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Fun Stuff: Late 1980s Park Maps!

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So far during coronavirus lockdown I’ve made half a dozen jigsaw puzzles, baked many loaves of bread, and started an herb garden. I’m now moving onto the next stereotype and cleaning out my attic. And HUZZAH! – I finally found some scrapbooks that I thought were gone forever. The scrapbooks include photos and memorabilia from my first two young adult trips to Walt Disney World.

First up are remnants from a March/April 1989 trip, which included maps from Magic Kingdom and Epcot (this was just a few weeks before Disney MGM Studios opened, so those were the only WDW parks that existed), as well as Sea World and Busch Gardens.


I LOVE how much actual, you know, information is included in the 1989 map booklets. This was a few years before the internet was a tool for regular people, so unless you had read a guidebook in advance, you were probably arriving at the parks blind, with no pre-planning information. Everything you needed to know had to be in one easy to grab place.

With the omission of New Fantasyland (opened in 2012) and the inclusion of Mickey’s Birthdayland (which later became Toontown and has since been folded into New Fantasyland), much of this old map is similar to the current Magic Kingdom layout. I’m most amused here by prominence of the many mail drop locations along Main Street – as if people just couldn’t wait another second to find out where they could mail their postcards home.

Fun tidbits on the general information pages include:

  • The “Wonders of Walt Disney World” behind the scenes program. I assume that this content is now part of the Y.E.S. program, but I’d love to know more about this iteration.
  • The statement that “food or drink may not be brought into the Magic Kingdom.” That’s certainly not the case now.
  • The word “handwiches” as a menu item at the Space Bar.
  • The word “buffeteria” to describe The Crystal Palace.
  • You can rent an RCA Videocamcorder to capture your memories.

Here are the pages for the various Magic Kingdom lands.

The macro resort page advertises “Seven Sensational Resorts.” Today, there are many multiples of that. Other anomalies are the now defunct “Broadway at the Top” show at the Contemporary, the Disney Village Marketplace, and River Country.

The Magic Kingdom map also cross-sells Epcot and advertises upcoming attractions like MGM Studios, Typhoon Lagoon, and the Wonders of Life Pavilion.

And of course there are photo tips from Kodak!


Information pages feature WorldKey Information Satellites – like information ATMs – and mentions of the Communicore.

The maps all have insets with mini-maps of the pavilion layouts.

The macro resort Epcot page is similar to the Magic Kingdom macro resort page.

And – Kodak!


My stash of ephemera from this trip also included a map from Sea World.


And a map from Busch Gardens, Tampa.


And the piece de resistance from this trip is the Travelodge Kissimmee pamphlet which features super swanky bedspreads and an arcade with Pac Man.

What’s your favorite part of these old maps? Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

2 thoughts on “Fun Stuff: Late 1980s Park Maps!

  • I first went to Disney World when I was about 3 or 4. I barely have any memories of that trip, but back home, I remember looking through these exact same brochures over and over again, eagerly planning what to see on my next trip. Journey Into Imagination was my number one priority; I was enthralled by that Rainbow Corridor.

    That next trip came in 2000, my senior class went their to celebrate our upcoming graduation. Some of the things I’d most wanted to see had closed by then, so that was a bummer. The Rainbow Corridor was gone, and Journey Into Imagination has been gutted into its horrible revamp. But on the other hand, there was a lot of new fun stuff, some of which I couldn’t go to for one reason or another. In particular, I vowed to go to Pleasure Island and hit all the clubs when I was an adult.

    I’m going again in a few months as part of my honeymoon (my wife-to-be has never been to any of the Florida theme parks, so we’re doing both Disney World and Universal). And I’m sure we’ll have a great time. But, wouldn’t you know it, Pleasure Island is closed. History repeats itself. *sigh*

    But thank you for posting these brochures, they bring back a ton of memories.

  • Thank you for posting this! I love seeing the old school maps!


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