Prisma: The FREE App You Need for Your Disney Vacation Photos

use-prisma-on-a-disney-world-vacation

It doesn’t really matter if you are visiting Disney Word or Disneyland; you will take a lot of photos. And if you are like me, preferring to use your cell phone to take pictures rather than tote around a big camera, then your pics are stored on your phone and carried everywhere with you.

If you take more than one trip to the same Disney parks, some of your pictures will inevitably start to look the same. While cool, it’s the same castle. While amazing, it’s the same fireplace chimney in Wilderness Lodge. The same can become boring and sterile after a while, even in a place as astounding as the Disney parks on either coast.

Read: Times Have Changed: Welcome to the New Era of Walt Disney World

I just found the solution to boring and hello cool photos; it’s a phone app called Prisma. [Read more…]

Disney World’s Memory Maker: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

memory-maker-00-full

Updated for 2017!

Pictures are priceless. They capture once in a lifetime moments. Pictures freeze our children at every age, and they hold our memories. Pictures are often the very best part of a vacation. And the photo opportunities at Disney World are completely above the everyday norm!

The pictures you take during your Disney vacation are the greatest souvenir you can possibly bring home.  [Read more…]

Best Disney World Souvenirs: Picture Frames

Souvenirs are expensive at Walt Disney World. It’s not like walking into Wal-mart of T.J. Maxx where items go on sale. There’s almost nothing on sale at WDW, and paying full retail price hurts.

I like to recommend that vacationers purchase souvenirs they can use every day at home, or at least place their eye on every day, so you feel like you got the best use of your money. [Read more…]

Building Disney’s Magic Kingdom: Incredible Construction Photos from a Master Craftsman

Magic Kingdom construction original photos

It’s funny the places you wind up on the Internet, and sometimes what you find can be just fascinating. Cruising through Facebook one afternoon, I ran across a set of photos of Magic Kingdom being built from the ground up. If you’ve ever spent any time around true Disney fanatics, you know they love to discuss all things historical about their beloved Walt Disney World.

These photos, pictures I had never seen anywhere on any Disney-themed site before, were simply incredible. So I contacted the poster, Kelly Wise Valdes from Largo, Fl., for permission to share both the pictures and the story behind these incredible images. We’ll let Kelly tell us all about these photos.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to Walt Disney World at Christmas?

antique Disney World photos, old Magic Kingdom photos, Disney World history, building Swiss Family Robinson treehouse

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse being built. Grandpa once told me that each leaf had to be hand-wired on the tree.

Disney World Crystal Palace Construction photos

Maybe the inside of the Crystal Palace…

My grandfather, Mr. Chet Wise, was a master craftsman/woodworker. I believe he specifically took these pictures at Disney World because these were some of the things he personally worked on. We remember him telling us he crafted the detailed and intricate woodwork around the windows in the train station at the front of the park. He also did all the woodworking around the windows on Main Street, Cinderella’s Castle and Pinnochio’s Village. My cousin remembers him saying he crafted the amazing door at the Liberty Tavern.  Although I have no picture of it, I have often seen it in person.

Cinderella Castle, building Walt Disney World, old Disney World photos

Cinderella Castle water issues…

Fantasy Land? Maybe the Pinochio Village area?

Fantasy Land? Maybe the Pinochio Village area?

Apparently Walt Disney had been very particular in the details of everything in the original Disneyland Park in California, and although he had already passed away prior to the Magic Kingdom opening, the legacy continued.

Today, most visitors don’t realize the amazing craftsmanship that went into the smallest of touches in each building. The details of the exterior of  just the windows and doors throughout the park are actually intricate pieces of art.

I THINK this may be from scaffolding on the castle. You can see the monorail being built on the far left.

I THINK this may be from scaffolding on the castle. You can see the monorail being built on the far left.

Main Street, U.S.A.

Main Street, U.S.A.

My grandfather passed away several years ago, and I just recently found a small box of pictures among his possessions after my grandmother has passed. No one in my family had seen these pictures before now.

He obviously didn’t know what a treasure they would be.

Main Street Magic Kingdom, Disney World Main Street construction

Main Street being built.

More Main Street...

Main Street…

Main Street original construction photos

More Main Street…

My grandfather worked for Disney until he retired. He was an active Disney retiree, belonging to the “Golden Ears Club.”  My grandmother, Mrs. Betty Wise, also worked at the Magic Kingdom since before it opened and was one of the executive secretaries who helped set up the executive offices.

Contemporary Hotel in the backdrop. I think this is the train station at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.

Contemporary Hotel in the backdrop. I think this is the train station at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom construction picturs

Not sure what my grandfather was on top of for this shot, however, look how RURAL it is in the distance!

My grandparents were one of 10 families that actually lived on Disney property, as they had to have some residents in order to incorporate Lake Buena Vista. There were literally 10 of them! I recently Googled this again just to see if that’s changed, and it’s still true. In order to be part of this small group, they were handpicked, and they lived there on property until they both passed away. It was so close to the Magic Kingdom that I could see fireworks from their front yard every night.

I think this is the Crystal Palace, taken from scaffolding on Cinderella castle

I think this is the Crystal Palace, taken from scaffolding on Cinderella Castle.

Tiki Room under construction.

Tiki Room under construction.

I had no idea when I posted the pictures that so many people would love to see them. Thank you for sharing! 

Kelly Wise Valdes

 

We would really like to thank Kelly for sharing her grandfather’s Magic Kingdom construction photos, and we know our readers appreciate the time she took to share the story of Mr. and Mrs. Wise. How incredible to look back on the very beginning of Disney World from the viewpoint of a master craftsman who added many of the fine detailing to some of our most beloved and iconic Magic Kingdom  buildings.

Thank you for stopping by. Now go and share these pictures with your best Disney friend… 

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Space Mountain…with the Lights On!

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, you’ve undoubtedly seen Space Mountain. It remains one of the most popular rides in Disney World, despite the fact that it is not the fastest ride in the park. [Read more…]

Vintage Disney World Photos – Take a FREE Mental Vacation Back in Time!

where to find vintage Disney photos

I have a soft spot for vintage Disney World photos. I visited Orlando as a child in the 70s with my family, but I only have the vaguest memories of that time, probably triggered by the couple of family photos that remain. I have some spotty memories of Polynesian hot dogs and two-story Epcot gift shops. I think as I age, it’s even more fun to look at old photos. I thought I would gather some pictures in one place with some informational tid-bits, kind of like a mental vacation in a time machine, and those mental vacations are free! My information came from that great source of internet knowledge, Wikipedia, so we’ll have to hope they were historically accurate!

Read – Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

The first thing I noticed in this photo of the Grand Opening of Walt Disney World, captured by Time Magazine, was the absence of the large trees that have grown through the years. I notice the trees now because they block my view of the castle in certain locations. The current stage set up in front of the castle is different as well.

Walt Disney World grand opening

The Disney Parks Blog posted this photo of Opening Day festivities, which included a huge parade and obviously tons of balloons. How many real life Main Streets these days give you the opportunity to enter a train station? At the Walt Disney World Railroad, guests board one of the four steam-powered trains for a 1 ½ mile trek around the Magic Kingdom. The trains, “Lily Belle,” “Roy O. Disney,” “Walter E. Disney,” and the “Roger E. Broggie” are authentic steam engines found by Walt Disney in Mexico, which were then brought to the U.S. for a complete overhaul. The 20-minute journey is a relaxing way to enjoy often unseen views of the Magic Kingdom.

Roy O. Disney and Mickey Mouse dedicate Walt Disney World on October 25, 1971.

Roy Disney and Mickey Mouse on Disney World Opening Day

Read: What Items Can You NOT Bring to Walt Disney World Theme Parks?

Torimask.blogspot.com ran this photo of the Magic Kingdom during construction. How interesting to see the trees and Seven Seas Lagoon in the background.

building the Magic Kingdom photo

This are photos of the construction of Cinderella Castle. Tampabay.com ran this photo for the 40th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom.

building the Magic Kingdom in Orlando Florida

The castle was completed in July of 1971, following nearly 18 months of construction. The castle is 190 feet tall, as measured from the concrete bottom of the moat, which itself is 6 feet deep at the drawbridge. Cinderella Castle is more than 100 feet taller than Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California.

An optical trick known as “forced perspective” makes the castle appear even larger than it actually is.

building Cinderella Castle at Disney World

This photo shows the Haunted mansion shortly after opening. Long time fans will see no covered walkway, and the trees had no grown to present proportions. This attraction’s roots date back to before Disney World, to even before Disneyland was built, back when Walt Disney hired the first of his Imagineers. The first known illustration of the park showed a main street setting, green fields, western village and a carnival. Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a black-and-white sketch of a crooked street leading away from main street by a peaceful church and graveyard, with a run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street.

This Disneyland Haunted Mansion more closely resembles a Southern Gothic mansion, while I tease my Disney friends that ghosts be gone, I would certainly live in the Orlando version.

vintage photo of Disney Wold Haunted Mansion

These two photos appeared on The Pie Shope’s Flicker page, throwbacks from the Haunted Mansion’s early days.

Haunted Mansion pipe organ

Three Haunted Mansion ghosts.

Three Haunted mansion ghosts post card

Monorails are some of the first things I noticed on our early 1970s Disney vacations.  The monorail system opened in 1971 with two routes (Magic Kingdom: Resort and Express) and with Mark IV monorail trains. It was expanded to three lines (Magic Kingdom: Resort and Express, plus Epcot) in 1982, and switched to Mark VI trains in 1989. The Walt Disney World Resort currently operates twelve Mark VI monorail trains on three lines of service. The Disney World system is the most heavily used monorail system in the world.

In this photo I located on concretetech.com, you can see the Contemporary way back when before Bay Lake Tower was built. It’s interesting to see the property before the trees and lush landscaping had grown very tall. Check out those cars!

disney monorail vintage photo

 

This is a photo of a Contemporary Resort guest room from September of 1972, published by the Disney Parks Blog. The resort’s hotel rooms were put together on an assembly line at a special plant at a rate of approximately 15 per day.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which was originally planned to be named the “Tempo Bay Hotel” and the “Contemporary Resort Hotel,” is a resort located on Bay Lake and opened on October 1, 1971. The Contemporary is one of two original properties located at the complex, along with Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and is easily identified by its A-frame main building. Before the construction of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Contemporary was considered the Disney property’s flagship resort.

I personally love these chairs!

Contemporary Resort grand opening photo

Burningsettlerscabin.com ran this photo of a couple enjoying a meal overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon. Look at her 1970s hair! Check out that television, and of wow, look at those chairs!

1971 Contemporary Resort balcony with vintage chairs

Burningsettlerscabin.com also has a photo of a piece of Contemporary Resort history I was unaware of until I saw the photo…the Disco! Burningsettlerscabin.com has a lot of vintage photos from the Contemporary, many of which I had not seen before I ran across this site.

Disney World Contemporary Resort Disco

These are post card of the Contemporary Resort. It’s hard to believe there used to be seats and plastic trees, rather than gift shops, a video arcade, and of course Chef Mickeys.

vintage Contemporary Resort lobby photo at Disney World

And the light fixtures actually remind me of the current lights in the Contempo Cafe. Ever noticed these?

lobby of the Contemporary Resort back in the 1970s

Burningsettlerscabin.com had this beautiful photo of the acrylic trees in the Contemporary Resort in 1971. I was too little to fully remember these- I have a vague remembrance- but I think I would have loved these at night, especially with the mini-lights.

acrylic trees at Disney World Contemporary Resort

This was a postcard I spotted on Google Images of the Contemporary Resort.

Contemporary Resort vintage post card Disney World resort

Speaking of Disney Resorts, bigbrian-nc.com had several photos of the Polynesian Resort found on postcards. They point out something I had noticed as well, “See all the people on the beach… and in the water. At some point Disney stopped allowing people to swim in its lakes, but it is clear that had not happened yet by the time of this first view.” 

Polynesian Resort vintage photos from 1971

Polynesian Resort at Disney World back in 1971

This is a promotional advertisement from 1971. I love the older Mickey and how prominently the sailboat features in the ad. This totally has that 70s vibe.

old Disney World advertisement 1971

While I am not 100% certain this image of Space Mountain is vintage, it certainly looks it. Opened in 1975, Space Mountain is the oldest operating roller coaster in the state of Florida. This ride is the original iconic attraction that has been replicated at all of The Walt Disney Company’s Magic Kingdom-style theme parks worldwide. RCA helped fund Space Mountain’s construction and sponsored the ride from 1975 to 1993. FedEx then sponsored Space Mountain from 1994 to 2004.

Space Mountain original poster

Read: The 3 Best Cheapskate Rides in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

One of many Disney fan’s favorite vanished rides is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Rumors surrounding the ride’s closing ranged from skyrocketing costs to a stinky odor in the summer due to sweaty bodies and poor ventilation.

One of the signature pieces of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was the fleet of passenger vehicles, adapted for theme park use from Harper Goff’s Nautilus design for the 1954 Disney live-action version by Disney Imagineer George McGinnis. The basic hulls were constructed by Morgan Yacht in Clearwater, Florida, with the final building work being transferred to Tampa Ship midway through. Another veteran Imagineer named  Bob Gurr oversaw the project. Upon delivery at Walt Disney World in August 1971, the vehicles weighed some forty tons and were installed into a concrete guide/track, mounted on top of a mechanism that limited “bumping” accidents.

20,000 Leagues under the Sea Ride

Here’s a photo of three famous Disney characters from Disney Postcards.com.

Goofy debuted in animated cartoons starting in 1932 with Mickey’s Revue. During the 1930s, he was used extensively as part of a comedy trio with Mickey and Donald. Starting in 1939, Goofy was given his own series of shorts that were popular in the 1940s and early ’50s.

Pluto, also called Pluto the Pup, is a cartoon character created in 1930 by Walt Disney Productions. Pluto is clearly modeled on the English Pointer breed of dog, most evident in the film “The Pointer.”  Perhaps not coincidentally, prominent Disney artist Norm Ferguson owned an English Pointer.

Old Disney post cards Mickey Mouse

I loved “If You Had Wings” as a child of the 70s. The ride was cold in the summer and never had a long wait. The disunlpugged.com wrote a very interesting article detailing the different components of the ride, which you can view using this link.  This photo is courtesy of “Big Florida Country.”

If You Had Wings was a two-person Omnimover dark ride located in Tomorrowland and was sponsored by Eastern Air Lines. The ride featured travel destinations throughout the Caribbean and other destinations which were all serviced by Eastern.

If You Had Wings Disney ride photo

How interesting to think this is now Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger’s Spin, and across the open court is what is now Stitch’s Great Escape. I always marvel how different this area looks in the bright sun and then all lit up in neon at night.

The Disney Parks Blog posted this photo of the interior of the ride, where you can see the omnimover buggies similar to those found in the Haunted Mansion.

If You Had Wings Disney ride omnimover

Read: How to Maximize Disney’s FASTPASS System, Because Time = Money!

Who misses River County?

Disney’s River Country was the first water park built at the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened in June of 1976 and ceased operations in 2001. In 2005, Disney announced that River Country would remain closed permanently. Along with Discovery Island, it is only one of two Disney parks in history to close permanently. Both areas were simply abandoned rather than demolished. You will now pass both sites on the boat ride from the Contemporary Resort/Wilderness Lodge over to the Wilderness Campground.

River Country featured a rustic wilderness theme, complete with rocks and man-made boulders. It was described as an “old-fashioned swimming hole” with “a twist of Huckleberry Finn.”  The original working title was “Pop’s Willow Grove.” The park featured a sandy bottom and unique water filtering system using confluent water from adjacent Bay Lake, which was dammed off creating a natural-looking man-made lagoon. It was much smaller than the resort’s other two future water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, with the latter nearly four times the size of River Country.

disneys-river-country

See how much fun a FREE mental vacation, a trip back in time, can be?!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney’s PhotoPass: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney's PhotoPass prices and instructions

Updated for 2017!

If you ever handed your camera to a PhotoPass Cast Member in a Disney theme park to get a photo of your whole family, thus bypassing the cost of paying for Disney’s PhotoPass, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. But should you skip it to save the cash?

PhotoPass is a complimentary service that anyone visiting Disney World can use, regardless of whether you stay on or off property, that is designed to make it easy for you to see and share vacation photos and other digital content, plus you have the option to purchase gifts showcasing your digital images. [Read more…]