Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Vintage Walt Disney World: Summertime for Disney Characters

posted on July 24th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This time of the year always makes me think of summer vacation. In fact, I miss those dedicated three months of freedom watching TV, swimming, and traveling to see my grandparents. Here at Walt Disney World Resort, our world-class characters spend the summer seeing our guests while they’re on vacation, but they do find time to have some fun too! Here’s Pinocchio taking a break from autographs, hugs and handshakes in 1983 water skiing at the former Disney’s Village Resort while Geppetto waves from ashore. Let’s just hope Monstro isn’t in that water!
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For more from the “Vintage Walt Disney World” series, check out the posts below:

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Filed: Disney History, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Early Days of Disney Water Parks

posted on July 10th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


It’s summertime. It’s warm. I need to cool off. Should I hang ten at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or hit the slopes at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park? Decisions, decisions. While I deliberate, here’s a look at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park under construction from March 1989 and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in December 1994.

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I still can’t decide. If I go to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon I can take a ride on Crush ‘n’ Gusher, while over at Disney’s Blizzard Beach I can slide down the Toboggan Racers.

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This is the toughest decision of the summer for me at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Through The Years

posted on June 26th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


With all the exciting changes coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, I thought it would be fun to look at a guest room through the years. (No signage changed yet! This picture below is from 1989.)

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Inside the photo gallery you can take a look at guest rooms from 1972 until 2013. (Please note this is not a comprehensive look – just select photos from our archives.)

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Filed: Disney History, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Sunset Boulevard, Under Construction

posted on June 12th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Sunset Boulevard, home to some favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions and shows, officially opened on this date back in 1994. Here’s an aerial view of the Boulevard still under construction from December 1993.

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Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage also began performances at the new Theater of the Stars, on the same day. This ‘tale as old as time’ has been performed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since November 1991.

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A little over a month later, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened for business at the park. Here’s a February 1994 look at the exterior of the hotel guests like to drop … into.

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Whenever I go to the Studios, I often find myself making a right turn onto Sunset Boulevard to start my day. What’s your favorite part of Sunset Boulevard? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: Donald’s Special Day

posted on June 9th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


He’s been the face of orange juice, cast in bronze, and had a hot air balloon, the Zip-A-Dee-Doo Duck, fashioned after his likeness. Today, we celebrate his anniversary!

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On June 9th, Donald Duck made his big debut in the Silly Symphony, “The Wise Little Hen,” and he’s made millions smile, laugh, and quack ever since.

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Back in 1984, Walt Disney World Resort celebrated his birthday with Donald’s 50th Birthday parade. Below he’s celebrating in style with party hat and Grandma Duck!

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Here’s to the lovable Disney duck who’s always up for a hug over the past 80 years – especially when you’re sporting a very stylish hat.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Sorcery in the Sky Fireworks Blast Off

posted on May 29th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


The skies above Disney’s Hollywood Studios lit up at night when Sorcery in the Sky premiered today back in 1990.

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This fireworks spectacular was directed by a 55-foot-tall inflatable Mickey Mouse who made a dramatic appearance atop the Chinese Theater and fired magical sparks from his giant index finger.

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Celebrating nearly 70 years of Hollywood cinema, this 10-minute show deployed over 300 fireworks shells and used musical excerpts from famous movies.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Vintage Walt Disney World: The History of California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

posted on May 15th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Today, back in 1995, the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened. This signature restaurant atop the 15th floor was recently reimagined and here is a look at the lobby in 1995 and today.

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When Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened in 1971, the 15th floor was known as the Top of the World Restaurant and looked quite a bit different than it does today.

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In June of 1981, the “Broadway at the Top” dinner show debuted at the restaurant and ran until September of 1993. Below is a look at the show and its performers in January 1985.

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What’s my favorite part of the California Grill? It’s a toss up between the delicious food and the amazing view.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney History, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Celebrates 25 Years

posted on May 1st, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Places, everyone! Today, Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates 25 years of Hollywood glamour and glitz right in the heart of Florida. Here’s a look at the park’s entrance 25 year’s ago with its original moniker, Disney-MGM Studios, on its marquee.

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When the park opened, there were nine attractions for guests to enjoy: Backstage Studio Tour, Catastrophe Canyon, Disney Classics Theater, The Great Movie Ride, The Magic of Disney Animation, The Monster Sound Show, Residential Street, SuperStar Television and Hollywood! Hollywood! at Theater of the Stars. Here’s a unique look at Hollywood Blvd. just prior to opening day.

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Still after 25 years of showbiz, there’s always a chance you’ll have a celebrity sighting while visiting the park. (Ok, world-famous character celebrity – but it counts!)

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Happy Anniversary, Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Here’s to another 25 dazzling years.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: The Studios’ First Guide Map

posted on April 30th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Disney’s Hollywood Studios sure has evolved over the last 25 years – and not only in name.

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I thought it might be fun to take a look back at how much the guide map has changed. Here’s a look at the original park map and today’s map.

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Sunset Blvd, Pixar Place, and Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show are just a few of the changes the park’s seen over the years. Wonder what’s in store for Disney’s Hollywood Studios over the next 25 years?

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A ‘Hollywood’ Classic: Residential Street

posted on April 29th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Do you remember Residential Street? The nice, quaint neighborhood in the heart of Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Of course, this neighborhood was actually a line of facades. Used in various TV shows and commercials as well as movies, some of the homes on Residential Street looked familiar to guests when they drove by on the Studio Backlot Tour.

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Homes made appearances in such films as “Splash Too” and “Ernest Saves Christmas,” but the most recognizable ones from Residential Street belonged the family from “Empty Nest” and the ladies from the “Golden Girls.”

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Below is an aerial view of Residential Street in October 1988 prior to the opening of the park.

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Filed: Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort