Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Magic Kingdom - 1975/2008 "Before and After"

WOW, what a fantastic trip to Florida and Walt Disney World. It was a blast.

I’ve got complete reports coming up on all my experiences and they prove what a Disneyland geek I really am. My Favorite attraction was the WEDway People Mover, with the Carousel of Progress running a close second. Detailed post reports on those and more attractions will follow through-out the week.

For today’s post, let’s play “Before and After”. The before photos are courtesy of a 1975 Walt Disney World glossy souvenir guide book. The After shots are from last week, Tuesday and Saturday. Where possible I tried to frame the photos as they were taken in 1975, however, some of the spots have changed so much it was difficult, but are still fun to compare.

Here we go. The cover of the 1975 Souvenir Guide. My after photo does not even attempt to get the same angle; it was a mob scene in front of the castle so I took this shot from the Adventureland side. The castle is grand indeed; too bad they don’t open the front for most of the day because they do an hourly show. Kind of odd not being able to walk thru the castle gates.

The Flag Pole planter area as it appeared in 1975. As you can see in the after photo, the planter was reduced at some point and they added a bench to the planter behind it with a “partners” type statue of Roy and Mickey, and the plaque was also moved to the rear planter area.

The plaque already looks old in the 1975 photo, it’s a little more weathered now, but still in great shape.

Main Street looking north. The trolley was running, but it was too hot to wait for it to line up with my “after” photo.

Pirates of the Caribbean. The signage has changed, the colors are a little different, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same. The attraction, well, I'll discuss that on a later post.

The Hall of Presidents, a covered entry has been added, a flag pole area has been added in front and the tree in front is huge now, the whole Liberty Square area is great and this attraction is awesome!

The Haunted Mansion has some color shifting. The greenery surrounding it has grown up nicely.

The entrance to Tomorrowland has change drastically and dramatically and all for the worse. I thought Disneyland missed the target on its “New Tomorrowland” entrance; the Florida version is just a mess. Please remove it at once!

Space Mountain has changed very little, which is great for the outside. The attraction itself, um, well, it needs a complete refurbishment like Anaheim received a few years ago The attraction was clunky, junky, and noisy and felt like it wanted to rattle right off those 33 year old tracks. I was hoping it would end sooner that it did. If the line is not a “walk on” don’t bother.

Ah the Carousel of Progress. The outside has changed a little, but oh boy, was it fun. I have a full post with video's coming regarding this amazingly well preserved Walt Disney original attraction. This and the WEDway People mover (I also have a full post with a ride thru video coming up this week) are worth the price of admission for any Disneyland Geek like me.

My WDW review posts will start Thurday (hey, I gotta unpack still!) so tomorrow I’ve got a fun Westcot Impact Study from 1991, they really should have stuck with that plan, it was only going to be 3 Billion dollars!


Disneyana World said...


I really enjoyed this post. Too bad I can't go to WDW with you because you really appreciate what's there.

However these shots break my heart. As somebody who has seen a lot of and loved the aesthetics of WDW past, I hate to see what's there today.

The removal of the ponds and shrubbery in EPCOTs main plaza, Leave a Legacy stones, and the commercialized Downtown Disney are the worst offenders.

jedblau said...

Love the before/after shots!

Unknown said...


This is one of the best ideas for a post that I have ever seen!


walterworld said...

Great work capturing the 'now' shots. Enjoyed this post very much.

Happy to hear that the Carousel of Progress is still running. I guess I'll have to trek East at some point to experience WDW.


Major Pepperidge said...

Great stuff, like everyone else I love before/after stuff. I wonder, is the Mansion really brighter and oranger? Or could it just be a bad job of printing? It looked so (appropriately) gray and foreboding when it was new.

ericpaddon said...

The Hall Of Presidents alas, is not what it was back in 1975. What exists today is the dumbed-down PC desecration that Michael Eisner shoved down our throats at the expense of the program that reflected Walt's spirit and vision of what America was about.

Compare some photographs from then that show great attractions like 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride with what exists today (A Pooh Playground and a one-track Pooh ride instead of the two track Toad one) and that drives home more than anything else just what's wrong with WDW today compared to then.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Thanks everyone!

Disneyana World; that would make two of us that were there that appreciate what’s left of the good stuff. After the 4th trip on the PeopleMover, folks were looking at my like something was wrong with me! The commercialization of EPCOT and most of the WDW property is beyond overkill!

Major; the Mansion is quite Orange now. Too orange really, it did look much more “foreboding” in the old photos.

Ericpaddon; I haven’t mentioned the “dumbed-down PC desecration” that is the Hall of President show, but you are 100% right. While I did enjoy seeing the robot presidents, the entire theme and slide show park was weird and I felt was trying to make the audience feel guilty for the civil war & slavery. I respect the point it was trying to make, but the focus was way off from where it should have been.

20,000 Leagues, heck I never even found the spot where I was, too depressing to see I suppose. I did find the old Mr. Toad building, now just another Pooh show, how lame is that!

ericpaddon said...

Well if you saw the old Toad building then to your left on the site of "Pooh Playground" is where WDW's signature ride of Fantasyland once stood. Abandoned for ten years, and then paved over ignobly. While I know how much you DL fans miss your Peoplemover, two reasons why I hope to one day make my first visit to DL can be summed up by the fact that you still have a Toad ride, and got your sub ride back.

If you were familiar with the old "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" show, that basically was the old "Hall Of Presidents" show too, with most of the same Lincoln orations and speech, albeit expanded in spots.

I visited WDW a dozen times between 1975 and 1993, and there was remarkably little substantive change in the Magic Kingdom during that period, except for the removal of "Mickey Mouse Revue" and the changeover of "If You Had Wings" into "Dreamflight." It made going back as I aged from child to young adult always seem like revisiting an old friend. When I went back in 2004, it was quite a rude awakening.