Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
The First Chromes Page 1:
Main Street U.S.A. and Adventureland

Postcard collectors often refer to modern color photo postcards as Chromes. Actually, since I'm not sure what the technical definition for chromes is, the pre opening cards too might fall under that category. Until I know better, I'll use the term here to refer to color photographic image postcards and not include those color artists renderings of the pre opening cards.

The first chromes (as I am using the term) were printed with the same "Florida flag" logo that appeared on the later printings of the pre opening cards. Most of the cards I have are unused and I do prefer them that way but from the cards I do have that are used I can see by the postmarks that some cards without the flag attached to the WDW logo started to creep into the card printings by 1973 though cards with the flag logo continued to be sold (it appears) through 1976 or so. Cards that I think debuted more than a few months after opening will be covered in chapter 3.


 01110201 MAIN STREET, U.S.A.   a couple of close ups from 01110201 MAIN STREET, U.S.A.

There are many interesting points on the Early cards I suspect that in order to have cards for opening day some pictures may have been taken at cast member or construction crew and their families "preview days" . An example of why I think this are these two cards; card 01110201 MAIN STREET, U.S.A. and 01110202 RIDING DOWN MAIN STREET, U.S.A. . Look closely at card 01110201. The first thing you notice is Main street is basically empty with two small groups of people standing around, it's as if there are no attractions for people to be headed to. On the right margin their is a group of young people possibly standing around a character just out of frame note particularly the boy who is just about half cropped out of the picture in a white Mickey Mouse shirt the shirt is identical to the shirt the young black man in front of him is wearing. On the far left in front of the emporium is another group of people standing around including two cast members with long brown hair and near them a blond women in a vertically striped blouse. Now look at 01110202 . . .
yes sure enough there are the two cast members on the left up on the curb, and to the right of the card at the rear of the fire engine both the woman in the striped blouse and the boy with the dirty blond hair in the Mickey shirt. and it's odd to think that all the little kids in these photos are older than me. But if you ask me perhaps the biggest give away that the park was not actually open yet when these pictures were taken is that there are no trash cans on Main Street U.S.A.'s sidewalks!

I found another picture in this series again with some of the same people around the Fire Engine. This one is not from a postcard though it is from a soft-cover book that came out in 1971 called The Story of WDW it is square with rounded (die cut perhaps? ) corners on the side you open it from and has a hole (die cut again?) in the cover through which shows a photo of the castle. There is the driver of course, and the long-haired Cast Member on the sidewalk, also there is a woman sitting near the back of the fire engine in both this picture below and 01110201 RIDING DOWN MAIN STREET U.S.A. Also a man standing near the store window wearing a red shirt, and I think some of the small children too including the blonde boy in the grey plaid overalls.
The Story of WDW page 3 top left

And 01110203 CINDERELLA CASTLE is interesting in a different way. I believe it is the longest continually available image since it has repeated through many of the postcard series and every time I go down to Florida though the card number has changed many times over the years. I look to see if this view still is for sale and so far it has continued to be. It looks to me as if this picture, which shows the bridge to Liberty Square in it, was taken from in front of the Crystal Palace restaurant. Conversely the picture on the following Card 01110205 THE CRYSTAL PALACE RESTAURANT was probably taken from somewhere in the little park behind Liberty Squares Buildings. I think it is a nice view emphasizing both the Victorian architecture and landscaping that help to make Main Street U.S.A. such a special and beautiful place.

01110200 THE WALT DISNEY WORLD R.R. and 01110204 THE WALT DISNEY WORLD STEAM RAILROAD both feature the Victorian Era design train station and two of the rebuilt vintage narrow gauge steam engines that continue to serve Walt Disney World to this day. The green cab red-wheeled train on card 01110200 is most likely the Lilly Belle, the first train delivered to the park, especially since the other train with the green on red color scheme (The Roy O. Disney) didn't go into service until Dec. 1, 1971. and the train on 01110204 is the Walter E Disney ( For reference here I used information from Walt Disney's Railroad Story by Michael Brogie).

Hi Brian,
I was looking through your site, and I came across this 

page: http://www.bigbrian-nc.com/wdw-pc04.htm
And on it below the two WDW Railroad postcards, you say: 
The green cab red-wheeled train on card 01110200 is most likely the Lilly Belle
You are correct that the Lilly Belle is the locomotive in the postcard.
The Roger E. Broggie also has a green boiler like the Lilly Belle, 
but it has a red cab. And the Roy O. Disney has a green cab and a red boiler.
And then you are also correct that the locomotive pictured on 

http://www.bigbrian-nc.com/wdw-pc16.htm is the Roger E. Broggie.
You probably knew all that already, but I just wanted to pass along the confirmation. Thanks for the great site!

Steve Burns


I'm sure a lot of you interested in Disney theme parks and their postcards already know about the early Disneyland postcard that had four different versions of the same image with the biggest difference on each image being the way they photo edited out the fare sign on the horse drawn-streetcar. first showing it, then, putting a yellow block over the sign, then a black block, and finally air brushing it out as if there was no sign there to begin with also a few colors of peoples clothing were adjusted on this last described card.
Well at WDW as far as I know that never happened but here's what WDW postcards show us about changes to the trolleys over the years at WDW.
In this earliest Trolley card I originally thought there was a sign, but with a black cover with a handle on it over it. But I found out from Bruce Metcalf that this is actually a sort of fare box... I can now confirm that those "black boxes" aren't signs at all, but registers used to record the number of fares collected. You can see two of these mounted on the wall in the Car Barn today. Turns out this is a good way to date a photo as being before or after the introduction of POP [pay one price] ticketing.
fare box

The design of that box in being in that particular corner in the front of the trolley makes me wonder if these registers were meant to be covered by that older type of sign, (for instance, if they were mounted behind the signs on the Disneyland trolleys) and if perhaps without that sign covering them they got to be seen as an eyesore or distracting and were removed or moved to a different location out of sight (perhaps nearer the drivers legs than his head?). I say that because the boxes are not visible on any other cards I have. Like the one shown below.
no sign
Then again there is no fare sign of any type on either of these trolleys either, or the one pictured on the cover of the first WDW postcard booklet, but the trolley pictured inside that booklet does have a sign (shown below). Similarly In the earliest soft cover souvenir guide to WDW that I have, at least the earliest I have with a horse-drawn trolley pictured in it, [MCMLXXIII or 1973 page 8] there is a photo looking up Main Street U.S.A., of two trolleys passing each other at the divided track section halfway up Main Street...both of them have the ribbon type signs shown in the photo below that read "fare one way 10¢ or "A" coupon." On throughout the 1970's and even into the 1980's some postcard and souvenir guide photos show the trolleys with the signs and others show them without. Perhaps the simplest explanation here is the best, it seems likely that the photos shown of the trolleys without the fare signs were simply taken before the signs were added to the trolleys, I'm guessing that would likely have been in 1972 or early 1973 since there are many pictures without the signs yet they had to be added at least before that 1973 [ or if you prefer MCMLXXIII] souvenir guide to WDW came out.
ribbon-type fare sign
Eventually, with the conversion to the Pay One Price ticketing mentioned earlier, this was changed to just "one Way Transportation".
one way transportation
Also is it possible that the same driver is pictured in all these images through the years?



Another way many of the early cards may have been photographed is by taking a picture of finished part of an attraction. The close up views of features of the Jungle Cruise make me think of this, 01110206 ADVENTURELAND JUNGLE CRUISE, 01110208 TRAPPED SAFARI, 01110209 ELEPHANT BATHING POOL and 01110210 GIANT PYTHON . . . JUNGLE CRUISE.
Card 01110207 is the only card I know of in the first photo chrome series that has two different images for the same card number

I wonder why they decided to change this view? I actually think I prefer the Horizontal version of this view which would seem to be to original view, since the vertical view is the one which appears in the later non-flag type of card. I think the tree house is shown off better in the Horizontal view, but the water in front of it and the flowers blooming in the foreground seem to be the best differences in the vertical version.

E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at28-Apr-2006 02:33 PM