Thoughts While Watching: The Grand Opening Of Walt Disney World TV Special

Thoughts While Watching: WDW Grand Opening

Heavens to Betsy, I haven’t added to my Thoughts While Watching series since the beginning of February! Which is understandable – late February through early April were packed with races and WDW trips.

The bad news: I’m back. The good news: I’m back! Time for some quality filler between-Disney-trips blogging with a new Thoughts While Watching entry. Lest you forget, in these posts I watch old Disney parks media and document my thoughts in real time. Yes, laughing at my jokes counts as charity work.

So grab a snack and a drink and maybe a sleeping bag, kids, because we’re gonna be here awhile: today we’re tackling the 1971 Walt Disney World opening day television broadcast! It clocks in at a whopping 78 minutes, but how can this historical event not be worth our time? It’s the birth of our beloved!

Speaking of which, similar to the one with Kurt Russell, my complete lack of knowledge about early ’70s culture is going to make any Boomer reading this weep. My apologies in advance.

And now, with exposition and disclaimers out of the way, let’s go back in time 5 decades and take a look at an infant Walt Disney World as if for the first time…

27 Thoughts I Had While Watching The Grand Opening Of Walt Disney World TV Special

1. Not starting with a Disney IP song?! That would never fly in the modern age!

2. I’m assuming I would know this singer if I grew up in the ’70s.

3. Hi, Julie! Man, she gets to do everything… AND DESERVES TO.

4. Ah, there’s the IP song.

5. Wait, did Julie just take that Main Street Vehicles bus in a circle?

6. Now that’s a funky dance number! With scatting and mod outfits and everything! Hey guys, I have a new idea for a group running costume…

7. I wonder if Julie’s supercalifragelisticexpialidocious shrug was scripted or she herself recognized the inherent absurdity of it all.

8. Old school costumed characters continue to be terrifying.

9. I’m sorry, what the heck is this knockoff National Lampoon’s Vacation skit? Is it supposed to be satire? Just going off the opening credits I don’t know if this is Bob Hope or Jonathan Winters or Buddy Hackett, but so far I don’t like it.

10. Oh, the singer from the beginning is apparently someone named Glen Campbell, who I will Wikipedia later in case he is important.

11. Not particularly feeling Bob Hope’s standup set. Okay, the Dean Martin joke was admittedly funny.

12. Hey, it’s the ending to Respighi’s Pines of Rome! Just like in Fantasia 2000! I wonder if that was on purpose.

13. It’s Zeke and Zed and Ted and Fred and a b’ar named Tennessee! That’s quite a shift in tone.

14. I have absolutely no idea what point Glen Campbell is trying to make here but it’s interesting to hear the original Hall of Presidents narrator. I hope they show Lincoln giving a speech.

15. YES. Does this count as manifesting?

16. Oh, good, the camping sketch is a serial. 🙁

17. It continues to shock me that Disney hasn’t discontinued the Electric Water Pageant but I’m grateful it persists.

18. Another ’70s dance number? Now I have a BETTER runDisney group costume idea.

19. “Life is a kumquat” is a pretty weird sentiment. Is this another ’70s thing I don’t get?

20. I never did see the Mickey Mouse Revue. It looks… fine.

21. And the Tomorrowland Speedway grandstand never had that many people in it again.

22. I could really do without all these skits.

23. Good ol’ Skyway.

24. No line at it’s a small world but that’s not unusual. Weird remix, though.

25. Bold of you to assume I was ever an adult, Bob. (That is Bob Hope, right?)

26. This marching band segment sure is long.

27. Closing with IP – that feels much more on brand.

That was all much more organized and slickly produced than Disneyland’s version, which is to say it wasn’t quite as charmingly amusing. But it’s nice to see the history 50 years later. And hey, our baby’s all grown up… and no matter how old I get, WDW will always be older than me. While simultaneously keeping me young. Disney has officially defeated time!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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