Disney World at 50: Florida mom, son duplicate 1971 photo at Magic Kingdom

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Fifty years later, Disney World is still “The Most Magical Place On Earth.”

>> Read more trending news

A Florida woman and her son visited the Central Florida theme park when it opened on Oct. 1, 1971. On Saturday, they returned to the park and took a photograph in the exact same spot, with Cinderella’s Castle in the background.

“It was 50 years in the making,” Bill Kroll wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. “And here it is, 1971 to 2021 - then and now.”

“Thanks for all the memories Mom and Walt Disney!”

Kroll was 1 when his family visited Disney World. He posed with his mother, Susan Gaul Kroll, in front of the Cinderella Castle on a picture-perfect Florida day. In 2021 the Krolls posed in the same spot -- only this time, Susan Kroll, of Lake Mary, was not holding her son. However, Bill Kroll was holding the original photo from 50 years ago when mother and son posed over the weekend.

The pair also bought a 50th-anniversary popcorn bucket.

Bill Kroll attended Lake Mary High School in nearby Seminole County, where he played varsity and junior football and belonged to the Latin Club and Mu Alpha Theta.

Bill Kroll even wore pants similar in color to his 1971 garb, while his mother wore yellow shorts to match her outfit from 50 years ago.

“I couldn’t find any overalls in red seersucker in ‘big boys’ sizes so I at least got the shorts,” Bill Kroll wrote in a response to his Facebook post.

Oct. 1 has been a big day in Walt Disney World history. In addition to the Magic Kingdom’s opening, the resort’s Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort and monorail also opened on Oct. 1, 1971. Epcot opened on the same day in 1982, the Caribbean Beach Resort opened in 1988 and the Vacation Club Resort opened in 1991.