Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years...Part One!

Though this blog is usually dedicated to Horizons, after speaking with a friend of mine, Mike Goulding, about his extensive collection of Disney books, I remembered how much I had loved
our copy of Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years which we purchased on our first trip in 1991.

Though I'm not exactly sure what happened to the original book that we purchased, I was able to find a replacement on Amazon for only 5 dollars! The cover has a few scratches, but other than that it's in excellent shape.

I originally decided to order the book in order to show you the great pictures of Horizons in it, but after exploring it further, there was just so much great content about the entire theme park in general, that before I knew it I had hundreds of pictures from it that I wanted to share. 

Though I wanted to include as much as I could, I tried to stick mainly to things that aren't there anymore. That's when I decided to turn this into a series of blog posts, with one post for each park, and then others for the "Vacation Kingdom" that made up the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort. Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years, was one of my favorite souvenirs from our first trip back in 1991.

Before the days of the internet, books with a plethora of vibrant pictures were the best things to page through after returning home from the trip. Another great thing is that unlike the guidebooks, which were very word heavy, this book was perfect for a certain three year old who just wanted to look at the sparkly cover and the pictures inside.

Let's take a look!

Look how sparkly!
I found this very nice inscription on the front page, and I hope whoever these people were had a wonderful anniversary.
Here is the title page with those unmistakably early 90's colors. It still has the vintage Walt Disney World logo with the Mickey Mouse head inside the "D" of Disney. I'm so glad they've been using it more recently.
I still can't get over how tiny the table of contents is, especially for the Disney-MGM Studios. Little did we know that 27 years later, it would be back down to only five attractions again...
The introduction goes on to discuss a brief history of Walt's life and career and how the "Florida Project" came to be.

The next part of the book goes on to highlight the construction of the park, dedicating the next two pages to construction pictures of Cinderella Castle. 

Pioneer Hall under construction at Fort Wilderness
This logo will always remind me of being three years old. This is quite possibly one of my favorite pages in the entire book.

Before Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the firehouse on Main Street was, well, a firehouse!
Obligatory promotional shot of a child with an ice cream cone.
I still vividly remember when the Main Street Cinema was actually a cinema. Every time I go into it as "The Art Of Disney" it still stings a little...
The Flower Mart on West Center Street, neither of which exist anymore.

Every year, my memories of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Skyway grow dimmer and dimmer. Thank goodness the photography of them still exists!

Though most of the pictures for Adventureland are the same stock photos they still show today, the one picture I did decided to use reminded me of a time I made an interesting discovery while photographing various details throughout Adventureland. If you happen to be on the porch of Tortuga Tavern, hidden in the rafters is an homage to the previous eatery that used to inhabit that space: El Pirata Y El Perico Refreshments!

The word "refreshments" has been removed, but it's definitely the same sign.

Featured above is The Diamond Horseshoe Revue, Walt Disney World's answer to The Golden Horseshoe Revue. The Diamond Horseshoe theater is still operational as a restaurant seasonally, but the revue itself has yet to return.
Here's a nice shot of the Bertha Mae, six years before the Mike Fink Keel Boats would be permanently removed from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World due to safety issues.

I was so genuinely terrified of this picture in the book, that I either had to skip the page completely or cover it over with my hand. Even as an adult, I much prefer the Ghost Bride that have there now.

This was still a time when you could walk into a store in Liberty Square and bring home something authentic and entirely unique to share with your family.

 I think one of my favorite things about the Magic Kingdom in 1991 is that aside from a few tweaks over the years, it still retained a lot of the original charm of 1971. Though it would soon be replacd with "New Tommorrowland" from 1993-1994, classic attractions like Mission to Mars and American Journeys still existed before being turned into The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and The Timekeeper. 

I was too young too appreciate this paint scheme on the monoliths at the time, but I am completely in love with it now.

Thanks for taking this step back into 1991 with me as I reminince my way through Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years. Check back next time as we explore part two...EPCOT Center 1991!


  1. Wow, you just reminded me that I still have that book somewhere! I used to browse through it everyday when I was little! I need to find it! Thanks for the nostalgia trip!