Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Chapter 3 The Vacation Kingdom of the World, Page 6: The World Gets A Little Larger

Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village

01110507 Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village -image courtesy Dave Ensign
Above photo courtesy Dave Ensign---Thank you Dave!

01110507 Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village

March 22, 1975 a new area opened at Walt Disney World about five miles from the Magic Kingdom theme park, it was called the Lake Buena Vista Village. Early on it seems there may have been a bit of an effort to give the Lake Buena Vista village it's own separate identity. I base this partly on the fact that the first name for this area (unlike it's later ones) didn't make reference to the Walt Disney World name at all, though they did at least mention in a tag line on the logo of these cards("the host community to Walt Disney World") 01110502 A birds view of the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village 
-image courtesy Dave Ensign
Photo above courtesy Dave Ensign---Thank you Dave!

01110502 Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village

01110501 The Village Restaurant 01110503 The Captains Tower

01110501 The Village Restaurant                     01110503 The Captains Tower

01110505 Electric Boat to the Lake Buena Vista Club

01110505 Electric Boat to the Lake Buena Vista Club

01110506 The Flower Garden - one of the early shops

01110506 The Flower Garden - one of the early shops

Even though the logo on these cards were different from the rest of the cards of WDW the numbers of these cards follows the same pattern of other WDW postcards of this era but, with higher numbers than any of the other cards, and the have the same Walt Disney Productions copyright on the back.


Now here's an unusual card one with a slightly different logo one from the others, instead of reading Walt Disney World Shopping Village it says "LAKE BUENA VISTA CLUB The Host Community to Walt Disney World."
Lake Buena Vista Club -back
The Lake Buena Vista Club-- it was a golf club.
according to Disney A to Z (1998 ed. pages 80 and 150 ) It opened November 22, 1974, it was renamed the Disney Village Clubhouse in September 1988. It closed March 21, 1994, it was remodeled and rebuilt to become the main building for the Disney Institute. The Lake Buena Vista Golf course still is open so presumably part of the building is still used for the course's pro shop and it's club house.

Lake Buena Vista Village

according to Issue #124 of All Ears newsletter quoting from a a 1977 World Magazine. Of those listed shops and restaurants I believe Cap'n Jack's Oyster Bar is the only one still open. The Village Restaurant became Chef Mickey's in 1990 on Sept. 30th 1995 Chef Mickey's closed and the location was renovated to become The Rainforest Cafe.
Mike Lee of the Widen Your World web site gave me the following information about that Dixieland Band: Hi. This is a rare instance where I can help with a WDW live entertainment question. The Dixieland Band at the Empress Lilly was Denny Zavett and the Riverboat Rascals, and they played in the "boat's" Baton Rouge Lounge - lower deck, front room. It was a family friendly show and they did occasional sing-a-longs. I don't know the years of that band's tenure specifically, but the Empress Lilly opened in 1976 and closed in 1995. I believe they were there from the opening through at least 1986.

Although the first cards for this area had their own logo by the time of the 0111-0000 series cards it was referred to by its' second name The Walt Disney World Village and had the same WDW logo on the back of the card as all WDW post cards of that era. It later was renamed the Disney Village Marketplace, and later Downtown Disney Marketplace. though in these early days it only covered a fraction of the area Downtown Disney covers today. One expansion though is in part documented on the postcards...



Story One

In 1977 a new addition was being made way out at the western end of the Lake Buena Vista Village, that area is now closer to the center of Downtown Disney.
The riverboat style restaurant now known as Fultons' Crab House was at that time the Empress Lilly Riverboat (opened May 1, 1977) and it had three restaurants. The first edition of Disney A TO Z (p. 164) notes that they were"---the Fisherman's Deck , the Steerman's Quarters, and the Empress Room. Until the opening of Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian, the Empress room provided the most elegant dining experience on Walt Disney World property." the listing goes on to note that although it was originally considered part of the Disney Village Marketplace once Pleasure Island was added in 1989 it became part of that new area. But the view on this card was taken probably before the Empress Lilly even opened. You may be thinking how can we know that. Well if you have one of these cards you could take out a magnifying glass and examine the card, but a scanner can be even better than a magnifying glass in pulling out small details on a card so I've blown up one corner of the card below for us all.
Those trucks parked there sure remind me of the type that workmen putting the finishing touches on the inside of the restaurants might drive , also there is something partly shrouded by the tree branches that looks to be painted "construction vehicle yellow".

Story Two

Most messages on the back of postcards are limited, it's hard to write anything too significant in such a small space. Usually the best you can hope to achieve is a witty comment like the postcard of Big Al at the Country Bear Jamboree that says on the back "saw this and thought of you, HA HA" or the card picturing Cinderella's castle that says on the back "bought this property, I'm going to tear it down and build a 24 unit condo". More often the space on the back of the card says something like The drive/flight down was good/rainy, weather here is good / rainy / too hot, we went to Bush Gardens/ Sea World/ Cypress Gardens yesterday, went here today it was too crowded / you've gotta see it / we looked til our eyes got sore (ok so I've only seen that last one once) tomorrow we are going to the beach/ the cape/ silver springs . Intersperse with those somewhat generic tidings with comments wishing various folks back home well, and you have all most of us (myself included) are able to fit onto the back of one of these cards. But Ahhhh, that is what makes me appreciate the truly exceptional postcard greeting even more. And the most exceptional postcard message I have read to date was on one of the cards pictured above (The aerial view of the Empress Lilly though in a later series, postmarked 20 July 1984, as card number 0100-12000) Dear Xxxxxx and Xxxxxxx,

Had a wonderful lunch on this boat came back at night for a Dixie Land Band and a sing-a-long. Listened to a symphony orchestra under the stars. Spent 5 days, 15 hrs. a day running around the Kingdom and Epcot xxxxxx + I went horse back riding his first time on the trails at Ft. Wilderness He went to River Country the last day and then ate at the Top of the World 15th floor a wonderful buffet. The electrical parade fireworks and Donald Duck parade all good
Love, Xxxxx, Xxxxxx, + Xxxxxx

You may say, "what makes this message so exceptional", well for one thing they squeezed a lot of information onto the card, by a combination of writing small and maximizing the use of space on the card (for example the sign off was written in below the caption on the back of the card), but more than that I think what is special about it is they mentioned a lot of special things they did on a trip that not many of us get the opportunity to do, and for that matter many of these things are special because they are not there (at least in that same format) anymore too.

Pictured Below: The Captains Tower 0111-2002 WALT DISNEY WORLD VILLAGE,

(not quite) TWO OF A KIND


The shop known as "Port of Entry" is featured on both of the views below, which at first glance may appear to be identical, however, there are differences. First, it looks as if the view on the right is cropped a bit more tightly, but beyond that some of the people that are in the one photo are not in the other, since three of the people in the photos appear to be the same people, standing in the same places, and wearing the same clothes, I think it's safe to conclude that these are two different shots from the same photo session, though published a few years apart.

Left: 01110500 no title        right:0111-2003 WALT DISNEY WORLD VILLAGE
01110500 (port of entry) 0111-2003 WALT DISNEY WORLD VILLAGE

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 09-Jan-2005 04:17 PM