From PJLifestyle: Forgotten Walt Disney World: If You Had Wings

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We remember some retired Walt Disney World attractions for their revolutionary ideas or innovative layout and presentation, while others bring about feelings of nostalgia. If You Had Wings, which took flight in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom from 1972 to 1987, definitely falls into the latter category.

Really, If You Had Wings couldn’t be simpler, but thanks to [Imagineer Claude] Coats, all the elements worked together to create an experience that was more than the sum of its parts.

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From PJLifestyle: The Evolution of EPCOT Through The Eyes Of Preview Films

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No other project in the history of the Walt Disney Company has borne Walt’s stamp more than EPCOT. At the same time, no single project has undergone as many changes as EPCOT has. Through the years between 1966 when Walt Disney first introduced the EPCOT concept as the centerpiece of the company’s Florida Project and 1982 when EPCOT Center opened, the company produced a series of promotional films to promote what EPCOT was going to be. Let’s take a look at them and see how EPCOT changed over the years, from theory to reality.

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From PJLifestyle: Forgotten Walt Disney World: Discovery Island

Discovery Island Map

The story goes that when Walt Disney and other company executives toured the land that would become Walt Disney World, Walt spotted a relatively unspoiled looking island in the middle of Bay Lake that fascinated him and inspired him to develop the first phase of his Florida Project on that corner of the land. This little island went on to play a unique role in the history of Walt Disney World, not just for the attractions that made the island their home for 25 years, but especially for what it inspired. That island was Discovery Island.

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From PJLifestyle: Forgotten Walt Disney World: River Country

River Country

The Weather Channel has run a fascinating feature on weather.com: a photo gallery of “Creepy Abandoned Theme Parks.” One of the parks in the photo gallery tells the story of a slice of Disney history that is long lost – River Country.

Back in Walt Disney World’s early days in the first half of the 70s, the resort was not fully realized. The Imagineers knew they needed to add more to the park to lure guests for longer stays. In the mid 70s, the company developed River Country adjacent to Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort.

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From PJLifestyle: Roy Disney, The Not-So-Silent Partner

This statue of Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse sits in Main Street U.S.A.'s Town Square in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney gets the lion’s share of the credit for the success of the Disney company in its first four decades, and deservedly so. But many people don’t realize the influence that Walt’s older brother Roy had on the company. Roy served as Walt’s business partner and handled the business decisions for the company from its founding  until his passing in 1971. Bob Thomas, author of Walt Disney: An American Original, published Building A Company: Roy O. Disney And The Creation Of An Entertainment Empire. Thomas’ biography of Roy tells his story like no one else can.

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My Latest At PJLifestyle: Patriotism, Disney Style

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Walt Disney once said:

Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.

Disney admitted to a patriotism that occasionally overwhelmed him. His love of country showed up in his films and television programs and has carried on in the theme parks that bear his name nearly half a century after his death. Sometimes the Disney brand of patriotism makes itself known in subtle ways, while at other times, it jumps directly in your face.

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From PJLifestyle: Walt Disney’s Five Greatest Innovations

Today marks the 110th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth. Disney started with little more than talent and ambition and built one of the most powerful entertainment empires known to man. Many people think of him as simply the man who created Mickey Mouse, or as a television host or studio head, but Disney played a vital, hands-on role in his company’s success.

In honor of Disney’s birthday, here is a list of five of his greatest innovations. Some of them are obvious, while others aren’t as well known. But all changed the way we view entertainment and art.

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From PJLifestyle: The Ten Things You Must Do At Disney World

Growing up in a family that’s nutty for Disney, Walt Disney World has always been our favorite vacation destination. My parents honeymooned there and they first took me as an infant. By my count, I’ve been to Walt Disney World 25 times, though others in my family think I may have been more times. Since my nieces were born, we’ve tried to make our pilgrimages at least once a year.

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Forty Years Ago Today

Forty years ago today was a truly magical, historic day. October 1, 1971 was the opening day of Walt Disney World. Even though it took place before I was born, that date is special to me because WDW has held more significance for me than any other place outside of Georgia.

If I had a time machine I’d love to go back and see what the early, early days were like at the Magic Kingdom and resorts. Even though my first time visiting was 1973, obviously my memories don’t quite stretch that far. I’d love to see how much the park(s) have changed, how different the resorts are. I wish I could go back and ride some of the attractions that are gone.

Walt Disney World is such a special place for me, with so many memories and excitement about trips to come. Happy 40th Birthday WDW! (It’s also the 29th anniversary of the opening of Epcot.) Here’s to even more than 40 more magical years!

For some cool remembrances, the Disney Parks blog has a cool infographic timeline of the resort’s history, as well as a glimpse into the guests’ guidebook for opening day. There’s also a special reminiscence from Disneyland’s president, who was a cast member at WDW on opening day.

My Favorite Food From Walt Disney World (In Honor Of 50 Days Until We Go)

If  you’re a regular reader at this site, you don’t have to be told how much I love Walt Disney World. There are far too many reasons to give you a true picture of what that place means to me, but I’ve touched on it before.

One special aspect of Walt Disney World that is often overlooked is the food. Yes, much of it is expensive, but it’s absolutely worth it to try some of the great things that WDW has to offer. Here are some of my favorites:

Steak at Le Cellier: The steakhouse in the Canada pavilion at Epcot is simply amazing. Without a doubt it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. Even a steak I’ve had from there that wasn’t cooked properly. Just like everywhere else at Disney World, the atmosphere is completely immersive. The sides (especially cream cheese mashed potatoes) and bread sticks are really good there as well.

Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Having three nieces, I have to go to things like the Princess breakfasts. The breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion at Epcot is a great family style meal where the girls will enjoy interacting with the princesses. There’s nothing Scandinavian about the food other than the lingonberry jelly, but this family style classic breakfast is delicious and fun.

Mickey Waffles: OK, so these aren’t exactly revolutions of flavor, but they’re unique to Disney World, and when I get them at the food court at whichever resort I’m staying. It’s a nice reminder of where I am.

Pastries at Boulangerie Patisserie: For many years it was a family tradition to get pastries from Boulangerie Patisserie in the France pavilion at Epcot. There are always so many exquisite choices there (too many, maybe?), and we really couldn’t go wrong there. I don’t know why we haven’t gone there our last couple of trips.

Dole Whip: This is far and away my favorite treat at Walt Disney World. It’s only available at a stand in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and at the snack bar at the Polynesian Resort, so it’s a truly special item. Pineapple soft serve…it couldn’t be much simpler…but it’s great way to celebrate your time at WDW.

Those are just a few of my favorites. Disney fans, what are your favorite things to eat at WDW?