More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Vintage Walt Disney World: ‘Chipmunks, Start Your Engines!’

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Growing up in Indiana, Memorial Day Weekend was synonymous with four words that signaled the start of the Indianapolis 500 – “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

While professional racecar drivers have been racing at Indianapolis for 100 years, guests have been enjoying races of their own at the Tomorrowland Speedway since Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971.

Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park During the 1971 Christmas Parade

But guests aren’t the only ones who like to go out for a spin at Magic Kingdom Park. Take a look at this photograph from the 1971 Christmas Parade when everyone’s favorite chipmunks had their own matching Herbie the Love Bug cars to greet guests on the parade route. Here, Chip ‘n Dale, (look closely in the back left-hand corner, you’ll see Dale driving into the photograph) are making their way through Liberty Square. Aren’t their mini Love Bug cars awesome? I’m pretty sure if we had audio to go along with this picture we’d be hearing “Chipmunks, start your engines!” all the way from the grandstands over in Tomorrowland.


  • love this.. interesting the way it looked compared to now.

  • That is fantastic! I can only imagine how excited park visitors would be to see them roll up to a character meet and greet in those little numbers. Of course it could be somewhat difficult to then get out of such a small car. I am sure Disney could engineer a graceful exit from the vehicle.

  • What stood out to me in this photograph was the stone surface in the middle of the walkway. Thanks to the Keys to the Kingdom tour I learned the significance of the stones and have paid close attention ever since. But the stones in this photograph aren’t the same as the current ones. When did they change?

    • Hi Keith,

      Great question. I wasn’t sure of the answer, so I asked my friends over at the Walt Disney World Library & Research Center. Unfortunately, there isn’t any information on exactly when the bricks changed or why. We know they’ve changed at least twice, thanks to our photo archives, but we don’t have an exact date. The best we can do is tell you they changed for the first time prior to October 1985. If we find out anything more, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  • Adorable! I’m trying to figure out how people got what appears to be chairs out there to sit on during the parade!

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