Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vanishing Walt Disney World, #5

Since I have a lot of smaller pieces I want to do left in the ether I'm going to be posting them in rapid succession this week rather than stretching minor material out over a long period of time. So I'll be posting Friday also; be sure to check back late this week for more... stuff!

Today we take a side trip out of Walt Disney World to visit the most important loss to the Disney community in a long time, and it's something nobody seems knows about.

Yes, it's a movie theater. It's gone out of business, who cares? It's a movie theatre at the intersection of Lee and Orange and Winter Park, FL. Winter Park is one of the oldest communities in Central Florida, and the first to actually be a planned city. It features colleges, Northeastern style brick structures, and more. In short, it is the art and culture center in its' part of the state.

Essentially, it'd be the place to let everybody in Central Florida know what you were up to in, say, 1966. Here's a shot I took of the lobby through the closed doors.

Look to the right there on the bottom... Yes, that's right. This is where Walt Disney's EPCOT film played in 1967. The theater and the area around it is today nigh-unrecognizable, having transformed into a multiplex by the 90's, and since fallen into vauge seediness. By the last few months it was one of the few second-run houses left in Central Florida, and tickets were dirt cheap. Then, suddenly, it was gone.

It's going to become a Lifestyle Fitness Center soon; be sure to stop by sometime and pay your respects.


Biblioadonis aka George said...

What an awesome piece of history, Chris!

Thanks for sharing this with us.

And I like the new layout of the page--but imaginerding isn't at the top? ;)

This looks like it could be a fun series. What about some shots of the pre-view center?

Lou Mongello - said...

Wai...wai... wait... I'm still trying to comprehend that there are other things in Orlando other than the airport and WDW.... ;)

Great post. Have a goo Thanksgiving.

Grumpwurst (Ray) said...

It is sometimes hard to imagine a life outside of Disney in the Orlando Area. It's kind of trying to imagine your teachers actually exist outside of the school setting

FoxxFur said...

LOL, you boys need to drive up I-4 sometime and stop off in Orlando proper to see just how much Disney has spoiled you. ;) May I recommend Goldenrod or perhaps Semoran?

Florida: flat, overdeveloped, and ugly!

George; as a librarian you must agree that alphabetical order is the fairest for everyone. =) And don't dare say the Dewey Decimal system. =P

Biblioadonis aka George said...


Maybe you could make Imaginerding BIGGER! ;)

IF you need help cataloging the sites, just let me know! I would put most of these sites under ephemera, any way...heh

Lou--I'm still not convinced anything exists outside of the airport or WDW. It must be a clever ruse of cardboard props and lighting effects that the Imagineers created in I-4.

Ray--heh teachers outside of school? That is creept.

ronhamel said...

Wow! The end of an era! I grew up in Orlando & winter Park & I saw my first Disney movie(first movie of any kind really!) at this place!It was Song of the South in its 1971 rerelease-I was 2! I saw several other Disney movies for the first time here in the '70s as well-Robin Hood,Peter Pan,Shaggy DA,Gus,The Rescuers,Pete's Dragon,etc.
Alas,another thing from my 70's Disney childhood gone forever!
I also miss the original Winter Park Mall with its cool '60s style and that giant fountain ! As a kid it reminded me of the Tiki Room only much larger!