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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


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Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall

While doing occasional work on Main Street, U.S.A. (Magic Kingdom) we had the thrill of walking between the walls.  That is, the space between those great-looking Main Street facades and the actual buildings behind them. On the ground level there are few areas of dead space between walls, mostly due to large doorways and windows.  On the upper level, however, there are long narrow walkways behind the facades which accommodate decorations (lamps, chairs, etc.) intended to be seen from the street below. These are designed to look like turn-of-the-century shop keepers' residences.  You know, the shop owners would live in apartments above their shops back in olden times.  Anyway, the offices behind are your regular, windowless run-of-the-mill boring offices.

So one day I was behind a wall and THERE IT WAS...  An old folded-up yellowed piece of paper shoved between wooden framing and drywall.  It looked like it could have been a big ol' souvenir poster map and it was.  Poster-sized, old, and in pretty good shape.  I had always been on the lookout for these things since boyhood- long before ebay.  

So how long had it been there?  Why was it there?  Who put it there?  Did some custodial guy buy it at a gift shop, leave it behind the wall until after his shift, then never remember to come back for it?  By the looks of things it was stuck behind the framing for some time.  The exposed surface of the paper was significantly more yellow than any other part.  I imagine it could have been there for 30 years.  The best part:  No one on the project wanted it and it was to be trashed if I didn't take it home.  Tough decision.

Without a year printed on the map it was up to the process of deduction to know when it was made. Some things you see: Pirates of the Caribbean- so it was made after '73. Carousel of Progress and Space Mountain are there- so it had to be '74 or later.  You don't see any sign of Big Thunder- so it's definitely earlier than '80.  It can't be later than June '75 because you still see Flight to the moon and there is no mention of it's successor Mission to Mars.  One final clue: Look at Space Mountain.  It looks more like John Hench concept art or the rendering below than the Space Mountain built in '74.  Check out all the extra spires.  So the map artwork had to be from a time between the announcement of this new ride and the completion of the ride building.

I'm sure Disney blog geeks everywhere know exactly when this map was made but without knowing exactly I had to guess mid 1974.  Any earlier, Magic Carpet 'Round The World would be America the Beautiful.  Any later, Space Mountain would not look like that.

Are there variations of this same map? Not sure but I imagine there are.  By the late 70s the souvenir map had become much more cartoony with little kids in the Grand Prix cars and many more characters dancing around the poster and such.

So here the map sits- in my home office among other old souvenir poster maps from Disneyland, Epcot, EuroDisney, and even California Adventure.  Sadly the Disneyland poster map that once hung on my childhood bedroom wall is long gone.  But much like my grade school years, I sit and stare at these things and study them like a textbook. "NERD", you say???  Tell me I'm not the only one.  Admit it. You do the same.

Things you may or may not miss from this era...

Tropical Serenade without plastic flying carpets blocking the view.

Mike Fink Keel Boats

Plaza Swan Boats

Main Street Cinema when it was a cinema.

The Mickey Mouse Review

Fantasy Faire Stage


Related posts:

1962 Disneyland Souvenir Map - High Res
Fantasyland Expansion Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]
Swiss Family Treehouse Model

Reader Comments (41)

What an amazing find! Wow, I remember when Main Street used to be more than just the Emporium. I always wanted to go into the Main St. Cinema when I was a kid, but sadly my parents weren't too keen on it, and by the time I went as an adult it was gone.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfutureprobe1982

This is such an awesome find!! :) I keep hoping that I'll find something like this in my dad's basement from when he went when the park first such luck yet.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn (aka DisneyGirlinNJ)

WOW! That's a pretty damn cool discovery!!!

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

An outstanding find, though I'm not too surprised you were the one who discovered it. I would have done the exact same investigating to figure out what era it was from, even going so far as to have DNA tests. You're far from a Disney nerd, which is only accompished when you attack another fan for bad-mouthing Stitch. I would probably still have my Disney posters from when I was young, if only my mom wasn't psycho. I loved the flashback photos and the brief glimpse into your studio, though you need a better chair and someone needs to make the bed.

On the downside, that "old folded-up yellowed piece of paper shoved between wooden framing and drywall" was there for a reason. Back then, unions were overworked and this was hastily installed to keep the wall up. Within hours, it came crashing down, taking with it the person who was to be Walt's true successor. Since then, imagineers have been left flailing, their ideas too often passed over like a Christmas fruitcake. Now we have suits who can't even name the parks making decisions when the should be on trash patrol. Thanks a lot. ;)

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWDWFanBoyBrett

Neat ..I had one on my wall when I was young. Not sure if it is buried in my collection or not...I would guess this is around 74.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRWR

I purchased what appears to be that exact same map on eBay a few months ago. If I can remember correctly, the product listing claimed that the map was from 1976, although your reasoning for 1974 seems to be correct.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

I have this exact poster and it was purchased in February of 1976, my second trip to the world. The previous poster I have is from Dec of 1973 and it was/is in the original (weird) style. I'll have to dig it out and see if the actual attractions listed match yours. It is really cool to look at the old posters and note the changes over the years. Awesome find!

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersteve2wdw

i have the same map along with the opening day map of the MAGIC KINGDOM 1971, Also I have a map of Tokyo Disneyland's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland 1966, the year Walt Disney pass away.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertom urquidez

This map is from 1975. I've never seen it before but here's how I know this:

Space Mountain opened in 1975 the SAME year Flight to the Moon closed and became Mission to Mars. This map shows "Space" and "Moon" as attractions existing at the same time ! An extremely small window of weeks or a couple of months.

Even though the map art remained the same for a few years, the attraction and shop numbers changed easily. You have a rare 1975 map here.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

Wow Hoot, that's pretty good!

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLilly

So many great comments.

Brett- Haha. My wife would love (if she actually read this blog) that you noticed the unmade bed in the background. She has a flawless record of making the bed but this pic was taken on a day she left before I got up!

Hoot- I do believe you are right. The one thing that might make this a possible '74 map would be the fact that they MAY have released it before '75 with Space and COP being "Future Attractions"- like so many other maps do. HOWEVER there is no mention of "Future Attractions" on the map when other maps at least make mention of that. SOOOO.... you are most likely correct.

December 25, 2010 | Registered CommenterMitch

Awesome map!

@Steve2WDW Any pics of THAT map? I have one from 1971/2 (assuming that my research is right) and want to see if the "wierdness" matches up. I'm thinking your map uses a lot of yellow and orange?

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEPCOT Explorer

I should add, however, that the map that Mitch posted is quite similar to the 71/72 map, in the style of how the buildings are sketched. The coloration on this one, is more normal and closer to the ones actually seen in the MK..

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEPCOT Explorer

I have this exact same poster!!! its been in my grandparents basement since i was a kid. I finally took it down and let it dry. I plan on framing it soon. :)

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteruncommon find

I'm sitting in my living room, looking at the exact same map, framed and hanging on my wall. I bought it in the summer of 1977, my first trip to WDW. It has Flight to the Moon, Magic Carpet Around the World, etc. They may have been selling this earlier than then, and the Space Mountain artwork may be a hold over, but I think its just a little creative license, kinda like the trees behind Main St. rather than a parking lot ;-)
Great find, I'm very happy for you.

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfngoofy

I have that map on my wall right now as well. It's one of my prize retro Disney collections.

October 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLoa Shelley

Hi...does anyone know what these maps are worth today?

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkathy

I have one from 79. It's in the same style, it just looks like they drew characters and more people all over the place.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonnie

Nice map. Wish they fix up Main Street cinema back into a theater. Maybe next year...

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNic Kramer

Thanks so much for this, I found this map in my basement and I have been looking for a date as well. I guessed somewhere around '75 but your reasoning is better. Any idea how much these are worth today?

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBen

This is great, I know exactly how you felt! I had a similar experience in Liberty Square. Repairing a floor section of an upstairs area, I found a park map with a rotating disc in the crawlspace. It probably fell between the floor boards many years ago and there it sat in perfect condition. Surprisingly no one was very interested except me. I offered to purchase it, but the Cast Members had no way to ring it up, and the manager simply said I should keep it. Today it brings back fond memories of my years as a CM.

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGM

Busted! I had the map from my first trip to Disneyland (1974) on my bedroom wall for years! Studied it endlessly...was a gateway to the best daydreams...

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob

What a treasure! This is from the time when I was a cast member at WDW. I was in high school at the time. The time I spent working there was very memorable. Best job EVER! Thanks for the memories

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Osborne

As a cast member on Attractions from 72 to 76 @ WDW, I think this was probably a 74-75 era map. The Swan boats shut down in late 75 or so. (it was a very problematic system). Space Mountain started testing just before Thanksgiving in 74, was open for the Cast Christmas party in Early Dec of 74, and was in preview mode for limited guest runs over the Christmas Holidays. Official grand opening was on Jan 15, 1975. Pirates was open for limited use Christmas 73. Great Find. I know there was some neat messages left on the wood structure inside the show building for 20,000 leagues by us. I had seen the same type of messages left on the back of sets in other shows too.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Louree

@ Larry - I remember the opening of Space Mountain. They allowed the cast members extra time on their lunch to go test ride it. I rode it over and over.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Osborne

I have to tell you, I had that exact same map as a child. I remember pouring over it in my bedroom in Massachusetts and playing "Disney World" using it for years. Don't know what ever happened to it. I actually own a scan of it from another source. That is awesome that you were able to find a piece of history like that. Very jealous.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskier_pete

I went to Disneyland for the first time in March 1975. I was 7 years old. We bought a park map like this, except that Space Mountain was listed as a 'future attraction'. I remember this because it hung on the wall in our rec-room next to the piano. I studied piano for years, and I spent years trying to procrastinate my practice time by staring at that map and memorizing it and dreaming of my next trip to Disneyland. But I didn't really understand what 'future attraction' meant. Let me tell you that when I returned to Disneyland at 16 years old I knew exactly where everything I wanted to see was thanks to that map on the wall for all those years.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterslfarrell

I've got one of these maps framed under glass on my wall. 20,000 Leagues under the sea was the best ride ever. Just sayin.

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlue Phoenix

I understood that this version of the map is from about 1975 (which is when I first visited the Magic Kingdom). So naturally, I had to obtain one. Thank goodness for ebay! I bought one in very good shape (some check marks of rides ridden, some folding wear) and decided to frame it for my office. (BIG map means BIG framing fee! Over $250!!) I believe that a variation (not sure if before or after this one) has different characters near the Magic Kingdom logo in the bottom right section. GREAT item to have - and the fact that yours was discovered on site makes it AWESOME.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike B.

My father Jesse Clay was the illustrator of this map. I watched him draw this when I was a boy. The year, I believe, is between 1979 and 1983. The original is still hanging in his studio and will one day be mine.

June 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Clay

My grandmother, who turns 86 in 10 days, had a map that looked exactly like this hanging over her ceramics workstation in her Somerville, MA basement for as long as I can remember.

June 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdvg

Wow. I can remember having a small pocket size of this map from our family vacation in the summer of 1976. I spent hours as a child poring over that map, dreaming of WDW, walking those streets and riding those attractions in my mind. Seeing this brings a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

I have the same map on the wall of my bedroom. My son found it about 15 years ago for my birthday. Cost over $200 to have it framed back then. It is in excellent shape, can hardly see the fold lines.

September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBruce W.

After reading this post, I searched and found this exact map on eBay, bought it and had a custom frame made for it (not cheap). I got a frame style that looks old & weathered so it matches the vintage style of the map. Santa will bring this to us on Christmas morning and I can't wait! My wife and I are both Disney nuts and it will look awesome. Thanks so much for setting the idea in my head!

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I have this exact map. My parents bought it in 1975 on our first trip to. Disneyworld. I'm guessing they sold it for a few years in the park and gift shops. I love it as it always reminds me of the first time I saw WDW.

December 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

While doing some cleaning today, I came across 2 Disney maps in perfect condition! I bought this one in 1975 when I was in Tampa at summer camp and we all went to Disney World on a field trip. My husband has one from 1979 which has the date on it. Such great memories!! Luv the Haunted House and Splash Mountain.

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterL. Fletcher

I still have this EXACT same map! I bought it on Main Street in the Emporium during my first ever trip to Magic Kingdom in October of 1977. Had it framed and now it hangs on my office wall. People's faces light up when they see it because it's sooo big compared to the small pamphlet size ones they issue at WDW now.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterG Lentz

Hello. I have this same map as well but mine isn't made out of paper. It is a hard covering and a metal frame. It has places to hang it. The person I got it from said they had a friend who was a cast member in the 70's and 80's and that when they changed the maps out they were allowed to take them. Does anyone think this could be one of them? Also, does anyone have any idea what that would be worth?

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteruriko

My families first trip to WDW was in the summer in 1977 and we purchased this map as well. It was not on regular paper though but on something a bit stronger, like a laminated canvas. I remember this map distinctly because after the trip, I used this map over and over to redraw it. Sadly it was lost in all the moves we made.

February 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterW Harinsky

Art for several of the early WDW Map brochures were painted by Wayne Hovis who used to run Art Services in Orlando. He used to tell me since Disney purchased all original art paintings, he was not allowed to sign anything.
He is retired long ago but still paints in his home studio. Some of his paintings are here.

June 27, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterwainohg

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