Wednesday, June 8, 2016

40 RARE Scans of the 1971 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report

By Keith Mahne

Back in 1971, the Walt Disney Company was bursting at the seams with creativity and enthusiasm, after all, this was the year of Walt Disney World. Disney's Florida project opened during the month of October, on schedule, with everything going well and running smoothly from the very first day. The Disney Company put together an absolutely beautiful annual report to inform shareholders of everything going on at that time within the company. Let's take a look back to 1971 and examine the state of Walt and Roy's beloved company with these 40 amazing scans of the 1971 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report that you have got to see...

(For your viewing pleasure, please click on each scan to enlarge) 

Each copy of the 1971 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report had a heartfelt note from former Disney President Donn Tatum attached to the front cover informing shareholders and employees that the report was put together prior to the passing of Roy O. Disney...

The cover is absolutely gorgeous...

The inside cover featured a remarkable photo of Walt Disney World's grand opening spectacular...

Pages 1 and 2 featured Roy's dedication speech and a personal letter that he wrote prior to his passing...

This was followed by a stunning, aerial shot of WDW and also the Ticket and Transportation Center...

Next up, a personal message from former EVP and Chief Operating Officer, E. Cardon Walker...

The next 7 pages were all about what Walt Disney World had to offer, each featuring beautiful photos of the brand new resort complex in Florida...

The next 2 pages talk about the Buena Vista Land Company. This is pretty significant because it shows that the company was actually working towards the goal of Walt Disney’s E.P.C.O.T. city project at this time. Disney called it “the City of Lake Buena Vista”. Also, on the second page below, you'll notice something few people know about that Disney purchased back in 71'...a large portion of beachfront property along the Atlantic Ocean that was also in Florida. (these are 2 MAJOR topics I will soon be doing articles on so stay tuned for more information)...

On the following 2 pages you will find information on the Disney On Parade arena show, Disney's ancillary activities, and what eventually lead to the demise of Walt's Mineral King Project...

With the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, Disneyland only received 2 pages in the 71' annual report but they feature some rarely seen photos...

The next 4 pages are all about the Walt Disney Productions motion pictures and television projects, including an update from Walt's son-in-law, the then-Vice President and Executive Producer, Ron Miller...

The annual report now begins to go into detail about the company's executive team and that years financial highlights. This section begins with a wonderful sketch of the Board of Directors, including Roy O. Disney...

A list of executives and finances...

Prior to seeing all of the company's current financial information, we see a letter from then-President Donn Tatum...

The next 11 pages feature all of the Disney Company's financial information from 1971...

The back, inside cover features a list of the Disney Company's subsidiaries, corporate officers, etc. and a young WDW visitor sitting along Main Street...

The back cover is a continuation of the front, and equally as beautiful...

Now that we have seen the 1971 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report, let's zoom in on all those wonderful photos of a brand new Walt Disney World Resort...

WDW - 1971

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine as it appeared in 1971

A 1971 view of the Magic Kingdom. Notice the Monorail with its original 5 cars instead of the current 6.

A beautiful shot of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland in 1971

A beautiful view down Main Street, USA at night - 1971

A beautiful, 1971 photo of the Haunted Mansion and the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat

A rare photo of the very first Electrical Water Pageant and Polynesian Resort Luau - 1971

A photo of the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland as it appeared in 1971

A young boy reads a cartoon along the sidewalk of the Magic Kingdom - 1971

Aerial view of WDW in 1971

A brand new Big Al autio-animatronic from 1971

Children ride bikes around Fort Wilderness - 1971

Disney's Contemporary Resort offered guests several options for outdoor water-sports and other recreational fun in the sun - 1971

Disney's Contemporary Resort seen at night in 1971

Disney's Contemporary Resort seen here as it was in 1971

Disney's Contemporary Resort, with its 1,057 rooms and like the Polynesian Village, was constructed for WDW by USS Realty Development Division of US Steel, incorporating the world's first major use of steel-framed, modular construction - 1971

Disney's Fort Wilderness offers visitors 600 acres of outdoor fun including nature trails like this one seen in 1971

Disney's Fort Wilderness, featuring 600 acres of campgrounds, boating, nature trails, park-like recreation areas and the Tri-Cirlce D Ranch, where saddle horses are available like the ones seen here in 1971

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort lobby as seen in 1971

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort pool as seen in 1971

Disney's Polynesian Village, the 500-room resort-hotel styled in the leisurely manner of the South Seas, as it appeared when it opened in 1971

Liberty Square as it appeared in 1971

A closeup photo of the Fife and Drum Corps of Liberty Square in 1971

Located near the Polynesian Village Resort are two championship golf courses, the Magnolia and the Palm (seen here) - 1971

Mickey Mouse greets Magic Kingdom guests along Main Street just days after opening in 1971

Mickey Mouse Musical Revue - 1971

Roy and Lillian Disney speak to the crowd of 2,500 invited guests to open WDW - 1971

Roy O. Disney reads the Magic Kingdom opening day dedication with Mickey Mouse at his side - 1971

Snow White hugs a child at the newly opened Magic Kingdom - 1971

Swimming, boating and beach facilities are just a few steps from every room in the Polynesian's seven "longhouses" clustered around the Great Ceremonial House - 1971

The Adventureland Steel Drum Band entertain guests at the Magic Kingdom in 1971

The elegant Crystal Palace Restaurant at night in 1971

The Fife and Drum Corps of Liberty Square in 1971

The Hall of Presidents as it appeared in 1971

The Magic Kingdom Utilidors - 1971

The Magic Kingdom's brand new Country Bear Jamboree attraction - 1971

The Main Street Parade featuring a 1,076-peice Marching Band conducted by Meredith Willson - 1971

The opening night of WDW when Roy O. Disney and Lillian Disney welcomed 2,500 invited guests to the event - 1971

The original Polynesian Village Resort lobby and beloved waterfall as seen in 1971

The Walt Disney World airport for the exclusive use of STOL aircraft - 1971

The Walt Disney World central food preparation plant - 1971

The Walt Disney World central laundry complex - 1971

The Walt Disney World Monorail runs through the Grand Concourse located at the 4th-story level of the resort's 14-story, A-shaped Main Tower - 1971

The Walt Disney World Vacation Villas, which faced the Walt Disney World Shopping Village until 2001, seen here in 1971

Vintage photo of WDW showing a whole new vacation way of life, including 650 acres of water, lined with four miles of white sand beaches - 1971

Visitors enter Tomorrowland by crossing the Plaza Waterway, which winds through the Magic Kingdom, seen here in 1971

Walt Disney World bought a controlling interest in a new telephone company to serve its new resort complex seen here in 1971

Walt Disney World's Central Energy Plant - 1971

WDW guests enjoy an outdoor barbecue at Fort Wilderness - 1971

WDW guests spend the day boating on Bay Lake - 1971

Young guests of the Magic Kingdom are greeted by Pinocchio in Fantasyland - 1971

WDW Opening Celebration - 1971

As you can see, this 1971 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report offers us a stunning glimpse at the state of WDW, and the company as a whole back then. Unfortunately, Disney stopped producing these beautiful, highly informative reports for shareholders and employees a few years ago, deciding instead to go to a E-brochure method. Although we can only hope that Disney will one day reconsider this decision, these truly amazing reports make the perfect collectors items and provide a great way for us to travel back in time and revisit the Disney Company, along with the Parks and Resorts, all those years ago.


Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

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