98 episodes

A monthly trip back in time to Walt Disney World - From pre-opening to 25 years ago; your four retro hosts discuss now closed, but not forgotten attractions, designs, architecture and more! Come experience the Vacation Kingdom of the World...the way it was...and the way it is in your memories!

Retro Disney World Podcast RetroWDW.com

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 12 Ratings

A monthly trip back in time to Walt Disney World - From pre-opening to 25 years ago; your four retro hosts discuss now closed, but not forgotten attractions, designs, architecture and more! Come experience the Vacation Kingdom of the World...the way it was...and the way it is in your memories!

    71.5 - Listener Memories

    71.5 - Listener Memories

    Welcome to Episode 71.5 of the RetroWDW Podcast: 50th Anniversary Memories - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between. We hope you stick with us through 2021 as we bring you some great content that will take you back to WDW each month.

    For this episode, we are focusing on you the listener, and all the feedback you sent us from Episode 71. The outpouring of memories was overwhelming and we felt we needed to showcase this on an episode. While we do not have time to get through everyone, this episode features many of you and also what you had to say. If you enjoy memories, you won't want to skip this one. We get into lots of great stories that were shared with us and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.


    Main Topic / Listener Mail
    For this main topic, the plan is to give you a short synopsis of each letter we discuss. This should help guide you through this episode and also give you a letter or two to look forward to if the topic matches your interest. 

    Jim: Discusses visiting the parks with his children, which changed his magical experience, including the Crystal Palace character meal. The WDW sign was a huge hit for his children and they even moved to Florida. Jim is also a fan of just sitting on a bench too!
    John: To start, reminds us that the shells from the Polynesian are Puka Shells. John also brings up 'South of the Border' signs which appear on the highway. He remembers staying at Fort Wilderness, staying on the Jack Rabbit Run Loop, and of course the boat/train whistle.
    Craig: Gives us some great examples of the legendary WDW customer service, including freebies and meeting Mickey. Craig also praises Lego Land for its customer service. We all get into our stories about freebies and how it's the little things that make a big difference.
    Claudia: Starts with some phases of the trip/visit. Also, Claudia gets into the past visits with people who have passed on. She also gets into closed-down attractions and also spoilers before visiting an attraction. Finally, she discusses WDW customer service.
    Matt: Sent us a story about customer service at Fort Wilderness. The bed was too soft and at 8pm, cast members drove over to fix the situation in an unimaginable way. Great story Matt!
    Ramon: Really enjoyed Episode 71 and he felt it was so nice to be unscripted. He will be traveling to Fort Wilderness soon and puts Episode 71 in his top three.
    Michael: Felt the last episode was somewhat therapeutic and also made him think a bit at the end. When getting into where things are heading for the parks, maybe we are not the target audience anymore... Michael also gave us a call! Thanks, Michael!
    Scott: Sent this through Instagram, Scott really enjoyed Episode 71. Thanks for your kind words about our show and past episodes. We discuss our different visits, history, and trip experiences.
    @JLBNerdy: Episode 71 brought her to tears and she is going in November, taking her niece for the first time. We hope you have a fabulous trip!
    Josh: Joined the show around the time of our Horizons episodes, playing catchup ever since. Happy 50th to you Josh!
    Andrew: This is another voicemail and Andrew tells us about ordering a cake on Main Street, taking that cake to the Contemporary, then enjoying the Electrical Water Pageant. This is amazing and we all would love to spend our birthday like this.
    Bob: Discusses major news events that occur when you are in the parks. Bob also defends Todd and the Gold Key Package, which of course is for high rollers only. Todd vows to cover this on a future episode or movie night.
    @JustEllenIGuess: Would like to hear more stories and loved the format of our last episode. We work to keep it real, research the memories to verify them and also keep it respectful. Brian still thinks 20k is a boring ride!
    @ServoIsNaked:

    • 1 hr 14 min
    71 - 50 Years

    71 - 50 Years

    Listener Mail
    The mailbag is full and ready to sift through. Be sure to reach out with questions, stories, memories, and more. You never know if your letter will be read on a future episode: podcast@retrowdw.com


    Brian is up next with a celebrity sighting at WDW. He spotted Mick Foley at Cinderella’s Royal Table, tried to snap a photo and made a minor mistake… This is a great story and we would love to see that photo!

    Katie wrote us about Mariah Carey and what she required to stay in the castle. This leads to a major tangent about couches, which of course is why you tune in to the RetroWDW Podcast.

    We heard from Michael Landis about the infamous Monorail Pilots License – if you have never seen one of these, check it out. Obviously, these aren’t around anymore, but this was a neat perk of riding upfront in the monorail.

    Miranda has a question – When did the Plaza Restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom open up at the current location?

    Joe, among many others, reached out about our challenge in regards to celebrities appearing in more than one attraction. We discuss a few of these that were emailed to us, along with some other ideas listeners had.

    Main Topic
    As we get started, this episode will be a little different than what you are used to. For the 50th Anniversary, how do we celebrate that at RetroWDW? We bounced many ideas around, including lists, top 50, sharing memories, and even going back to cover the various anniversary specials. Brian gets us started discussing the way things used to be, which all of us can do for hours on end, you the listener included. Each of us has stories and special things that we remember from the past fifty years. Experiences, memories, family trips, events; we all have so many things to share and reminisce about. This episode is all about that.

    Throughout Episode 71, we don’t sit on just one topic or park. Many of the stories are personal and lead to more tangents, but we think you’re really going to connect and relate to many of these observations from the past fifty years. As we worked our way through this recording, it’s tough to bring together fifty years of vacationing. The kingdom has so many things for so many people, including us. We are always looking for what’s next, our future trips, and making memories. This podcast is all about memories at Walt Disney World, even if they are super detailed and take us all down a rabbit hole. From Episode 71 all the way back to Episode 1, this show, website, videos, and our events have added another layer of WDW to all of our lives. As we continue to add to our individual and group stories about trips to WDW, we hope you continue to join us each month.





    RetroMagic Fifty
    We have set our date for the next big Lake Buena Vista Historical Society event: RetroMagic 50. We will all be back at Walt Disney World in 2022 for this weekend-long event which takes place April 23-24.


    Please click the following link to sign up for ticket sale information and notifications. We hope to see you all real soon!

    • 2 hrs
    70 - Monster Sound Show

    70 - Monster Sound Show

    Corrections & Comments
    We start off this episode with some corrections and comments from the last couple of months.


    Jim is our first correction, which was very similar to some others we received. We were all corrected on our Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman relationship history, which we wrongly stated they met during Far and Away filming. It was actually on the set of Days of Thunder - thanks for helping us out with that one.

    How gives us some insight into the 2003 Adventurer's Club from an anonymous source. This person saw the backside of the genie head bureau, cast wardrobe, and offers up some backstage secrets regarding The Adventurer's Club. If you didn't catch last month, be sure to listen to our podcast focusing mostly on this club.

    Listener Mail
    The mailbag is full and ready to sift through. Be sure to reach out with questions, stories, memories, and more. You never know if your letter will be read on a future episode: podcast@retrowdw.com


    Jeremy scanned some photos from 1986 and shared them with us. He has tons of good stuff you have to check out. CLICK HERE to see his photo collection - Thanks Jeremy!

    Andy is up next with a small Disney connection story. Douglas Cuddle Toys made the small plus toys we spoke about during our Crescent Lake Episode. Andy happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped by. He shared a photo with us and we really appreciate that. Thanks Andy, great find!

    Tom from Detroit wrote us about the Adventurer's Club, discussing the falling bar stool gag. He experienced this joke at The Safe House bar, which sounds like a blast. Check it out

    Next up, we heard from Mitch. He discusses the Jekyll & Hyde Bar in NYC. We discussed this in the episode and How gives some more comparisons.

    John Kuzner wrote us about Antique's Roadshow and how they had a display with 'dolphins'. These are super similar to the Dolphin Resort dolphins we have all seen, so take a look and see what you think. Photo1  Photo2

    Darryl wrote in regarding some great footage from 1974. We would LOVE to restore this footage, so fingers crossed you still have the film... Let us know! podcast@retrowdw.com

    Finally, Robert C wrote in about actually roller skating at XZFR. We want to hear more Robert, so let us know of any stories, memories, or things that happened at XZFR. Robert also hit on the much-loved opinion about the Adventurer's Club we discussed last episode.

    Giveaway - 'Decade'
    Todd picked our random winner of 'The Disney Decade' - Jennifer is our winner! Congratulations and we hope you enjoy the book.


    Main Topic
    This month, we take you back to the early days of the Disney-MGM Studios. When the park first opened, it was mostly show and attraction-based with less emphasis on rides. You may have noticed before we got to the main topic here, but this episode sounds a little bit different. We are recording in and this adds an amazingly fun layer to this episode, which is all about sound. Todd starts us off with our old friends at Birnbaum, most importantly 1989. This attraction was not very well known at the start as most people really didn't know what was going on in this show building.

    How as at Disney-MGM Studios on opening day, which we discussed in Episode 10. In the early days of the Disney MGM-Studios, movies and technology were used in much different ways compared to how they are now. Even our podcast process is so much more advanced than most everything at the studios back in the day. Sound design, engineering, and effects all had their own 'movie magic' way about them. Even to this day, the sound design makes or breaks a movie. If done properly, it makes for an outstanding movie experience and also have created some timeless sound effects over the years. The Monster Sound Show was an attraction that allowed park guests to experience this process in a fun way that put them right in the action of movie-making. Such a perfect attraction for those early days at the studios.

    As a group, we discuss the involvemen

    • 1 hr 55 min
    69 - Pleasure Island Part III

    69 - Pleasure Island Part III

    Welcome to Episode 69 of the RetroWDW Podcast: Pleasure Island Part II – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between. We hope you stick with us through 2021 as we bring you some great content that will take you back to WDW each month.  Enjoy!


    Listener Mail
    Right to the mailbag this month! The bag is full and we love that! Every month, you can possibly get on the show, so be sure to write to us at podcast@retrowdw.com. Also, top-tier donors can even join us on a show! Take a look at how you can join us live on an episode.


    Joie is up first this month – sharing a photo collection of every page from ‘The Magic of Disneyland & Walt Disney World’ from 1979. Click Here to see all this hard work – thank you!!

    Joie also shared packaging from Todd’s infamous “Squeaky Mickey”. This is HUGE! From 1978, this mickey toots his own horn, blows bubbles, and party favors. Take a look at this! Big thanks to Joie for the fun mail items this month. We spoke about Squeaky Mickey on Episode 7 and Episode 8.

    Our next message is from Michael Landis. He decided to reach out and ask about SMTV: Space Mountain TV. Here is a video for reference. We get into what the point of this was, including Crazy Larry! This is a great flashback to the 90s and New Tomorrowland. One item from that refurb that is possibly lost in your memories. Michael notes that it was very similar to a cross between MTV and Nickelodeon of the time.  The preshow videos were tied to the Fedex Sponsorship with took effect in 1993, more research on who created the video loop is needed. The video loop continued to run, minus the Fedex ads after 2003 when the Fedex sponsorship ended, until around 2009 when the queue was remodeled.

    Lindsay writes in to share about another Tom Cruise experience. She was working in the College Program in 2012 and was assigned to Cinderella’s Royal Table, on the date she was supposed to be taking a cast tour of the Dream Suite, Tom Cruise and his daughter ended up booking the room and her tour was canceled.  She goes on to say that Tom ordered some food from the kitchen and other staff members from the restaurant took it up to the suite. People magazine covered the stay

    Cody then asks about the Epcot confusion of the East/West sections of Future World. Since Epcot was built on a north/south orientation with the entrance at the northern end of the park, it was decided to use the compass points for east and west for the two sides of CommuniCore and the Pavilions. Cody then asked about expansion of the monorail system asking if it was mostly the cost, the cost of creating new monorail lines was the main issue along with the flexibility of busses being another important factor. Cody’s last question was about when the ability to ride in the front of the monorails went away, which was stopped after the fatal monorail crash the evening of July 5th 2009 near the Magic Kingdom.

    Our last letter comes from Tobias a new listener to the podcast who might have had another celebrity encounter. He tells the story of a park closing in 1983 being brought into the Magic Shop at the Magic Kingdom where he was asked to see and assist several magic tricks being presented by someone who was dressed like Michael Jackson but called himself Michael Jason.  If anyone knows of any of the magicians who might match this memory please let us know.

    Main Topic
    Welcome back to Pleasure Island! This is part three of our trilogy, which could possibly have a part four in the near future. We have been all over for our first two episodes, Part I & Part II. For this episode though, we are going to dig into two of the more famous Pleasure Island venues, The Comedy Warehouse & The Adventurer’s Club.


    The Comedy Warehouse


    We begin with The Comedy Warehouse, which is actually

    • 1 hr 52 min
    68 - Magic Journeys

    68 - Magic Journeys

    Welcome to Episode 68 of the RetroWDW Podcast: "Magic Journeys - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between. We hope you stick with us through 2021 as we bring you some great content that will take you back to WDW each month.  Enjoy!


    Listener Mail
    Right to the mailbag this month! The bag is full and we love that! Every month, you can possibly get on the show, so be sure to write to us at podcast@retrowdw.com. Also, top-tier donors can even join us on a show! Take a look at how you can join us live on an episode.


    Our first letter is from Andy all about the Mannequins - he goes through this photo, explaining what each piece of hardware does. This is super helpful and also neat to look back; the system also included the classic 3.5" Floppy Disk!

    Going back to September, Jason sent us a tweet about his trip to WDW. So many good shots of the topics we have discussed over the years. Thanks, Jason!

    John touched base with us about the Mardi Gras parade items and props sitting in Port Orleans: French Quarter. Brian gives us the full story on this one and the connection is amazing. We also heard from Jacques, giving even more insight into this whole thing. Mr. Mardi Gras comes up and we love this back story. Thanks, everyone!

    We heard from Colleen on Instagram and she shared with us a super neat cup from Pleasure Island. These aren't very common to see anymore but we absolutely loved that you shared this with us!

    Dane wrote us about 'The Guide to Tomorrowland' - This was from way back in Episode 26: Tiny Bubbles. We included this item in our giveaway for the year - click here to read it!

    We got a letter from Carla regarding the Retro Food episode we recently did. She had quite a few corrections and insight into some restaurants in WDW.

    Phil wrote in about a friend who does high-profile celebrity security. Apparently, Tom Cruise used the services during a visit to WDW. This trip had many great stories and experiences, which Phil shared with us. Thank you so much Phil; this was great!

    Giveaway
    We have a copy of 'Walt Disney World: The First Decade' to send to one lucky winner. Send us an email with the subject line Decade to contest@retrowdw.com - we will pick a random winner from the entries to get this hardcover book from the 80s. Good Luck!


    Main Topic
    This month, we take you back to EPCOT Center and as far back as opening day. Magic Journeys: This is one of those short-lived attractions that most have not seen, but if you did, you get it. This was extremely high tech, advanced and the effort level that went into this is absolutely insane. Todd takes the lead, giving us a bit of history and why this whole thing came about. We hear from Murray Lerner, including original audio and interviews looking back at the creation of this film. Overall though, this film was intended to see the world through the eyes of a child. Of course, we get the technical reasons as to why 3D works and what is actually happening with your eyes.

    The 'how' of this film is something you really won't believe. Two whole years in the making with computer graphics, 75mm film, multiple frames on top of one another - the making of this film is a treasure trove of facts and figures. We also include clips from our interview with Mark Eades. He played a major role in creating this film, helping with the setup, and also was integral in making sure it worked. We also discuss the film made with the Dreamfinder, Ron Schneider. He goes into how they had to create a preview film all about Magic Journeys, just to have something in the theater for opening day.




    RetroMagic Fifty
    We have set our date for the next big Lake Buena Vista Historical Society event: RetroMagic 50. We will all be back at Walt Disney World in 2022 for this weekend-long event which takes place April

    • 2 hrs 4 min
    67 - Pleasure Island Part II

    67 - Pleasure Island Part II

    Welcome to Episode 67 of the RetroWDW Podcast: "Pleasure Island Part II - We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows from over the years. We have visited multiple parks, resorts, and just about everything else in between. We hope you stick with us through 2021 as we bring you some great content that will take you back to WDW each month.  Enjoy!


    Listener Mail
    Right to the mailbag this month! The bag is full and we love that! Every month, you can possibly get on the show, so be sure to write to us at podcast@retrowdw.com. Also, top-tier donors can even join us on a show! Take a look at how you can join us live on an episode.


    Our first letter is from way back in July of 2020! Jimmy Tucker wrote us about 'Walt Disney World: The First Decade'. We discuss the various hardcover books that have come out as souvenir books and they are loaded with pictures. Everyone chimes in with the various ones in their collections, as these were very popular during the anniversaries they were celebrating.

    Lanie from Boston wrote us and she successfully made Lime Chiffon Pie. It looked absolutely amazing and we are not only jealous of your pie, but also that view you have there. Take a look at this masterpiece - thanks for sharing!

    John wrote us about butter! He remembers the butter at the Brown Derby, shaped like a derby hat. We have a memory of this, but no photos. If you have any photos of this, please share them with us as we would love to see them and add these images to the site.

    Paul is up next and he wants to discuss The Boardwalk and their famous clown slide. He is curious if there is a Bozo The Clown reference tied in here....

    We had numerous people write in about Pinocchio Village Haus and all of the seating options. Well, we are corrected, and still being corrected! Also, Brian was correct originally.

    Linda called and left us a voicemail, asking if we were all ok. That was super nice and we appreciate you reaching out, along with all of the other kind messages.

    Our last message is from Matthew, he works for the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs. He is super curious about this craft that is in their possession. This was inside EPCOT in the fall of 1998. Take a look, and let us know if you have any info or remember seeing this inside EPCOT.

    Main Topic
    For this episode, we continue where we left off on the first episode of this series, Pleasure Island Part I. If you missed Part I, please take a minute to download that episode and get caught up. How is once again leading us and we are so excited to get into the 90s where Pleasure Island went through some changes. Within a few months of opening, we learn that it wasn't drawing the crowds that were expected. There is no official statement, but How speculates the access was an issue, meaning a ticketing problem. Todd also throws in that the changing access and idea of it being different, day and night, could have been a concern. Finally, confusing ticketing could have added to problems as well. How gives us some inflation prices on tickets and we learn that it was super expensive back when it opened. Either way, changes were needed and we get to discuss these next.

    How gives us the history of age limits and how this changed over the years. Some clubs never allowed guests under 21 years old, but this did change a bit from time to time. One fun bit of history that is almost never forgotten, the Fort Wilderness Railroad train cars were repurposed as ticket booths right off the island, obviously colored in the amazing 90s color scheme. One of the big draws, the roller skating at XZFR, mysteriously stopped randomly at one point. How gets into some of the rumors and also busts a pretty large myth on this one. We continue to get into the changes and clubs being renamed, as this seemed like a regular occurrence every few years. The side attractions were a big deal too: Orbitrons,

    • 1 hr 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

saneman69 ,

Superb nostalgia

I stumbled across this podcast via YouTube and it's superb. Todd and the guys go back and cover Walt Disney World from 71 - 89(ish) including the opening of Epcot and Disney MGM studios in real fan detail, the rides no longer there, the transporation, the hotels, everything and much more, the website is great too. It transports me back to when I visited twice in the 80's, the sounds, the sights, everything - it'so good I'm rationing myself to about 1 or 2 a week so that I don't listen to them all too soon.

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