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Retro PTR: Amusement Park Vacations from the '70s!


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As a kid I was lucky that my family saw the value of amusement parks. My family went to Florida a couple of times in the 1970's including Walt Disney World during its' opening year. In this trip report I'll post pictures from many Florida parks: Walt Disney World, Marineland, Six Gun Territory, Sea World, Circus World and Busch Gardens.

 

As an added bonus I found pictures from a family vacation in the Lake George area with pictures from Storytown (Pre-Great Escape), Santa's Workshop and Time Town

 

A lot has changed since DisneyWorld opened. The announcements on the monorail used to be in English and French (not Spanish), there was one only park, there was a ride ticket system, one on-site hotel and you could take a tram from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom.

 

My family was never big on pictures but here are some that survived.

 

1972 - Walt Disney World (below)

1972 - Six Gun Territory

1972 - Busch Gardens (Tampa)

1972 - Marineland of Florida

1974 - New York's Lake George Region: Time Town

1974 - New York's Lake George Region: Santa's Workshop

1974 - New York's Lake George Region - Storyland (years before it became the Great Escape)

1975 - Circus World (with a couple of pictures from 1978)

1975 - Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

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Since Matt posted a picture of his smoking mom in a Retro Disney PTR so will I.

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Jungle Cruise '72 Part Deux.

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Jungle Cruise '72

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Cinderella made it to the ball, also.

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Left to Right: sister, me, Dad, brother ready to play Red Rover with Captain Hook

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They had characters back then.

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Stylish 70's fashion in front of the castle.

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Nothing says "Greatness" like the Good Castle captured on Polaroid.

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Obligatory blurry front entrance shot

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Passing the brand spanking new Contemporary on the tram!

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Back in the early 1970's it wasn't all about Florida and Disney or Corporate parks. Families with young kids could still have a great vacation closer to home at hundreds of small local parks. In the

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This is SO great! I can't wait to see more! Looking forward to Circus World

 

I don't have nearly as many Circus World photos as I thought. The parental units just did not take a lot of photos (I guess that is why I still don't have a digital camera). Also, right after our 1978 trip to Circus World, my father left our camera on top on the car in the parking lot as we were leaving the Magical Mystery Fun House. The camera and Magical Mystery Fun House were never to be seen again. Most of the 1978 Circus World photos never even made it to the developing lab.

 

Also, sometimes my parents would leave a nearly finished roll of film in the camera after a vacation only for it to still be there and ruined a year later at the start of a new vacation.

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That skyride doesn't even look like it's at a theme park with all the trees and such.

 

It was my dream to go to WDW, but I didn't achieve that till 2002, when the park was much different from its beginning.

 

I wish I had some photos of trips to SFMM before they added the SF to it, KBF, Busch Gardens (yes, there was one in L.A.), and our Disneyland. But I never thought to take pictures.

 

Keep these reports coming. Everyone will enjoy them.

 

Eric

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It looks like the Skyride from Six Gun Territory. Do I win a prize or something?

 

You know, I thought it could be from Six Gun Territory by the process of elimination for other parks I know I visited.

 

So I did just look online for other Six Gun Territory pictures to find a sky ride picture, because the cage in the ride car behind my head does look unique.

 

I think you are correct based on the cage design and the towers.

 

You don't win a prize because you never brought me the Burrito Brothers meal that I requested.

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Your Burrito is in the mail.

 

You used to be able to choose from the main gate to travel over to the park either by train or the skyride. It is really not unlike the Magic Kingdom when you choose between the monorail or the ferry boat. The real question is, though it was built later, did you ever get the credit that was at the park?

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Six Gun Territory Train. 1970.

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I have no conclusive proof that I ever rode the Monster Mouse at Six Gun Territory, so I do not count that credit. I have a list of about 20 credits that I probably rode when I was younger, that I don't claim because I'm not ceratin.

 

I know that if I was tall enough I would have ridden it, but I can't say for certain.

 

In going through all these family photos, I did find photos of me on two coasters that I had not counted as credits in the past. I was able to identify one of the 2 coasters. More details in future retro PTRs.

 

Also you mention the Magic Kingdom giving you the option of the boat or monorail to get from the parking lot to the park entrance. In the early years you could take a tram from the parking lot to the park entrance, the first picture I posted shows The Contemporary taken from said tram.

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I'll try not to keep too much time between updates as I want to have most of this posted before the coaster season begins for most of us in the states.

 

Next up is a very short set of pictures from Six Gun Territory in 1972. It was my family's first trip to Florida and my dad wanted to see everything in Florida. Remember in 1972 Disney was brand new and there were other more established places in Florida.

 

Six Gun Territory was in Ocala, Florida about 2 hours north of Orlando. The park was a sister park to Ghost Town in the Sky. As Erik Johnson stated, there were two ways to get from the park gate to the park: Train or Sky Ride.

 

The Wild West theming started the moment you got on the train with a botched train robbery and shootout.

 

Sorry, I don't have many pictures, but I do have my memories of the many staged shootouts at the park, authentic looking facades and the "Monster Mouse" which I recall was a wildcat and not a mouse.

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Since we now know this is the Six Gun Territory Sky Ride it is being reposted. OK, Erik maybe I'll bring you a box a Devil Dogs in October.

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The remnants of one of those authentic shootouts. I think this one revolved around the merits of Old El Paso salsa.

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The theming looked damn authentic when I was 5 years old!

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The family truckster parked outside the park

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My family also made quite a few trips to central Florida in the early 70's. The Six Gun photos really brought back some memories.

 

As I recall, there was a fake "mountain" you went around or over, depending on whether you took the train or the sky-lift.

 

All I really remember about the park is the shootouts, can-can girls, and carnival rides on pavement.

 

Some of the other highlights of our trips were:

 

WDW in 73...Space Mountain and Pirates were still under construction. We camped in Fort Wilderness. ticket books. Thought 20K Leagues was the coolest thing I'd ever been on....

 

Busch Gardens...when the only ride was the monorail (very cool) and the train....touring the beer factory....had photo taken with big birds sitting perched on each of my arms.

 

Homosassa Springs...they used to feed gators, they would leap out of the water to get the food....was raining the day we were there, so they did not feed the gators.

 

Ross Allen reptile institute....rattlesnakes!

 

Fred Bear Museum

 

St Augustine...old fort...Ripleys...old schoolhouse

 

The tower which I think is still on 192...in the middle of an orange grove...went inside, but my dad was too cheep to pay for us to go up in the tower.

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^Busch Gardens pre-rides/just animals from 1972 will be the next installment.

 

The tower in the orange grove is the Citrus Tower in Clermont, Florida. I don't have pictures but I remember going there, also. I have St. Augustine pictures, but will stick to theme parks only by posting the Marineland ones but not the historical ones.

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Busch Gardens (Tampa) in 1972 was much different than today. As the name implies it was set-up as a garden for the Busch employees and the surrounding community to enjoy.

 

The animals were there in 1972 along with a monorail and train ride to assist in viewing them in their "natural" habitats. However, the thrill rides that are a staple in Busch parks today were probably not even a thought.

 

As I was going through these photos I remembered why there are so few family photos from our 1972 vacation. We traveled with another family on this trip but 5 years later that husband and wife divorced. Then in the mid-80's the husband's new girlfriend was visting my parents and looking at old photos. She asked to borrow the pictures. Then she proceeded to cut the ex-wife out of all the pictures belonging to my parents. My parents subsequently trashed all those pictures.

 

So on to the few pictures that remain.

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I have the utmost confidence that my dad was taking the penultimate Busch Jungle safari photo until the animal jumped out of the range of dad's trusty Polaroid.

 

Actually if you look closely dad has captured a crouching bigfoot next to those holes in the cave wall.

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Pachyderm peacefully portrayed on Polaroid. Say it 5 times.

 

It, it, it, it ,it

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The zoom lens on the Polaroid expertly captures these birds.

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PETA must have loved this photo spot with authentic elephant tusks.

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Did you know that there used to be a Busch Gardens in Pasadena? It was just a garden though, no rides, not even a monorail. The only way you could even know that it was there in the past, is that there is still a street over there called Busch Gardens Dr.

 

Thought I would bring that up for everyone here at TPR...your non-ride memories of Busch Gardens in Tampa reminded me of it.

 

Chris.

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