December 7, 2009

The Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland 1971

The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom was a much different place at its opening than it is now. Imagine a park with no Space, Big Thunder or Splash mountains. The focus was on musical shows like The Mickey Mouse Revue and the original Tropical Serenade (Enchanted Tiki Birds). The Skyway was still in place as was the beautiful and mysterious 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. If You Had Wings was debuting in June of the next year. Coming soon afterwards were the Plaza Swan Boats cruising the small river that circled the bridges to the various lands. Western River Expedition was advertised as the next grand adventure in the tradition of the absent Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tomorrowland's entrance consisted of two giant waterfalls pouring over the side of its buildings, providing cool relief from the Florida heat- especially when the wind changed directions! Much like the Anaheim version in California, the attractions were small and not too futuristic at this time, but a next phase expansion was on its way. Just beyond Tomorrowland was the stunning Contemporary Resort, and the available and open land seemed endless.

Guests from Disneyland's main base were shocked and delighted by the park's surroundings. It was all so spacious. The beautiful Polynesian Village drew guests by the thousands as tiki torches and swaying palms beckoned. Modern monorails whisked visitors from location to location as ferries moved others from the Magic Kingdom to the resort hotels. In reality, the entire resort was Tomorrowland, and the fun had just begun.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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