, a copy might have been provided by the company for the purpose of this review (but not on this post). 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!
A great way to check out the Walt Disney World of the past is through the ephemera (usually defined as brochures and pamphlets) that was produced and distributed. The items were not meant as keepsakes, hence their ephemeral nature, but as a means of advertising. For historians, ephemera is a great way to check prices and changes with the resort over the years.
In 1971, Disney released two brochures about the opening of Walt Disney World.One is considered the pre-opening version and is marked with Opens October 1971 on the cover. The one released after opening is missing the opening date text but includes information on packages and prices. But they both offer some incredible insight into the fledgling Vacation Kingdom of the World.
Vintage Disney World Opening Brochure
What Do You Think About This opening Disney Brochure?
FTC Disclosure: 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!
Disney produced a massive amount of guidebooks, souvenir guides and retrospective books about Disneyland, yet struggled to properly convey what the Vacation Kingdom of the World was really about. With publishing plenty of titles in the 1970s, they still focused on trying get the idea of Walt Disney World across. How do you promote 43 square miles? Especially during pre-internet times?
1983 Walt Disney World Pictorial Souvenir Video Review
Disney found themselves promoting two theme parks, three hotels, a campground, and various recreation activities in a 36-38 page book. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for details, but does show what Disney felt was important about the Central Florida resort.
I still think of how many kids bought these books at the Emporium on Main Street or at their hotels as their souvenir from the family vacation. And then they spent hours just being mesmerized by the photos and brief text. Just a way to relive a past vacation and dream of the next one.
A lot of people have experienced camping at Fort wilderness at Walt Disney World. But how many got to experience a Fort Wilderness trip in which you caught your own breakfast?
I read an article in a 1973 Walt Disney World Vacationland magazine about a seven-day camping trip at Fort Wilderness. What surprised me was what the family did! (Or didn’t do.)
There was no rushing to the Magic Kingdom every morning. There were no extended shopping visits. And there were no Fastpasses! Imagine spending days exploring Fort Wilderness as opposed to visiting the Magic Kingdom.
In their defense, this was a Magic Kingdom bereft of any E-Ticket attractions (although, the Jungle Cruise and the Haunted Mansion were there). It would be months before Pirates of the Caribbean opened and years before Space mountain and Big Thunder Mountain would debut.
Check out My 1973 Fort Wilderness Video
Camping at Fort Wilderness was a completely different experience than you can even find today. There was a little something for everyone, even if it was just lounging around in a hammock. After reading the article, it was obviously a PR piece, but the writer did a great job of conveying the multitude of activities surrounding horses, outdoor sports, canoeing, fishing, and hiking.
Every morning and evening, an antique peddlar truck, laden with fresh vegetables, fruits, foodstuffs, and camping supplies, rumbles down the roads of Fort Wilderness beckoning quests with a clanging cowbell.
Ryan at the Main Street Gazette offers this description:
…it wound its way through the campground selling foodstuffs and sundries to guests who were roughing it and needed provisions to survive the wilderness. Or marshmallows to roast at the campfire… The truck was modeled after the old-fashioned peddler trucks that serviced rural areas of the country. […]guests could find fresh fruit and vegetables, including corn, potatoes, and melons, chips, sodas, and even charcoal for cooking.
There is scant information available online about the truck that traversed the roads of Fort Wilderness Campground. Ryan’s site is the only mention that shows up in a search and he offers a fantastic press photo from the time.
Let’s zoom in a little closer to see what was for sale on the truck.
It looks like the cast member is handing ears of corn to a guest.
As far as I can tell from the image, the truck sold bags of potato chips, vegetables, cans of soda, bags of charcoal briquets, ears of corn and melons. Does anyone remember the truck and its wares? Thanks to Bill for sharing the photo! Make sure to check out his site.
“Funny Old Truck” Update from the Fall 1980 Disney News
The Fall 1980 Disney News has an update entitled Fort Wilderness: An Autumn Adventure. The short article outlines what a vacationer could expect if they spent a few days at Fort Wilderness in the fall of 1980.
Much to my surprise, there was mention of the funny old truck, also called the huckster truck. I was surprised to see more of a description of the truck and some of the wares. The article mentioned a second route in the afternoon with different goods. Also, the article confirms that the Peddlar Truck was in operation through the fall of 1980.
By the time the first cup is poured, you hear a clanging cowbell that announces the arrival of the old “huckster truck” and the half dozen cinnamon buns you’ve been waiting for. Local folks around Fort Wilderness affectionately call the vehicle the “funny old truck’.’ And it is funny looking, with its voluminous front fenders, wheels with spokes, and a square hood adorned by a winged ornament (all original parts from long-been-gone flying Nellies). On its sides and around the back, wood bins hold the colorful displays of produce, while overhead, red-painted lanterns swing crazily with the bouncing motion of the truck. It possesses all of the charm of any well-traveled, old-time fruit and vegetable wagon.
This general store-on-wheels makes its first tour of the day stocked with fresh fruits, cereals, bread, juice, a pound or two of coffee, and almost anything else you can think of. Breakfast won’t be a disaster if you forgot to bring pancake syrup—because they’ve got that, too.
The “funny old truck” appears again in the afternoon, this time laden with ice-cold watermelons, dozens of ears of corn (which are snatched up to be roasted in their husks over a bed of glowing coals), cool drinks, and even a length of garden hose for the absent minded camper who left his home.
Always, the truck makes its way slowly among the campsites, its straw-hatted driver stopping frequently to oblige picture-takers.
Did you ever get to experience the Peddlar Truck (also known as the Funny Old Truck)?
WDW Bits & Pieces is a series dedicated to sharing ephemera, bits, pieces, and other odd moments from Walt Disney World history.
Collecting Disney books can be an arduous task when different editions and releases come into play. We know that there are four version of the Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center book (you can learn about three of them at this post) based on when the books were released.
Cover of the 1976 Edition
The Story of Walt Disney World is another title with multiple editions. This book was the second major publication piece released by the company to help promote and explain what Walt Disney World was. This book is a fantastic look back at the Vacation Kingdom of the World during its heyday of the 1970s. This was a different time for the Company and they spent a lot of money and energy showing you how they created the magic of Walt Disney World.
When you start to look at the different editions of the book, there doesn’t seem to be many differences. The most obvious difference is the almost two-page map that is included in the book. There are also some minor differences in the photographs on certain pages. After discussing the different editions on Twitter with Scott Otis (@otisney) and @EPCOTExplorer, we realized that there were many editions published each year from 1971 to 1980 (at least).
Back of the 1976 Edition
The following is a fun-style map of Walt Disney World from 1976. If you click on the image, you will notice that the artist emphasized the leisure activities. It is an obvious focus of a mid-1970s vacation at Walt Disney World where you would spend two days at the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the week playing golf, tennis, boating and horseback riding.
The 1971 edition is similar, save for a few small changes in some of the photographs and the following map.
This is a well-known map, since it shows the various hotels that were never built. This was also the map that was in the guest rooms at the Polynesian and Contemporary Resort.