vintage disney

Vintage Disneyworld: 1994 UK promotional video!

Slowly I’m going through all my family’s old VHS tapes and here’s a good one! A 1994 promo video from the UK airline Unijet, showing off all that Disneyworld and Florida had to offer to Brits.

Features footage of some now-defunct attractions including Pleasure Island, River Country, Spectromagic, and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (my favourite when I was a kid.) Oh, and a robot Bill Clinton.

Fun fact: For YEARS I assumed this goddamn video was the cause of my annoying-but-far-from-debilitating submechanophobia. I definitely remember that as a child I saw a clip of the Universial Studios Jaws ride and it terrified me no end. I always thought it was on this video… But why would a Disney promo video be promoting the competition? (Even in the Florida montage at the end I don’t think there’s any Universal Studios stuff!) So hmmm, maybe I’ll stumble upon that damn shark in a different video one day.

Vintage Disneyland: DLP in 2001!

Poor old Disneyland Paris, it was always the underdog of the Disney parks, insofar that anything pulling in millions per year can be an underdog. It’s considered the worst of the Disneys. But it’s not, I promise you it’s not! It has its own French flavour and I really love it.

And here’s what it looked like in 2001…

I’m a big fan of animatronics and DLP hosts two terrific ones: the Dragon and the Giant Squid. If you have submechanophobia like me, try not to think too hard about how the squid is cleaned and maintained, mmkay?

A lesser-known animatronic in the park is this guy, the crocodile which sits outside of the Rainforest Cafe. He was still there as of 2017!

Here’s some shots of the parade through the Magic Kingdom. This was before the Studios part of the park opened, so no parades there.

But there was only one year to go until it DID open, so you could still see the entry gates and the water tower, you just couldn’t go in.

This is the Main Street Electrical Parade, which I’m sure looked MUCH better in real life. Sadly it exists no more, at least not in Paris. :(

And lastly… There’s no photos of me in here because I was hideous-looking in 2001, acne and puberty hit bad, so please enjoy this picture of the castle which I luckily am not in.

Vintage Disneyworld ’99: Esmeralda

Esmeralda was always my favourite of the Disney women. She wasn’t a princess but I didn’t care. (This was before Disney really started pushing the ‘princess’ thing anyway.) She doesn’t appear in the Disneyland parks anymore ever from what I can tell. Disney just kinda quietly ignores their version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, probably because… well… if you’ve seen it you’ll know.

But then I found this old Disney autograph book in a drawer and in it was-

This was kinda interesting to me even though I could not remember meeting either of them AT ALL. (I was still a pretty young kid after all.) And also there was no date on the autograph book because children don’t think to date things! So those autographs could’ve been either from 1996 (when HOND actually came out) or 1999. But I have SO FEW MEMORIES of going to Disneyworld in 1996! That’s what the photos are for, to remind me, but honestly I kinda look at them and a lot of the time there isn’t any memory attached.

But a week or two ago I found this tiny little keyring photo album thingy, all the way from the late 90s. You could print out tiny little versions of photos (or get your parents to do so) and store them in a photo album so small you could carry it around with you on your bag or keys. Yeah… that’s what we all did before phones.

So I flipped through the teeny keyring album a couple of times. It was all pictures from our trip in 1999, which I do remember a bit better. And after looking more closely suddenly I realised there was one photo hidden behind another. I pulled it out and…

There was an Esmeralda in Disneyworld in 1999! I don’t know if she was the one who gave me the autograph or if that was a different ’96 Esmeralda, but hey she hung on for a few years in the park after Hunchback of Notre Dame came out and before Disney got cold feet about the contents of the film!

Thank you past me for hiding that photo away where I’d probably have never found it, ya dick.

Vintage Disneyworld: 1999 edition

Hey remember all my posts of photos from when my family went to Disneyworld in 1996? Well we went in 1999 as well (I was a spoiled kid) and only recently have I uncovered photos from that. There’s not nearly as many (I figure the rest will show up eventually) and they’re pretty small images but, wanna see?

Animal Kingdom would have just opened at this point I think. It was about a year old when this photo was taken!

I imagine I was probably pretty fascinated by the dinosaurs scattered around Animal Kingdom. I seem to remember the movie Dinosaur was being advertised in the park a lot and there was at least one “Dinosaur” themed ride? Alas, I fear it didn’t stand the test of time.

On the cable cars again! Those things must’ve been popular. So I guess the body of water on the right is the submarine lake with the submarines long gone.

Tomorrowland as viewed from the cable cars. I remember the racing car ride there but couldn’t say with any certainty what it was called.

The castle, presumably also viewed from the cable cars since there’s no crowds getting in the way.

Space Mountain, ditto. Is now a good time to point out I find the Disneyworld Space Mountain design so terribly dull? Feast your eyes instead on the Disneyland Paris one. It’s a WORK OF ART.

Oh but this is Spectromagic and that was also a work of art!

Right here is a blurry dolphin and my 13-year-old self wrote on the photo that this was at Epcot, they had dolphins at Epcot? Oh wait they did! And still do! I also gather animal rights activists aren’t happy about it and well, fair enough.

Elsewhere in Epcot, who’s this guy? This would have been at Innoventions, which was closed for good and reduced to rubble just last year, aww man. Oh here’s a video of him! I think his name is Starnac. Wonder where he is now.

Ah here is The Electric Umbrella! That name stuck in my mind for ages for some reason.

This is IllumiNations which took place over the Epcot lake! Also hooray, 90s cameras had evolved to be able to take pictures of fireworks at that point.

Minnie Mouse! Oh my GOD you can see my training bra under my shirt in this picture.

An AT-AT! That must be the building Star Tours was in?

Curiously the only Disneyworld ’99 snaps I do have in high definition are ones from Typhoon Lagoon. Here’s the Typhoon Lagoon boat!

In fact WAIT I have a picture of that boat from ’96 as well! So here’s the two side-by-side.

And that’s about it! (I really hope I find the rest some day though.)

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: MGM Studios

…For back in the day, the park was actually named MGM Studios! Now, I believe it’s called Hollywood Studios. Let’s just settle for calling it “the Studios” from this point.

I look remarkably unimpressed here. God knows why, it’s not like there was a shortage of interesting stuff.

It seems like I was there just on time to see the Toy Story Parade! I kinda remember Buzz on the float repeating his stock phrases as he went by.

I have one better photo from the parade, too. Looks like a camera flash was caught in the metal thingy there.

There was more Toy Story stuff inside. I think this might have been the Art of Animation exhibit… or what became the Art of Animation exhibit?

In the same building, or possibly another building, who knows:

Back outside again we have a rather comical-looking old dinosaur:

What or who is this large green dino? Lemme google around to try and identify it. I think it’s an earlier version (?) of Gertie, who is the first result for “disney mgm studios green dinosaur.”

Ahhh, here’s some shots of the Honey I Shrunk The Kids play area, which was my FAVOURITE bit of the park.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I took like, two outfits to Disneyworld. I still have that Minnie Mouse hat somewhere! It’s turned grey now.

I loved this play area so much, I think I must’ve spent at least a couple hours here. I wonder if it’s still there?… nope, Galaxy’s Edge ate it. Oh well.

Well, that’s most of the good photos and this post is long enough!

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Epcot

So a while back I started posting some vintage Disneyworld photos, all the way from 1996, on here. And then I forgot all about it. But now I have remembered again! So seeing as I still have the photographs lying around on my disk drive, shall we take a look at ’90s Epcot?

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here (not that they’re very good), but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

Terrible quality photo but you get the idea.

Ah, Spaceship Earth. I remember… going inside it and there was a dark ride in there? Lemme check on Google. Aha! There WAS a ride in there! And I have almost entirely no memory of it.

Look who it is! Yep, at some point during that day we met Mickey. The thing that takes me aback about this photo is the lack of crowding around him.

Tigger was also there…

But it looks like I enjoyed meeting Winnie the Pooh most, if these photos are anything to go by.

I deemed meeting Pooh worthy of inclusion in my holiday scrapbook, even though I couldn’t quiiiite spell his name right.


Now this photo… this I think might have been taken inside a restaurant called The Electric Umbrella. I remember it was technology-themed.

…But, looking up pictures of The Electric Umbrella, it looks a bit different (and lighter) so maybe it wasn’t in there? Perhaps it was on the Spaceship Earth ride? If anyone knows I would love to hear from you!

Let’s move onto the World Showcase!

Heeeere we are! I wonder what was in that bag I was holding? I think it was a plushie of Nala from The Lion King, but I’m not 100% sure.

Some landmarks:

Now I definitely remember IllumiNations being held on the lake here, but sadly I don’t have any photos of it as far as I know. (I imagine some of that is due to ’90s-era cameras being really bad at taking photos at night.)

Hey, person all in pink, d’ya mind not photobombing?

Here’s some shots of me and my family posing all round the World Showcase. Selfies hadn’t been invented yet so I guess the last one must’ve been taken by a kindly stranger.

And lastly, a lovely water feature.

Alas, I don’t know what part of Epcot that’s in, either.

Geez, this brought back memories. I can remember Epcot a bit more clearly than the other Disney parks for some reason. It must have left quite an impression on eight-year-old me.

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Discovery Island

DISCOVERY ISLAND! It has long been a source of fascination for me. That sweet little zoo I visited as a child in 1996 is now apparently an overgrown, decaying, delightful house of mild horrors. There are vultures! There are dead snakes in jars!


Anyway. Many brave souls have ventured their way into Discovery Island over the years. Some also have been sued by Disney I believe. I would definitely jump at the chance to explore the still-very much abandoned Island, but instead, hey, let’s see what it was like as a fully-functioning, snakesinjars-less part of the park.

(You can repost the pictures of the attractions/animals here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!)

It’s a croc! Is it just me or does he not look all that happy to be behind fencing?

I can’t read these signs but I think they’re telling you to please not feed the animals or presumably the Mouse will get you.

These adorable Roseate Spoonbills all got relocated to Animal Kingdom when it opened, I think.

I don’t think my family spent too long at Discovery Island during ye olde Disney holiday. From what I remember it wasn’t really appealing to children because there were no rides or costumed characters around.

My brother it seems REALLY REALLY liked the sand though.

Vintage Disneyworld ’96: Magic Kingdom

So I stumbled across a treasure trove of photos in my parents’ house, hooray. I was DELIGHTED.

Ya see, my love affair/general bizarre fascination with theme parks probably started when I was 8 or so and got taken to Disneyworld in Florida. I have very few actual memories of the experience, but thank god, my parents were early adopters of state-of-the-art camera technology!

…Sadly I am not, and all of these pictures are photos of photos because I have no access to a scanner. But for my fellow lovers of the Disney parks and spectacular theme parks in general, here’s a reasonably clear look of what Disneyworld looked like circa 1996 (yep, pre-Animal Kingdom). Part one! I’ll cover Epcot, the Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and poor, forgotten, abandoned Discovery Island later.

You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!

The ferry to the Magic Kingdom. Whether this ferry still exists, and where one would get on it, I have no idea. Hey, there’s the castle in the background!

The cable cars! I have vague memories of us riding in either a red or yellow one. Apparently the cable cars are gone now? Aw man. One of the memories I do have from Disneyworld is going over a lake (I think that’s the black blob to the left) in the cable car and my dad telling me that the submarines used to be under there. That would have been the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride, which shut down a mere two years before my family visited. I was so close.

The castle as seen from the cable cars.

Now this is from a parade I gather was a surreal celebration of all things Mickey. According to my husband, the picture on the left “looks like a Mickey Mouse head stuck on something’s crotch.”

Still, at least the ‘real’ Mickey was less unnerving, right?

Okay nevermind.

A couple of other, much better photos from the Mickey Parade (Why does the name ‘Mickey and Friends Parade’ keep coming back to me? Maybe that was its actual name?)

Here’s Splash Mountain, which I never rode:

According to my eight-year-old self, encouraged by my parents to label the Disney photos in the family photo album, this is a ‘indien village’. What it actually is and where it was, if it’s even actually in the Magic Kingdom, I have no idea. Anyone recognise this?

Here’s Cogsworth. Why he has a tiny Mickey inside him I have no idea.

Here’s It’s A Small World, which I gather has not in fact changed much in the past couple decades:

I’m guessing this is Discoveryland, with its funky retro rockets:

And that’s 1996 Magic Kingdom! I have a few more disconnected memories. I remember we nearly set the holiday villa on fire. Ah, good times.