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Finding Your Way Around Magic Kingdom Park, 40 Years Ago

Did you ever wonder what Magic Kingdom Park was like on opening day Oct. 1, 1971? I sure have, so last week I went looking for a copy of the park’s very first map to see for myself.

According to The Walt Disney Archives, the park’s first map wasn’t a guide map as we know it today, but a multi-page newspaper called The Walt Disney World News. The first edition, titled “Vacation Kingdom Opens,” celebrated the opening of the park with photos of company founder Walt Disney, Walt Disney World Ambassador Debby Dane, and the Windsor family, the first guests to enter the park on Oct. 1. (It also told the story of how in order to be the first guests admitted to the park, mom, dad and sons slept overnight in their Volkswagen in a nearby parking lot).

The park’s first map appears on page 4, and is followed with a listing of attractions, shops and restaurants in each “land.” While many of the park’s original attractions still exist today, there are shops and entertainment offerings. How about following up your Peter Pan’s Flight with a performance by The Polka Band? Or buying greeting cards on Main Street, U.S.A.? Or hot dogs at Refreshment Corner instead of Casey’s Corner?

What do you think?

Pages from ‘The Walt Disney World News,’ Magic Kingdom’s First Park Map Pages from ‘The Walt Disney World News,’ Magic Kingdom’s First Park Map

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