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Welcome to Episode 47 of the RetroWDW Podcast: “A Room Full Of Fun” – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.
During the introductions they talked about another famous Arcade, Chuck E. Cheese. JT has managed to only take his daughter once even though it is in walking distance. Todd talked about an earlier version of the concept, ShowBiz Pizza. Brian talked about a Chuckee Cheese that had the Cheese Factory Play Area, which predated playplaces and was so cool that it brochures about it. It had obstacles and ball pits and no parents were allowed inside.
Brian just returned from Florida where he visited with How and a number of podcast listeners.
- Our first correction is in regard to our last episode, all about Snow White’s Scary Adventure. A great memory shared and we feel you!
- How has a minor correction about the figures from Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Disneyland Paris, duplicate figures and some other tidbits.
- Brian & How recently rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and How walks us through the repurposed figures, which you can go see right now.
- We also hear about a recent loss Brian experienced… Which relates very well to an old Eric Boardman Disney Channel video.
Deskin wrote in about the attraction Snow White’s Scary Adventure on his first visit in 2000. He left the ride in tears because it was terrifying.
How has a minor correction about the figures from Snow White’s Scary Adventure, He had said that the dwarf figures after it was redone were from the actual Mickey Mouse Review from Tokyo and brought back to the US. That was not true. In 1992, they went to the original figurines and made duplicate figures for Disneyland Paris and when they did the MK version again they made more duplicate figures. The original ones continued to play in Tokyo until 2008.
Brian & How recently rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and How walks us through the repurposed figures. The 2 vultures on the lift were from the Florida attraction. The dwarves that are playing the instruments at the end are from the attraction, with the exception of Snow White, Dopey & whoever Dopey is standing on. The witch also looks like a nicer sculpt. The animals sitting inside the house on the chair are also from Snow White’s Scary Adventure.
Brian and How went on an excursion, and Brian bought on an annual pass. Brian experienced a great loss on his trip. He lost a hat on this trip that was given to him which relates very well to an old Eric Boardman Disney Channel video.
- Kicking things off, Tom wrote us from New Hampshire – asking what our own personal Holy Grail item would be from Walt Disney World. This could include merchandise, ride pieces and anything else. Great question!
Todd One of the original 16 WDW Logo tiles that adorned the Preview Center. Souvenir, 1971 license plate.
How- EPCOT Center 35mm camera straps. They go for around 60-100.
Brian- The globe that was sold in the giftshops. It has the Disney D where the Magic Kingdom is located in Florida.
- Jake Nelson wrote in about Dreamflight and brought to our attention something that remains on Buzz Lightyear – we had no idea!
The trio of startled chickens from the barnstormer scene is still used in the attraction appears unchanged. This was a bit of a surprise, but he sent in a picture confirming. There’s something about chickens being retained, as they were kept on World of Motion, Goofy’s Barnstormer & now these. Thanks so much Jake!
David Fauhaber is up next, with some amazing audio clips he shared with us. He sent a warning clip from one of the River Country slides it sure is unique. “Howdy Folks and Welcome to Hoop and Holler Hollow. Now the water below us is up to 6 feet deep and has a strong current. Only experienced swimmers should go down the slide. Please enter the slide one person at a time, feet first, and sitting down. Before you go down, wait until the person ahead of you has passed the orange flag at the first bend, and please for your safety swim away from the slide immediately after entering the water. Thank you.” David sent in some other videos and audio clips, which will be shared in future episodes.
- Jerry Massey sent us a commemorative VHS from the 1994 Walt Disney World Marathon. We are going to share this with you soon, so stay tuned! It is a scaled down version of the marathon compared to today, but there are some rare gems included. Viking Goofy was in the Family Fun Run
- Joe Barlow wrote in about some of the old arcades – giving us a great memory about what it was like to walk into the Contemporary & The Fiesta Fun Center. He included, Pioneer Hall’s original arcade, where Crockett’s tavern is now, the arcade at the Hilton on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, the Penny Arcade on Main St in MK. But walking into the first floor of the Contemporary, from the front door, or just getting off the blue flag boat and entering from the back door, you heard air hockey pucks click echoing and you had to go into The Fiesta Fun Center. There was a great selection of games, with multiples of each.
- Andrew Toffoli wrote in with some great memories and it sparked the feeling we used to get, waiting forever to check into our resorts. We all give our accounts on how it felt and why it used to take forever. Remember standing in line at the check in, the dot matrix printers printing out your resort identification cards. They would take the credit card impression, look up the numbers in actual books, sign into the register & address, and find the physical key with the room number on it. The technology of those days lent itself to actually taking longer and our excitement made it feel like forever. Then changing to the Ving cards was a big change to that. .We even bring up the old Ving Room Key!
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.
Questions, Comments & Concerns
We love feedback and hearing your memories!
Our audio rewind this month turned out to be the Enchanted Tiki Room, from the original show! The winner is Scott Chapin, winning a Vacation Kingdom poster. Great job and thanks for playing along to everybody!
If you think you know the answer to this month’s audio rewind, email us! firstname.lastname@example.org – This month the winner will receive one of the Lake & Lagoon Vacation Kingdom posters. All entries due 3/12/2019 and a random winner will be selected.
Main Street Penny Arcade
We start off this month on Main Street, USA – more specifically the Penny Arcade! This classic is part of our overall topic of arcades and game rooms. How gives us an insanely detailed walk through, starting us off with the fortune telling machine and the old Mutoscope. We hear about ‘Old San Francisco‘, ‘Play Cowboy Rodeo Time‘, ‘Burlesque Bouncer‘ and more. Todd also brings up some of the other titles shown on a stereoscope format as well.
The stories and facts continue as How tells us about the various strength testers, baseball games, love testers and so much more. If you ever spent any time in the Penny Arcade on Main Street, let us know if you have any interesting memories. We would also love to see your pictures! Finally, we let you know where the machines ended up with an interview by Todd Tuckey.
Rooms full of fun for penny, nickel, dime, or quarter. They discuss that the inflation calculator did not really effect the penny games as they remained a penny. Also, noted that people used to walk around with pocket change, before the ATM cards took hold. Walking up Main Street, past the Emporium Megaplex, there is a green awning that says the Main Street Fashion Apparel Company, inside there used to be the Penny Arcade. Out front there was a fortune telling machine, similar to the one in the movie Big. But it was a gypsy style with curly black hair, a red satin shirt, and gold chains. If you put a quarter in the slot, her hand would move across over cards that were fanned out 2-Ace of hearts. You’d receive a card that said Grandmother’s prophecies, with a 1930’s illustration across the top. Todd was creeped out by the gypsy. There were about a dozen cards that you could get from the machine. One of them had an illustration of the devil and this guy with a cigarette giving him the talk to the hand move and read, ‘So the devil has been hounding you and giving you restless days and sleepless nights? Well all this will soon be a thing of the past, a new turn of events will soon come about. A happy reunion with a loved one will make life all that you ever wanted it or dreamed it to be. You have a very interesting nature and are easily taken in by so called friends. Do not be so anxious to do favors unto others as there is one who is just waiting to take advantage of your good nature. Beware, Beware of the Number 7 unless you want a one way ticket to heaven. Drop another coin in the slot and I will tell you more. Your lucky numbers are…and down at the bottom there was copywrite 1994, Mike Munvez Corporation. The Mike Munvez corporation sold arcade games and have since the early 1900’s. They were one of the original distributors of Mute-o-scopes. Directly behind there were a bunch of Mute-o-scopes which are now located in the Main Street Railroad Station. And there are now 2 on the Boardwalk, but they were not from the Penny Arcade. Cat In The Bag, and W.C. Fields In the Golfer are the reels that are in those machines. A mutoscope was a device that was like a rolodex of cards (which was like a paddlewheel with 3×5 cards). You would turn the crank and it would turn the cards, and it would give you an illusion of a motion picture. Some originals, but mostly clips from silent movies. The ones that were operational at the end played “Fast Getaway”, “Narrow Escape”, Play Cowboy Rodeo Time, Charlie Chaplin in The Old Dentist, Shoot Fly, Expecting, E. William Shartay, Ben Turpin Golf, Sharp Shooting Sims, Knockout, Charlie Chaplin in Keystone Capers, Untrained, Dolores Costello in Old San Francisco, and Burlesque Bouncer. On Cail-o-scopes there was Yes, we have no bananas, Tough Competition, Texas Rangers, Run Out of Town, Raid of the watermelon patch, ‘Bridget on a Bike, Captain Kids Treasure, Expecting a Knockout. Cail-o-scopes were stereoscopes that had 2 lenses so they gave a 3D effect and they were automatic. Knockout was a documentary about Joe Lewis and German fighter Max Schnelling. Captain Kid’s treasure was noted for having a pirate lass who displayed a lot of skin and was very risqué for the time period. You can still see the Burlesque Bouncer, Play Cowboy, Rider Untrained, and Old San Francisco in the train station. Different reels could be ordered for these and on the top was a card area, where the replaceable art went. Also in the train station is a machine called Chester Pollard play football game which was in the Arcade. There was a grandfather clock strength tester, which was a handle that put a current through it and you had to see how long you could hold on. There was a lighthouse grip test it was like a lever for a cable car and it would progressively light up boxes to measure how strong you were. There was a automaton, a mechanical figure that does something. A man holding a pig on his lap. The guy had a piece of food in his hand. He’d tease the pig & the pig would get angry and the man would laugh. There was a love tester that would light up bulbs ranging from Blah, Clammy, Harmless, Mild, Wild, Sexy, Burning, Passionate, Hot Stuff, Uncontrollable. The massage-o-matic foot relaxer, which was a red vinyl seat, put your foot on a foot rest and it would vibrate them. All of these were in the first 10 feet of the arcade which had a wall on the right, so you had to go straight through. Then the arcade had a bend to the right and there were more modern games there. A Steeple chase game, a horoscope machine were also in the arcade. Electromechanical baseball games, like a pinball machine, but instead of pinball stuff, there was a baseball field, a plastic bat and places in the back labelled with result (single, double, home run) where the ball would drop. There were little players would run the bases. There were 6 of those type of games, they were in newly built cabinets that were made the same. Across the aisle there were rifle shooting games. There were little projectile ones and some light ones. Randy Senna now owns the games and has them in Wildwood, NJ. Todd Tuckey interview included. The maintenance people could not fix these games so WDW hired airforce electronic technicians and they couldn’t fix them. So WDW, made there own games that could be maintained. Randy owns 8 of the games and fixed them up. Half way through the 45 degree bend, there was a cashier booth off to one side. Bill, a 70 year old grumpy guy worked the booth. In the back of this section, there were band organs. These are real instruments that are played via piano rolls. There is still one in 1900 Park Fair at the Grand Floridian, and a small one in the MK train station. The one in the Penny Arcade was a Wurlitzer, Style 32, concert piano orchestra. It was 11’3’’ tall, 7’4’’ wide, and 4’5’’ deep and weighed 3800 lbs. Manufactured in 1911 or 1912. Acquired by DL in 1953 from a private collector Albert Clifford Rainey. Inside was a 68 note piano, 56 violins, 30 cellos, 30 violas, 30 flutes, 30 piccolos, 30 clarinets, 30 oboes, 26 french horns, 26 base violins, 26 saxophones, 13 bars of chimes, a base drum, a snare drum with cymbal, a timpani, a Chinese crash cymbal, a triangle, a tambourine, castanets, a tremolo action. Another band organ owned by WDW is currently in SE Pennsylvania at a collectors warehouse that is open to the public. Bill Sully Sullivan, VP of MK from 1987-1993, loved this machine and had a button installed on the back so that he could play it without the quarter. The machine was treated roughly at WDW, it has been fully restored and is now with a collector, Robert Middleton in Glisten, WI. Next was a hard right hand turn to where Casey’s is, there were mid-century games in this area. A bubble top hockey game, a flying game with an airplane on a wire, a lunar lander game. The lunar lander game had a moonscape, a cabinet, like the claw game. There was painted flame coming out of the module. You would try to land the module in the designated area. There were pinball machines and current machines. Smash TV, Sunset Riders, the Aliens shooting game, and the new stuff would be changed out. The arcade was open until 1994. The games came from 2 locations Albert Clifford Rainey, CA and Paul Ekan, MO. Ekan had a Gay 90’s museum that closed in 1970 and he sold some of the things to Disney. They acquired an enormous amount, they pull them out at DIsneyana conventions, some of the things went to Tokyo DL and are still there. They closed the arcade and the Magic Shop in 1994. Casey’s took over the back half of the arcade, one of the baseball games was in there for awhile. Sullivan was a proponent of the Penny Arcade. When he retired in 1993, the new management assigned profit points to locations in the park & they determined was the cost vs. the profit was not enough. They built a modern arcade in Tomorrowland and switched from the quarter system to the card system. The Steeplechase game went to the restaurant in Saratoga Springs. Some of the games stayed with WDW, but a lot was sold in 1997 to Mecanntiques via auction. The Van Eton galleries sold the lighthouse machine and one of the love testers. The Big Bertha at the Grand Floridian Hotel. The instrument in Main Street is a Seaberg KT and a Seabert E with flute pi[pes is in Crockett’s Tavern. There is a Coinola midget with flute pipes somewhere and a Wurlitzer style C orchestra piano which we think was in the Golden Horseshoe. There were Americana murals on the wall, Wright Brothers & their airplane, racecars, a Victorian Era amusement arcade, and a steamboat docked rural Illinois River Valley Scene. Those paintings were from The Hall of President’s movie portion. There is a nod in the arcade mural to a Manet painting “A Bar at the Folies Bergère”. as he put the same girl in the arcade. The paintings from the Hall of Presidents were in many places when WDW first opened. There are still 2 or 3 of them in City Hall in MK. There were also some in the Liberty Tree Tavern.
Fiesta Fun Center
Finally! We take you back to one of the greatest vintage spots in all of Walt Disney World – the infamous and now gone, Fiesta Fun Center. This was located on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort, down near the check-in desk. Currently, The Wave restaurant is located in the former spot of the arcade. We take a deep dive into this childhood paradise, which was absolutely massive. Originally, it was just an extra convention space, explaining the large size.
This started officially in 1973, resembling a Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse, filled with games that were similar to the ones featured in Jaws. There was even a smallish movie theater, costing $1 and it rotated various Disney movies. The theater is one place that seems to be very rarely pictured. We received some interesting facts and information relating to the caricature artists, which were there for a very long time. The shooting gallery, which was there in the middle of the Fiesta Fun Center run, is discussed as well during this segment.
We have some various videos that were dug up, relating to the Fun Center: S.A.M.I. by Midway and this great home movie from the 1990s, which covers some other parts of the resort. The Fiesta Fun Center always seemed to have some of the best machines, which we discuss. Over the top games, experiences you didn’t get elsewhere and just an overall exciting experience.
The Fiesta Fun Center was located on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort, down near the check-in desk. Currently, The Wave restaurant is located in the former spot of the arcade. When the resort opened in 1971, the area was a flex convention space. It was named the Sunshine State Exhibitorium. That room may have been used for large convention check in space or pre-convention displays. There was also a car lift back there, for conventions that were giving away cars. In the early years of the resort, they realized there was not a lot for the guests to do after the parks closed, so they started developing entertainment. They quickly converted the space to an entertainment space by adding air hockey tables, pool tables.
In 1973, it formally became the Fiesta Fun Center, a dedicated gaming and entertainment room. There was a snack bar off to the right it served hot dogs in bags and other fast food snacks. It had orange, red and yellow formica décor. Initially the games were pool, air hockey, ski ball, checks hockey, shuffle bowling, and lots of pinball machines. It was 134’ x 150’, it was a huge warehouse like space. Shark game like the one featured in Jaws.
There was even a movie theater, in the back left corner costing $1 and it rotated various Disney movies. The theater is one place that seems to be very rarely pictured. There was a caricature artists, which was there for a very long time. The caricature’s cost $1.25. The artist got to keep $0.25 and Disney got the dollar. There was an incentive to draw them quickly and Jack Matler held the record at 337 people in one day. The movie theater was removed in the mid 1970’s, they believe the movies were relocated. There was a shooting gallery, made by McGlashan Enterprises, which was purchased by WDW in 1969, but left to function independently. But began to incorporate Disney touches. In 1973, they were in R&D for the light guns and ice cannon. They did the shooting galleries at DL and MK and the shooting gallery in the Fiesta Fun Center. The guns initially shot pellets, but the Fiesta Fun Center guns shot light and a red target underneath. This allowed for less maintenance. Joe Denton did concept paintings for the gallery, also David Lopez. It was set up in a web shape, there was a section of toys, a swamp, a pirate section, a castle section. It was a mixture of a few different themes. There were 16 guns. It was released in production in May 1977. There were some familiar animatronics in photos of the gallery. The alligators from America Sings, which eventually ended up in Splash Mountain. There was one of the scared cats from the Haunted Mansion. There are frogs, that are possibly based on the Jungle Cruise. The company sold to other amusement parks, so the shooting galleries are similar and the shooting gallery can be found at Cedar Point. There was a hanging possum similar to those at Big Thunder Mountain, there were woodpeckers similar to Nature’s Wonderland, a Haunted Mansion and a pop up head dressed in a divers suit. There are a lot of photos of the shooting gallery that are on the web. Some of the targets also had sounds associated which were done via 8 track tape. This gallery has been on ebay last time it was listed for $365,000.
The Fiesta Fun Center was known for artwork by Bill Justice on the wall, which they thought were plywood cutouts. He did the murals in the Main Street Theater in the Walt Disney Story. The arcade was featured in the 1978 TV special, the Mouseketeers at WDW. The arcade was also known for having many of each of the popular games and keeping them around for a long time. They think because Disney bought the games outright.
The International Chamber of Commerce in October, 1978 was held in WDW. It was notable because President Jimmy Carter addressed the groups at the castle forecourt. There is a famous picture of Card Walker showing the EPCOT model & preview To President & Mrs. Carter. That picture was taken in the Fiesta Fun Center which they took out the games for that event. It was used as WED’s display area for the large EPCOT site model and pavilion models. At that time there was a United Arab Emirates pavilion. It was supposed to have a magic carpet ride. They then used portions of that model for the preview center.
Listeners favorite games include Mad Dog Macree, Time Machine, Crossbow & Indiana Jones Temple of Doom. The Hercules pinball machine, which was a giant scaled up pinball machine. The sit down Star Wars game, Punch Out. Battlezone, and Burger Time. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 4 player game. Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man the cockpit version of Tail Gunner. There were screen video games that you played along with a movie, there was a shooting game also simulated golf. There are not a lot of pictures, because the arcade is a place that parents sent kids in to entertain them and didn’t follow them in. There was also a Morgana machine in the Fiesta Fun Center. It was a fortune teller type game, but it was a projection on a Styrofoam head.
Fiesta Fun Center was closed for refurbishing in 1995 and reopened as the Food & Fun Center. The game area was changed, the shooting gallery was replaced with a prize redemption center and it became more of a Chuckie Cheese model. The Food & Fun Center closed in 2007, and the games were moved into an arcade on the 4th floor called the game station which was an old gift shop called Fantasia. Its’s now a Toy Story themed kids center called the Pixar Play Zone. Arcades went away because there is a law that was enacted to abolish bingo halls in Florida and Disney got rid of the redemption games as well to be safe. Some of the resorts still have small non redemption arcades.
Other resort arcades have not been covered like the Tomorrowland Power & Light Company arcade in the MK.
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- Join us next month for another great episode, all about the ‘new’ Tomorrowland attraction: The Timekeeper! We thank you for your support and welcome you to enjoy all of our other offerings including our photos, restored films & The Lake Buena Vista Historical Society.
(Enhanced show notes by Donna, May 2021)