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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous



When we first took our 2 year old daughter to Walt Disney World, it was November 1979. An awful lot has changed since then, I can tell you.

Back then you had to buy books of tickets for the rides. Big rides like, Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World where more expensive than smaller rides such as The Jungle Cruise and the Teacups in Fantasy Land. At that time, in the distance we could see a big crane and some building works. What we actually saw on our way out of the park on the Monorail to the car park was a large round structure and a very, very big hole! This was the start of Epcot.

There was a very small area at the end of International Drive at the Main entrance to Disney World called Downtown Disney Market Place. There was just a small kiddies playground, a boating lake, a store and a restaurant. That was it.

The end of Highway 192 petered out at around Splendid China, a park no longer in existence. It just became a very narrow 2 lane road, one up and one down. We travelled quite a way before we got bored and turned around. To the west was the same. If you turned left off Highway192 you ended up at a T junction that went through the Everglades in both directions but nothing to see.

The highlight of our trip (although our daughter slept right through it in her buggy) was a rocket launch. Ir happened at around midnight and was the most spectacular event I had ever witnessed and left me absolutely speechless, a first for me!

We had to go back. So three and a half years later in the Easter of 1983 we set off back to Disney World, with a very excited 6 year old daughter. (So excited in fact that she jumped up and down on the monorail seat when she saw Cinderella’s castle and left a little puddle) Ooops.

As a special treat we took her for lunch in the castle, right the way up to the top, sadly, you can no longer do that. She had her photograph taken with Cinderella, but back then the characters just wandered around the park stopping to talk to the children and having their photographs taken with them, by their parents, not a professional that charges for the photo like they do today.
We did go to the brand new Epcot park. Amazing. Our daughter particularly liked the children' s area but that has gone now. It has made way for the Test Track and the Rocket Launch rides.

Yet again, another space launch. We just happened to spot it going up as we were driving along the road heading for a day trip to Daytona beach. Still just as awe inspiring. (You can never see too many space launches).

continued in part 2

Author: Vincent and Hazel Coates (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 19 December 2014
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