Podcast Episode 34: Dreamflight

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Welcome to Episode 34 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: “Dreamflight” – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Corrections & Listener Mail

We start off this episode with some great feedback from “Retro Food“, or last full episode. Chris wrote in with some kind words and we appreciate all the menus coming in. Please send those our way if you have any. Carla brings up the drink, Pink Leilani, which we discuss and even get How to think about making it a legit adult beverage. It was a Polynesian Village exclusive drink.  It was a strawberry and orange juice mixture.  The recipe is in Mickey’s Cookbook that was sold at the time. How to think about making it a legit adult beverage.

Next up, Bill wrote in about the Pepsi/Coke connection to the Magic Kingdom. He gave us some insight, which is unique being a former PepsiCo employee.  Pepsi was sold in the Magic Kingdom until 1981 when Coke signed an exclusive deal included in the sponsorship for the American Adventure (co-sponsored with American Express) .  The EPCOT cast cafeteria shares the kitchen with the Odyssey restaurant.  There is a door to the right of the counter of the Odyssey Restaurant that leads directly to the cast cafeteria. Bill also worked at Disney MGM Studios in 1990 and swears that Handwiches were available at the Backstage restaurant.  He remembers hollowing out rolls and stuffing them with a cobb salad for the infamous Handwich.

We got a huge email from Mike in Minnesota, a few months back, where Mike sent us photos and video of the Fort Wilderness roundhouse and also DC6. Brian explains how we let these slip up and we almost forgot about them! Mike rode his bike around FW, looking for the roundhouse and he found it! The tracks are still there, inside the building. DC6 is still there and used for warehouse purposes. The videos will be coming soon and Brian has tweeted out some photos. A full story will be coming soon with this info.

Universe of EnergyJeff in Philly sent us a quick email about the Mickey & Goofy comic from Universe of Energy. We discuss where they were handed out and also how it focused on fossil fuels. The comic is on hand to take us back to the Universe of Energy. The comic was handed out at the Energy Exchange and Jeff got his on a trip in 1983.  The comic focused on different sources fossil fuels. The comic is on hand to take us back to the Universe of Energy. The sponsors gave away a lot of things in the early days of EPCOT.  The comic book has the logo of Exxon through the entire book.  It ends with a quote from Mickey, “ Meeting our energy needs will require the cooperation of science, industry, government, and us the consumers.  We need to find limited energy sources wisely like oil, gas and also finds new ones.”  It was copyright 1985.

Thank you for all the emails, tweets and comments you have sent our way. We try to respond to almost everything and do our best to pick unique questions for the show. 

For questions, comments and concerns, please write us – podcast@retrowdw.com.

Audio Rewind

Our audio rewind this month turned out to be The Tiki Room song! The winner is Johnathan Cooper, winning the 1983 Disney News Magazine. Great job and thanks for the entries.Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

If you think you know the answer to this month’s audio rewind puzzler, email us! podcast@retrowdw.com – This month the winner will get some #Epcot35 items – an autographed photo of Corinne and an event wrist band!

All entries due 11/20/2017 and a random winner will be selected. Even if you don’t win, you will gain an entry into the Fall/Winter Prize Pot, being picked in December.

Prize Pot

This year, we are going to do a new and exciting prize giveaway. The RetroWDW Podcast will have two prize pots this year; one summer, one winter.

We have moved onto Prize Pot #2! All prizes added to the pot will be given to one lucky winner this December.  Here is what we have so far:

  • Life Magazine – 1971 (Courtesy of David)
  • Look Magazine – 1971 (Courtesy of David)
  • WDW Easter Egg Hunt Invitation – 1986
  • 1991 Magic Kingdom & MGM Theme Park guidebooks (Color Coded)
  • Vintage Epcot Center World Showcase postcards

All entries for the audio rewind go to winning the next prize pot.  Email us to enter: podcast@retrowdw.com

Prize Pot Item #1
Prize Pot Item #2
Prize Pot Item #3
Prize Pot Item #4
Prize Pot Item #5

Main Topic

Notes on a Time That Was Not HappyDreamflight

We take you back this month to Dreamflight! This attraction is one of the few that has the original layout, still to this day. The airline connection to WDW always seemed to be present back in our era, including giveaways, posters, and discounts. How has all the history for us on this one with George McGinnis and how he worked on lots of various attractions.

This episode paints an amazing picture of this attraction, where if you have never ridden it, you really get a sense to how it felt and looked. Delta had a major role in this attraction and we get into some old Delta airport decor, as part of the attraction has an airport built right in. If you have never heard about this aspect, you have to hear this!

The Barnstormer section is discussed in depth with Disney Imagineer Eric Vergarmi.  We get his insight throughout the episode, which is amazing to hear. He discusses creating the various show pieces, construction and even some things that we wish we could go look at now. Eric has tons of inside info that you won’t want to miss.

We wrap up this episode with some commentary on some of our latest films.  Please take a look at these, as they are absolutely amazing! 

Enhanced Notes: Dreamflight is an attraction in the location of If You Had Wings and then If You Could Fly.  If You Could Fly closed in 1988 and after a few months of construction, Delta’s Dreamflight was opened.  This was the handover of Eastern Airlines sponsorship of WDW to Delta.  There were some giveaways for kids on flights to WDW and the inflight things had park logos.  This was before planes were painted with any ads.  The attraction is now Buzz Lightyear SpaceRanger Spin.   

This attraction is one of the few that has the original layout, still to this day. When it was Dreamflight the Omni mover was changed to go in the other direction, but otherwise it is the same.  Other attractions that were changed were Journey Into Imagination had it’s track shortened,  Mexico Pavillion was redone but has the same track layout.  This track has seen 5 different attractions; If You Had Wings, If You Could Fly, Dreamflight, Takeflight , and now Buzz Lightyear.

It is unknown who designed the ride.  IT’s one of the rides that the history has not leaked out.  Larry Gertz was the project designer for Dreamflight, and there is an interview with him where George McGinnis, a imaginer who did a lot of transportation designs for attractions, he did the EPCOT designs, then show designs , designing Space Mountain in Ca and Fla, and most famously Horizons.  McGinnis was credited with doing some storyboards for Dreamflight before he took over.   George McGinnis also mentioned these storyboards in his book.  The entrance of the ride looks like an airport gate and may have been something that McGinnis worked on as it looks like his style.  When you walked in there were 3 airport gates, the first queue area had travel posters and then it looks like looking out the window and see the nose of a 767.  The background was painted with a  nighttime scene with an odd runway that shot up into space with a  Delta logo.   There was also a jet bridge, but it had neon lights decorating it.  The zigzag queue that was there for If You Had Wings was removed and that’s where the nose of the 767 was, Buzz is there today.  Where the globe of the earth was became the fake waiting room.  The nose of the aircraft was full sized.  The Spirit of Delta was painted on the front because it was a reminder of an employee led effort, where they raised 30 million dollars to buy Delta, the first 767 aircraft to keep it flying in the 1980’s.  The actual jet delivered is in the Delta museum, it was retired in 2006 after flying almost 71,000 hours.

The loading platform brought you back to an airport in the 1920’s, the dawn of air travel.  This ride jumps back and forth a lot taking you to many different times.  The mural shows Glendale Grand Central Terminal on Flower Street in Glendale, CA.  and the Delta office building from Monroe, La.  Disney now owns the are know and it is part of Disney’s creative campus.  Grand Central Avenue is where the old runway was.  There are 2 planes in the mural, a Ford trimotor, which has the license number from an actual aircraft that was owned by Southwest Air Express, which is on display at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.  The second plane is a TravelAir S6000B, with Delta air service markings which Delta used for it’s first flights.  Delta made it’s debut on June 7, 1929 using this type of plane which held 5 passengers and 2 pilots.  It can be seen at the Delta Flight Museum. 

Then you moved up to a popup book scenes which rotated, so you had to go on the ride many times to see all 3 scenes.  The pop up book has old fashioned flying machines.  It has a balloon, a glider, and a fixed wing aircraft.  It’s very whimsical and is reminiscent of the original decorations in The Land Pavilion. 

Then the ride moves on to Barnstorming.  Barnstorming was popular when WWI pilots came home from the war in the 1920’s.  Training vehicles called Jennies were cheap the pilots bought them, they would go into a small town and put on air circuses.  They would make a deal with a local farmer to use their field as a landing strip.  They would do tricks, give rides, etc.  Accidents at the airshows caused the government to regulate air travel with the Air Commerce Act of 1926.  Also, Charles A. Lindberg’s flight to Paris sparked an interest in commercial air travel. 

The style used in this scene is very cartoony.  Disney Imagineer Eric Vergarmi. worked on this section of the ride.   He discussed doing the model work for the Barnstormer, working on the rolling hills and the backdrop.  Most of the show pieces were made out of wood and metal as lightweight as they could make it.  The pieces were pretty delicate.  They could request any material they thought they needed to make the project work, so they used sheet steel, wire, plastics, wood, laminates.  Mark Binford, the head painter for the project.  All the props, scenes, and characters were hand painted.   They would produce the show pieces and send them to his shop & they would be painted.  They could send over raw metal and a blueprint of what they wanted.  He preferred the raw material as he had an autobody grade primer that he preferred to use.  There was a lot of bondo and sanding done, and the stuff was ready for paint when it was sent over.  Pieces could take months to produce because you would switch between pieces.  He estimated there were about 100 people working there.  Many of the rolling hills in the Barnstormer scene had to be secret hatches.  The scene had to be put together as a giant puzzle on 4 inch risers so that the animatronics could work below and they needed a way that repairs could be done.  Veiled fiberglass cloth & layers were used and tapered out into the valley of the set.  John Hench was the colorist for that attraction, he was in charge of what scenes were what color and the emotion each color was to bring out.  He was fascinating in talking about the colors setting the scene.  There was a circus scene with a crowd where one row went left and another went right.  Some of the effects were basic, there’s an airplane going around in a circle on the floor chasing animals, but you can see the hole in the floor.  There was a zeppelin with a guy pedaling to move the propellor.  There were people playing tennis on a biplane wing.  Right before leaving the scene, there is a farmer and a cow, and the cow had a thought balloon questioning.  Then you flew into the barn.   The effect where it looks like you are going through the barn at the end was likened to the Activision game, Barnstormer which was popular at the time.  A more realistic barnstorming scene was in the World of Motion, which is probably why this one was more cartoony. Inside the barn was the pilot dangling from the ceilig and there was an owl on his head. 

In the next room there was actual 70mm footage of a barnstormer with a wingwalker.  There are about 2 ½ minutes of footage, shot from a chase plane.  There is one part where the pilot brings the plane down to close a river and there is spray. 

Then the ride takes us to more commercial aviation, and shows Pan American Clippers.   There was a rotating globe & a sign above that said Gateway to Global Clipper and on the right a sandwich board that said August 30, 1937 Flight 801 to Tokyo & Paris leaving at 9pm.  Next, the ride takes you to San Francisco, where a couple is on a bridge overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  Where the dock was for the clipper ships was in the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island, which did not have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.   The China Clipper was a Martin 130 aircraft which actually took off and landed on water.  They were built in the mid 1930’s.  Eric was on the crew who built the mock up of this plane out of all wood made to look like clad steel with millions of rivets.  It was made of bender boards, poplars, leuans.  The internal structure was like a large model plane with laminate plywood cut out into the profiles.  It all came apart, so it could be repaired.  The curvilinear part was all epoxy putty sculpture. The set dressers and the special effects guys would come in and finish the scene with scrims, ocean effects and sounds.  In the attraction it was called the Global Clipper.  The China Clipper only lasted about 10 years.  There were 3 of them, but all of them had been destroyed.  The plane actually never went to Tokyo or Paris. 

The ride takes you into the aircraft.  You see a mural of the cockpit, then a well appointed dining section with 3 tables with a gentlemen there, but he doesn’t move.  Then there is a galley area as well.  The interior and decorations did not look anything like the attraction.  Delta actually never flew transpacific until they bought Western Airlines in 1987.  They didn’t go to Europe until 1978 until the airlines were deregulated and airline routes were no longer assigned to companies.  The prices were also regulated and it was extremely expensive.  The airlines also had mail routes which was the primary revenue and the passengers were extra.  Even the ocean liners then initially were for mail, ie, RMS Titanic was the Royal Mail Ship Titanic. 

After you get off the Global Clipper in the ride, you are in Japan.  Scene has a giant Japanese house on a mountainside with a bridge that goes across with a couple in traditional clothing being photographed by a tourist.  This scene is incredibly detailed with forced perspective which makes it look much larger than it was.  The lighting was also incredible looking like moonlight.  The scenes were very distinct representing each artist who designed them.  They were very different, but it worked in the ride and the song really helped them flow together.  The ride then takes you to Paris, coming in gliding along the rooftops near the Hotel Dauphin.  There’s a painted backdrop of a sunset in Paris you can see the Arch de Triumph and Eifel Tower.  It’s a beautiful scene of small scale buildings, and looking down a street you see a baker coming out of his shop with a basket of bread, and a couple sitting a café.  The figures of the couple are amazingly detailed.  Next your in a full scale area with stands that would sell posters.  There is one poster that says Jet Age that needs to be prepared for.  The ride takes you into a jet engine turbine for your trip to the future.  It is a really cool effect.  It was white beams of light that emulated the spinning fan blade of a jet that came from a single point of light.  There was a fog machine also.  There is a remnant of that effect in the Buzz lightyear with a red light.   After you go through the jet you go into the speed room.  In the first version you are told to get ready for supersonic travel.  It showed a computer graphic runway that was infinite.  Then they switched it to film footage of an actual runway and then flying through clouds.  The omnimover felt like it was going very fast, which was an effect of them ominmover shaking and fans blowing on you as you passed.  After the speed room you’d be into another room where there was a computer graphic movie starting out in Earth’s orbit and then diving down into a futuristic city made of chrome and then flying back into orbit.  After that there was another book that would open and close between 2 pages, one page was New York & the other was London which were 2 hubs that Delta flew to.  After that you went to the unload ramp which had Delta stripes with the Delta logo. 

This attraction had to change the diorama view of the PeopleMover.  If you Had wings sets were made so that you could see it from the PeopleMover.  The first window got replaced with backlit panels that depicted the Barnstorming scene because it couldn’t be seen anymore.  The second window looked down at the Parisian scene, but it was difficult to see.  The third window would have had people looking into an extremely bright light, so it was blacked out.  For Buzz they were redone and more can be seen.  The ride went from 1989 to 1995, when Delta pulled it’s sponsorship.  In June 1996 the attraction was reopened with the name TakeFlight which removed the Delta logo & name from the ride.  It ran until 1998. 

The theme song was written by Bob Moline, the same guy who wrote many of the EPCOT songs.  It’s very catchy that changes from room to room that matches the theming of the room.  At the end is a completely different song, but works very seamlessly with the other song. 

Delta Dreamflight Gallery

There aren’t a lot of photos of this attraction – but here are some of the ones we have:

RetroWDW Merchandise

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Some of Our Latest Designs

Listener Memories

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

Film Restoration

RetroWDW restores old home movies, digitally transfers them and releases them on the website.  A lot is learned about Disney history from these time capsules. 

Art & Linda’s visit to WDW in November 1974.  There is great footage of Tomorrowland, of the painting on Tom Sawyer’s Island.

Magic Kingdom Meet & Greet 1970’s style.  There was a family of 5 kids and this film shows the meet & greet.  There were some strange interactions between the guests and the characters. 

A copy of the video Visit to EPCOT Center.  It was the first promotional film of EPCOT Center.  It was really well done.  It’s from 1983 so there is no Living Seas and Horizon’s concept artwork and models.  This was put on VHS and Betamax.

In 1974, footage of Polynesian Village and Contemporary Resorts.  This is great footage of the resorts that is rarely seen. Interesting to see the amount of boats in the marina.  At the time, the resort activities were more important because there was only one park and it was open for one shift so other activities were promoted more. 

Next Month

  • Join us next month as we discuss more Christmas! Brian leads us on an adventure through the resorts and various Christmas things from WDW, that is a fan favorite. We also have another Art & Linda film release!

Enhanced show notes by Donna (June 2021)

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