Richard Arsenault on October 21st, 2015

I was at Walt Disney World in October for the EPCOT Food & Wine festival (which you really need to go to if you like Disney, Food, Wine, or Beer!) and while there I photographed a batch of photos to make into Windows To The Past versions.  This will be the first in a series of 6 posts, all focused on showing today’s view on Disney’s history.

The first photo is from the opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  The ride opened November 15, 1980 and while I don’t know exactly when the old photo was taken, it’s obviously close to that time due to the Grand Opening sign above the building.  How long did they leave the sign up for?  If anyone has some inside history please let me know in a comment.

Here is the grand opening of Big Thunder Mountain from 1980 mixed with October 2015:

Here we have a Window To The Past of Big Thunder Mountain's opening day in November 1980 at Magic Kingdom, mixed with October 2015.

This was the first location we hunted down, and as it expected it was easy to find – the ride still being there helped a lot with that.  There were only a couple funny looks I noticed from bystanders – one being the guy in the light green shirt on the left.  Is he just looking randomly in my direction, or looking at the guy holding a piece of paper in front of his camera – I’ll never know.

While shooting, which usually involves flipping the old photo up and down in front of the camera while I try to line things up (which must look quite odd, hence the funny looks), a guy behinds me says “That’s cool!”  He saw the old photo over my shoulder and noticed the banner on the top, so we stopped for a moment to talk about what I was up to and that I had a variety of other spots to track down that day.  It’s always fun to meet someone who’s interested in these.

To see the original and a couple other early photos visit the Disney Parks Blog link below:

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/11/vintage-walt-disney-world-big-thunder-mountain-debuts-at-magic-kingdom-park/

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