Sunday, December 10, 2006


OK, so in the process of starting to write up a nice new article / photo essay on Liberty Square, I won an eBay auction for a 1972 "pictorial souvenir of Walt Disney World" - the first that was actually produced for Orlando - which I missed out on at a recent convention. I figured the copy of "The Story of Walt Disney World" and Disney on Parade programs I won at the same time were just the sweeteners.

If anybody out there is a WDW history buff and doesn't have a copy of "The Story of Walt Disney World", they're missing out on a real treat. These classy, softcover books were produced throughout the seventies in the shape of a big black Walt Disney World D with a die-cut window in the cover revealing a nice picture of Cinderella Castle behind. What I lucked out on was that I actually won a 1971 printing of the thing and when I opened up to page 10, this is what I saw:click for larger

I had first seen these fantastic Phase One maps backstage at Magic Kingdom years ago - yes, that is Western River Expedition you see to the far West, and outside the park the Asian Resort, due East of it the Venetian. After spending some fruitless hours searching for a copy, of course one just drops into my lap - even if it is rather low-resolution and bound into a book.

I found a few other things, too. I nearly had a geek attack when I found this next picture from 1972. Following it is a similar picture reposted from an earlier Blog entry:

What a difference a few years a vegetable growth makes! And how barren and desolate a pre-Tom Sawyer's Island Rivers of America looks! The second photographer even zoomed in to minimize the effect of what was even a few years later a pretty barren landscape. See the Fantasyland Skyway peeking up over the hill in the 1972 shot?

This got me thinking, and I revisited the excellent pre-EPCOT souvenir video A Dream Called Walt Disney World, as well as the theatrical short subject The Magic of Walt Disney World, from 1980 and 1971, respectively. (Don't confuse A Dream Called... with The Magic of... just because the theme song for A Dream Called... is actually named The Magic of Walt Disney World!) Which leads me to an honest and passionate plea: does anybody have a clean, clear, complete copy of Buddy Baker's haunting Walt Disney World musical theme in any media?

It's really a beautiful piece, actually much nicer than his Monorail and Peoplemover themes, just as energetic and wistful but also more melodic and soothing. Today it really sounds like an echo from beyond the veil, when Walt Disney World was beautifully pristine and new and minus three other parks saddled aboard and all around nothing but oranges.

If anybody's not sure how it sounds, follow this link, load up the video, skip ahead to about 3:30, and start listening carefully after Walt finishes speaking. The Walt Disney Story actually made fantastic use of this theme during its' EPCOT (the city) segment, which was genuinely stirring.

Thanks for everybody who wrote in with kind words about my Marc Davis pieces - they're works in progress and feedback will be carefully considered to help with any changes I intend on incorporating in future versions. Interestingly enough I found out a few more things about the evolution of the Bears show even after posting, and now all that work is starting to look woefully incomplete to me...

'Till next time!