Wow its been that long!
I love writing posts about Disney history and the milestone I get to celebrate today is no exception. Exactly 45 years ago, on May 30, 1967, the first ground was broken for the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort.
I really wanted to share a photo of this milestone, so I partnered with fellow Disney Parks Blog Author Nate Rasmussen and the Disney Archives to try to track some down. I’ve always been told this part of Central Florida was pretty sparse before Disney moved in, and the photos we found proved just that – miles of nothing but trees and lakes.
During our search, Nate and I found that some of the first compelling photos that exist of Walt Disney World Resort’s pre-opening were actually produced two years later, in April 1969, during a press event that gave locals their first look at what Walt Disney World Resort would be.
This “first look” took place at the Ramada Inn Tower in Ocoee, Fla. Here, invited guests could explore a tent full of scale models of Walt Disney World Resort, as well as artwork and Audio-Animatronics figures. (Oh, if us bloggers had a time machine!).
Disney leaders who spoke – and even signed autographs – at the event were what we’d consider today to be a real “who’s who” of Disney history, including Roy O. Disney, John Hench, Charlie Ridgway, Donn Tatum and Card Walker, all of whom later achieved Disney Legend status. During the event, they announced Oct. 1, 1971 as Walt Disney World Resort’s opening date, and declared that construction was officially beginning on Magic Kingdom Park and the first hotels (1967 construction included necessary roadwork and utilities).
At the event, Roy O. Disney also expressed joy in overseeing Walt’s dream of bringing a second Disney theme park to life:
“You should know that the dedication of our staff to Walt’s goals is tremendous. And I know Walt would like what his creative team is doing because these are the ideas and plans he began. Everything you will see here today is something Walt worked on and began in some way. And today, the Walt Disney organization is dedicated to carrying out these wonderful plans in Walt Disney World.”
The event’s attendees also watched a 17-minute film called “Walt Disney World – Phase 1” at the nearby Parkwood Cinema Theater. Later on, they loaded onto buses for a trip to the Walt Disney World site. At the time, Seven Seas Lagoon was still only a dry lakebed.
Mmm I love the Epcot Internation Food and Wine Festival.
This just in: the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival was named by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s top food and wine festivals. Chefs are cooking up fantastic new experiences for this year’s fest, which open September 28 and runs for a record 46 days through November 12.
There’s no better setting for noshing, sipping and wandering than Epcot’s World Showcase, with a one-of-a-kind backdrop of architectural icons from around the globe.
Fresh for 2012:
- Two new festival marketplaces: TERRA Marketplace offers vegan menu items, including Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice and Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese. The FLORIDA Marketplace introduces fresh twists on regional flavors. There are more than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces in all.
- Feel like a VIP with Marketplace Chef Tours. Each Wednesday, festival chefs host a walking-and-tasting tour around World Showcase with stops at several international marketplaces. You get to taste five marketplace dishes and five beverage items, like beer, wine and cocktails – and learn a few culinary secrets.
- More kid-friendly tastes. Kids of all ages can try inventive new sips during the family’s marketplace dine-around. Pair with yummy bites like beef empanadas and cheese fondue (new this year).
- Don’t miss (free) Eat to the Beat! Check out pop acts like Smash Mouth (October 11-12) and Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice” (October 13-14). With 18 different bands, look for Blues Traveler (November 5-6) and Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX (November 7-8). Night Ranger kicks off the concert series September 28-30, and other returning fan favorites include Boyz II Men, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Hazel and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
- Back for an encore: look for HGTV designers, celeb chefs, culinary demos and wine seminars, and special culinary programs – more than 270 chefs are showing off for the festival. And, yes, the fab Party for the Senses returns October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3.
Call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select events and programs will be updated throughout the summer at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.
Oooo could the Grand Floridian be starting a new Gingerbread type tradition?
If you are on the hunt for an Easter Eggstravaganza, hop on over to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort for a delectable Easter egg display. We know the pastry chefs there are known for their fabulous sugar shacks at Christmastime, but for 15 years, chocolatiers have also been crafting yummy chocolate egg masterpieces. Each over-sized, 9- to 12-pound hollow chocolate egg is completely edible – decorated with fondant, sugar, royal icing and themed sculpted sugar pieces. The chocolate bunnies are all hand-painted with a rainbow of cocoa butters and adorned with whimsical designs. The decorative display will be presented as a collection for the first time in the resort lobby until April 9.
Well I am getting use to this monorail wrap. I still think the monorails shouldn’t be a mobile advertising tool but what do I know? Anyways the Disney Parks Blog gives a great look at this new monorail wrap:
In Marvel’s “The Avengers,” super heroes team up to pull the world back from the brink of disaster when an unexpected enemy threatens global security.
Similar to the “Tron”-themed wrap, one of our Magic Kingdom Park Monorails is currently undergoing a Marvel’s “The Avengers”-themed changeover to celebrate the May 4 opening of the film, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Here’s a sneak peek, with more details to come.
Yay for Epcot merchandise! Thank you Disney for actually planning merchandise for Epcots 30th anniversary! Woooo
There is one book in my Disney collection that I cherish – a soft cover book released prior to the opening of then Epcot Center. Before my first visit in July 1983, I spent hours dreaming of the 21st Century while looking at the beautiful concept paintings in the book. October 1, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of Epcot and to celebrate, we will be releasing several items on that milestone day. I spoke with Disney Design Group artists Qunyh Kimball and John Henselmeier about their work on the anniversary style guide being used as reference for merchandise (you may recall Quynh and John’s work on the Starspeeder 1000 Vehicle Playset released last year). I was happy to learn that they used that book I love as inspiration.
“We loved the warm colors and illustrations found in [the Epcot Center book],” explained John. “In the past five years, we have designed many vintage Epcot items. For the 30th anniversary, we wanted something different – a retro but contemporary feeling, something we call ‘today’s vintage.’ That soft cover book really helped us achieve that look.”
Work on the style guide began in December 2011 at the request of the Disney Pins team. Pins have been a big part of previous Epcot anniversaries and they will play a part in October. The image above contains a few of my favorites, including a reversible lanyard, a few mystery pins and a pin that looks like it’s from an early 1980s video game (oh, why can’t “Epcot Center – The Game” be real?!). John told me his favorite attraction of all time was Body Wars, so he made sure it was represented in the assortment.
There will also be a jumbo pin that uses the soft cover book image in the packaging. In addition to pins, look for a few softline items including a T-shirt that uses the “21st Century Continues” artwork as seen in the first image.
Writing this article has left me feeling nostalgic. Do you have a story about your favorite thing from Epcot in the past 30 years? I vote either the handwich from The Land Pavilion or Magic Journeys. I hope to see you on October 1!
Yay! This looks so cool, I can’t wait to experience this fantastic restaurant when it opens!
“Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test!”Or so the song goes. Who doesn’t love this playful scene from “Beauty and The Beast,” in which the enchanted staff welcomes Belle to the castle in grand style?
In this video, provided by WDI, Senior Concept Designer Ted Robledo presents our very first sneak peek inside this highly anticipated restaurant. Imagineers recently put the finishing touches on one of its major elements: a massive mural that will serve as the restaurant’s backdrop. Here, Ted shows how WDI combined digital technology with traditional artistry to create a sweeping landscape that gives guests the feeling that they really are walking into a part of the film.
Today is the day that Walt Disney World starts enforcing the Fastpass Return times. Already the internet is a buzz with measures Disney is taking to ensure everyone knows to return in their window of time.
Theme Park Review snagged this photo of the signs now put in front of the Fastpass machines.
Easy WDW showed a picture of a fastpass ticket that says “Not able to accommodate late arrivals” Also, the times guides have a little fastpass reminder on them as well.
Oh how I wish I could see this fantastic festival again! I really love the Spaceship Earth QR code scanner, nice touch Disney!
This year’s event, which runs March 7-May 20, will feature the largest-ever Disney topiary (a Sorcerer Mickey) and a new Haiti: Garden of Many Colors display located in World Showcase. Guests can also enjoy weekend presentations from HGTV designers and hosts, as well as the Flower Power concert series, which features the music of the 1960s-70s. Kids’ favorites, like Bambi’s Butterfly House and the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden play area are back, too.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the work that went into creating this year’s festival.
One easy way to navigate through this year’s festival is to use the Epcot International Flower & Garden mobile site on your smartphone, which you can access by visiting epcotinbloom.com. The mobile version of this site has a map of the events, Disney topiaries and gardens, plus an audio tour and information on Flower Power concerts & HGTV presentations.
Also, if you see a QR code while viewing a topiary or garden, scan it to learn more information about it.