Walt Disney World opened 40 years ago today. Here we bring you photos of some of the work that went on before Opening Day- October 1, 1971.
On the left (below) you see the foundation of Cinderella Castle taking shape and the utilidor tunnel being built under what would become the castle moat. Now on the right you see the same tunnel but covered in dirt. What looks like a trench next to the covered tunnel is not actully the tunnel. I imagine it was the last bit to be filled in or was used to access something. Notice the underground offices, shops, utility access, storage, etc. behind the castle foundation. This area exists today under Fantasyland.
Below you see the back end of the castle with views of restaurant construction and what is now the Castle Suite.
Looks like a fancy tool for inserting strands of hair into this Jungle Cruise lion. In more recent years I remember using a needle with half its eye cut off with the point inserted into a wooden handle.
Notice the maquette of the gorilla holding the rifle next to the full size figure of the same gorilla.
Check out the guy in back of the station wagon filming the elephant on its way to the Jungle Cruise.
Anyone know exactly where this yellow building is today? I always figured it was in downtown Orlando but really, I have no way of knowing.
UPDATE: Thanks to comments by World Famous Dave Ensign and Cousin Orville we have the location of the "yellow building". Seen here is the building in Plant City (as predicted by Dave) at the corner of Highways 39 and 92. The photo from Google Street View (as found by Cousin Orville) shows the building today almost exactly how it looked 40+ years ago. Mystery solved!
Speaking of where things are today... below we bring you a little bonus. A quick search on Bing Maps shows us an old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus submarine at backstage Epcot of all places. And right in front of it, an old Jungle Cruise boat. Yep, still hanging around. Used now and again for special events.
Before any of the above photos were taken, this model was built:
Click to enlarge and look closely. Clearly on the right you'll see the never-built Thunder Mesa. Look in the background. Behind John Hench on the right, is that a model of the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station? Towards the center it looks like a rather large model of the Contemporary. And to the far left, a tiki bird!
Happy b-day, Walt Disney World. You haven't changed a bit.
Thank you, The Story of Walt Disney World Commemorative Edition for the great pics. All photos ©Disney.
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
Disneyland in 1955
EYE CANDY: National Geographic Aug '63