Thoughts While Watching Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True (1986)

Hello and welcome back to my Thoughts While Watching series, where we unearth (mostly vintage) Disney media and react to it in real time!

I accidentally saved the perfect video for this installment. We’re coming up on the end of Disney’s WDW50 “celebration,” and having now watched it, I can say that Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True is the 50th Anniversary love letter to WDW we should’ve gotten. Set some fireworks to it and we would’ve really had something!

Maybe you disagree – perhaps you think Disney did quite enough to commemorate WDW’s fifty years of magic. I mean, you could think that, but you’d be wrong; most anniversary additions have been more IP-driven than parks-driven, and I think that’s a dang shame.

But Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True, a 1986 TV special that only have fifteen years to work with, properly fetes the comparatively fledgling parks, centering the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and Walt’s vision for the Vacation Kingdom. It’s a sort of compressed “The Imagineering Story,” so obviously, I LOVE IT. And the nutty thing is, for as exhaustive as “The Imagineering Story” clearly was, this special still has separate footage!

So settle in and click play, because even at a little over an hour, I think this one’s well worth your time.


1. Someday we will figure out why Goofy is a speaking citizen and Pluto lives the life of a regular pet dog. I’m sure it will be illuminating.

2. Not to sound too lost in the Kool-Aid flavored sauce, but it IS kinda crazy to think what Walt means to the entire world. I hope the rumors they’re going to drop the Walt from Walt Disney World aren’t true.

3. Both Pat and my dad can’t mention Epcot without lamenting Walt didn’t live long enough to build it as the Progress City he imagined.

4. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the [Florida] swamp!

5. I know Walt hated the hotel and fast food chains around Disneyland, but I have great memories of watching the monorail going by from an IHOP. πŸ˜‚

6. TF is Hercules Powder Company?

7. It’s weird to see these old school Imagineers like Marty Sklar looking so young. Interesting to hear him say that the word “community” was chosen as opposed to “city” with great care.

8. And that’s why you shouldn’t smoke, kids.

9. Roy is the Samwise Gamgee to Walt’s Frodo.

10. Wait, what? Main Street USA has special asphalt? Just when you think you know everything there is to know…

11. I always wondered what Minnie would wear when competing with other females.

12. Man, Walt would’ve hated the Pandora boat ride.

13. I miss the original Epcot background music loops. They were so epic!

14. Ugh, I know we’re well past the days of Epcot’s original edutainment thesis, but I WANT IT BACK. Don’t get me wrong, Cosmic Rewind is incredible, but all of this – Ray Bradbury, the Communicore, the University of Energy, Horizons – just makes so much sense.


16. Dreamfinder πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί

17. Counterpoint: Captain EO πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

18. SAND tiger shark, Mr. Narrator. Very important caveat there.

19. Did the Morocco pavilion used to feature Cast Members who just stood on top of the buildings and stared at you? Curious.

20. Hmmm. Perhaps whoever is negotiating with the CM union should rewatch this special.

21. Awww, River Country looks cute. I wish I’d been!

22. That Studios model is the least polished layout I’ve ever seen put in front of guests. I like it.

23. The Great Movie Ride is definitely a better name.

24. Oh, I didn’t know Joe Rohde did the Maelstrom.

BAM – right in the feels. I mean, sure, it’s basically an extended commercial, but a reverent one all the same. This is what I wish the fiftieth anniversary festivities had been: about the parks, not the most popular characters lately. Not that it much matters, I guess, being mostly behind us. Onward to the 100th Anniversary – at least for that celebrating characters will make good solid sense!

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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