Happy Birthday Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

40 years ago today, Roy O. Disney officially opened Walt Disney World – the Vacation Kingdom of the World.

To help celebrate the Birthday, I have scanned the cover of what I believe might be the very first Eyes and Ears, Cast Member publication.

Dated October, 1971, Roy writes:

“To the Cast,

On the eve of Walt Disney World’s opening day, may I thank all of you for your spirit–your cooperation and the fine job all of you have done in getting ready for our opening.

Years of planning and long hours of work have brought about this historic moment. It will be an experience none of us will forget.

At this time I think it is appropriate that we remember Walt’s comment:

‘You can dream, design and build the most wonderful place in the world but it requires people to make the dream a reality.’

You, the cast, are responsible for making Walt’s dream come true …. yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Roy O. Disney
Chairman of The Board

Were you at the Magic Kingdom 40 years ago? Please share your story with us in the comment field below.


6 Replies to “Happy Birthday Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World”

  1. My first visit to WDW was December of 1972 and I still remember driving up and seeing Cinderella’s Castle. I cried when I saw it. I was so excited and we had been planning for so long to make the trip. We stayed at Fort Wilderness for the first of many visits over the years. I go at least once every year and still get just as excited as the first time. And now my kids are just as big a Disney nut as me!

  2. I too was there the summer of 72. Although it was new, it was magical to my 5 yr old eyes. I vividly remember trying to decide which E Ticket ride we would enjoy most because we didn’t have enough E Tickets to ride everything. So glad that is no longer a problem.

  3. I was lucky enough to go to Disney World with my dad on October 11, 1971. He was working in the space program and was in Florida on a business trip. I got to get out of school for a few days, so it was a real treat (I was in sixth grade).

    He gave me a choice between Cape Canaveral or Disney; so I chose Disney (much to his disappointment).

    I remember being super scared on the Jungle Cruise ride after the snake popped out – after that, I refused to go on the Haunted Mansion. I was tired of being scared out of my wits (I laugh when I ride it now!).

    There was caution tape over the entrance to Tomorrowland; it wasn’t even open yet.

    And I remember riding the monorail and every where we went there was a specific song playing – “Tell Me Have You Seen Her” by the Chi-Lites. It must have been the most popular song that week.

    At the time, you had to purchase slides – we finally had to throw them out a few years ago or so; they dried out.

    Where did the 40 years go?

  4. It was July 1972 we drove from PA, stayed in the then Dutch Inn which still stands today under a different name, we would walk down to the Market Place each night, I would never have ever imangined how Huge Disney World has become, I am a DVC member have made 45 vacations to Florida, 6 Cruises, and a i trip to Calif. Disney is what gets me tru the harsh winters of PA knowing that a vacation is comming soon, god Bless Disney ,,,,

  5. Like Erin, my first visit to WDW was the summer of 1972 as well. I was a California kid so we spent summers going to Disneyland, but WDW was very different. We stayed at the Contemporary and this then 8-year old had never seen anything like it. We could have spent the day riding the monorail loop between the Contemporary, Poly and MK and been happy! I will never forget that first visit….it still plays in my head with every walk down Main Street so many years later!

  6. I remember my first trip to WDW. It was summer of 1972 when it was still new. We stayed off site but still enjoyed all of the amenities of WDW. My best memory was of the tram ride from the parking lot since that was the first time i got to see Cinderella’s castle! We still go at least once a year and have been to WDW at least 50 times.

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