I’m here at the contemporary resort at walt disney world for the D23 Destination D: WDW 40th event. I’ll be giving updates throughout the day. I arrived at 8am, checked in and got in line. It was about an hour wait and they have just seated us. The show will start at 9:30 with welcome to the world, an introduction to the event with surprises in store.
We just got out of session 1 here at D23 Destination D: WDW 40th. The show started with a humorous skit by the D23 armchair archivist. Then we were greeted by the D23 president. Next on the stage was WDW’s first ambassador from 1971. She shared a lot of great memories with us as she was around for many WDW firsts.
Weird Disney was the next presentation, and it lived up its name.
Lots of great pics from Disneyland and Disney World of the hilliarious original character costumes. They also featured some pics and video of odd events and attractions that were at WDW. They finished by showing the funniest promo video for one of the first Grad Nights. It featured 2 hippie like guitar players playing creepy 70s music picking up random college kids who would blindly follow them. It was non-stop laughs.
Famed Disney archivist Dave Smith was next to walk on stage.
He thrilled the crowd with the most amazing pictures of all 4 WDW parks being built. He entertained and informed with his endless knowlege of disney history.
Its off to the Grand Floridian Cafe for lunch. Talk to you soon!
Back in the Fantasia ballroom. Lunch at the grand floridian cafe was excellent. I would highly recomend the Rustic Chicken or Grand Club sandwiches. Both for $13 and delicious. The homemade chips are amazing as well.
Hey! They just paged Mr Tom Morrow. They play classic disney attraction music between sessions. They also insert classic disney jokes in the PA announcements.
Its break time again. This time we are checking out the Contempo Grill. Again I made a good choice, the vegetable bake is delicious. $7 is a good price. I have some coffee. I am happy. So we just saw 3 sessions. The first was all about EPCOT. But more than the design of the park, it was how Walts vision of EPCOT played out. His vision influences much of what happens at WDW. it was a very interesting analytical look at how Walt was focused on urban planning more than theme park when it was time to build in Florida.
The next presentation was on walt disney world and tv. This spanned from footage of park openings, to tv commercials for WDW, to Disney Channel specials and even very rare video from out of town news stations covering WDW.
Before dinner, the last session was the WDW that never was. A collection of amazing art detailing things dreamt up by imagineers that were never constructed, at least in Orlando. I will detail them in a later post, but they included a sword in the stone dark ride and the western exhibition. Now, off to the archives!
After dinner, we took a stroll through the Archives room. You will have to check the Disneybrit and Destination Disney Facebook pages later on for all the pictures, but here is a taste.
We then filed back into the Fantasia ballroom for one final day one presentation. It was WDW on Film. First, they showed us a mysteriously titled film… something like WDW #9. It was a late 60’s production consisting mostly of concept art and a scale model of the WDW resort. It took you through what was going to be built including the resorts and each individual land inside the Magic Kingdom. Next was a film titled The Florida Project.
Now, many people have seen this film or parts of it before. Walt gets up and tells us about his new “Vacation Kingdom”. But this was a beautiful digitally restored print. Walt looked great. This film also took around what guests had in store for them, but also some construction in action shots. It was really cool to see the monorail beams being transported and put into place. It was made in early 1971 and was sent out to tease what was to come. The third film focused on the Magic Kingdom. It was made after the park was open, sometime in the mid-70’s. It took us behind the scenes at the making of some of the attractions such as the Country Bears and Tiki Room.
We saw model makers creating the characters and imagineers programing the animatronics. We also then saw the park in action as it was back then. The fourth film was A Dream Called EPCOT. It was put out in 1981 before the park opened. This was to motivate Cast Members and show people what was in store. The film took you into the designing rooms to watch imagineers create the attractions we all enjoy or enjoyed at EPCOT. It also showed performers getting ready for the big day and lots of construction shots of Future World and World Showplace.
Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us at Day 2!
Destination D: Walt Disney World at 40 Photo Gallery (Click to enlarge)