One of our recent acquisitions was 6 different WDW souvenir films – each 3 minutes and each featuring a different attraction. Most WDW souvenir films had a longer run time and generally featured a whirlwind tour ofa the Magic Kingdom, but 6 these films are rare and unique in that they focus an entire 3 minutes on an attraction.
In the days of film no one would take a camera on a ride; the cost, size, weight and lack of low light sensitivity made doing so just awkward, expensive or downright dangerous. Disney wanted you to promote the resort for them in your living room, so they would shoot high quality footage of the attractions with the proper lighting and cameras. Most were shot on 16mm film and then down converted to 8mm for the home market. These films were sold in the parks and were designed to be shown at home to their friends and family. A simple $3-$4 souvenir made them money and was free advertising.
Technically speaking, the majority of souvenir films were printed on inexpensive 8mm film. The quality of the dyes on the film is so poor that even after 40 some years of storage in a shrink-wrapped never-before-opened box, these films had faded. There is something to be said about Kodachrome and the longevity of the color and quality. Once transferred we did extensive color balancing on each of the scenes trying to get them as close as the original. We have not been able to find any other copies of these films in viewable condition anywhere.
This is the first of our 6 films and is one of the best. It features POV (Point of View) on ride footage of Big Thunder Mountain in the early years! We did edit the sequence of scenes as the original film was quite a bit of back and forth and was meant to give a taste of the ride – by putting the pieces back into their original order and adding some background music we’re able to enjoy the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!!