Podcast Episode 25 – Anniversary Special

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Welcome to Episode 25 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: “Anniversary Special” – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

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Mickey Mouse Golf Cart
Mickey Mouse Golf Cart

To start this episode, we discuss things that scare us at WDW. Mike wrote in and said he used to be scared of Tick-Tock Croc on Peter Pan’s Flight. Kate was scared of Body Wars due to her fear of shrinkage. Hipster Mickey wrote in telling us about being scared during the Studio Backlot Tour.

Next up, Brian recaps his visit to the old Golf Resort. Currently, known as Shades of Green, Brian was able to worm his way over there and see what still exists. BJ Major sent us an Epcot Film which was absolutely amazing.

We discuss things that scare us at WDW. Mike wrote in and said he used to be terrified of Tick-Tock Croc on Peter Pan’s Flight. Kate was scared of Body Wars due to her fear of shrinkage. Hipster Mickey wrote in telling us about being scared during the Studio Backlot Tour because of Catastrophe Canyon.

Brian recaps his visit to the old Golf Resort. Currently, known as Shades of Green, Brian was able to worm his way over there and see what still exists.  Visited the pro shop at the Golf Course which has a lot of old photos of each of the winners of the WDW Open Invitational Golf Tournament which ran from 1971-2012.  A lot of character photos as well.  Great golf character merchandise.  The men’s locker room has a great tribute to Paine Stuart who was killed in an airplane malfunction in 1999.  They have his locker preserved.  The exterior of the club house there is a golf cart that is done up like Mickey Mouse.  They saw the pool there and they have a outdoor dining establishment.  Brian got accompanied into the building, the lobby is still there, but the guest wings have been demolished and replaced with four story buildings.

BJ Major sent us an Epcot Film called The Spirit of EPCOT.  Have been going through and looking at shots and it will be covered in a future episode.  The film was used to promote it to sponsors and appeared in the Walt Disney Story also. 

Listener Mail

We had lots of great letters sent in this month. Bernie wrote us to discuss character meet & greets and how it has changed over the years. Brian remembers a paper mache Pete’s Dragon and also a walk-around dog from the Shaggy DA. For questions, comments and concerns, please write us – podcast@retrowdw.com

Bernie wrote us to discuss character meet & greets and how it has changed over the years.  He remembers when the characters walked randomly through the park.  That ended in the 90’s because of Mickey’s Birthday Land and solving the problem of people never knowing where the characters were going to be.  He misses Miss Bianca and Bernard being as part of the meet and greets.  Brian remembers a paper matchet Elliot and also a walk-around dog from the Shaggy DA.   They were really only around for promoting the movies.  They do bring out rare characters for Run Disney events and the hard ticket events.  The character that is much awaited is The Florida Orange Bird.  An Orange Bird meet and greet video from 1974 was released on the website.  Orange Bird had 2 different costume heads, a smooth plastic and a fabric, felt covered head.

Fort Wilderness – they found hardware from the old railroad in the woods.

The Orange Bird Film

One of our holy grail films was released a few weeks back and we discuss as a group. The Orange Bird is back in amazing color and he even does a dance for you. We talk about the different types of bird head and give our opinions on which is best.

Hope you enjoy the film and check back for more soon…we have lots of rare films that will be released very soon.

Main Topic

EPCOT Center Entrance 1986 - 15th WDW Anniversary - Win a Chevrolet Cavalier!This episode is all about anniversaries, including our own! How starts us off with year one then quickly moving into the five year anniversary and tencennial. The fifth is when things got serious; this includes water ski shows, Boardwalk & Baseball and many other amazing events.  Who out there still has their “I’m a Winner” Visor?

The Earforce One was another 15th anniversary special item along with the famous ticket system, giving almost every person who entered a prize. This included the Chevrolet Cavalier (one per day), pins, stickers, park tickets and of course the visor. The 15th was absolutely epic!

This episode is all about anniversaries, birthday parties & celebrations WDW has held.  This is the 25the episode.  How starts us off with year one celebration.  There is a photo of a strange walking number 1 standing next to Goofy.   They always had a pin that they gave to the cast members.  They also do cast member photos.   The fifth anniversary had more.  There was an article from October 2, 1976 from The Evening Independence says that WDW calls itself the #1 tourist destination in the world.   It vows to complete Walt’s Dream of an All Encompassing Prototype Community of Tomorrow.   That was the year that River Country opened and America on Parade and the 1000 piece band that they included in the September finale.  They celebrations got bigger as the years went on, the 10th anniversary had a logo.  They celebrated for an entire year.  The logo A Year Long & a Smile wide.  Musical concerts and guest appearances every day for a year at 12 & 6 there is a Main St birthday party.  At 4pm the tencennial parade.  They had a large tencennial floral display in the front & a fake cake in the hub where the partner statue now stands.  Each day they picked a Grand Marshall for the parade.  The Tomorrowland Theater had a Broadway style show.  They greeted the first tencennial family on October 1st .  They had Hot Air Balloons and fireworks.  There was a CBS television special on Jan 21, 1982, called CBS Kraft Salutes WDW.  It got reviewed as an hour long special.  The Lane family was visiting WDW, Dean Jones (Herbie movies), Michelle Lee ( Herbie Movies) Ricki Schroeder ( Silver Spoons), Dana Plato ( Different Strokes) Ellen Burston ( Private Benjamin) & John Schneider ( Dukes of Hazard).  It is terrible.  There are nice shots of WDW but no plot and odd songs.  There was an anniversary book published, Walt Disney World, the First Decade, with a blue linen cover and a cutout of the castle.

The fifteenth anniversary was in 1986.  Disney’s birthday party was advertised.  There was another special.  The media was invited for four days and radio stations broadcast from the parks.  The media event included the Orlando area attractions, they did events including  Cypress Gardens water ski shows, Boardwalk & Baseball (formerly Circus World) and many other amazing events.  The Good Neighbor Policy was to promote the other attractions in the area.   Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, Roy E. Disney, and Dick Nunis gave a press conference and then had a night event.  Next Day additional events and they closed the Magic Kingdom that night for a 15 years of Fantastic Fun Blowout Event.  Tomorrowland Terrace had Crystal Gayle, The Four Tops & the Temptations were at the Tomorrowland Theater, Buddy Rich at the Frontierland Stage, The Miami Sound Machine was the headliner at Cinderellas Castle Stage.  Eisner, Wells and Nunis were at the WD Theater talking about expansion plans, and the evening ended with the 15th birthday parade.  Day 3 they had another day of events outside and that evening,  EPCOT played host to different events, Red, White, & Blue celebration of the US constitution, Skylidoscope, a daytime pyrotechnic show with ultralight aircraft, debuted Captain EO, Laserphonic Fantasy, and a Dolly Parton performance.  The departure day they were given a scroll as commemorative citizens of the world.  On November 9, 1986, a TV special aired which included a fantastic lineup.  The WDW 15th anniversary edition, a green hardcover, similar to the 10th.   The Living Seas opened, The Grand Floridian & MGM broke ground.  The celebration had The All America Parade and the Dare Devil Circus Spectacular.  The thing that everyone remembers is that as you went through the turnstiles, every 15 seconds.  There was an additional box that gave you a ticket and you could get a prize.  The big prize they gave a way a Chevy Cavalier.  EPCOT had a mirrored ball 15 and the car was parked near it.  The prizes included Futureworld pin with a monorail across it which How won.  I’m a Winner foil sticker. Discovery Island ticket.  Silver billed with blue plastic and it said “I’m a Winner” Visor with a 9 V battery to light up the visor.  Todd’s Mom won a 1 day world passport on October 31, 1986.

How was at the 20th anniversary celebration.   The flagpole was gone, there was a float with the 20th anniversary logo.  There were other floats parked down the street.   At 10am Mickey, Michael Eisner and Roy E. Disney were on the front float.  Eisner gave Roy E.Disney the dedication plaque and had him reread the dedication.  His Dad, Roy O. Disney did the original speech.  They took a publicity photo down the street with the castle in the background and the Blue Angels do a flyover down Main Street. After that they debuted the parade, the Surprise Celebration with the big balloons of Roger Rabbit.  There was no special giveaway for the 15th anniversary, but there was a lot of merchandise with the logo.  There were sponsor tie in offers where you could send in for things.  The Jack In The Box logo with a 20 coming out of it.  It was built and put in the Orlando Airport.  Burger King had kids meal toys of the floats with part of the MK.  At EPCOT George & Barbara Bush gave the 1000 points of light speech.  The TV special was called ‘WDW; past, present & future’ and was hosted by John Lithgow.   Lithgow does a fantastic walkthrough of the parks, goes into Disney history, Disneyland, shows archival footage, talks about Imagineering, Joe Roddi working on the mural at the exit of the Norway pavilion, and shots of Typhoon Lagoon and other things that did not get built.  There were great magazines that were put out for the 20th was in the   infamous Castle Balloon was featured during this anniversary.   

We also hear about 20 things that debuted for the 20th; Spectromagic Parade, Surprise in the sky show, Muppetvision, Beauty & The Beast Stage show, Yacht & Beach Club, Port Orleans, The Dinosaurs TV show & their Live Stage Show, Sorcery in the sky, Pleasure Island, Honey I Shrunk the kids playground, baby manatee at The Living Seas, DVC, The Sci Fi Dine In Theater, The Osprey Ridge & Eagle Pines Golf Courses, TMNT was at MGM, MinnieMoo Cow, Dixie Landings, and Dark Wing Duck premiered.  There was a cornfield in Iowa that was carved in the shape of Mickey’s head.  Earforce 1, Zippity Doo Duck (Donald balloon), and the giant castle balloon were used for promotion.  The reason for the push was that tourism was down because of the war in Kuwait, and they were trying to attract people back to the park.  Seven thousand members of the media from 28 countries were brought down to the park.  Five hundred members of the media were taken on a trip to visit the parks worldwide.  They stopped the Florida Legislatures Weekend because of the new law about accepting gifts and changed it to a luncheon.   Brian talks about one of the invitations to that event from the late 1970’s which was an elaborate fold out Empress Lily with the full schedule of events for the weekend. 

Brian takes us into the 25th, during the later half of 1996.  There were 3 TV specials.  A show called Inside Out ran from 1994-1998, monthly on the Disney Channel and it would report on things going on in the parks.  They had a traditional special, Roy E. Disney, Michael Eisner, the Muppets, characters, lots of ABC personalities because Disney had just bought ABC.  An hour long special kicking off the anniversary celebration.  The second special February 28, 1997 they did the ABC special, WDW 25th Anniversary Party, hosted by Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch), Will Friedel, Drew Cary, Jeff Daniels, Rosie O’Donnell, Gloria Estefan.  They had Test Track Promos, which didn’t open until for 2 more years, a visit to Imagineering, a backlot concert by The Village People and a Pleasure Island concert by Donna Summer.   Drew Carey tours the parks and is shown eating a turkey leg. Glorias Estefan performs at The Fountain of Nations in EPCOT.  Michael J. Fox, dressed as a tour guide leads a backlot tour of Disney MGM Studios.  Rosie O’Donnell plays a Philip Marlow character touring the Tour of Terror, explaining the way the ride works.  Then they go to The Alien Encounter, and show you the scary effects of that attraction.  Then they do a recap of Walt and the park and then Gloria Estefan sings Remember The Magic, the theme song written for the 20th anniversary.   The third TV special was from the Disney Channel, called Witching You Were Here, hosted by Caroline Rae from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  It opens with her standing next to Abe Lincoln on a stage.  She plucks 2 time travelling kids from 1971 and sends them on a toy of the 1996 WDW.  In EPCOT she visits a mime inside a clear ball outside France.  They tour World Showcase and sit on the ledge France fountain (the water was shut off).  They go to Disney MGM, back to Future World and after they are sent back, they realize that they have the spell book and the show ends when they return and they are in The Remember the Magic Parade.  

In The Remember the Magic Parade there were 6 floats each featuring different movies.  They added a street theater aspect to this parade.  It opened with Disney Royalty; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Chip & Dale, Cinderella & Prince Charming, on other floats there were Beauty & The Beast, Lion King.  There was an Enchanted Forest Float that had a lot of the other characters mixed.  There were points of the parade that would stop and incorporate kids from the audience. 

When you entered the park, they had the floral logo, and then the 25th Anniversary Welcome Center in Towns Square.  You got a pin noting your first visit designating you as a guest of honor and to show your 25th anniversary pride.  A video previewing the attractions under construction which included The Animal Kingdom which opened in January, 1998. Every visitor received a lithograph 11×14 white background with an ornate gold oval frame.  Mickey as the Sorcerer was on top then it’s got Goofy, Lumiere, Simbaa, The Genie running around the outside.  It has the 25th logo with a pumpkin down at the bottom and it has a nighttime shot of Mickey walking up to the castle with a small child and there is a shooting start behind the castle.     Attractions that debuted were The Hunchback of Notre Dame musical, Illuminations 25 with the Lion King & Circle of Life finale, The 101 Dalmations back stage pass experience which had set pieces from the movie that you could walk through the set of the mansion in the soundstage.  The Boardwalk Entertainment area and resort were opened in the summer of 1996.  The big thing for the 25th was the Cake Castle, where they transformed the castle into the world’s largest birthday cake with 25 candles.  It got mixed reviews, there are a couple of stories attached to it.  Art Miles talked about when he was a photographer how the cake castle had an impact on the wedding pavilion and there had been a window which had Cinderella’s castle in the background that was used for wedding shots.  A stained glass picture façade was added to cover it   The merchandise included snow globes, t shirts, sweatshirts, posters, pins, watches, figurines, books, and magazines featuring the cake castle.  You could send away to kodak for a watch.  Brian has a favorite shirt from this anniversary, showcasing the two castles, the old, “That was then” in the front and the new “This is Now” in the back.

The castle was painted so that the view from Main Street was a complete cake.  The sideview showed a 2 tone castle pink & gray.  The rear view was left untouched except for 2 inflatable strips of icing piping down the side.  The foundation of the castle, the walls on three sides were painted pink.  The turrets and the spires were covered with set pieces overlays which were both plastic and inflatables.   The piping around the turrets and the spires, the large candles, the candy canes and straw candy pieces that are red, white, and yellow were inflatables.  The lollipops, the round candy pieces, the gumdrops over the doorways and around the castle were all hard plastic.  The inflatables would sway a little bit.  The transformation took about 2 months, started in August of 1996, and two months to remove in January 1998.  The merchandise featured Sorcerer Mickey, the 25th logo and Remember The Magic text.

The 25th anniversary was celebrated for 15 months and started the 15 month promotions starting October 1st and going through to December 31st of the next year.  There was a 25th anniversary road show called the Magical Memories Tour which was described by the Orlando Sentinal as a musical show that will stop in 25 cities over a few months, playing in shopping mall parking lots and other locations in Disney’s largest US markets starting January 17th in Miami and Feb 1st in Altamont Mall.    The twenty three minute show features The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Mickey Mouse, musical numbers and pyrotechnics.  There is also a 68’ inflated version of Cinderella’s Castle decorated like the real castle as a bubble gum pink birthday cake.  American Express also had special cardmember benefits, Kodak had a sweepstakes with the grand prize being a trip for the winner and 25 companions to WDW, or you could send away for the watch.  General Motors filled the New York showroom with commemorative material. 

Matt was at the road show when it came to South Jersey to thee Echelon Mall.  The mall is hidden away in a neighborhood setting, so you’d see this giant pink castle in the middle of this neighborhood.  Very much like the shows at the castle in WDW where there’d be a story and some songs and the characters would come out.  Then a meet & greet.  They’d give away a few vacations and do giveaways at the Disney Store.  They also did daytime fireworks and outdoor fog machines.   The bottom of the castle was sort of solid and the top was an inflatable. 

JT was in WDW in November of 1996.  They saw it from the roof of the Wilderness Lodge.  How liked the candles lined up by the train station.  There was a 25th anniversary display outside EPCOT. 

The castle was also changed on a few other occasions, when Stitch took over the Magic Kingdom, they TP’d the castle.  Gold ornaments on the castle for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary and put an oval picture frame over the arch which changed to 4 different park castle scenes.   Dreamlights started in 2007.  Disneyland puts on fake snow on the castle during the holidays.

Two films will soon be released a 16mm Christmas film at WDW in the early 1970’s and a Big Thunder Mountain special film from 6 the 8mm films that they have restored.

1947 Toys for Tots was started in the LA metropolitan area, Walt Disney Company designed the logo the red train with Toys for Tots on it.  The Walt Disney Company supports the Toys For Tots Company.

Prize Pot

Walt Disney World 1st Anniversary ParadeOur year end prize is huge! Included are: An Orange Bird Yo-Yo from January, a brochure from The World of Motion given away in February, the March prize is a Golf Resort Mickey head logo golf bag tag, an Epcot Center salt and pepper shaker set, a Disney Glass Candy Dish, Tomorrowland Handbook, 1984 Disney News Magazine, The Walt Disney World Explorer CD Rom, expired Discovery Island Tickets, a Frontierland Viewmaster Slide, the WDW Tencenial Coin, a WDW Pocket Protector, and finally the RetroWDW Pin Collection.

Congratulations go out to Wes Hansen! He was randomly selected from over 600 entries to receive this years big prize! Congratulations Wes!!

More Main Topic

Cinderella's Castle decorated for WDW's 25th Anniversary/Birthday in 1997.

How takes us back to the 20th anniversary! The infamous Castle Balloon was featured during this anniversary. How also got to see Michael Eisner, again…

We also hear about 20 things that debuted for the 20th. Great walk down memory lane for this crazy anniversary. Brian discusses the Florida Legislatures Weekend and his amazing invitation of the fold out Empress Lily.

Brian takes us into the 25th, a topic that he has a huge amount of information on. This includes the two TV Specials, which includes Drew Carey eating a turkey leg. The unbelievable Castle Cake is discussed in great detail. So much mid/late 90s goodness with tons of highlights. If you still have your “Guest of Honor” pin, show your 25th anniversary pride – these things sure do bring back memories. Brian has a favorite shirt from this anniversary, showcasing the two castles. The how-to on this whole castle is super interesting.

To round out the 25th, we bring on our buddy Matt to discuss to the road show, The Magical Memories Tour.

RetroWDW Merchandise

Fantasy Pins are here! We have a great set of custom pins for sale now. Be sure to get your pins and add them to your collection as these are limited time and won’t be around forever.

Be sure to get your shirt, iPhone case, tote bag, pillow or coffee mug today: www.retrowdw.com/supportus

Some of Our Latest Designs

Listener Memories

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Tweet at us, send us a Facebook post or message, tag us on Instagram or send us your thoughts.

We hope you have enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us podcast@retrowdw.com.

Next Month

Check back with us in January for  Episode 26 where we take you back to a time when you could journey under the sea…

(Enhanced show notes by Donna, May 2021)

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Miranda Benson
Miranda Benson
November 7, 2017 10:54 am

I used to be scared of the Tick Tock croc as well, I can remember whenever my family would write it, my dad and I would go to Adventureland and get a dole whip instead.

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