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USA 1997

Florida (FL) USA with the boys, then 15 and 13 for the 25th anniversary of Waly Disney World resort, Walt had built it from the late 60s when he purchased the land from Irlo Bronson Sr, rancher and Democratic senator for the state of Florida, it opened in 1972 hence the 25th celebrations including fireworks. For this trip I will mention where we went and what we did which included Kissimmee, Tampa, the Keys, Everglades, Cocoa Beach, Cape Kennedy Space Station, we returned again in 2018 on our 40th Wedding Anniversary cruise, click HERE to see that Blog. This Family trip is also replicated on the motorhome-travels blog as BLOG 165.  We returned again with our grandchildren in 2022 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Walt Disney World opening this time with our extended family, a full Blog and comparison between 25 & 50 years showing massive progress can be gleaned by reading the full BLOG183 but if you prefer to stay here on this site there is a condensed version of that here as USA 2022, thanks as always for looking folks, best KeefH Web Designs.


21 days holiday between 26 July - 16 August 1997, Family Time,  Clearwater Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach plus of course Disney & Miss Piggy #sigh, we stayed at apartment 126, The Villas of Somerset, Kissimmee, Florida, USA, 34746, and here's a summary Initially stayed in Kissimmee for about 1 week and a half, and visited ALL the theme parks & water parks. Going back into Universal after 7pm is a good call as it saved the queues. Saw central Orlando. We then travelled across to the west, Tampa, Busch Gardens park in Tampa Bay, clearwater, sanibel, sarasota, venice , naples, then back to the east via the Everglades and down the Keys: Largo, Marathon, Bahia Honda NP, Key West then back up via Fort Lauderdale, Miami (although didn't go in here in 97 but did in 2018) to Orlando plus Kennedy Space Station , Cocoa beach, River Country, Cracker Barrel, 25th Disney Anniversary, Typhoon Lagoon, Sports World, River Country, Universal, Water World, MGM Studios, Pleasure Island, Blizzard Beach, Tower of Terror, Backlot , giant heavy video cameras & animation tours 

USA 1997  Florida (FL) USA with the boys, including Kissimee, Tampa, the Keys, Everglades,
cape canaveral 97
sunset at key west

Florida USA 1997 3 Weeks July & August


Summary: We spent 21 Days in Florida, USA between 26th July and the 16th August 1997


We took 227 Photos, all of which are included in the summary slideshows, many of which were scanned from old fashioned Kodak prints.



So we spent 15 days in Kissimmee, Orlando Florida on holiday between 26 July - 9 August 1997, it was a fun  Family Time we stayed at apartment 126, The Villas of Somerset, Kissimmee, Florida, USA, 34746, we also visited for a further 7 days Clearwater Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach in our hired car which was a huge Chevrolet with not surprisingly 3 seats across the front and multiple coffee and soda cup holders ha-ha, plus of course we visited Disney & Miss Piggy #sigh, the whole logic of this holiday was that the boys were now old enough to appreciate Disney in its entirety so this was a special family break, especially it was Disney World’s 25th celebrations and here's a summary.


We initially stayed in Kissimmee for 2 weeks and visited ALL the theme parks & water parks. Going back into Universal after 7pm is a good call as it saved the queues. Saw central Orlando including taking the boys to the Orlando Magic basketball stadium, they were both keen at the time and indeed Doug played for the Ilkeston Outlaws basketball team back at home, we played a bit of tennis at the Villas as well. We then travelled across to the west, Tampa, Busch Gardens park, clearwater, International Drive, Sanibel, Sarasota, Venice , Naples, then back to the east via the Everglades and down the Keys: Largo, Marathon, Bahia Honda NP, Key West then back up via Fort Lauderdale, Miami (although didn't go in here in 97 but did in 2018) to Orlando plus Kennedy Space Station with its NASA centre replication and the newly installed Apollo, Saturn 5 centre, just mesmerising , Cocoa beach its jetty and lovely sandy beach, River Country, Cracker Barrel, Visiting my hero Dali’s exhibition, Naples jetty pier, St Pete’s Beach, West Palm Beach with all its posh locked up homes and posh yacht moored outside, ESPN where maybe Craig & I got our love of Grid Iron or American Football from, come on 49ers & Eagles, Busch Gardens run by Anheuser Busch the beer people, we remember Montu in the Egypt area and the scary Kumba which I must have gone on at least 3 times in a row with the boys until I felt sick, the Edge of Africa area which you went over in a skyride monorail cable car, also standing on the bridge getting soaked by the huge water chute ride, can’t remember what it was called, but as hot and humid we loved it, so cooling, Busch characters to rival Disney , OK maybe not, T J Tiger and the Hippo, 25th Disney World (now Resorts) Anniversary, Typhoon Lagoon, Sea World (and sadly Shamu which we feel very guilty about),  Sports World, River Country, EPCOT was sponsored by the then Eastern Kodak Company, sadly no more to my knowledge, digital is here to stay, it included Illuminations 25 accompanied by the Disney-Grammy All American College Orchestra, ta-rah ,  Universal Studios and the Tower of Terror, The fab Honey I Shrunk the Kids experience with the height of technology at the time, shaking seats sprayed by water, tee-hee,  Water World, MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, we had the guide for between 28th July and 3rd August, Discovery & Pleasure Island where we went one evening very strict licensing laws meant I couldn’t even buy a drink for Annie you had to buy your own and proof your age, flattering if the truth be known that they thought we were younger than 21, ha-ha, Blizzard Beach, River Country, Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex with beach volleyball, Annie wouldn’t let me attend the ladies one, ha-ha, Terminator 2 experience, Ride of the Movies, Back to The Future Ride, Kongfrontation, Jaws ride, Earthquake, ET ride, Our Universal Tickets were from the 5th to 7th  august, we saw the Twilight zone featuring the Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones , Toy Story, Backlot tours , Watched Disney animators at work on the new to be Mulan (now ancient history) but fascinating experience, Twister and King Gators Fundango rides were on their way and being constructed, Baywatch at Sea World, giant heavy video cameras & animation tours , Shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral (just missed it by one day), Our Underwater camera, Steaks the size of a large plate, you wuss keef, Having to have your salad separately, Melbourne Beach, Rodeo Drive, Boca Raton, Ron Johns “one of a Kind” Surf shop at Cocoa Beach, we returned to this in 2018 on our US and Caribbean 40th Wedding Anniversary cruise, buying my 1st genuine pair of Levi’s since my 20s, we also remember Mummy Mummification (i.e. Annie in an Egyptian Sarcophagus), Key Wests 30’s Hotel and lots of Fish around the jetty, Board Walks, Hard Rock Café, Key Lime Pie, Hemingway Express and Conch Train trip plus seeing Sloppy Joe’s Earnest hang out local, Everglades and Hover trip out to Alligator Island,  Stay on the Island of Marathon, Swimming, Planes, and Bahai Honda National Park, After staying at Cocoa beach on the last night we returned to Orlando, dropped off the fab hire car, flew back to Manchester & home, Our car was in the long stay car park there so we drove back through the Peaks to Home.   


We even have a memorabilia PDF which sadly is 27 megabytes long so cannot feature on the website but happy to share on request.


Pleased to say we are returning in 2022 with Craig’s family as grandparents for his 40th Birthday, will I enjoy the white-knuckle rides quite the same as I did in 1997, who knows but I will certainly give it a go. It is a special year at Disney as it’s the 50th anniversary so we are expecting spectacular fireworks and parades. Its now called collectively Walt Disney World Resorts. I so remember steamboat willie, which I believe was the first animation Walt Disney did.


Here's a bit of a write up on the man.

Walter Elias Disney  December 5, 1901, to December 15, 1966, was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most academy awards earned and nominations by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy, among other honours. As of 2022, Disney became the first, and later one of the three people been nominated for Academy Awards in six different categories, a record he shares with Alfonso Cuaron and George Clooney, until was surpassed by Kenneth Branagh with seven.

Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ubbe Ert Iwwerks, he developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, he became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-colour three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons, and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as and who doesn’t know these from their childhood and indeed adulthood, all classics, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio & Fantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards.


In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in July 1955 he opened Disneyland in Anaheim California. To fund the project, he diversified into television programs, such as Walt’s Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club. He was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World Fair. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, the heart of which was to be a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT). Disney was a heavy smoker throughout his life and sadly died of lung cancer in December 1966 before either the park or the EPCOT project was completed.

Audio Diary

Comparing Disney at the 25th Anniversary to the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom Opening

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