13 March 2019

Soon 200,000,000

I love this photo! This collection of entertainers, Cast Members, and characters are coming together to celebrate a guest milestone that hasn’t even happened yet. Regardless of the current “Long Lost Friends” promotion that has some of these characters back out on Main Street, U.S.A., there are still some of these faces we barely see anymore. I’m looking at you, Walrus from Alice in Wonderland!

The real drive of this photo, however, is that everyone is excited and the anticipation is building for the 200,000,000 guest’s arrival. This photo was taken during May of 1985, with the 200,000,000 guest expected to come through the turnstiles of the Magic Kingdom sometime in July of that year. The theme of 1985’s summer was the Star Spangled Summer Salute to America, which I assume was taken off of a suggestion card from the Muppet, Sam the American Eagle, on a visit to Walt Disney World.

Attendance had grown at the Vacation Kingdom since the opening of EPCOT Center in 1982, which would help the resort reach the landmark attendance number within its first fifteen years of operation. Using 2017 statistics, the latest available, Walt Disney World is averaging 52,000,000 guests per year, which means it would only take four years to reach the same goal in the present day. Now, both figures include guests that visited multiple parks, but isolating individual guests doesn’t make those crowd levels and packed walkways seem any less busy.

We haven’t seen a large group photo like this in Walt Disney World in a while, which is a shame. I love the comradery and the sense of purpose and mission the photo seems to capture as they all look forward to a common goal. Not to mention being happy about what you’re working towards!

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