Rare Personal WDW Construction Photos by “Bud” Benedum

Bud Benedum on Main Street USA in WDW as it's under construction

Kelly Gallagher, granddaughter of the late Wilbert Charles “Bud” Benedum (pictured to the left) has given us permission to showcase the photos that her grandfather personally took during the construction of WDW.

Mr. Benedum was the Chief Engineer of construction for the monorail at the time and he documented the construction of WDW through many wonderful photos.

These are just the first photos that Kelly will be sharing with us over the next few weeks.


A few of the rare moments captured in these photos include:

  • West Central Street
  • The Empress Lilly
  • Temporary telephone/electrical poles next to the Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Make-shift tower in front of the Cinderella’s castle – presumably for official photography and/or engineering.
  • Personal photo of the topping of the castles spires

Wilbert Charles “Bud” Benedum Gallery

Special thanks to Kelly and her family for sharing their memories with us!

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Chad Lincicome
March 8, 2018 3:03 pm

Love the pictures but that is not the Empress Lilly. I believe it is the admiral Joe Fowler.

March 8, 2018 4:46 pm

Thanks for sharing, very cool

March 8, 2018 8:17 pm

Love seeing these pictures!!!

Ali Clingman
Ali Clingman
March 8, 2018 9:07 pm

Chad Lincicome, I can’t tell you how many guests “remember” taking a dinner cruise on Lake Buena Vista aboard the Empress Lily! And they insist…even when they are told the Lily (now Fulton’s, I believe) is not a free-floating vessel – and is a building, not a boat. I miss Denny Zavett and the River Boat Racsals…good times.

lee Browning
lee Browning
June 24, 2019 4:44 am
Reply to  Ali Clingman

what a slap in Walts face to change the Empress Lily to another name!
That returaunt was dedicated to Walts Wife Lily Disney! The Disney Co. has no care about what they do to make a dime! Shame! Walts rolling in his grave no doubt!

Mike Jones
Mike Jones
April 23, 2020 8:07 pm

What us the emblem on the hardhat? It looks like maybe H for Hubbard Construction, my former employer

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