1979 Walt Disney World Polaroid Guide (Part 1)

A little over a decade ago, I began acquiring a collection of Disney-related curiosities, largely consistingq of cast-offs from the theme parks. Over the years, I've assembled assorted furniture and decor from the Walt Disney World resort hotels, debris from decommissioned attractions (including a seat from Alien Encounter), and autographed artwork by some of my favorite Imagineering legends, like Rolly Crump and Claude Coats.

The Great Recession has put a crimp in my collecting habits, but I still occasionally splurge on scraps of nostalgia. My most recent find comes from MouseSurplus, whose new storefront in Kissimmee is a must-see for serious Disney fans.

Amidst the animatronic costumes and park-used signage, I spotted this 1979 copy of Your Complete Guide to the Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom. This 28-page booklet was provided free to guests by Polaroid, a park sponsor at the time. Though the copy I purchased is not in "mint condition," I love that you can see pencil marks where some long-ago family recorded their adventures.

Beyond being a striking contrast to the single-sheet maps given to Disney park guests today, this guide is a fascinating document of WDW before EPCOT Center; note the A- through E-Ticket designations from the days before pay-one-price admission. It's especially amusing to note that today's mid-tier attractions like Hall of Presidents and Jungle Cruise were once considered Disney's top draws.

I'll be back soon with more pages from this Polariad guide, followed by another, even older artifact of Walt Disney World ephemera.