D23’s Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th – Day 1

| May 15, 2011 | 4 Replies

I know what you’re thinking…..you’re one of the Disneyland guys, why are you reporting on a Walt Disney World event?

Well, I happened to be in the neighborhood.

That’s not really true. I enjoyed the Disneyland version of Destination D that was put together to celebrate Disneyland’s 55th, so why not take a trip to Orlando and learn a little more about Walt Disney World. So, here I am.

Read on for some pictures and highlights from the first day of this two day event that features Imagineers, archivists and historians celebrating 40 years of Walt Disney World.

To begin the morning, Head of D23 Steven Clark welcomed the 1,000 or so in attendance at the Contemporary Resort. He talked a little bit about upcoming D23 events, even hinting at a Cars 2 event, then introduced the very first Walt Disney World Ambassador Debby Dane. Dane shared a few memories from working in the Disney World preview center, then being selected as the first ambassador.

The next presentation was Weird Disney by Historian Paul F. Anderson and Chief Archivist Becky Cline. They showed quite a few of the same pictures and footage from Disneyland that we had seen last year, but then added some Disney World items, including some 1970s promos for Grad Nite.

Former Archivist and Disney Legend Dave Smith shared some pictures from the construction of the Magic Kingdom and talked about former attractions in Walt Disney World: The Way We Were. Below is a picture of the Jungle Cruise, which was one of the one of the first things to be built, so that the foliage would be given a head start.

After the lunch break, Paul F. Anderson was joined by Archivist Steven Vagnini to discuss Epcot: Walt Disney’s Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. Their theory is that ALL of Walt Disney World is part of EPCOT, which I guess explains the original name: EPCOT Center.

The afternoon continued with Archivist Rob Klein and Historian Tim O’Day’s Past Forward: Walt Disney World on Television. They showed some great footage from the Magic Kingdom opening special and the original Phil Simms “I’m going to Disney World” commercial. What’s interesting is that he actually said, “I’m gonna go to Disney World”. Close, but not how we remember it.

Steven Vagnini returned along with Imagineer Tony Baxter and presented The Walt Disney World Resort That Never Was, featuring pictures and recreations of ideas that never came to be, including Thunder Mesa, which would have been built at the Magic Kingdom in place of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Following the dinner break, Tony Baxter and Tim O’Day returned with a few short films on Disney World, most of which aren’t available to the general public.

Day 2 will feature several more presentations, including a panel of Imagineers, plus an autograph session and a concert featuring Richard Sherman. But the day starts with a Surprise Morning with the Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador Team….wonder what that could mean?? I’ll let you know.

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Category: Disney World

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