Tag Archives: Disney History

Disney’s Contemporary – A Classic Resort

Contemporary Pool #2

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing our reviews of the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.


My favorite resort on all of the Walt Disney World Resort property is The Contemporary.  I loved this resort since I was a child.  I loved the fact that a monorail ran through the center of the hotel because of its iconic A-Frame structure.  If you ask people what they think of, besides the castle, when they think of Walt Disney World chances are they will mention The Contemporary and/or the monorail.  There are so many reasons to love this iconic Disney original.

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Taking a Spin on The Matterhorn

Born from the dirt excavated to build the moat for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle rises a 147-foot high mountain on the border between Disneyland’s Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.  We know this mountain better as…..The Matterhorn.

Matterhorn #1Disney Imagineers, like they did with a lot of tall structures, used forced perspective to make The Matterhorn seem bigger than it actually is.

The Matterhorn attraction rose out of Walt Disney’s desire to rid the parks of guests who were using the Matterhorn area (at the time known as Snow Hill) as a late-night rendezvous area since this really did fit into Disney’s vision of the park.  Like many of Walt Disney’s visions, his initial vision needed to be scaled back.  His original attraction concept was a toboggan ride with actual snow on the mountain.  Obviously, the logistics of keeping real snow fresh on a small mountain in southern California would be near impossible.

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The First Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World

The Candlelight Processional has always been a part of Walt Disney World since the park opened in 1971.  In Walt Disney World’s early years and before EPCOT, the Candlelight Processional was held on Main Street with the narrator reading from balcony area of the Main Street Train Station.

The processional was just one part of the Magic Kingdom’s Christmas festivities.  Town Square in 1971 featured a 50-foot Christmas Tree and there was a special holiday parade which ran daily from December 10th to January 2nd.  The Candlelight Processional was a two-night affair on December 18th and 19th with the show starting at 6 pm.  The narrator in that first year was movie star, Rock Hudson.

Rock Hudson #1

Hudson would go on to narrate the processional at Walt Disney World again in 1973, 1974, 1977, and 1980.  The processional stayed at Walt Disney World until 1993 when it moved to the American Gardens Theatre in EPCOT.

Christmas at Disney has come a long way since that first Walt Disney World Christmas in 1971.  Now, we have Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which starts in November, Christmas Around the World at the EPCOT World Showcase, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios with the Candlelight Processional still taking place in the American Gardens Theatre in EPCOT.

List of Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional Narrators (Magic Kingdom)

Rock Hudson: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1984

Cary Grant: 1972

Dean Jones: 1975, 1987

Joseph Campanella: 1976, 1983, 1990

Ross Martin: 1978

James Hampton and Darrin McGavin: 1981

Pat and Shirley Boone: 1982

Howard Keel: 1985, 1986

Walter Cronkite: 1988

McLean Stevenson: 1989

George Kennedy: 1991

Paula Zahn: 1992

Information for this article was pulled from:

The Rock Hudson Project

Mouse Planet