"I'm goin' to Disney World!"
I'm really excited because I want to make a special effort to see the parts of the park (ie Fantasyland) that might be significantly altered the next time we go. There's a good reason for this: A significant portion of the WDW I grew up with no longer exists.
Thankfully, there's a way to easily show you the Disney World I remember. Take a look at this notoriously earwormy commercial from 1991:
I will now identify for you the "Twenty Reasons" I recognize from this ad.. Half of them are no longer available at the parks and note that I only used Walt Dated World for fact-checking:
1) Surprise in the Skies. This was a crazy daytime show that took place in EPCOT and involved such madness as colored smoke bombs (advertised as "daytime fireworks"), stunt kite-flying, giant balloons, and costumed characters flying around in hang-gliders and parasail-planes. I don't remember if I ever got to see it as intended (in the park itself), but I did get to see the characters fly their various aircraft in for the show as we hung out by the Beach Club pool. Strange but cool.
2) Roger Rabbit as a costumed character! There was, as you shall see, an influx of characters whom you'll need extremely good luck to run into now. Roger was also a much more visible presence in Disney World on the whole.
3) Pleasure Island, back when it was a never-ending party with live music and shows and basically The Place To Be. Instead of something they've since decided to shut down and start over with.
4) The Yacht and Beach Club! This quickly became my family's favorite place to stay and we did so for, I think, three visits in a row. Why yes, EPCOT was our favorite park (still is if we ever have to pick).
5) The Little Mermaid Stage Show premiered back then. It's been almost another twenty years and the show
6) The Living Seas took another selling point away from poor Sea World when they introduced their herd of Manatees.
7) Golfing! Yay!
8) Minnie Moo! She may be the weirdest of all the weird Disney things in this commercial.
OK, you know how every so often people will see The Virgin Mary in a piece of toast or something? Imagine if such an image was seen on a living thing. Now you have an idea of how crazy life must have been for poor Minnie Moo, a cow who just so happened to have spots in the shape of what we now would call a "hidden Mickey".
She was treated like a celebrity when she came to stay at the little barnyard made for her in the middle of what is now Toontown. Dated World says she lived out the rest of her days in a bigger farm near Fort Wilderness, but I still wonder what else happened to her. Did Disney clone her? Try to breed a whole herd of Hidden Mickey calves from her? Did they preserve her hide at all? The mind boggles.
9) "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" "Movie Set Adventure". Disney MGM Studios, as I may have said before, used to be a working TV/Movie studio and it trumpeted this as often as it could. There was also a much greater emphasis on the art of movie-making. This was basically just a walk-through movie set, but it's still standing and it's still pretty interesting to see the oversized props up close.
10) Darkwing Duck, another costumed character you'd be hard-pressed to see or hear any mention of today.
11) The Sinclairs from "Jim Henson's Dinosaurs", who also got their own stage show (which only proved that, after twenty-three gorram years, we need a new song about dinosaurs). What I said for Darkwing Duck goes quadruple for them.
12) Spectromagic, the night-time parade at Magic Kingdom, which is still running.
13) Surprise Celebration. A parade loosely based on the Party Gras parade from Disneyland. The big deal was that one specially-chosen family could ride in the base of the Roger Rabbit balloon/float.
14) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumed characters. They may have also been involved in a stage show. They were the earliest in a string of characters from non-Disney movies who were brought into Disney MGM for some damn reason. Others included the Power Rangers (ironically owned by Disney now), that creepy dummy from the Goosbumps books, and Ace Ventura.
15) Port Orleans, now known as Port Orleans French Quarter. probably here to represent the resorts that only cost an arm, rather than an arm and a leg. By this time, there were twenty Disney resorts in all.
16) The Sci-Fi Drive-In Diner, a Studios restaurant and a place after my own heart. They don't serve anything (that's good) more interesting than sandwiches and ice cream, but you get to watch trailers for cheesy old movies and the occasional weird non-Disney cartoon (of note was Tex Avery's "The Cat Who Hated People"). Man, I now want to go there this visit.
17) This castle balloon is the only "reason" that stumps me. I'm surprised they're highlighting it as I recall the infamous LiMouseIne was a bigger deal.
Tangent: I can't believe the internet is failing me here, because this giant-sized limo built for Mickey Mouse (I promise you this was real) with a pool and movie theater and other crazy stuff built in deserves it's own Weird Disney thing post.
18) The Beauty and the Beast stage show, which was pretty good and might be still around.
19) Muppet-vision 3D, which is also still going.
20!) Sorcery in the Sky, a very elaborate fireworks show that ran at Disney MGM Studios until Fantasmic came along.
Note that updates may be sporadic after I get back from the trip. Until then, here is a very colorful Fairy Dragon: