Despite the embarrassing fashions and massive hair, the 80s were a fun decade and made a big mark in pop culture! This got me thinking… While Disney is as magical today as ever, many of us Mouse Ear sporting fans were first to introduced to Disney in the 80s and it truly was a great time to be a Disney fan. How? Read on to find out what I think are the top 10 best things about Disney in the ’80s!
10. Old Attractions-Back in the 80s, some of Disney’s extinct attractions were still in their heyday, such as the beloved 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mission to Mars, and Plaza Swan Boats. Tomorrowland? It looked nothing like the retro-futuristic land that we know today! Also, in 1980, we also had a our last chance to enjoy the Mickey Mouse Revue, an adorable show featuring a myriad of Disney Characters and their songs. Today we have Mickey’s Philharmagic, which is like the next generation of the Mickey Mouse Revue and pretty awesome in its own right; but we still have to shed a tear for those Magic Kingdom attractions which we won’t see again except in our old, dusty photo albums. But on a brighter note, in 1985, we were able to see Tinker Bell descend from Cinderella Castle for the first time; and even the 80s are quite a few years behind us, seeing Tinker Bell fly over the park at night still amazes us even today.
9. New Movies-The 80s held for us both a mix of both live action and animated movies to enjoy, including the Flight of the Navigator, Tron, The Brave Little Toaster, and Fox and the Hound! While they often are overshadowed by more of Disney’s early and more recent releases, these films are classics in their own right and few of my faves!
8. New Management-In 1984, Michael Eisner became the CEO of the Disney Company, thus beginning what is now known as the “Eisner Era.” During these years, new life was breathed into the parks and the Disney Renaissance, which would be a rebirth of Disney animated classics in the 90s, began. Eisner would also pursue other entertainment avenues for Disney and open up a future for the Disney Company which had seemed lifeless and lackluster since Walt’s death years before. But back in the early 80s, all of this was just beginning!
7. Debut of the Mickey Ice Cream Bar-In 1985, Disney guests were treated, literally, to Mickey shaped ice cream treats. Yum! Today known as the Mickey Premium Bar, this favorite park snack which began in the 80s sure makes our park visits all the sweeter!
6. Disney Channel-In 1983, Disney fans were able to enjoy Disney magic at home with the debut of Disney Channel! It made those of us who didn’t have cable feel even more out of the loop at school, but what we wouldn’t give to go back in time to those old, original shows instead of watching what’s on today…
4. Disney and Star Wars Partnership-Several years after the release of Return of the Jedi, you get the news that the galaxy far, far way is being made into an attraction at the newest Disney park, MGM Studios! You know that nothing was cooler at the time than seeing Mickey dressed in a rainbow space suit rubbing elbows with R2-D2 and C3PO on the front page of the newspaper; and when you got to ride Star Tours (which as now been refurbished and in 3-D) for yourself, it quickly became your new favorite ride!
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad-In 1980, Disney got a brand new attraction, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! This was great news if you were a thrill-seeker as, at the time, Space Mountain was the only other stomach-dropping ride to be found at the park.
2. The Grand Floridian-In 1988, Disney’s flagship resort, the Grand Floridian, opened its doors and transported guests back to the Victorian era to pamper them in luxury within sight of Cinderella Castle! Back in the 80s, your jaw was sure to hit the floor when you walked inside the immaculate, cavernous lobby of this resort. Come to think of it, it probably still does even now!
1. Opening of EPCOT-In 1982, Disney opened, EPCOT, the first Disney park separate from the Magic Kingdom. Disney was unable to execute Walt’s original vision for EPCOT, but they took some of the core ideas and themes of his concept, along with a World’s Fair concept, to create the park we came to know. This theme park was a breed all of its own and endured some criticism in its early years; but the EPCOT of 1982 is very different from the EPCOT we know now. Back in the 80s, you wouldn’t find Mickey merchandise or princess dresses like you find now, and you could still enjoy some original EPCOT park attractions, such as the original Journey into the Imagination and Horizons! You also would’ve been rocking your big hair and neon windbreaker as you took in Captain EO for the first time around!
Were you a Disney fan in the 80s? What do you miss the most from this decade?
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