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“Searching” for Walt Disney World – A YouTube Adventure

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It entices you in the late night and early morning hours. It beckons you in those few and fleeting moments of respite and leisure. It feasts on your boredom. It innocently comes to you with a tweet like a tiny flitting bird. It slyly makes its way to you in a little note from a friend – “so- and-so likes….” It goes without saying that you cannot help but click such a link. Why? Is it curiosity, fascination or your out-and-out refusal to be the one person who does not know what is trending? Whatever the reason, you give in to temptation, and that is when, where, and how it starts. You are hooked.

You promise yourself that you will only watch one more, and then, before you know it, countless videos and hours later, you are hopelessly immersed. That is right, the vortex—better known as YouTube—has pulled you deep into its bottomless, swirling sea of videos. The “up next” list is an ever-expanding whirlpool that—like a siren’s song—alluringly appeals to you to just keep watching…just keep watching…just keep watching. So, you click just one more thumbnail.

Why is it so hard to escape the vortex? It is most likely because the video’s thumbnail and caption grab your attention and/or you cannot risk turning down a video you may never find again! For Disney aficionados, YouTube videos relating to Walt Disney World (WDW) are among the hardest to pass up. After all, an ocean of vintage clips, extinct attractions, TV specials and so much more await you.

While searching YouTube for a single clip from the Walt Disney World Resort in-room television channel, I was pulled into the bottomless whirlpool, which led to hours of exploration and many spectacular finds. What follows are the spoils of that lengthy and exciting encounter with the powerful YouTube vortex. It was quite an adventure. If you dare to risk being immersed for hours, beware, it is hard to fight the current, and once it pulls you in, it is best to just enjoy ride!


TV Specials

The Grand Opening of Walt Disney World This special is shown on YouTube in its entirety (1 hr. 18 min.), but it originally aired on the Wonderful World of Disney in 1971. It is hosted by Julie Andrews and features Bob Hope, Buddy Hackett and others.

Intro and Closing for the 1983 Walt Disney World Christmas Parade – Hosted by Mike Douglas and Joan Lunden, this was the first time the parade was televised.

1995 Walt Disney World Happy Easter Parade Opening – The Happy Easter Parade was a springtime television staple in the 1990s. While the parade still takes place on Easter at the Magic Kingdom Park, it is no longer televised.

Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary Special – This 40 minute special aired in 1996 on The Disney Channel and is hosted by Caroline Rhea.


Resort TV

Walt Disney World Tour – Many park visitors will remember the “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Tip for Today” portion of this old Resort TV loop.

Must Do Disney – This iteration of the Walt Disney World: Top 7 Must Sees is hosted by Kryssa Mooney, and Mission:SPACE comes in at number one.

Must Do Disney 2007 – This version of the Walt Disney World: Top 7 Must Sees on Resort TV countdown features Stacey Aswad, and reigning at the top of the list is Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.


Around WDW

Disney’s Magical Express Video – For many families, their WDW vacation begins and ends with a ride on Disney’s Magical Express where they are treated to a preview of all of the fun that awaits them on their vacation.

Complete Ride on the WDW Resort Monorail – This filming was done in April of 2012, so it features the spiel so many came to love and know by heart.


Extinct Attractions

The Timekeeper Replaced by the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, The Timekeeper featuring Robin Williams and Rhea Pearlman, is beloved by many guests who had the opportunity to visit it from 1994-2006.

Legend of the Lion King – Present in Fantasyland from 1994-2002, Legend of the Lion King featured impressive puppetry and set-pieces that were used in conjunction with footage and music from the film.

Cranium Command – One of several attractions in the now closed Wonders of Life Pavilion at Epcot, Cranium Command took guests inside the mind of a twelve-year-old boy as he experiences a normal day. The cast included Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, George Wendt, Kevin Nealon and many others. It opened in October 1989 and closed in January 2007.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – For those who have seen the animated film, but did not have the opportunity to experience Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride prior to its closing in September 1998, you will notice that the attraction differs from the film and features a not-so-happy ending for Mr. Toad.

Magic Kingdom Skyway – The long-extinct opening day attraction offered beautiful aerial views between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. It was closed in November 1999. This video was taken in 1996, and features the Cinderella Castle Cake, which was decorated for the WDW 25th Anniversary.


Other Magical Videos

Soldier Returns to Family at Voices of Liberty in Epcot SPC Scott Halquist returns home from Afghanistan and surprises his family at a Voices of Liberty performance at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot World Showcase.

Frontierland Flash Mob – Watch Br’er Rabbit, the Country Bear Wendell, Horace Horsecollar and others get their groove on in Frontierland.

Taste of DisneyThis how-to lesson on making the much-loved and famous WDW Tonga Toast, features Kona Café’s Chef Lawrence Searl at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

(Images ©Disney)

What are your favorite WDW videos on YouTube?


KendallKendall is an editor and contributing writer for WDW Radio. She began visiting Walt Disney World in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband. Her home-away-from-home is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and she believes a perfect day at WDW includes a dip in the Lava Pool, a ride on Splash Mountain and a Pineapple Dole Whip. Follow her on Twitter @kl_foreman.