We all look forward to the 50sth anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World. But we take a moment to travel back in time to 1971 and take a look at what the world was like, and the world, through the eyes of someone who was there: John, the father of the Progress Carousel. (Cue the music, please, as we turn to the scene …)
Ahh, it’s 1971 and things couldn’t get much better than they are today. Average people like me earn about $ 9,000 a year, more than enough to pay the 7.7% mortgage interest on our new home. It’s a beautiful ranch with three bedrooms, a bathroom and only costs $ 28,300 to build.
Gas is up to 36 cents a gallon, so it’s good that my new car is over 13 miles per gallon. It’s a real beauty and it cost me just over $ 3,700. It will probably take me three years to pay for it, but it will all be mine.
The family and I went last night to see this new Disney movie, “The Million Dollar Duck.” I’ve always liked Sandy Duncan and it was great, as usual; but I can’t believe the ticket price goes up to $ 1.65. And after spending 40 cents on popcorn, I’m thinking of bringing my own candy bar next time. The dealership was trying to sell me red licorice: Twizzlies or something. I will stick with my favorite Caravelle bar.
I read in the newspaper that Hewlett-Packard says her new handheld calculator will make my slide rule obsolete. I doubt it, especially since just two years ago NASA engineers used sliding rules to build the rockets that landed Neil Armstrong on the moon.
And then there’s a small company called Intel that introduced something they call a microprocessor chip. They believe it can change the way the whole world works. It may be true now, but I have to say that we are much more excited about a trip we are planning for ourselves to a whole new world. And we don’t need a calculator or a micro-whozit to do that.
In Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney World opened on Friday, October 1, 1971, and we’d love to see what it’s all about. It’s sad that Mr. Disney died five years ago, but I read that he had a real hand in planning this place, so it should be wonderful. But it’s fantastic in the middle of a lot of wetlands, can you imagine?
I’m pretty sure we decided to fly. Sarah and I have flown before, but Patricia and Jimmy have never done so. True, a plane ticket would cost more than $ 46 each, but we would be there in a few hours instead of driving a couple of days. And better yet, we would have free meals on the plane, which were served to us in real porcelain, with silver and crystal. Talk about living “the high life.” Depending on the plane, we could enjoy free drinks while Sarah and I walk to the passenger lounge or the observation area. She really appreciated the vanity in the plane’s toilet on our last flight where she could “cool off,” as she puts it, before landing.
We feel like there’s a lot to see at Walt Disney World – they say it’s a Magic Kingdom. We are still trying to figure out what ticket book we will get to try out all the new attractions. I think the “Eleven Adventures Booklet” is for us. While it’s a little pricey: $ 5.75 for me and Sarah, $ 5.25 for young people like Patricia, and $ 4.75 for kids like Jimmy, I think it’s a better value than the “Book of seven adventures “which costs a dollar less. After all, “growing up or staying home” is my motto.
Some of Sarah’s relatives, the Windsor family from Lakeland, say they will be driving, so maybe we’ll meet them on the opening day. Bill, Marty and the kids seem to be really excited and Bill even says he plans to be the first person to enter the park. It will be the day!
I also did a little reading on what to expect. I wish that “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride “and” It’s a Small World. “Sarah thinks” The Presidents’ Hall “should be fun. I feel like President Nixon is pictured there. sounds like spooky fun.
From what I can tell, it may take us a whole day to see it all. But we are in no hurry; we booked a room in the new contemporary resort for two full nights. We could have stayed at the Polynesian Resort, but Patricia and Jimmy like to stay up to date and think it seems “very far away” as the kids say, so the contemporary sounded like it was the place for us. I thought about getting a $ 28 room per night, but with the four of us, the more expensive $ 44 room seemed like a better bet. It’s a waste, but at these prices, you know they won’t increase them for a long time.
At the Contemporary Hotel, there is a monorail that actually runs through the building. Talk about “contemporary!” I really want to ride it. In addition, there is a restaurant called “The Top of the World Lounge” on the top floor. Dinner costs $ 8 and includes a snack, salad and starter. For that kind of money, I’m sure I hope they’re good. Again, it must be better than Sarah’s cooking. (Don’t tell him I said that, okay?)
I think it will be a great trip for our family. And who knows? I hear from Disney people who think they can add even more to the site in the future, so maybe we’ll come back someday. Well, enough of my talk. The night of family games tonight and we will play a new card game called “Uno”. Yes, here in 1971, it’s hard to imagine how things could get much better! . . .
Photos courtesy of Disney.