Yesterday, I wrote about the busing system at Walt Disney World in 1984. Today, I’m moving on to the park and in-park dining tips in 1984 as provided by Walt Disney World in the welcome packet. Again, thanks to my dad for unearthing this great source of historical information about Walt Disney World. Both topics were very different in 1984 compared to today. This is mainly due to the scope of the Walt Disney World resort having only a handful of hotels and two theme parks. With that, let’s dive into the topic of park and dining tips from 1984.
Most of these tips are not much different back then than they are today. Walt Disney World suggests to go Magic Kingdom in the morning and then head over to EPCOT Center in the afternoon/evening. When in EPCOT Center, Disney suggests to go to World Showcase first and then into Future World. My thinking on this tip is “World Showcase did not have a lot of attractions in 1984 for guests to experience compared to Future World.”
From a people flow perspective, this makes sense for Disney to suggest. In 1984, there were not separate hours for Future World and World Showcase. According to the June 22 to July 5, 1984 Disney Newsletter, EPCOT Center was open from 9 am to 11 pm every day. Keep in mind, there were no EPCOT area resorts like Beach Club and Boardwalk so there was no International Gateway. The only entrance and exit was the main entrance at the front of Future World. Disney wants as many people as possible toward the front of the park when the park is closing so they did not have to “sweep” World Showcase to pick up any stragglers after the 10 pm showing of Laserphonic Fantasy.
Moving to the dining tips. This is a completely different experience from what we have today. These were your in-park table service dining restaurants:
- Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room – United Kingdom
- Les Chefs de France Restaurant – France
- Mitsukoshi Restaurant – Japan
- Biergarten – Germany
- L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante – Italy
- San Angel Inn – Mexico
- The Good Turn Restaurant – The Land
- King Stefan’s Banquet Hall – Fantasyland
- Liberty Tree Tavern – Liberty Square
That’s it. That’s the list. Nine restaurants between two theme parks with seven of those restaurants in EPCOT and six of those seven in World Showcase. We know King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, today, as Cinderella’s Royal Table. Here’s a great article on the history of King Stefan’s Banquet Hall.
Within these nine restaurants, there was no in-park character meals. If a guest wanted to dine with character, a guest had to travel to a resort or the Empress Lilly in the Walt Disney World Village to have this experience.
Another difference was there were no advance reservations. Guests could make a “day-of” dinner reservation, starting at 10 am, at the Earth Station at the base of Spaceship Earth. Lunch reservations could only be made at the restaurant itself. I assume there was a similar location at the front of Magic Kingdom to make dinner reservations for King Stefan’s Banquet Hall or Liberty Tree Tavern.
Above is a list of the counter-service restaurants available to guests in EPCOT. These restaurants were more even split between Future World and the World Showcase. Almost all of these restaurants are still open today. The ones that are closed are The Renaissance Food Festival between the United Kingdom and France which served a wide variety of international foods. The other closed restaurant is The Odyssey. It was used a viewing location for the 2014 World Cup matches. A third restaurant is closed as a counter-service restaurant but is still operational today and that is Le Cellier in Canada.
In 1984, Le Cellier was a counter-service which served prime rib, salmon, and other hot “buffeteria” selections while service wine and Labatt’s. Counter-service prime rib and salmon?!?! I think they made a good move making Le Cellier a table-service restaurant.
In the information from the welcome packet, there is not a listing of counter-service restaurants available within The Magic Kingdom. I have to believe that this type of restaurant existed within The Magic Kingdom even this was still a time when Disney wanted to people to head back to the resorts and experience what the resorts had to offer guests during the day.
And we’ll leave, today, will some tips for a first-time visitor from Walt Disney World News insider Steve Birnbaum:
Thanks for reading!