Since I have already shared the Top 10 Best Things About Disney in the 90s and 80s, I thought we would continue our journey down memory lane with a groovy look at Disney back in 70s! This decade was full of openings and additions and was the first decade without Walt. Needless to say, it was crucial, but also exciting for Disney fans! So go ahead and take a look at my Top 10 Best Things About Disney in the 70s!
10. River Country-In 1976, Disney opened their very first water park! River Country boasted a rustic, old fashioned swimming hole theme and featured rock slides and rope swings and the like. If you were visiting Walt Disney World in the 70s, you were surely excited about Disney’s first stab at a water park, as well as having a new way to cool off in the Florida heat!
9. Epcot Construction-Disney broke ground on Walt’s last vision, EPCOT, in 1979. Many Disney fans from this era would remember watching Walt share his plans and vision for EPCOT; but once he passed away, there was no one to turn his unique plan into reality. If you were a Disney fan in the 70s, you were surely curious, as well as excited, to see what another Disney park would be like and what new magic you would discover in the coming years!
8. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln-Back in the 70s, you could still catch the original version of Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln! Walt had wanted an attraction featuring audio-animatronics of all of our nation’s presidents, but he was a little ahead of his time. Therefore, he settled on a show featuring his boyhood hero, Abraham Lincoln. Walt promised that his Lincoln would be as lifelike as possible, and he delivered! This attraction was replaced and then revamped several times; but in the early 70s, you could still see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in all of its original glory.
7. Space Mountain-In the seventies, Disney fans got to experience what it was like to rocket through space with the opening of Space Mountain in Disney World in 1975 and then in Disneyland in 1977! This attraction was the first of its kind as it offered roller coaster thrills in the dark! If you were still caught up with the Space Race, seeing how man had just walked on the moon in ’69, a ride on Space Mountain was at the top of your vacation to-do list in the 70s!
6. Pirates of the Caribbean-This popular, classic attraction first arrived at Walt Disney World in 1973. That means it opened a few years after Walt Disney World opened. Surprised? Imagineers thought that the pirate motif wouldn’t interest Florida guests, seeing how the Caribbean and pirate history was right in their own backyard; but when guests began pouring through the park gates, they were looking for Pirates of the Caribbean. The Imagineers soon responded with Florida’s own version of the popular ride; and even today, this attraction is a big favorite.
5. Robin Hood, the Aristocats, and the Rescuers-Even though Walt was gone, Disney continued churning out heartwarming animated movies. Aristocats debuted in 1970, soon followed by Robin Hood and then the Rescuers. While critics claimed these films weren’t quite up to the majestic quality of those under Walt’s supervision, Disney fans still enjoy them even today! Disney in the 70s also recycled popular voice talents, such as Phil Harris who voiced Baloo in Jungle Book. He was chosen again to voice Thomas O’Malley in the Aristocats and Little John in Robin Hood. Also, Eva Gabor was picked to voice Duchess in Aristocats and then Bianca from the Rescuers a few years later.
4. Star Wars-Even though the Star Wars franchise wasn’t Disney related back in the 70s, it has to be mentioned as it is a major part of the Disney company today. In 1977, Star Wars first hit theaters and the world has never been the same. Today, Star Wars attractions can be found at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World; and every year in May, Star Wars Weekends is celebrated at Hollywood Studios. Check out these Star Wars Weekends tips! Also, rumor has it that Disney is planning on implementing a Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios; but for now, Disney is keeping quiet about these possible developments.
3. The Contemporary, Polynesian, & Fort Wilderness-In 1971, these three resorts opened at Walt Disney World and offered Disney guests the chance to stay immersed in Disney magic all throughout their vacation! The Contemporary was truly a modern marvel with it’s sleek, stylish design and the Monorail running right through the middle of the resort, a perfect reflection of the modern style of the 70s.
2. Winnie the Pooh-Disney released The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977 and charmed young and old with Disney’s version everyone’s silly, ol’ bear! Winnie the Pooh is one of the best things to come from Disney in the seventies and its loveable characters became just as popular and iconic as Mickey and Cinderella!
1. October 1, 1971-The seventies were a great time to be a Disney fan because, of course, this is the decade when Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida! Hurray! Walt Disney World let guests on the eastern side of the country enjoy the wonder and charm of the Magic Kingdom, but more land and room to grow than what could be found at Disneyland.
Were you a Disney fan in the 70s? Did you rock a pair of mouse ears with your bell bottoms? What do you miss about this decade?