122 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 Lake Buena Vista Historical Society

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 527 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!

    89.5 - A Chat with Foxx Nolte

    89.5 - A Chat with Foxx Nolte

    Welcome back to another episode and this time, we have a special guest for this ‘half episode’, Foxx Nolte. Foxx has been in the Disney community for years and has been a trailblazer in all things Disney history. For this episode, we are excited to have the ‘Queen of Lake Buena Vista’ joining us to talk all about her latest book, Hidden History of Walt Disney World. This book is filled with a treasure trove of tales and stories curated by Foxx, which were hand-picked and organized in an entertaining way. Todd and the fellas touch a bit on an earlier episode where we got into the old stories told to us about Bay Lake & the various watercraft duties. Check out Episode 8 if you haven’t already!
    One of the main discussion points that Foxx brings up, is the 44,000 word limit in this book. As she states, she had to ‘cut the crap’, which makes this a very fun read that comes in somewhat short snippets. You get the information, you digest it, and you keep going without going too far into the weeds. If you remember, Foxx also wrote Boundless Realms a few years back. Her sense of history and record keeping is right in line with how most of us think; this history has to be documented and recorded before it is forgotten or lost. We love that and hope she continues to record these stories and memories before it is too late.
    We get into one story in particular, all about a packing house. During the construction of Walt Disney World, they utilized a closed-down packing house to build ride pieces and set items. Foxx dug deep into this little bit of history, getting down to the type of windows in each building, shed designs, and when these places were shut down. One big issue she has run into is the history is murky due to so many people moving in and out of the area. This book also hits on the old ticket system, which allowed Disney to see which rides drew in the crowds and allowed you to adjust the maintenance schedules based on use. Another fun chapter is all about McDonald’s in the parks, which if you don’t remember when this was a thing, you need to get into this bit of Disney history as it was a magical time. Overall, this was such a fun read and a fun interview. We hope you take some time to pick up a copy and enjoy it the next time you are traveling to WDW, heading on a summer road trip, or even sitting by your favorite resort pool. Huge thanks to Foxx Nolte for sharing copies with all of us and for spending time with us on this episode.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    89 Pleasure Island - Part IV

    89 Pleasure Island - Part IV

    For the main topic this month, we head back to Pleasure Island for more fun and excitement. This is Part IV and if you haven’t enjoyed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, we highly recommend you take a listen back as these were recorded years ago!  How gives us a little recap of how each episode went in the past.The story on this episode though is changes. How gets us into each club and how they changed after a few years, including themes and names. These include Cage, The Wildhorse Saloon, 8-Trax, Planet Hollywood, Motion, Fulton’s Crab House, BET Club and more. We go through our memories of each of the various iterations and also what we thought of them over the years. The interesting aspect we get into here with Pleasure Island is that it evolved frequently and for the most part, was done to keep people attending and trying to find that club that hit.This episode also has us reflecting on fads of the era from Wine Coolers, The Chicken Dance, Zima, Planet Hollywood, and line dancing.Even though this area has come and gone, we discuss where it went and how it went out. Many of us have memories of the big changes in the end and we even discuss the unused concept of Hyperion Wharf. Pleasure Island was a fun concept that worked in many areas and did not work in others. How has promised us a Part V episode about Pleasure Island, so make sure you message him if you are interested in hearing even more history on ‘PI’. Thanks for listening!

    • 1 hr 57 min
    88 - Back to the Future: The Ride

    88 - Back to the Future: The Ride

    For Episode 88, we are ready to Ride the Movies! Universal Studios in the late 80s brought their A-Game to central Florida and Back to the Future: The Ride was one of their top attractions.  For this episode, we solely focus on Back to the Future and go from start to finish, from development to closing. How is our lead this month and for all of us having experienced this, the movie quotes are plentiful and the ride experiences come from all directions.We initially get into why this ride came to be and how it was somewhat of a mess to start. The entire ride system was pretty groundbreaking for the time, really capturing all of us as parkgoers. Before you get too far into this though, if you have not seen Back to the Future, we recommend you pause the episode and check it out.
    We go through the entire facility, the pre-show, and even the ride mechanics. The neat part about this ride is many people have documented it over the years, including the BTTF Bluray’s that include the ride in a somewhat remastered format. The ride was so timeless in that you really felt as though you were stepping into the movies which we all know and loved. As How guides us through the spacetime continuum, we are given tons of descriptive visuals and walkthroughs about the entire ride.  For reference, we touch on the Back to the Future Visual Guide, which has a full history on this ride as well.
    As we wrap up this episode, let us know your thoughts on the ‘Good Neighbors’ episodes and if you would like us to branch out more often. While this won’t be done regularly, we are always interested in the history of Central Florida and all the fun tourist spots in the area. Thanks so much for listening!

    • 1 hr 55 min
    87.5 - An Interview with Mr. Christmas Jim Heffelfinger

    87.5 - An Interview with Mr. Christmas Jim Heffelfinger

    This mini-episode is a compliment to our 2022 holiday episode.  We promised we'd eventually track down the fellow responsible for bringing the Lights of Winter to EPCOT Center.  Brian and Todd talk to Jim Heffelfinger whose 20 year career with Walt Disney World began as stage manager at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review at Pioneer Hall (where he met and shares a great story about our friend Billy Flanigan).
    Over the next two decades he worked with Disney Legend Ron Logan and the rest of the entertainment team to bring Christmas as we know it to EPCOT, Fantasmic to Florida, the Muppets to Hollywood Boulevard, the holidays and a parade to Animal Kingdom and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights to Disney-MGM Studios.
    Some of his shows, like Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage are still running today much as he designed them while others are very fondly remembered.
    This is a fun interview where you’ll learn a lot and, of course, we ask him for memories of Ron Logan and Dick Nunis and invite him to a future RetroMagic event.
    Jim Heffelfinger is an unsung hero of holidays in Walt Disney World and many beloved live shows. Enjoy the interview.

    • 30 min
    87 - Hungry for Hollywood

    87 - Hungry for Hollywood

    Welcome to Episode 87 of the RetroWDW Podcast: Hungry For Hollywood - 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.
    Listener Mail
    We open the mailbag monthly and are ready to hear from you. 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
    Our first letter is from Mike and he is curious about a particular stairway at Magic Kingdom. We need some experts out there to help Mike out with this stairway and what happened to it....
    Amy is our next letter and she is a new listener, welcome! Amy gives us some great information about working at The Disney Institute and how she was able to take courses for free as an employee. Thanks for the fun stories Amy.
    Another Amy, another letter. This Amy is talking about Episode 32 which was all about Universe of Energy. She gives us some information on the dinosaur song we spoke of, which can be heard here. Enjoy!
    Sylvia is up next and she is curious as to what happened with the Cigar Store Indians from Magic Kingdom. We give some insight into those and where they might have ended up. She also wanted to know where this photo was taken... Thanks for your letter Sylvia!
    Emily is the next note we received, she was showing off her Dreamfinder Watch, which you can still get for yourself or as a gift. Visit our LBV History page for more information.
    Paula wrote in with another vintage family photo taken on Main Street. We have been collecting these gems where you dress up and it looks old timey. Thanks Paula!
    Finally, our last letter is from Donna and she speaks about the Room with a Skew and how her son loved playing in there. Donna is a former Gold Key Member along with Todd and she has some fighting words for Brian, which leads to a little history about The Pretzel Belt. Who knew?
    Main Topic
    Buckle up because we are going back to Hollywood, well the way it was in your memories, but never was. Brian is leading us through the early years of food and drink at the Disney-MGM Studios. One of the last great theme parks on Disney property and one that always has fascinating stories coming to us about the opening days and how things were drastically different when compared to now.  We get to go through the different eateries that existed in the early years, including the Hollywood Brown Derby. How as very disappointed that it wasn't in the shape of a derby hat. We also discuss the Echo Lake restaurants, highlighting that the Fifties Primetime Cafe and the Hollywood and Vine cafeteria share a kitchen. The team discussed the unique dining experience offered at these restaurants and the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our handy Birnbaum's guide is utilized throughout the episode, as is our good friend Reimund Pitz, who you may remember joined us during RetroMagic 50. Take a trip with us and Reimund around the Disney-MGM Studios, discussing each restaurant and how each menu has been changed over the years. We lost a ton of great options over the years and we even get a little history along the way about why some of these changes have happened. We hope you enjoy!
    RetroMagic Updates
    We are so glad so many of you could make it to our most recent event all about EPCOT Center and the 40 year anniversary. The videos from the event will be posted to our YouTube channel soon, but please take a minute to listen/watch our live recap we did a few weeks ago. Enjoy! Click Here To View
    RetroWDW Film Archive
    To make sure you are the first to know when items are released, subscribe to us on YouTube. Be sure to click the notification bell too, that way you are alerted when we post.  Finally, be sure to check out Vimeo if that is your thing, as we will post there as well.
    RetroWDW Merchandise
    Post-Show Fun
    Join us n

    • 2 hr 16 min
    86 - RetroMagic Retrospective

    86 - RetroMagic Retrospective

    • 2 hr

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
527 Ratings

527 Ratings

Aura of Foreboding ,

Love the show

Great shows as always. Any chance you guys can do an episode about “Meet the World”? I know it was never at Disneyworld but it was intended for Epcot all the way up until it almost opened and they decided to just ship all the sets and animatronics to Tokyo instead. It is a very Epcot-esque attraction and shared striking similarities to the American Adventure.

Private Brian ,

The Gold Standard for WDW History Pods

These guys set the bar. The monthly episodes are insightful and funny and most importantly never boring. The hosts have been together a long time and it shows in their banter during the podcast. I love when they go off on tangents unrelated to the topic at hand only to bring it back full circle.
They do the research and you can’t help but like them and their fun episodes.

Studpi ,

Does Brian get paid by the word?

For the most part an excellent podcast. My only gripe is it seems as if Brian talks as much as the other three hosts combined. You don’t always need to use 50 words to say something that could be said with 5

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