Continue our stroll down Disney memory lane as Jenn from The Disney Babies Blog helps us countdown our 50 Days to 50 Years by remembering Walt Disney World 1981.
Walt Disney World 1981
When I first offered to dive into the history of Walt Disney World in 1981, I chose solely because I was born in June of 1981. I didn’t visit WDW until at least 1982, if not 1983. And even had I visited, I would have no memories or pictures to offer. At first, I figured that 1981 was simply marking the time until EPCOT Center opened. As I guessed, there was an EPCOT Center preview center located in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. of the Magic Kingdom. Here, they offered views and hoped to drum up interest for the park in progress.
I figured there was some sort of celebration for the 10th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. (Which of course, there was.) As now Disney Legend Charlie Ridgeway, director of press and publicity labeled it, Walt Disney World’s Tencennial celebrated from October 1, 1981 through September 30, 1982. This way, they kept the celebration going literally until the opening of the new park.
The Walt Disney World Tencennial
In true Disney fashion, Disney celebrated with a special Tencennial parade, borrowing music from Disneyland’s 25th Anniversary celebration for this “birthday every day” parade. The big parade hosted performers from every land, including dancers from the Golden Horseshoe Review in Frontierland. Also, during the Tencennial celebration, a Main Street Birthday Party show occurred twice daily in front of Cinderella Castle. All of this made for the “Happiest Happy Birthday Ever!“
After 10 successful years, Walt Disney World had already seen more guests than the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Majal. Park touring still revolved around the standard attraction ticket books, offering tickets based on “grade” of attraction, though this would be the last year without a base admission. Helping tourism, the Orlando International Airport opened in 1981. This move helped people from all over the world make their way to Orlando.
The Magic Kingdom didn’t have any major changes in 1981. The only attraction change I could find was that the Carousel of Progress updated their final scene to be Christmas in the 1980’s. However, Walt Disney World started the Disney College Program this year, though in the early days, it only hosted about 200 students from 20 different schools. Also, a Kindercare child-care facility opened in the backstage area to offer daycare for children of Cast Members. Seems pretty forward thinking to me!
The biggest publicity feature from 1981 was a video entitled “A Dream Called Walt Disney World.” It reminds me of the planning videos you can now order annually for free. This travelogue is under 30 minutes (and can be seen on YouTube!) showing much of what you experienced around the Magic Kingdom in 1981. It’s fun to watch even now – literally a trip back in time! Enjoy it here:
Thanks to google, I found my information in 2 specific places:
Travel/USA Today from Mouseplanet.com
Walt Dated World
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! I love researching the history of Walt Disney World and often share it at my personal blog, Disney Babies Blog. I’d love for you to stop by and say hello!
Happy 10th Anniversary to Walt Disney World 1981. Imagine, the Resort had already seen more visitors than the Eiffel Tower during its inaugural ten years. Just imagine what stats will the 50th Anniversary bring?
Tomorrow, we usher in 1982 with our new guest, Molly at The Real Disney Mom. Please stop in again for yet another special Disney memory served up by another special Disney blogger.