Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on September 26, 1971 · 154
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · 154

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Chicago, Illinois
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Sunday, September 26, 1971
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154
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6 Section Chleaco Tribune, Sunday, September 28, 1971 Near Orlando, Fla. Disney World Begins to Turn JrC'vi Ric 2W Richard , j Joseph WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. The dateline tells the whole story. This piece could have been slugged "Orlando, Fla.," since that's the nearest town, but W. D. W. is an entirely new place a vacation destination unto itself. It's hard to say exactly how far away Orlando is because the Disney property is so big almost twice the size of Manhattan Island that you've got to be sure of just what part of the installation you're talking about. The main gate, for Instance, is 20 miles southwest of Orlando, but then you've got to drive five miles to the entrance of the resort area which occupies 2,500 acres of the total 27,500-acre Disney site. I'm down here for the last look-around by the press before everything is closed off prior to the big opening blast Oct. 1, and the most impressive thing I've found is the sheer scope of the place. This is not another Disneyland, altho the Magic Kingdom theme park does have many of the features of the California installation Main Street, U.S.A.; Adventure-' land, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland with an 18-story high Cinderella's Castle and resembles it closely. But that's really only a tiny part of the new W. D. W. At the moment the last of more than 7,000 workers are putting the finishing touches on what has been the largest single private construction job in the United States. It has been more than four years in the building, and by opening day it will have cost well over a quarter of a billion dollars. As construction workers are phased out, more than 6,000 people are going thru the few days' training at f ft I 4 - t- .: k .r:ctwr. . i ; ' - -. t i t.uUWv La - L - ' '. ....v , .j ll II II 111 II llj V,- P -- -. . i -- - i- 1 - - - - o-"rs3?islTi -" Wi 'iiaiaM-Mliirt hi amT ! ti A ' utiii m nwnium i irn,MlWwnniiM ?v '" ' CALIFORNIA SAH FHAHCISCO mr. travel. ARIZONA This cculd b a cen just outside Bangkok, Thailand, or a jungle stream in Cambodia near Angkor Wat. Instead, it's just on of the thousands of sights at Walt Disney World. An artist's drawing shows how monorail trains will pass right thru tha glass anclosed lobby of tha Contemporary Resort-Hotel of Walt Disney World when tha hug central Florida vacation complex opens Oct. I. The trains also will stop at tha Polynesian Village Hotel, the Magic Kingdom theme park and the 12,000-car parking lot. I 1Z OSCEOtACO. SITE OF j '.' HALT At"l D!SEY WORLD pFLORIDA jj . too mm what Is grandiloquently called Walt Disney World's University. The survivors of 40,000 applicants, they'll be the permanent staff of W. D. W., and they're expected to greet between 8 million and 10 million visitors a year. There's nothing extravagant about this estimate. Opening of W. D. W. will close down one of Florida's most popular new tourist attractions, the W. D. W. Preview Center, where more than a million visitors have already stopped off just to look at the plans of what W. D. W. will be like! Most of the advance publicity photos released thus far have been of the Magio Kingdom theme park the part that looks like California's Disneyland because it is the most photogenic section and the one farthest along toward completion; but this underplays the unique aspect of W. D. W., the fact that it is a self-contained resort complex, where guests can spend an entire vacation without ever visiting the amusement park section or taking a "fun ride." Recreational activities will be centered around a 650-acre lake and lagoon dotted by small Islands and ringed by 44 miles of white sand beach. There'll be swimming, sailing, water skiing and steamboat excursions. Nearby are tennis courts and two championship 18-hole golf courses. A major P. G. A. tournament, the $150,000 W. D. W. Open, will be played here Dec. 2-5. The first two of five Disney-o w n e d-and-operated lakeside hotels the 1,057-room Contemporary Resort-Hotel and the 500-room Polynesian Village, will be ready for the Oct. 1 opening, altho from what I've seen I'd bet that the Polynesian Village will be readier. The Poly nesian Village Is described by its name; but the management, pointing out that Polynesia includes French Tahiti, will be serving island food with a strongly French accent. Architecturally, tho, the Contemporary Resort-Hotel is far more exciting. Built by U. S. Steel using modular, pre-assembled room units, the main building is shaped more or less like a hollow Aztec pyramid. All guest rooms overlook an inner concourse so huge it has been nicknamed the Grand Canyon and landscape architects have been called in to complete Its decor. It is nine stories high and one-and-a-half times the length of a football field, and shops and restaurants will line its length along the ground floor. And there'll be a monorail station right in the middle of the lobby! About 400 rooms will be In the main tower building, and two low lakeside wings will each contain 300 rooms. Rates at both the Contemporary and Polynesian hotels will range between $22 and $40 a day double, depending on size, location and view, with the majority of rooms renting for $30. And, wonder of wonders there's to be no tipping at the hotels or anywhere in W. D. W. except for food service. Bellhops are to be dignified with the title of Hospitality Hosts, In the fond hope that this will prevent their arms from flying forward, palms up. Fancy labels are to be tagged onto just about everybody working at W. D. W. There'll be no busboys or waitresses in the restaurants and hotel dining rooms they're to be Dining Hosts and Dining Hostesses. You'll see no street cleaners here, but there will be broom pushing gentlemen costumed as Disney film characters and called, If you please, Custodian Hosts. The whole thing, in fact, is going to be a greater costume extravaganza than "Ben Hur." People working at the Polynesian Hotel will be garbed, or ungarbed, as South Sea islanders; and personnel people interviewing the job-seekers are beginning to regard themselves as casting directors. And construction will go on, constantly. Another half-century's work has been projected, including more hotels in the next few years and, later on, EPCOT, the E x p e r i mental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a community of 20,000 residents with its own airport, indus- Wlt Dlsner Production! PhotoiJ trial park, shops and community services. Looking over the whole picture, this pre-opening visitor is moved to remark if you'll pardon the sacrilege that Walt Disney World must surely be the greatest super-production since Genesis itself. CALIFORNIA MP mm m?- 298-11Days Via TWA or United Jet Incl. RT Jet, 11 days deluxe hotel accommoda tions, San Francisco, Lot Angeles, La Vegas, sight seeing, shows, cocktails, meals, many extras. TIME TRAVEL 12 W. Randolph; Chican Magic Kingdom Not Perfect WALT DISNEY WORLD, F 1 a .Don't expect every-thing to be running as smooth as glass if you visit Walt Disney World during the opening weeks. Officials of the huge recreational complex which opens Friday admit frankly that the first three weeks will be a shakedown period. This means that some of the attractions may not be completed or fully operational, and the employes will not yet be completely familiar with their duties or the layout. Undoubtedly, some confusion will exist, as it does with all new projects when first opened. "We're not pushing the opening," a Disney official said candidly. It is being accomplished, he said, "with minimum fanfare." Some attractions in the first three weeks may be operating at certain times and not at others, the spokesman said. "At this point, we're not sure of the operational pattern." The campground will not be ready on opening day, nor will at least two theme attractions. "But we'll be in full regular operation by Oct. 26," he emphasized. This is three days before a 10-min- Lx2a c,arko ute network television show on the park will be aired. Both of the Disney hotels on the grounds will be open on time Friday, the spokesman said, as well as all the transportation facilities, the two golf courses and other attractions in the theme park. However, reservations are not being accepted for either hotel until Nov. 1. "This doesn't mean that we might not have rooms available for visitors who show up in October," the Disney officials said. "But we will have a great many special events and special guests during our preview month and we just don't know yet how many rooms they will require. The three-week break-in period will give the Disney people the opportunity to get whatever kinks show up out of the operation. Both the attractions which will not be open next Friday are in Tomorrowland. They are America the Beautiful, a visual trip across the United States seen in a 360-degree theater, and Flight to the Moon, a simulation. Neither may be ready until some time in November. Three other commercial pavilions will either start or be under construction in October. Two of them Eastern Air Lines' travel attraction and RCA's impact of living in the future are id Tomorrowland. The other, Gulf Oil's Walt Disney Story, is in Main Street, U. S. A. The Disney official could not give an estimate as to when the campgrounds would be put into operation. The two hotels, he said, are almost entirely booked up for the Christmas season and earlier dates are moving well. CALIFORNIA FLY & DRIVE 'CALIFORNIA 7 Days, 6 Nights f npn I R rtn person W KM I O DOUBLE OCC. PHI Air u SI02.I3 plm tai ndr 12 yrt. ilNCLUDIS: Round -f-tp nonitor I I et Detura accommodation! et " an on or mora of 12 HOLIDAYi k'NNS Air rond. AVIS car for f rtavi pk't 7C0 fret milM DISNEYLAND aumiuion & 10-ridfi I'lcV-t book ladiet' flight-baa I ! $100 account book Off-er ' evtrai Set your travel agent or J -all: TOURS inc. 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