Theme Park Thursdays feature photos from one of our theme park adventures in the past.

If only Steve was in black & white too! (2009)

If only Steve was in black & white too! (2009)

The Town Square Exposition Hall, located on Main Street USA, opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971 with architecture that resembled that of a hotel. At the birth of Walt Disney World, it was the Gulf Hospitality House, sort of a central booking area for the whole resort.

A theater was part of the complex, showing a film called "The Walt Disney Story" until 1981, at which point it became the EPCOT Center Preview Center. It had the same role for the Disney-MGM Studios in 1988. In 1996, a new role was found as the Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary Welcome Center, and shortly thereafter, it held a Welcome Center role for Animal Kingdom. It eventually morphed into an exhibit hall with exhibits on photography and vintage cameras (sponsored by Kodak).

I think I only have been in this building twice, because frankly there's not much to see there. Amy & I ventured inside during a December 2009 trip, and it felt neglected and filed with a hodge-podge of stuff, reflecting the many roles it had over the years. Tucked in the back were a couple of photo opportunity areas, where I was able to be part of Steamboat Willie.

In March 2011 it took on a new role and name as the Town Square Theater. With the removal of Mickey's Toontown Fair from the Magic Kingdom to make way for the New Fantasyland Expansion project, Mickey was moved into this space for character meet-and-greets, redesigned to look like the backstage of a theater (but with no actual theater)… and they even gave it FastPass!  In any case, this building remains sort of an oddity at Walt Disney World, in that it's just sort of there, looking for a purpose.