Yesterland
“This Week at WDW” in Summer 1972
 

You’re visiting Walt Disney World. It’s summer of 1972. Walt Disney World has been open less than a year. They want you to know that there’s a lot more here than just the Magic Kingdom.

This Week at Walt Disney World, green cover with Mickey Mouse

You’re given a handy horizontal fanfold brochure. When it’s open, it’s 7" wide by 16¼" high, with the pages cascading down. When closed, it’s just 7" by 3¼", with Mickey Mouse on a bright green cover.

Here’s the brochure in its entirety, along with a few comments about each page.


This Week at Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, 1972
  • The page about the Magic Kingdom says very little about the Magic Kingdom.
  • Neither the Water Ski Show nor the Electrical Water Pageant took place inside the Magic Kingdom.
  • The Water Ski Show was discontinued before the end of 1973.
  • The Electrical Water Pageant is still a feature of Walt Disney World today.

This Week at Walt Disney World, The World After Dark, 1972
  • As a destination resort, not just a theme park, Walt Disney World offered guests various options after they left the park for the evening.
  • The Top of the World dinner theater, with “name” acts, was on the top floor of the Contemporary Resort. The space is now the California Grill.
  • The Eastern Winds, a cocktail lounge aboard an authentic Chinese Junk, lasted from 1971 to 1978.
  • Leave it to the folks at Disney to coin a name like the “Sunshine State Exhibitorium.”

This Week at Walt Disney World, Yachts and Cruises, 1972
  • With all of the developed parts of Walt Disney World near the Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake, it made sense to offer yachts and cruises.
  • It’s surprising that today Walt Disney World no longer offers readily available dinner cruises and cocktail cruises.
  • The only option today for dining and beverages on the water is for guests to charter a pricey private boat.
  • There’s still plenty of boat traffic on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, but it’s from transportation vessels, boat rentals, and some private charters.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Polynesian Village, 1072
  • The Polynesian Village is now Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
  • The Papeete Bay Verandah is now ‘Ohana.
  • There’s still a Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Resort.
  • As of September 2008, the pricing for the Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau ranges from $50.99, $54.99, or $59.99 (including tax and gratuity), depending on seating location at the Polynesian Resort’s Luau Cove. Using a Consumer Price Index (CPI) calculator, $10 in 1972 is equivalent to $51.58 in 2008, so the price increase for the luau is in line with inflation.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Golf Resort, 1972
  • The “Golf Resort” here refers to two golf courses and their clubhouse, not to hotel of the same name that opened later.
  • Guests can still play golf at these two courses—the Magnolia Golf Course and the Palm Golf Course.
  • The 125-room Golf Resort opened December 15, 1973, adjacent to the golf courses.
  • In 1986, the Golf Resort became the Disney Inn, playing down the golf theme in favor of more of a Snow White theme.
  • It became the Shades of Green Resort, an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) resort, when the U.S. Department of Defense leased the hotel from Disney in 1994 (and purchased it outright in 1996). It now has 586 rooms.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Fort Wilderness, 1972
  • The Fort Wilderness Campground is now Disney’s Fort Wilderness.
  • Although the campground has expanded since 1972, and there’s a major upgrade underway in 2008 to accommodate today’s larger RVs, Disney’s Fort Wilderness is arguably the most unchanged resort at Walt Disney World.
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness no longer prohibits pets. In fact, it’s the only “pet friendly” Disney resort. Pets are limited to designated areas of the campground, and there’s a $5-per-day fee.
  • The kennel at the entrance to the campground is still an option. It’s now outsourced to Best Friends PetCare Inc. As of September 2008, the overnight rate is $18 for dogs and $13 for cats and small animals.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Recreation, 1972
  • In this brochure, “Recreation” was a catch-all category that included movies, boat rentals, boat rides, a show on the Seven Seas Lagoon, tennis, and water skiing.
  • Movie screenings with babysitting available—what a great idea. This was long before there were any real movie theaters at Walt Disney World.
  • I have no idea what the “High Speed Boat Excursion” was, how many passengers the boats held, how fast they went, or when they were discontinued.
  • The Water Ski Show is listed again, this time with show times.
  • The tennis courts at the Contemporary Resort were closed in 2006 and removed in 2007 (along with the North Garden Wing) to make way for the crescent-shaped Bay Lake Tower (Disney Vacation Club) resort. Eventually, there will be new tennis courts.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Travel / Tour Desk, 1972
  • Back in the 1970s, any good first-class hotel had travel desks in the lobby. The Disney resort hotels were no exceptions.
  • When this brochure was published in 1972, commercial flight to Orlando used “Orlando’s McCoy Jetport,” which was also McCoy Air Force Base. The base closed in 1974, allowing the entire facility to become a civilian airport. Its name became Orlando International Airport in 1974, after being granted international airport status—but the designator code remained MCO from the McCoy days.
  • Cypress Gardens was the most popular attraction in Central Florida before Walt Disney World opened. Today, it’s hard to imagine Walt Disney World promoting any off-site attractions. But, in 1972, Disney could use the bus service to off-site attractions as another reason for guests to stay more than one or two days at Walt Disney World.
  • Yes, there really was scheduled passenger airline service to and from Walt Disney World property. Shawnee Airlines operated 19-seat de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft at Walt Disney World’s Lake Buena Vista STOLport.
  • No other airline ever provided schedule service at the STOLport.
  • You can still see the now-inactive STOLport runway from the Epcot Monorail.

This Week at Walt Disney World, Contemporary Resort, 1972
  • The Contemporary Resort is now Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  • Originally, the resort consisted of three parts—The Towers, Bayshore, and Lakeside. The Towers building is now called the Contemporary Tower. Bayshore is now called the South Garden Wing. Lakeside, which had been renamed to the North Garden Wing, was demolished to make way for a crescent-shaped tower.
  • The fancy Gulf Coast Room restaurant lasted until 1988.
  • The Grand Canyon Terrace Restaurant was one of the restaurants at the base of the atrium. The name makes sense when you consider Mary Blair’s delightful 90-foot-tall Grand Canyon Concourse tile mural—and the soaring, canyon-like sides of he atrium.


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Magic Kingdom in 1973
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© 2008-2009 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated January 17, 2009.

Scanned pages from This Week at Walt Disney World brochure © 1972 Walt Disney Productions.