Podcast Episode 73: Happy New Year!

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Welcome to Episode 73 of the RetroWDW Podcast: Happy New Year!– We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between. We are back with a full episode and our first release of 2022. 

Listener Mail

The mailbag is back for 2022 and we are ready to hear from you. Be sure to reach out with questions, stories, memories, and more. You never know if your letter will be read on a future episode: podcast@retrowdw.com

  1. Scott reached out for our first letter and he included some solid ephemera. The old Key to the World card from 1998! Thanks for sharing this with us Scott!
  2. Our next message is from Richard who was once a Disney World employee. He has a great WDW story about being there during the Y2K new years. We learn about some server transfers and also our take on guest services, which he confirms was very accurate. Best of luck to Richard who is running a half marathon in his Roy’s Cabin shirt!
  3. John Myers wrote in about our suggestion to take in the parks slowly by wandering around, enjoying some snacks, and not rushing ride to ride. John took our advice at Bush Gardens and wandered around with his family. He is also planning to do this on his next trip to WDW. Have a great time!
  4. We spoke to Remington, who wrote our next letter, about pictorial souvenirs. He was asking about the various versions, covers, and changes. How spoke on this and tells you how to identify the different years, which is a great tip if you are collecting them all.
  5. Ryan is our last letter for this episode. As a resident of the Central Florida area, he wanted to give us an update on Champion’s Gate, as he is a Central Florida traffic manager! If you are a frequent listener, you know that How despises this part of his journey. Either way, we appreciate the info and thought we would share what Ryan has going on.  Thanks Ryan!

Main Topic

This month we talk about New Year’s and how it has been celebrated over the years at Walt Disney World. Most of us now think of spending December 31st in EPCOT or the Magic Kingdom, rushing to get in before the park fills up. Brian leads us with some fascinating info on parties, events, and more that took place over the years at Walt Disney World.

We start off with a little history on New Year’s, which seems to be a tradition that came to favor back in the Apollo launches and even Casey Kasem. We even get into the Dick Clark / NYC ball dropping, which seems to have its own history that needs an entire podcast devoted to that whole tradition.

At Walt Disney World, the varieties and parties are a bit of history that seems to be lost in time, as they have changed so much since 1971. Brian gets us started with the first New Year’s at Disney World, as the park had only been open for a few months. We even get to hear from some original cast members who worked this evening, December 31st, 1971. As we go through the various generations, we hear all about food offerings, prices, and of course the parties. This led to an interesting discussion between all of us and what party/event we would be drawn to.  We even posted this on Twitter after we recorded this episode.

The Contemporary, Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness, and Lake Buena Vista/Disney Village were all used for their own unique party on New Year’s Eve. As Brian describes them, you can really get a good idea as to who performed at the events and also what type of food and drink were served. We even pull out the old inflation calculator to see what these events really cost back in the 70s and 80s when compared to 2022.  As we get into the 1980s, we refer to the amazingly detailed 1981 Food Guide that Brian discussed back on Retro Food: Episode II.  We also advance to the 90s and we get into Pleasure Island once again. This episode is full of music too, as we play the hits from the various artists that played during the New Year’s Even parties at WDW. Get your Shazam ready if you want to relive these classic artists playing at Disney World on December 31st.

Big thanks to Brian for leading this fun episode that really digs deep into a holiday that has evolved over the years at Walt Disney World. As we wrap up, which party, event, or artist appeals to you the most? Leave a comment on this article or on our social medias.

RetroMagic Fifty

Join us this April for RetroMagic 50. Tickets are now on sale and the event is coming together as we work through details and line up our schedule of events. Have questions? Reach out to us and we will be happy to help you out. info@lbvhistory.org

We hope to see you this April for one of our biggest events yet!

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February 23, 2022 4:48 pm

As an annual passholder in the 90s I was lucky enough to spend a few New Year’s Eve at Disney World, but this podcast has reminded me of perhaps my best ever NYE – 31 December 1997. We had intended to go to EPCOT for the evening, but being a spoilt teenager I had refused to leave the house until about 5pm as there was a movie on TV I wanted to finish watching. We pulled up to EPCOT to see a FULL sign, and cars being turned away. I was not popular with my family. However, the attendant said… Read more »

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