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Friday, October 23, 2009

Magic Kingdom Grand Opening: 38 years ago today

While we all think of Oct. 1, 1971 as the opening date for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (and this date is correct - the park opened to the public on Oct. 1), it wasn't until this day 38 years ago that the Magic Kingdom celebrated it's grand opening weekend.

The Orlando Sentinel was there (see for yourself), and has posted the original story from the Oct. 24, 1971 edition. I'll post a brief excerpt -- you can read the entire article at the Orlando Sentinel's new "Daily Disney" page.

Nearly 40,000 visits – the biggest crowd yet – jammed Walt Disney World turnstiles Saturday as the $400 million “Magic Kingdom” kicked off its three-day formal opening celebration with the arrival of a plane-load of Hollywood notables.

The celebrities – including Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Walter Brennan and Fred MacMurray – arrived aboard a chartered jet to take part in the festivities, starting with a performance of the World Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler.

And they were greeted at Orlando Jetport at McCoy by a huge crowd of spectators who oohed and aahed as the stars, many accompanied by their families, stepped from the plane.

The applauded Brennan and MacMurray, squealed at Stack and Hudson and whistled at Annette Funicello, one of the original Mouseketeers.

The stars were quickly ushered aboard buses for the trip to Disney World and the theme park, the product of the imagination and dreams of the late Walt Disney.

Inside the park, there were long lines at almost every attraction, every ride.

But there was little of the gripping which normally goes with long lines.

Instead, the fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and, of course, youngsters by the thousands waited patiently, smiling, laughing and talking.

It was a good day to be there ...

>> Read the rest

1 comment:

Dad.. said...

Can't believe it's been THAT long ago!!

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