Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Walt Disney World 1989

When I decided to do a Disney brochure this week, I knew I was making a time commitment. This brochure is a detail lover's dream! And with so many individual parks to cover, I could probably spend the better part of the next week dissecting it. But I do enjoy sleeping once in a while, so I'll cover the basics and let you read the fine print for yourselves!

When it comes to expanding their offerings, Disney is not capable of doing anything small. Whether it's a new restaurant, a new attraction, or an entirely new area, you can bet your bottom dollar that it's going to be big and impressive. As the brochure cover indicates, the biggest thing to hit Walt Disney World in 1989 was the brand new Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. But as we flip through the pages, you'll see that this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Keeping track of everything that was added to Walt Disney World in 1989 is no easy feat. The designers of this brochure decided to make it even more difficult by placing "NEW" banners across the tops of many of the photos, some of which depict rides and attractions that were actually added in previous years. This particular photo is true to its banner, as it highlights one of the many shows set to premier at the Disney-MGM park. But beware of imposters!

There's no questioning the "newness" of this particular attraction. Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park (now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios) most certainly did make its debut in 1989, and as with all things Disney, it took "state-of-the-art" to a whole new level. Hollywood Boulevard, complete with a replica of the famous Chinese Theatre, was recreated. The Great Movie Ride brought classics to life right before guests' very eyes. You could add your own sound effects to a movie, have your senses assaulted by explosions and floods, and even witness new movies and TV shows being filmed.

The Magic Kingdom needs no introduction. A staple of Walt Disney World since it opened, this is a park where imagination comes to life. If yours is a little rusty, perhaps you can rejuvenate it by reading the description of Mickey's Birthdayland, which encourages you to wish the jolly ol' mouse a happy 60th birthday. Only trouble is, the year was 1989 and Mickey turned 60 in 1988! (That's also when his Birthdayland opened, by the way.) Perhaps he was stuck in a time warp?

Magic Kingdom actually did welcome a new attraction in 1989, although you'd have to read through this entire section to learn about it. Dreamflight, presented by Delta Air Lines, replaced the former If You Could Fly attraction in Tomorrowland. Utilizing an Omnimover ride system, Dreamflight took its passengers on a journey through the history of aviation.

Hmm... I'm starting to think that this entire brochure is stuck in a time warp! Not a single thing labeled as "new" on these pages actually opened in 1989. Maelstrom, along with the rest of Norway, joined EPCOT Center in 1988. The spectacular IllumiNations show also premiered in '88. And Captain EO? Why, he had been around since 1986! I guess "new" is a relative term within the context of this brochure.

Although it is not mentioned, there was one new addition to EPCOT in 1989: The Wonders of Life pavilion, which opened late in the year. Perhaps it was not far enough along to merit a write-up in the '89 brochure.

Visiting Walt Disney World is more than a day trip. It's an experience. Even back in the '80s, the resort featured many different lodging options. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, the first moderately priced property at Disney, was enjoying its first full season of operation in 1989. (It opened on October 1, 1988.)

On a side note, nothing spells '80s culture like a dude in a pastel-colored suit! [upper left-hand corner] Thank goodness that we as a society have come to our fashion senses since then!

Of all the pages in this brochure, these are the ones which deserved to have that "NEW" banner slapped all over them. And yet...nada. Since Disney apparently has fallen down on the job in this one instance, allow moi to enlighten you!

Two words: Pleasure Island. This former entertainment and nightlife mecca appeared on the scene in May of '89. Two more words: Typhoon Lagoon. This new water park, featuring "the world's largest inland surfing lagoon" among other things, also debuted in 1989. It complemented the existing River Country swimming area nicely. And while the Disney Village Marketplace was not new, its name was. Prior to 1989, this shopping and dining village had been known as Walt Disney World Village. (It has undergone yet another name change since 1989, but let's save that little nugget for a future post!)

Whew... I'm beat! If nothing else, sharing this brochure has made me painfully aware of how much Disney history I have yet to learn. How is it that I always walk away from these posts with something new on my to-do list?


Scott and Carol said...

I visited WDW in 1989, thanks for bringing back some great memories!


Anonymous said...

So did I, I was at WDW in summer 1989 as well. First and only time. I was born Jan 1974. I wish I could go back again someday. I'm from PA 2 miles west of Dorney Park.

Sabrina said...

Sadly, I've only been to WDW once myself. It was sometime in the early '80s and I barely remember it! I'm dying to go back but the opportunity simply hasn't presented itself. Carol, I'm guessing 1989 was one of the many, many times you were there and I am very jealous!

Scott and Carol said...

You are correct! We absolutely love Disney and have visited both coasts many times. Disneyland is my favorite, I can feel "spirit' the Uncle Walt.

We will be doing a Disney triple this year, we visited WDW in May and plan on visiting DLP & the Walt Disney musuem in SF in Nov.