1971 Original Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Map

Imagine it is 1972 and your family is headed to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for the first time. With a couple hundred bucks in hand, you are taking your family to what hopefully will be an incredible experience your family will never forget, all while being uncertain of exactly what you may find. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World opened October 1, 1971, and even in its early days, there was a magic in the air that brought families back year after year. That is the path I am reenacting as my grandparents, my mom, and my aunts attended the Magic Kingdom in the summer of 1972.

According to Disney Archives, in 1971, there was not a traditional guide map that guests received at the front of the park like they do today. Instead there was a newspaper called the Walt Disney World News. Inside that document was a map to the park, as well as other various news items from around the park. Sometime in 1972, the first Magic Kingdom guides became available for guests.

During the early days of the Magic Kingdom, large souvenir maps of the Magic Kingdom were available for purchase from the gift shops to take home for approximately $0.50. The original maps were beautiful reproductions of the hand-drawn original. These maps were also very different than the maps that hung in the Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts during the early 70’s and 80’s. The original maps are not printed with copyright information, as Disney did not started doing that until 1979. Guests were able to purchase this map between 1971 and 1974.

During the 40th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom, reproductions of the above map were available for purchase and included in the daily guides.

1971 WDW Magic Kingdom Map

Above is a scan of the original full-size map. The image was not scanned in sections and stitched together, but rather one single scan. I was only able to scan the full-size in black and white, so I had to use my sister’s full-size scanner to get it in color.

This happens to be on the most delightful surprises that I discovered in my grandparents archives of travel documents. Finding an original 1971 wall map of the Magic Kingdom is pretty rare, and I was happy that my grandparents hung onto it for all of these years. The problem with the map being so rare is that information is rather sparse on its history.

Some of the interesting differences we noticed between this map and the current maps are the following:

– The Skyway, which is no longer in service.
– Pirates of the Caribbean was not added until 1975.
– The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, which now will be part of the Fantasyland expansion area.
– Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which in now only available at Disneyland.

Did you notice any other differences?


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23 thoughts on “1971 Original Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Map

  1. Disney wasn’t around when I was a kid but I did a marathon there, what feels like eons (and several pounds) ago. What I remember most was how beautiful it was. I was simply floored. It was also a lot of fun interacting with the characters along the route — it took some of the stress out of running.
    Glad your grandparents saved this little keepsake. Lots of happy memories there, I’m sure.

  2. What a great keepsake! My husband went to Disney World with his parents that first year that it was open but I don’t think they kept any mementos from their visit.

  3. Bob says:

    I just found in my archives my copy of this map that I got when visiting Disney World during Christmas vacation 1971. I wonder what it’s worth. It’s in good shape. Should I get it framed?

    • @Bob: If I remember right, depending on their condition, this map goes for about $100+. Personally, I would love to get and frame the copy of my grandparents, but I had to give it back. 🙁

  4. Bob says:

    What do you mean by “The original maps are not printed with copyright information”? In the picture above it says “Copyright Walt Disney productions”? I was just curious because I was looking for one of the original maps.

  5. Hi! Thanks for this post, I recently found one of these maps while thrifting in a stack of old records. I’ve been doing some research so that I could offer it in my Etsy shop. My map isn’t in the best condition. It’s been taped and has some thumbtack holes. I would love to link to this post, with your permission. Please let me know if it’s not too much trouble.



  6. Ron says:

    My wife was looking for something in one of our storage boxes about 2 months ago and found our copy! When “World” first opened we took our oldest daughter (3 years) to the park. had a fantastic time and got one of the posters, then forgot about it! Aside from a couple fold marks, like yours, it is in perfect shape. Yes, it has the copyright info on it. We just got it framed (UV protection glass), and it now hangs in our den, alongside Mickey and Donald framed cells. We also discovered the accompanying “Welcome” sheet, with Walt Disney World ticket info- 7 Adventure ticket Book at $3.75/child, $4.75/adult and 11 Adventure at $4.75/child, $5.75/adult!. On the back of that sheet is a color reproduction of the poster!
    we went back many times with both our daughters and always had a great time, great memories.

  7. Norisa says:

    The original 1971 wall map of Disney World (above), was drawn by my grandfather, Kragh Lillethorup. If you look to the right of the castle sits a pink flag at 56 with the initial K.

  8. Michele says:

    My daughter who is 13, just found this map in fairly decent condition at an antique show we attended over the weekend. She was so excited to find it as we are huge Disney fans and all kinds of maps are her thing. We took it straight to the framer so that we can hang in our Disney room at home.

  9. Hello, Do we know how to see the difference of the original one or the reproduction 40 years later. I have one of these, thick paper, no date, like the one in your picture. Any way to know?

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