112 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
    • 4.8 • 495 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!

    83 - The Disney Institute

    83 - The Disney Institute

    In this episode, we go back to the mid-1980s when Michael Eisner decided to bring The Chautauqua Institution’s blend of enrichment, entertainment, and fun back to Florida with a “uniquely Disney” touch. Originally conceived to be part of Celebration, The Disney Institute opened in February of 1996, offering “Discovery Vacations” where guests could choose from a variety of classes on the topics of Culinary Arts, Design Arts, Entertainment Arts, Environment, Lifestyles, Story Arts, and Sport and Fitness.

    • 2 hr 6 min
    82 - Remembering Rolly

    82 - Remembering Rolly

    Welcome to another episode of the RetroWDW Podcast. We have quite a few things in the works, but we felt it was best to put those aside and focus on a Disney Legend who recently passed, Rolly Crump. If you remember back to 2019, the crew from The Lake Buena Vista Historical Society made the journey to California to meet with Rolly. What was initially planned as a quick Q&A, turned into a multi-hour interview with a film crew to properly document this influential imagineer.
    For this episode, we are using the audio from our YouTube Live event where we honored and discussed Rolly. Throughout this episode, you will hear from our usual team but also special guests Ryan Ritchey, Jeff Heimbuch, and Michael Crawford. Each guest on this episode has a unique connection and perspective with Rolly, which leads to an amazing bunch of stories and memories. Rolly was one of a kind and the main idea that came out of this was his amazing personality and warmth toward fans of his work. We will never forget Rolly and we hope with this episode, you will get a taste of just how amazing a person he was.

    • 1 hr 33 min
    81 - Wonders of Life Part IV - Cranium Command

    81 - Wonders of Life Part IV - Cranium Command

    We are heading back into the golden dome which is known as Wonders of Life. Over the months, we have taken you through many different episodes all about Wonders of Life including: Body Wars/Making of Me, the pavilion and sponsorship, the original concept, and finally the heated debate on the Magic Kingdom toll plaza sign. As we continue into this amazing pavilion, this episode we decided to take a deep dive into the classic show, Cranium Command. We could not have done this episode or concluded with Wonders of Life without involving some guest stars. This is a huge deal and we are super excited to welcome @bunny_wars and @DreamFinderGuy. Brian welcomes our two guests into the episode and we get a brief history of their EPCOT love, Wonders of Life experiences, and also how they are preserving the history of Wonders of Life. As we get started, make sure as you listen you check out the Wonders of Life Archive. Bunny and DFG have an amazing passion for the pavilion and also Cranium Command. They have spent hours upon hours digging up old resources, history, and tons more. You are going to really enjoy everything they have to offer throughout this episode. As a duo, Bunny & DFG get us started by going through the preshow of Cranium Command. We get to hear all about this attraction from their vast archive, which includes cast member interviews and pulling facts from old documents in their archive. The history of Cranium Command is very interesting in how it changed throughout its development. DFG does a great job explaining how the versions changed when exchanging hands between Disney and Colossal Pictures, which is very interesting. We also get into scripts and movie format of the show that was never made. Wonders of Life had many of the attractions tucked away, Cranium Command was no different as the pavilion tried to promote discovery. As you look at the history of this show, the entryway did change over the years to draw people in. We continue on throughout the show, going nearly line by line and scene by scene. The celebrity connection on Cranium Command was one of the most beloved parts and we dig into each of those. Cranium Command is such an amazing show experience, which makes this episode nearly two hours. Bunny & DFG have been amazing throughout all of this, offering us facts and info that none of us have heard before. Make sure you listen to this one twice; the details are immense and you are going to want to take notes for your next viewing of the attraction. We hope you have enjoyed this visit back to Wonders of Life and throughout this journey inside Cranium Command. 

    • 2 hr 36 min
    80 - Holiday Time at WDW

    80 - Holiday Time at WDW

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, and the RetroWDW crew is here with another festive holiday episode. Brian takes up back to the Walt Disney World in the early 1990s when the seasonal festivities shifted their focus from the Magic Kingdom to EPCOT Center. He tells us about Epcot’s much beloved “Lights of Winter” musical light show and its European origins, as well as other early holiday offerings at the park. Then we make a stop at each of the monorail resorts and finally the Disney Marketplace and Pleasure Island. From chestnuts roasting on an open fire to electrical boat shows, the 1990s made WDW visitors’ seasons bright. 

    • 2 hr 1 min
    79 - Wonders of Life Part III - Body Wars and Making of Me

    79 - Wonders of Life Part III - Body Wars and Making of Me

    Welcome to Episode 79: Wonders of Life Part III, which focuses on Body Wars & Making of Me. We continue on this epic journey through the golden dome and we have even more for you throughout this episode. Our entire crew is here to take us through these attractions, but also joining us is Dr. Bill who was one of our top donors to the historical society. He will be sitting in on this episode and also giving us some real-world experience when it comes to the human body and Wonders of Life.
    We start you off by going through the mailbag, which is filled with tons of good questions and memories. If you would like to join in on that fun, send us a message: podcast@retrowdw.com
    For our main topic, we get into Body Wars, which is one of those lost attractions that has a love-it-or-hate-it type of memory for most past guests. The theming is on point we dig into how accurate this really was, thanks to Dr. Bill. Now keep in mind, the questions keep coming as we take full advantage of having a medical professional on the show this month. We discuss the star power throughout this attraction and if you have not seen this firsthand, you really need to do a ride-through on YouTube.
    The second half of this episode, How digs into The Making of Me. We learn all about the production, who some of the creative minds behind it were, and so much more. This is a super interesting concept and idea for EPCOT and Walt Disney World that was unique and also informative. The entire thing really fits in well with this pavilion and attraction. Thank you so much for joining us this month and we hope to see you again soon for Episode 80!

    • 1 hr 55 min
    78 - Wonders of Life Part II - The Pavilion & Exhibits

    78 - Wonders of Life Part II - The Pavilion & Exhibits

    This is a great episode How has in store for you all this month, filled with busted myths, detailed descriptions, and so much more. The Wonders of Life Pavilion was originally developed back in the 70s and if you didn’t catch the earlier episode, take some time to listen back by clicking here. We are going to step foot into the infamous golden dome, which if you poll people nowadays, odds are most have never seen these attractions or taken a ride on the Wondercycles. This 100,000-square-foot pavilion that is 65 feet tall was set back in a way that almost didn’t invite you in like the other EPCOT pavilions. The dome concept though was super clever and useful for what they had in mind, which seems to be low maintenance and not overly expensive to build when compared to something like World of Motion.
    How gets into the METLife sponsorship and some of the other options that were discussed at WDI for this. One of the major things we have had in the works for quite a long time – the entrance signs over the years. Initially, there was a very slick looking archway that you walked under to enter. After some years, the arch was gone in favor of a more standard sign that was basically on a stick. What happened to the arch though? We dig into this and for your viewing pleasure, we have written up a thesis on the topic.
    Throughout this episode, How breaks down each little section that you could partake in over the years. This includes everything from Coach’s Corner to the Sensory Funhouse and more. The pavilion really had a late 80s/early 90s mall feel with the street lights, natural lighting, and live plants inside. Brian even gives us a very detailed look at the various food options that were in the pavilion over the years, which has a unique history in itself. The entire Wonders of Life complex housed many favorite attractions for EPCOT Center guests over the years, but like many things in this style, the mini attractions did not have the engagement that would get you back into the pavilion again on another visit. For that matter, the pavilion itself was not something that would make you want to revisit EPCOT. These duties were still done by all of the heavy hitters in the park. Either way though, we hope you enjoy this look back inside Wonders of Life and make sure you throw on your teal and pink, in honor of this gone but not forgotten attraction.

    • 2 hr 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
495 Ratings

495 Ratings

Bravadopaint ,

To Pod we Must

I wrote this approximately (18) months ago and forgot to send it…

🚧 I have just finished your first podcast. The content and panel were excellent. Looking forward to full mental immersion into the entire catalog. Your website of restored Disney themed home movies and press releases is brilliant. I quickly found a clip of Herb Ryman, my favorite imagineer. I’m a Fine Art Painter and Ryman was a big influence on my work. Herb died before I had discovered him, so I never had a chance to contact him. That clip is first video/audio of Ryman that I have come across. It never occurred to me to look for such a thing. Certainly the closest I’ll come to meeting the man. Special thanks for that one. - Side bar, did you ever get video of the Polynesian Resort wave machine working? Until we pod again… BRAVADOPAINT

trockey ,

Fun and very well done.

I really enjoy the format of this podcast. I have tried many WDW and DL podcasts and by far this is the most professional. Started with picking coverage of my favorite attractions (Haunted Mansion, Horizons, etc.) now I’m going through all of the episodes.

Mouse giggles ,

My favorite

By far my favorite Disney podcast! So much nostalgia!!

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