Vintage Disney World Photos Show the Magic Kingdom in the Early Days of the Park

Since opening on October 1st, 1971, the Magic Kingdom has been host to countless millions of happy memories for multiple generations. Although the park hasn’t been around nearly as long as its counterpart on the West coast, the Magic Kingdom has a rich history of its own. After all, it was Walt Disney himself who planned and conceived what came to be known as, “The Florida Project” back in the mid-1960s.

  1. 1 This photo from 1977 shows a near-empty Fantasyland.

    You can find a Fantasyland in all Disney parks. Unlike other themed areas, it seems to transcend any cultural differences. Fantasyland is presented in a Renaissance motif and is most known for hosting Disney’s most classic character attractions. This is where Cinderella’s Castle reigns supreme among other staples like Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, and six of the other main attractions. 

    However, the Fantasyland guests see today is very different from this 1977 version. In 2010, construction started on a concept, dubbed “New Fantasyland” that would expand the popular area. In the four years it took to revamp this area, rides such as Ariel’s Grotto were conceived and important stations such as the Princess Fairytale Hall opened. To this day, Disney World Fantasyland attractions continue to come and go to make room for modern Disney tales. Some of today’s more popular add-ons include Gaston’s Tavern and the Be Our Guest restaurant. 

    The attraction seen in this photo is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which closed in 1998 after almost 20 years as one of Disney World’s original attractions. There are a few rides that these guests were able to experience in this 1977 photo that is no longer in Fantasyland today:

    •    Mickey Mouse Revue (1971–80)

    •    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage (1971–94)

    •    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (1971–98)

    •    Skyway to Tomorrowland (1971–99)

    •    Skull Rock (1971–2011)

    •    Snow White's Adventures (1971–1994)