Gulf Oil Walt Disney World Road Map (1971)

This 1971 pocket road map, sponsored by Gulf Oil and published by Rand McNally & Co., was released in conjunction with the grand opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The map itself traces the Interstate-95 route from “Maine to Walt Disney World,” and includes brief descriptions of several points of interest along the way (state and national parks, battlefields, monuments, etc.). The reverse side features text and graphics, courtesy of Walt Disney Productions, promoting the six themed “lands” to be enjoyed in the newly-opened Magic Kingdom. Of note is the Liberty Square blurb that refers to the opening-day Hall of Presidents attraction by its former working title, One Nation Under God, and also speaks of the show’s assemblage of all thirty-six presidents. As of the park’s opening, the thirty-seventh President of the United States, Richard Nixon, had already served nearly three years of his first term, meaning the map’s outdated copy had likely been written in the mid-to-late-60s. The front cover sports an artist’s rendering of Cinderella Castle, while the back includes a brief description of the extension of Gulf’s sponsorship to the park itself as the official supplier of petroleum products at the Gulf Automotive Car Care Center just outside the gates of the Ticket and Transportation Center, as well as the Gulf Hospitality House’s presentation of “The Walt Disney Story” (which would open in Town Square in April 1973). The attraction was also opened at Disneyland in California.

Gulf’s relationship with Disney can be traced back to the 1960s and their sponsorship of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. During that period, they also offered various children’s publications (comics, activity books, etc.) as giveaways at their fueling stations. The company’s partnership, as well as the presence of their trademark orange-disc logo on Disney park signage or publications, would cease in the mid-80s, however, following a merger and re-branding.

This Disney-themed road map is a fine example of the one-time partnership and provides an interesting look at some early attraction descriptions and graphics from the park’s opening year.

VALUE: $10

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