A Rare Find: Early 1980’s Walt Disney World Itinerary
By: Jennifer Romano
When I lived in Louisiana, a fellow Disney nerd was kind enough to give me a wonderful book called, Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center. This book has wonderful photos as well as a great deal of information about EPCOT Center circa 1982. I love this book because it is one of those fantastic coffee table books that is just full of information and full color pull-out pictures. Now, it is obvious that this book really made my day, but when I opened up the dust jacket, I found something even more fantastic. Underneath the jacket was someone’s itinerary for touring Walt Disney World in the early 1980s. This is just like a little time capsule that gives us insight into what people may have wanted to see at the Vacation Kingdom of the World when it was a very new travel destination.
From the handwriting, I feel like this was an older couple that was touring the parks. They only had two full days to spend at WDW, which seems like so little to me these days. However, there were only two parks back then. We shall call our couple Fred and Gladys. Clearly, Fred and Gladys knew what they wanted to do when they arrived at the parks. I wonder if they got to ride in the front of the monorail? I love the names that they came up with for the different rides that they were going to see. They were going to see the Eastern Airlines Show, which we know as If You Had Wings and later Delta Dream Flight. The Runaway Mountain Train is of course Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which had just opened in 1980, so this would have been a brand new ride! They also list the GE Home Carousel, which we know today as the Carousel of Progress. When Magic Kingdom first opened, the Carousel of Progress was sponsored by General Electric, who also sponsored Horizons. I think my favorite reference is the World of Little People, which is of course, It’s a Small World. Finally, they really wanted to see the Pirates of Pen, which I can assume is the Pirates of the Caribbean. I wish Fred and Gladys would have left a few photos of their vacation in the book. Gladys was probably very well dressed with a straw hat as well as those fancy cat eyeglasses frames. Fred was probably wearing a pair of slacks as well as a button down shirt. I imagine that they both probably purchased lots of souvenirs from Magic Kingdom, especially one of those pennants that featured photos of different attractions. Clearly, they loved EPCOT enough to purchase this book!
Now, on to day two of their adventure, which will begin with a trip through the “ball.” This references Spaceship Earth, which is still a beloved attraction. Oh, just seeing the World of Motion and Horizons on their itinerary makes me instantly jealous of the day they were able to spend in EPCOT. Judging by their list of attractions, we can safely say that Fred and Gladys were visiting Florida in 1983 at the earliest. You see, Horizons didn’t open until 1983, but this book was published to promote EPCOT in its infancy. We can at least narrow down their visit to the early 1980s. I wish I could travel back and ride World of Motion, Horizons, and Journey into Imagination again! With all of the upheaval at Epcot lately, that would be a welcome time travel trip!
We know what rides Fred and Gladys rode, but I wonder where they stayed and where they ate their meals? I like to imagine them staying in the height of luxury at the Polynesian. They probably visited the Contemporary too, judging from their love of the monorail. I bet they even took at ride on the ferryboat just to check it out; they would have seen some of the characters water skiing on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The possibilities are endless! I am sure that they had a wonderful trip, and they bought this EPCOT book as a fond reminder of their time spent at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It was so much fun to find this little piece of Disney history in my book. I hope you can take some time to daydream about this vacation from the past! Until next time, have a magical day, and keep moving forward!
Awesome. The “Black & Decker show” was Circlevision 360!