"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Remembering Fort Wlderness

A friend today joked about "subjecting" me and the family, "1970s style," to slides of her family's fast-approaching Disney vacation when she returned. Maybe we are nuts, but my family would quite enjoy that, especially with our own Disney trip approaching. I was also reminded that I inherited the family slide reels, yes, from the 1970s primarily, when my parents moved. Although I also got the screen and a perfectly working projector, I decided to scan a bunch of slides into the computer, including some of the pictures from my family's 1976 trip to Disney World. We had driven down from Pennsylvania via Delaware with the Esterly's, who we took a vacation with every summer, in our yellow Volvo and stayed in one of the trailers that Fort Wilderness rented out before they brought in the Wilderness Cabins.

I have always loved Fort Wilderness. It's like a park inside the park. On our last trip to Disney for our son's birthday, we took in the Hoop-De-Doo Revue dinner show which plays at Fort Wilderness. We were staying at Port Orleans French Quarter but took the boat across from the Magic Kingdom because we like boats. Stepping off the launch and walking around the campground before our show started brought back a ton of memories. I had almost forgotten how much I really loved Fort Wilderness. That was where the idea began to camp there on our next week-long trip, and that's exactly what we have planned for September.

I thought it might be fun to post some of those old pictures now, knowing we will have plenty of new ones when we return from our trip in September. A lot hasn't changed at the Fort over the last 35 years, that's the charm of the place, but these pictures capture a few of the things that have.

The first stop on our trip was Wilmington, Delaware to pick up the Esterly's. We rode with dads in the front, moms in the back seat and almost 6-yr-old Matt and I in the very back. Seat belts? Who needs seat belts? As you can see, all our belongings are safely encased in some sort of plastic on the roof. And yes, that's a green Vega station wagon in the next spot. Does it get more 70's? 

We made it safe to Fort Wilderness! This is the trailer we rented from Disney at the campground. I believe they were fairly permanent fixtures on the site. I don't remember it at all, but I'm imagining all six of us fit inside. That is unless Matt and I were booted outside to sleep in a tent, which would have been likely now that I think about it.

I love this one. This is the truck that used to drive around the campground in the morning selling all sorts of groceries and such. You could wake up and soon enough the truck would roll by and you could buy your milk and cereal and fruit to start your day. Sort of like the ice cream man without the ice cream.

This is one thing that hasn't changed, you can still rent canoes at the Fort. I will make a point to find where they rent them and take a picture when we are down. Something tells me it won't be as much an informal affair as this looks.

This is the old swimming area and beach that would become River Country. I'm not sure what the area is being used for now that River Country is closed, but that's another thing I'll check on and photograph on our trip. My mom will be THRILLED I posted this online! :-)

Back in 1976, "pool hopping" from resort to resort was just fine. The Polynesian had the coolest pool at the time because of these awesome water slides.

Here's the beach at the Polynesian with rental catamarans just off-shore. You can just make out Space Mountain in the background. It was pretty new at the time and one of the highlights of this trip.

This is Cinderella's Carousel, I believe. It's been refurbished several times since this was taken and is now named after Prince Charming. Whatever ;-)

I wish I had more pictures from the park scanned in, but I really enjoyed finding these. I can't wait to try to get present-day shots of the same places and compare.

1 comment:

  1. That beach picture is not from the Polynesian. It must be from the beach at Fort Wilderness, unless Space Mountain moved since 1976! ;)