Walt Disney World: Take a Historical Look Back at Disney in Photographs

1975 Cinderella castle, 1970s Disney castle

I went to Walt Disney World in 1975 when I was 5-years-old. I have the vague rememberance that it looked the same way it does now.  In my mind anyway, it looks the same. But when I look at older photographs, it looks different. The color of the sky was different, and colors in general are muted. Surely this must be the result of camera quipment that was 40 years older than the digital equipment of today. But there’s always little things that are subtely different as well, that really arent the same today.

Our photographer Denny had some old photos he was posting for our staff’s entertainment, and I just had to look into the photos a bit more.

1980s Mickey Mouse, old mickey Mouse, Disney, Magic Kingdom

Here’s Denny’s take on Mickey. “Here is the first time that I saw Mickey in the flesh.  Notice he still had giant ears!  This would have been around 1984.  This was my second visit to park.” 

I found it facscinating that they let you take photos with characters on the grass. My parents never stood in lines to have our photos made with Disney characters, perhaps they were too long, so I have no memory of standing next to Mickey as a child. They obviously stopped the trampling of the grass by the time I was older.

Roger Rabbit, castle stage show Disney,

Denny on Roger, “When was the last time you saw a Castle Stage show from the back?  This was 1992.  I can’t remember the last time I saw Roger Rabbit out in the park!

Here’s my nephew Andy with Roger Rabbit in 1991.”

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a 1988 film from Touchstone Pictures and director Robert Zemeckis. Wikipedia notes that the film, combining live action and animation, was based on Gary K. Wolf’s novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? This novel depicted a world in which cartoon characters interacted directly with human beings. Who Framed Roger Rabbit stars Bob Hoskins as a private detective who investigates a murder involving the famous cartoon character, Roger Rabbit.

Disney parade, davy crockett

The above photo Denny took of Davy Crockett in a parade at the Magic Kingdom.

Because I wasn’t born when Crockett was on television, I searched Wikipedia for the origins of how Davy Crockett teamed up with Disney. Davy Crockett was a five part serial which aired on ABC in one-hour episodes on the Disneyland series. The series stars Fess Parker as real-life frontiersman Davy Crockett and Buddy Ebsen as his fictional best friend, George Russel.

The first three episodes of the serial were edited together as the 1955 theatrical film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, and rebroadcast in color in the 1960s when the Disney program went to NBC. This series and film are known for the catchy theme song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” It was filmed in color at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the visitor center at Oconaluftee near Qualla Reservation’s entrance and Janss Conejo Ranch, California.

Tom Sawyer Island cabin

Denny found this photo of Tom Sawyer Island for us, showing how years ago, the cabin had appeared to be on fire. Denny pointed out, “You can still see the gas jets poking through the front wall.”

A quick internet search lead me to Disney World.com to see how Tom Sawyer wound up at Disney World. Walt Disney grew up in the town of Marceline, Missouri, with a love for Mark Twain novels, especially The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Those novels took place mainly in the imaginary town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. Walt added Tom Sawyer Island to California’s Disneyland Park in 1956—one of the first additions to the then one-year-old theme Park.

You can sail across the Rivers of America to Tom Sawyer’s Island to romp through dense forests, hike rugged trails, go over swinging suspension bridges, explore mysterious caves, wander a frontier fort, and take pretend adventures just like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

I think it’s neat to look at old Disney photographs, because this gives the the chance to tell my children was was there long ago.

So there’s a look back at the Disney of yesteryear through pictures, and thanks to our Mouze Denny for his photographs.

By day, Denny is the Marketing Manager for the Manatee Players in Bradenton,Florida, a nationally recognized community theater.  By night, he frequently performs in musicals in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.  But…his heart, camera and annual pass are always in Orlando!

He loves sharing his photos with the world and hopes that they take you away from your dull existance to the magical world of Disney!

Be sure to visit Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.

Like to read about Disney? Here ya go!

If You Don’t Take One of These At Walt Disney World, You May Regret It Later

A Big Ten List of Disney’s Best Websites

Here’s Where to Find Walmart, Publix, and Malls near Walt Disney World

10 Magical Reasons for an On-Property Disney World Vacation

The Disney Princess: One of the Most Affordable Souvenirs Ever!



  1. I refuse to think about the 90s being so long ago! That said, I’ll get to scanning my photos from my time in WDWCP in Fall 1993. If I really dig around, I may find some even older ones. 🙂

  2. Great look back. Fun to see how the Castle is pretty much the same today.

    • Hey gurl! You back from NC?!

      • Yep. Got a bunch of posts to do from the trip. I think about 20! Did so much stuff, ate so much stuff, saw so much stuff! 🙂 I’ll sprinkle in some other posts too, so as not to make it all North Carolina heavy. Hope to go to Epcot for my birthday June 7th. Going to do a story on the musical performers there.

  3. Great post, great shots!

    My first trip to WDW was in 1975 also–I went twice! Both times I raced to Space Mountain first, much like Brenda and I now race to DH’s Midway Mania, AK’s Safari, and Epcot’s Soarin’! I was way past five, though, but at 22 I was still young (Brenda says I’m still a kid….).

    No photos, though. I didn’t have money for either a camera or to develop pictures! I do love the digital age, where I can take all the photos I want and not worry about the expense!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Benda & Roger

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