Walt Disney World at 50: Time Magazine’s 1971 Time Capsule

Walt Disney World at 50: Time Magazine’s 1971 Time Capsule

Many fans are aware of the Look and Life magazines which came out with covers and articles about the opening of Walt Disney World in October of 1971. Because it didn’t have a cover photo, few have remembered Time Magazine’s offering, and even less have referred to it. For me personally, it was the very first introduction to me of Walt Disney World in Florida. Its essay, maps and photos unfold little known details and insights of what the park was like on its opening days. From hatless Dumbos to roofless Mad Tea Parties; from Contemporary Hotel Construction to even a Tomorrowland train station. Here on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World we’re here to explore all of that, as well as relive what it was like for a ten year old boy studying this for the first time and dreaming about the possibilities of someday traveling to Orlando.

Photos from the Time Magazine article of October 18th, 1971 are shown below but our podcast carries narrative of the entire experience including the text of the article. You can find the podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotify,  and ListenNotes

Towers and pennons of Cinderella Castle are reflected in the waters of a Disney World artificial stream. Photo for Time by Ray Fisher.
Members of the Bavarian Polka Band nonchalantly play their instruments in the twirling teacups of the Mad Tea Party Ride. Photo for Time Magazine.
Monorail Operator. Photo for Time Magazine.
Magic Kingdom host. Photo for Time Magazine.
Skyway to Tomorrowland soars over Fantasyland. Photo for Time Magazine.
Bow-tied balloon vendor. Photo for Time Magazine.
Monotrain glides through hotel’s “Grand Canyon” concourse. Photo for Time Magazine.
Ticket-taker at Magic Kingdom. Photo for Time Magazine.
Hostess at King Stefan’s Hall. Photo for Time Magazine.
Riverboat departs with Haunted Mansion Behind. Photo for Time Magazine.
Fantasyland visitors ride on flying Dumbos. Photo for Time Magazine by Edwin Bolwell.
Tokyo Disneyland version showing same number of elephants and center support design. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Mickey Mouse gives trolley ride to staffers in sampling of costumes. Photo for Time Magazine.
Contemporary Hotel rises behind Grand Prix Raceway. Photo for Time Magazine.
Polynesian Village offers boating, bathing, fine view. Photo for Time Magazine.

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Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation, whether it is a Disney theme park vacation, a cruise, or an Adventure by Disney. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

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J. Jeff Kober

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