Denise's Corner

Looking Back at Walt Disney World’s 15th Anniversary at Magic Kingdom & Epcot (First in New Vintage Series)

Hi everyone!

As the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World approaches, we are starting a weekly series of photos (each Monday) with pictures from Jeff’s extensive vintage collection. We were hoping to do something a little more substantial with them this year but hopefully in the future. He has about 20,000 vintage photos (not including video, ephemera and much more). I’ll be writing the articles unless noted.

These photos are from the 15th anniversary of Walt Disney World. The one thing I remember about this anniversary is that a car was given away each day. I (Denise) had recently moved to Florida and was visiting just every so often. I didn’t take too many photos during these years, not until 2007. Jeff’s photos here are from both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot – those were the two parks open at this time.

There was red, white and blue bunting on the Main Street Railroad Station.

His mom stands in front of the 15th Anniversary Prize Clock at the Magic Kingdom. Prizes each day included a 1987 Chevy Cavalier Convertible or a Chevy S-10 pickup truck.

Here is the clock from another angle. Disney characters can be seen around it.

The Magic Kingdom entrance included “15 years” signage.

There were a lot of prizes but not every ticket was a winner (I didn’t win but Jeff’s parents won a park ticket). On the Disney Parks Blog in 2011, Nate Rasmussen said:

But the showcase of the celebration was the introduction of the WDW-GGM (Walt Disney World Gift Giver Machine). This computer awarded birthday gift surprises to guests entering the park every 15 seconds. A variety of prizes such as birthday visors, birthday pins, Walt Disney Pictures videos, Annual Passes and beach towels were awarded daily, and every day one lucky guest won a 1987 Chevy Cavalier. Winning guests received a voucher to order the car (or an S-10 pickup truck, their choice) at their hometown Chevrolet dealer. Any guesses on the value of a 1987 Chevy Cavalier?

15 Years banners lined Main Street.

Walt Disney purchased this horse-drawn musical wagon – the 1907 Dragon Calliope – for Disneyland in the 1950s. You can find it at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground in the large barn at the Settlement. It has been used in parades but mostly is displayed.

It seemed to be ahead of the parade from a video I watched.

Mickey and Minnie led the way in the 15 Years of Magic Parade.

The 15 Years of Magic Parade included a Rock & Roll float.

The Three Little Pigs celebrated in party hats.

Cinderella was included and you can see Donald and one of the Tweedles in the background in party hats.

Here is a wider look at that float.

The Country Bears were baking up a birthday cake.

There was also a 15 Years of Magic stage show. 

At Epcot, the 15th was being celebrated out front as well.

A birthday cake decoration was inside the front entrance (there was a topiary at the Magic Kingdom but Jeff hasn’t found a photo in his collection of that).

Here is the opposite direction of the cake.

He has so many photos, including of Donald Duck’s 50th birthday and Epcot’s Daredevil Circus Spectacular – and of course, the 25th anniversary and so much more. I am not sure what we will post next week!

If you are looking for Walt Disney World 50th books, the ones we look most forward to are:

A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth (Disney Editions Deluxe)

Disney World at 50: The Stories of How Walt’s Kingdom Became Magic in Orlando

Birnbaum’s 2022 Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide (Birnbaum Guides)