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Vintage Walt Disney World: The Teenage Years

When Walt Disney World Resort turned 15, a giant topiary birthday cake marked the occasion in the Hub right in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park.

This seven-foot-tall cake measured 41 feet in circumference and featured more than 11,000 live plants. The “15” candle on top was 30 inches high and made from Scarletta begonias – sure beats the wax kind I blew out as a kid. The topiary cake was changed with the seasons as chrysanthemums were installed for Thanksgiving and poinsettias for Christmas.

Vintage Walt Disney World: The Teenage Years

But the showcase of the celebration was the introduction of the WDW-GGM (Walt Disney World Gift Giver Machine). This computer awarded birthday gift surprises to guests entering the park every 15 seconds. A variety of prizes such as birthday visors, birthday pins, Walt Disney Pictures videos, Annual Passes and beach towels were awarded daily, and every day one lucky guest won a 1987 Chevy Cavalier. Winning guests received a voucher to order the car (or an S-10 pickup truck, their choice) at their hometown Chevrolet dealer. Any guesses on the value of a 1987 Chevy Cavalier?

Vintage Walt Disney World: The Teenage Years


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