In 1972 my grandparents took a road trip from New Jersey to Florida…armed with AAA highlighted maps of the I-95 east coast corridor they stopped at South of the Border, Marineland, Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World and a host of other attractions. To this day I still have the 3-ring binder that contains the handwritten account of their entire itinerary; mileage logs, fuel stops, and notes. For many years I’ve had in my possession 700 feet of Super8 film taken by my grandparents that documented their entire trip. Recently, I had the footage converted and began to apply my film restoration techniques to the transfer. It’s wonderful to see my late grandparents again and all the places they visited. What you see below is in the order that they filmed it; its as it happened.
The two reels together have a run time of just over 40 minutes, but hidden in the middle of two reels is what I want to share with you – a bit over 9 minutes of rare early WDW home movie footage. What you are about to see is probably some of the earliest and most pristine looking film from Walt Disney World that you have ever seen. You’ll be taken back to a time when Tomorrowland was incomplete, the old Frontierland Station still welcomed trains, the long lost West Street is adorned with flowers and you could see the Nautilus patrol the lagoon from the Skyway.
From their logbook, we are able to determine the exact date that this film was taken, July 23, 1972. WDW was just under 10 months old! Here are two scans of their log:
I have put in a lot of time refining my scripts and tuning the filters to ensure that the end result is nothing but the best. I was lucky that the film was in near perfect condition after 42 years of storage, making the conversion process a bit easier. I appreciate everyone’s input and patience while I completed the restoration process. This is not the last; next up is the Magic Kingdom Parade from 1972…then we tackle 1975, 1978 and 1980.
With that said, enjoy our first Super8 film restoration!
For those interested, the conversion and restoration process started with the original Super8 film being scanned in at a 1920×1080 resolution by Pixcel.com. I then applied a number of filters to remove grain, stabilize, sharpen and improve the color. From their I upconverted the film from its original 18 frames per second to 30 frames per second, this reduces flicker and jerky motion.
Thanks for this great film! I was working at the Magic Kingdom at this time. I wasn’t upstairs working, but in the tunnels at the Fantasyland employees cafetetia. At that time there were strct rules and I was shorter than 5’2 and didn’t fit the costumes. I sure had a lot of fun and stayed with WDW until 1981.
Great film, all the way through. Like everyone who enjoys these old film reels, I had a couple of points that really jumped out at me, chocked full of great memories. I love the shot beginning at about 0:55 and ending at 1:00 of the Crystal Palace! That was a spectacular spot, in its heyday. The second is from about 1:57 to 2:06 of Cinderella Castle, over the top of Dumbo and the Carousel, with the Skyway going over head. Just spectacular! Was everything really that shiny? Oh, the memories….