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In this week's feature, Mike and Mark are joined by MouseStation audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng as they discuss their very first visits to Walt Disney World.
Mark went first, since he was the first to visit Walt Disney World; however, since his first visit was back in 1972 (when he was eight), most of his memories were very hazy. His clearest memory was of him and his brother arguing with his father over how many more tickets his father would buy and what letter tickets they would be. His memory seems to indicate that the discussion took place in Fantasyland near what was then the Mickey Mouse Revue. (It's now Mickey's PhilharMagic.) They succeeded in getting two more tickets each, and then everything else that they did had to be free, so they went to the Hall of Presidents again and then did multiple rides on If You Had Wings.
It was so long ago that much of Tomorrowland hadn't been built yet. You could look from the heart of Tomorrowland and see the Contemporary Resort as if it were an extension of the land. Pirates of the Caribbean hadn't been built yet. The park felt wide open back then, as the park just ended because so much hadn't been built yet. Frontierland just went off into the sunset.
Mike went next, as his first trip was in 1986, when he was one year old. The first one that he remembers was when he was eight years old. He and his family would drive down from Atlanta, where they lived at the time, and they would always stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
One of the things that he remembers most was his first time in Disney's Animal Kingdom the year that it opened. He went to the park with his aunt, and he fell in love with Festival of the Lion King, which helped him to develop his love of The Lion King.
Mike also noted that they didn't make as big a deal of people's first visits to Walt Disney World as they do now.
He also remembers going to Blizzard Beach the year that it opened, going to Blizzard Beach, and going on Summit Plummit because he was so proud of himself.
Steven's first trip wasn't until 1995, and it was an afterthought when he had extra time after a space shuttle launch. He had allowed for four days for the launch to go off before he would head home. The launch went off as scheduled, and he had extra time at his disposal, so he went to Walt Disney World.
He started at Epcot, without knowing much about the park at all. He was so impressed with all of the near-future technology that he rethought his career path and ended up working for the company that produced one of the gadgets on display.
He was also impressed by the number of Omnimover rides in the park. He also talked about Illuminations, which was a spectacular unlike anything that he had seen at Disneyland. Since he was exploring the park by himself, without knowing what was around the next turn, he was completely fascinated by the place. After that, he went every year or two for the next five years or so.
Mike wondered how many people go to a Disney park these days without any idea of what's coming, and sees it in complete wonder. Mark noted that there is less ability to see things these days if you don't plan in advance. Between the crowds, the effects of Fastpass, and other factors, those who don't plan are more likely to feel overwhelmed that to feel wonder.
Mark reminisced a bit about Communicore with the Fountain of Information, educational kiosks, data traffic control games, and the impact that the attractions had; he also talked about his wife's first trip in 1986 and his son's early trips.
Steven talked some more about how the emerging technologies on display at Innoventions back in 1995 are now in use today, which led to a discussion of whether Innoventions will be showing technologies that are years from being used out in the real world or if it will just be advertising for the latest releases. Mike remembered the Sega games area and noted that it looked a bit like DisneyQuest does now.
There was also some chatter about feeling at home after entering the park, and riding missed attractions when visiting the opposite coast. Steven talked about finding the Carousel of Progress, the Peoplemover and the remains of the Progress City model, but also being disoriented by the changes between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. Mike and Mark talked about a similar experience, seeing the original Tiki Room show and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and being somewhat disoriented by the different rides, the Matterhorn, and so forth.
There was also some chatter about the approach to the entrance of the parks on each coast.
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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).