The Walt Disney World Resort officially opened on October 1st, 1971.
In honor of its birthday, we are going to look back to those opening days in 1971.
When You Wish Upon A Star
This video was part of a television broadcast by Disney to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Walt Disney World Resort. It aired later in October of 1971. This particular clip shows a large choir singing "When You Wish Upon A Star" at the front of Cinderella's Castle. There are some great views from above the Magic Kingdom that show what the park looked like on opening day.
Video by LoreneFaith on YouTube.
It is hard not to think of Disney World when you hear "When You Wish Upon A Star". The opening day celebration is probably when the song was first linked to the Magic Kingdom. After 38 years, it has become the unofficial theme song for Disney World.
Pre-Opening Day Walt Disney World 1971
The next video/photo album is from a person that was involved in the construction of the resort. There are some great shots of the park just as it was about to open. You get to see which attractions were ready for opening day, and others that were still under construction as the park opened.
Video by gg32068 on YouTube.
Here is some background information from the author of the above video that I thought was very interesting and so glad that he added this commentary to his video clip:
My first job at Walt Disney World, was back in the spring of 1971, when the Magic Kingdom was still under construction and had yet to open to the public. I was hired as a construction worker and my assigned work areas were in Frontierland, Liberty Square and the Rivers of America, with Buena Vista Construction Company out of California.
In June of 1971, knowing that construction was almost complete, I made application thru the former Preview Center in Lake Buena Vista, to become a real 'cast member'.
I continued to work my construction job in the Magic Kingdom until August, when I received a phone call from the Disney Employment Division, telling me that I had been selected to be one of the very first Walt Disney World employees. By the middle of August, I had quit my construction job and began 6 weeks of intensive training. I had been selected to be a "Lodging Host" at the Contemporary Resort Hotel.
Around the first of September, 1971, I received a letter in the mail from Joe Fowler, inviting all former construction workers (& their families) who had participated in the building of the park, to a free day in the new Magic Kingdom.
The photos in this short video are from this visit in September, 1971, before the park was ever opened to the public. We were the first guests to ever visit and even tho many things were not yet open or completed, it was a great visit and one that I have always treasured.
When watching the video, be sure to search carefully in each photo for signs of construction still going on. Some photos show obvious construction, but if you really look at some of the other photos, you will still see ladders,
scaffolding, etc., that are still visible around and on some of the attractions. Other NO-NO's you may see, are some of the characters conversing with supervisors while 'on stage' - something you will never see at the magic Kingdom.
All photos were taken with a very old Kodak Instamatic camera. These old cameras, tho reliable, took barely satisfactory pictures by the standards of today's new digital cameras. After each exposure, you had to manually wind the film to the next exposure and flash bulbs had to be inserted into the camera for indoor shots. Oh well, just glad that I was able to save this first visit on film of any kind!
Happy 38th Birthday Disney World!
Like any birthday it's fun to look back a share some fond memories, and reflect upon all that has changed over the years. A lot has changed since October 1st, 1971, but the Walt Disney World Resort still has many of the iconic features that were there on that opening day 38 years ago.
Happy Birthday Disney World and I wish you have many more to come!