The Magic Kingdom has grown from a simple extension of the Disneyland concept to being the crown jewel in the Walt Disney World Resort. With the growth, however, some experiences have been passed over.
During the incredible growth of the parks over the late 1980’s through the turn of the millenia, the top brass at the company began to eliminate some of the streetmosphere that separates the Disney parks from all others around the globe. Thankfully Mr. Iger and his staff seem to understand the importance of this and appear to be bringing those experiences back into the parks.
As I review the archives, I have found a couple of those items that were of particular interest when the memory of Walt walked the halls in a way more intense than today. Back then, there were scores of people still working for the company who Walt hired himself. There was a touchpoint to the magic that he had for bringing joy to his guests at his parks. Here are a couple of those pieces of history from the Magic Kingdom.
At the Hospitality House, now known as Main St. Exposition Hall, you could see some of the actual models, films, etc. that Walt and his team used to build the Walt Disney World Resort. There were even Disney artists that would sit and draw a picture for you. Much of the image was already pre-printed on the piece of paper, but the artists would fill out more of the details, personalize it and finally autograph it for you. This is one I received from Harry Holt in 1988. It is one of my most treasured pieces of memorabilia simply because it points to an era long-gone.
The next item is a handout that was from Mickey Mouse himself. You were able to get these on Main St. even if you did not get a chance to meet the big cheese himself. It really is a simple item, but one that I saw many children cherish as they walked around the rest of the day with this handout and their autograph book, waiting to meet the next VIP.
The last item up for today is a ballot from the elections on Main St. held many years ago. Before Captain Jack ever sailed the seven seas, there was only one pirate in the Disney mythology that everyone could identify; Captain Hook. Well it seems, years ago there was an election held between the infamous Captain and none other than our cuddly bundle of stuff, Winnie the Pooh. The elections, like many celebrations, were held everyday so that all could participate and there was a big celebration when the winners for the day were announced.
As destinations grow and evovle it is a necessity that certain traditions evolve, or fade away, with the destination. It is great to see how many new tradtions are being created by Jon Lasseter and his crew as they bring a renaissance to the Walt Disney World Resort and their parks around the world. As you walk around the parks, you can catch a High School Musical, see the Dapper Dans, watch a rope drop at the park opening or many other examples of why Walt Disney World is like no other place in the world.