This film is one of the rare 16mm reels we restored with the help of generous supporters. Entitled “Magic Kingdom Club – 1980 Update” this film is a rare glimpse at the benefits and reach of the MKC in its heyday. The MKC was designed in 1957 to promote Disneyland ad offer discounts to its members. Originally given out to employees of industry leading companies, it was expanded to include Walt Disney World in 1971 and eventually the MKC became less of an exclusive club as you could essentially pay your way in (or be a shareholder by just buying 1 share of Disney stock!) The club included discounts on tickets, vacation packages,the Disney Stores and many other travel related companies. At one point there were over 6 million members! There were numerous packages and paperwork sent each year to its members until it met its demise in 2000.
At 1:10 you get a great glimpse of what the entrance to the Magic Kingdom looked like when the ticket booths were there and there was no security checkpoint. The brand new Big Thunder Mountain Railroad makes an appearance just after this shot. Disneyland’s 25th Anniversary gets some love as well. Some terrific Disneyland footage is set to a jammin’ 1980 soundtrack featuring “It Can Only Happen At Disneyland”. So much 1970’s era goodness in these Disneyland shots of both on-ride footage and various families making their way through the Happiest Place on Earth.
The film then shifts to Florida’s Vacation Kingdom. Minnie gingerly makes her way down the steps of the castle with Mickey as “The Magic of Walt Disney World” plays over a montage of shots that make me wish I could build a time machine. We see it all as it was in 1980: An uncrowded Main St. USA, happy faces, water skiing on Seven Seas Lagoon, Tomorrowland Stage, Swan Boats (swoon), Skyway, olde tymey popcorn carts, Pirates of the Carribbean sans Johnny Depp, the superior Winnie The Pooh with the hunny pot and bee on his head. A final enticement has waving children in an incredible shot riding in the front monorail car.
Treehouse footage I’ve never seen before precedes some terrific views of Lake Buena Vista and the Walt Disney World Shopping Village. A ride through Fort Wilderness gives us a look at the passing Fort Wilderness Railroad! Of course we are taunted with some River Country fun. Even Cypress Gardens is promoted. They promote “World Showcase” escorted tours internationally available to MKC members. 16mm film rentals for members are promoted as well!
This is a delightful look at how Disney promoted it’s first vacation club before it involved timeshares.