If you grew up in a Disney-loving family during the 80s and 90s, you probably remember things being a bit different than they are now at Disney World!
There are a few memories that are burned into our brains! We don’t know why we can’t seem to forget them! Let’s see if you do, too… .
Take a trip back in time with us and see if you remember some of our favorite things from growing up at Disney World too!
The Yellow Sea Of Ponchos
Every time it rained in Disney World (which seems to happen A LOT), the gift shops would bust out their displays of bright yellow Mickey rain ponchos, and it felt like everyone in the park would buy one!
We’re talking men, women, and even small children! They were big sheets of vinyl with an enormous logo of Mickey on the back. (This was before the days of Amazon when a lot of people bought cheaper rain ponchos online and brought them to the parks.) In 2003 Disney World switched over to a clear poncho which is much less harsh on the eyes, but call us nostalgic — we seem to prefer the vibrant yellow ones better!
Butter Was Mickey-Shaped Everywhere
Believe it or not, you can STILL find Mickey Butter at some spots in Disney World (like this beautiful bounty of Mickey-shaped butter pads that came with our room service at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!). But alas, Mickey Butter is a rare creature these days!
If you were lucky enough to visit Disney World during the Mickey Butter glory days, you’ll remember this stuff was everywhere! In fact, it was one of the things we were the most excited about seeing on every trip. We even remember having the old “D” in the Walt Disney World logo…as butter. Shaped butter just TASTED better, right?!
Garden Grill Restaurant at EPCOT (back when it was known as The Land Grille Room) even had MICKEY SHAPED BUTTER STATUES! We don’t know what Disney’s strange obsession with butter was but we fully support it returning!
Typhoon Lagoon Doubloons
Typhoon Lagoon opened on June 1, 1989, at Disney World and quickly became the unofficial water park capital of all the cool kids. We remember these giant souvenir coins came with our kids’ meal, folded in a small paper envelope!
The token was made of plastic and read “Typhoon Lagoon Doubloon” on both sides. It had absolutely no purpose or cash value (what, you gave us a giant gold coin that we can’t spend on anything?!?), but since we’ve held onto this thing all these years, we’re pretty happy it’s still around!
You Could Meet the Dreamfinder and Figment
Back when Disney’s rarest characters used to roam the Earth (and before Journey Into Imagination’s refurb) there was the Dreamfinder — a magical man with a luscious crop of red hair and a beard to match — and you could MEET him!
And while, later, a much bigger costumed Figment was introduced, the original Figment was just a wee lad in an itty bitty sweater toted around by the gloved and tuxedoed Dreamfinder.
Don’t even get us started with the rest of the amazing stuff you could see and do at EPCOT back in the day (fly around blood cells in Body Wars, sniff oranges in Horizons, sing with fruit at Kitchen Kabaret, bust a move with Captain EO…the list goes on and on). The place was absolutely bananas…and PERFECT.
Candy Came in WAY Cooler Packaging
Long before Goofy’s Candy Co., Disney World packaged its candy in souvenir tins and acrylics cases. Some were shaped like Disney characters while others were beautifully illustrated with colorful designs. Each one was like a work of art!
Our favorite cases were these simple square acrylic boxes that were usually filled with Runts or Tart n Tinys or M&Ms. The confectioneries and gift shops had STACKS of them.
Now Disney packages its candy in disposable plastic bags and tubs — how we long for them to bring back this art form! (Huge thanks to Carl S. for sending us this pic to spark our imaginations and remember our must-have souvenirs from the 80s! Maybe our obsession with these was the seed of Disney Food Blog!)
Fine, But I Still Call It MGM Studios!
Perhaps the biggest change from our past is Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which doesn’t even have the same name anymore). MGM Studios (as it was formerly called) opened on May 1st, 1989, and was the third park at Disney World.
This park was super RAD even before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! It had a giant Mickey-shaped water tower, a Honey I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure playground, and even a Studio Backlot Tour with a sound stage, tram, and walking tour!
The idea behind MGM Studios started as a movie-themed pavilion at EPCOT. But the project grew and grew, eventually expanding into its own unique theme park concept!
A 1985 licensing agreement between Disney and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio gave Disney the right to use “MGM” for the name and logo. And originally, Disney planned on using the theme park as an actual movie production studio. Ernest Saves Christmas was filmed at MGM Studios before the park opened to the public, and that began the downfall of the name MGM before guests had even stepped foot inside.
MGM filed a lawsuit against Disney in 1988 (BEFORE the park was even open to the public) stating movie-making was in violation of their contract with Disney…even though that was kind of the whole point of the park in the first place. The case was settled in 1992 and Disney was allowed to keep using the MGM brand for its park. They did that until January 7, 2008, when the name was changed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Actually, now that we’ve had a chance to reflect back on this stuff, we think we know why we cling to these memories. They’re rather small details through the eyes of an adult, but in the imagination of a child, Mickey Butter, meeting the Dreamfinder, and seeing rows and rows of neatly stacked candies in shiny clear acrylic boxes is a dream come true!
We wonder what stuff our kids are noticing that they’ll be remembering many years from now! We look forward to finding out.
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What do you remember from your vacations to Disney World growing up? Tell us in the comments below!