Home Movie: A Patriotic Day at the Magic Kingdom – March 1976

This film captures a family’s visit to the Magic Kingdom March 1976, during the festive United States Bicentennial. A sampling of Walt Disney World’s patriotic decorations can be seen throughout the park. In the first couple of minutes we see the vacationing family posing in a variety of park scenes. Views of vehicles, flowers and shops along Main Street give way to a close-up of the castle main entrance. Attractions such as the Haunted Mansion and the Riverboat adorn backgrounds as we make our way through Liberty Square, Frontierland and Adventureland. Next we enjoy a live stage show featuring the Alley Cats joined by Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Winnie the Pooh. After that we jump over to Frontierland where we watch Dumbo soar before taking a quick, fearful glance towards the entrance of Snow White’s Adventure. As we take a quick break at Cinderella Fountain, we can see Tinkerbell’s Toy Shop in the background.

Next we transition to America On Parade, which we’re watching across from Olde World Antiques. Leading the way are Mickey, Goofy and Donald on a Bald Eagle float. Following them are many floats highlighting various aspects of American history. We see Christopher Columbus commanding his ship, followed by pilgrims leading a giant turkey for their feast. Next is a rather bizarre float depicting Colonial-era discipline, with a young man in stocks and a young woman being subjected to the “ducking stool”. The mood quickly turns more cheerful as we see a group of neighbors square dancing during a break from building a new house. Up next is Benjamin Franklin demonstrating his kite-flying, and several more Colonia era characters pass by. Time progresses as we see a family of settlers driving their covered wagon and then a frontier town’s drug store and little red schoolhouse. The parade takes us into more modern times with floats giving a look at the wonders of flight and rocketry and several leisure activities, incluing the Seven Dwarfs riding one of the film strip floats. The parade concludes with Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam riding another majestic eagle float.

After a quick photo pose in front of a dragon topiary, we embark on the Jungle Cruise. After seeing lions protecting a sleeping zebra, Trader Sam, and other classic cruise scenes, we exit the cruise and enjoy watching various characters greeting children (young and old). Finally, we’re treated to a Skyway ride from Fantasyland, affording us a clear view across Liberty Square and Frontierland. As we pass an oncoming gondola, we see Fantasyland attractions below, with Space Mountain and the Contemporary Resort in the distance. Near the end we see some amazing views of the partially-drained lagoon for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, showing off vivid colors that are normally only viewed from underwater. After a quick glance towards Tomorrowland to see the StarJets and PeopleMover, we finish with a stunning look back at the lagoon, seeing a docked sub and a winding length of track passing through the colorful rockwork.

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Bob Heckel

Great stuff – takes me back!