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Entries in Castle (7)

Saturday
Oct012011

WDW Before Opening Day 1971

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.


Related posts:

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

 

Wednesday
Nov242010

THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]

Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

 

 

Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland facades has seen relatively little change over the years.  You'll notice a lot of color changes though.

As for attractions, Mickey Mouse Review has sadly been gone for almost 3 decades... and now it no longer exists ANYWHERE as it was recently removed from Tokyo Disneyland.  

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you know, "that one thing with water and submarines and stuff that nobody liked because it used to cost a lot to maintain", well it's still gone.  Golly, I do miss it regardless of how much they tried to tell me it was "bad business" to keep around.

The Skyway tower still looks sharp.  Can we just keep it there forever?  It does no one any harm.

Thank you for no more Lion King in the area.  Oh wait, there's that one scene in Mickey's PhilharMagic.  That's ok, I suppose.

Thank goodness Cinderella Carrousel is no longer just for little girls.  And it's no longer Cinderella's.  And now it's regal.  It's the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel!

Winnie the Pooh is still the new Mr. Toad.  Speaking of "Pooh", shouldn't he be called "Winnie" or "Winnie the Pooh" and not just "Pooh".  Pooh is his species, right?  It's like calling Yogi Bear just "Bear".  

And another question: With the facade/queue of the "Pooh" ride being changes so radically from the (sort of) medieval courtyard look to a themed-out 100 Acre Woods look, will we see more of this sort of thing with the other existing Fantasyland attractions??  I would think they would limit this to anything outside what might be the castle courtyard area.  This makes sense for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and it's close proximity to what may become Fantasyland Forest (or whatever they decide on).  But I can only imagine a successful more immersive queue like this one might inspire a Neverland-themed interactive queue at Peter Pan's Flight that jets out into the walkway with a bunch of non-medieval courtyard-themed props placed every-which-way...?  And similar treatments to all other Fantasyland rides??  Don't get me wrong, I've always considered the medieval tent entrances to be a little less than exciting compared to say, Disneyland's 1983 Fantasyland make-over with it's super charming architecture adapted to the storyline of each attraction.  But the medieval courtyard look offers a pretty nice, consistent look throughout the area.  

So will this Pooh queue inspire a new movement that will change the existing Fantasyland to become yet another incohesive, hodgepodged, mix-matched land? I'm not referring to the expansion but the land as we know it today.  My fear is they'll treat each little piece of the land independently without much thought of the other pieces.  Think: Future World in the last 12 years.  

Now let's say the facade/queue of each attraction gets new treatment. Let's say there is a great master plan. Let's say there is great attention to each attraction AND to the look of the land as a whole.  This might be a good thing.  Not too many digital screens please.

Thoughts?

 

Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]
ABANDONED DISNEY: River Country [Part 1]
Fantasyland Expansion Model
Matterhorn for Magic Kingdom Fantasyland

 

BONUS: Today marked the theatrical release of Disney's 50th animated feature "Tangled". Check out Rapunzel's tower at Disneyland's Fantasyland:  

Photos taken 11-16-10

 

Saturday
Apr032010

Atop Cinderella Castle

 
A few years back I would occasionally be asked to go to the top of Cinderella Castle to check on and/or photograph something.  As you can imagine, the views are amazing.  I felt like that guy in old videos on top of a tower during park construction taking time-lapse and still photography.  How cool of a job that would have been.

A vew to the north from just above Cinderella's Royal Table.

I had assumed in earlier years that there was a nice little elevator to the top of the tallest spire with a room for Tinkerbell to relax in until the fireworks.  Of course the spire is far too narrow for any such thing.  There is however an elevator that goes to what is now the Castle Suite, which was then a small office and small storage space.  From there a door leads to one level of rooftop on the east side of the castle facing Tomorrowland.   Metal ladders bolted to the ground and walls lead you from one level of rooftop to the next.   


A small wooden door at the base of the tallest spire opens to a tall narrow shaft with another metal ladder leading to the top of the spire.  Harnesses are required if you wish to ascend to the highest point of the castle.  At the top of the very tall ladder is a wooden door which opens to a small wooden platform hardly large enough for two people to sit on.


It's great to sit up there and take in the views.  You can see for miles.  It was a joy to see the Magic Kingdom and distant Epcot all at the same time.