The Explorium

A Rare Look At The Polynesian Village Dedication: 

On the evening of October 24th, 1971 the Polynesian Village was formally dedicated and opened. Part of a weekend long gala celebrating the opening and dedication of the Walt Disney World Resort, the event featured a massive luau for 1000 guests who dined on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests were treated to customary fare from Tahiti, Hawaii, and other South Seas Islands, whilst dining al fresco at low banquet tables. 

The evening came to a dramatic conclusion with fireworks over the Seven Seas Lagoon (Fantasy in the Sky’s first performance and earliest iteration) and the inaugural sailing of the Vacation KIngdom’s Electrical Water Pageant. 

Information and media from Vacationland Vol 1, No 2: Winter/Spring 1972

Future World Form and Function: The Wonders of Life 

One of the first EPCOT pavilions to be conceptualized, but the last to be built, the Health and Life pavilion underwent many different iterations. 

Herb Ryman’s earliest concepts are amongst the most fascinating and daring. Instead of being located in a traditional building, the pavilion’s attractions would have been located in a complex of cell-like buildings, gathered in a geometric pattern. This idea would have stressed the biological angle of the pavilion, and due to it’s curved and organic shape, might have been located in Future World West. 

Later, as plans began to coalesce around a sponsor, the idea moved into Future World East and a rather plain, monolithic structure. This design suggests a more bio-engineering angle to the pavilion. 

The latter version in this series is the closest to the final version. By the late 1980’s, Met-Life had signed on as a sponsor and advocated for the carnival theme found in the final version. However, this circular building boasts a large omnimover attraction, different shows based on the brain and teeth, and a different layout. 

For more information on earlier Wonders of Life attractions: 

http://epcotexplorer.tumblr.com/post/20471312836/epcot-concepts-health-and-life-the-idea-to

One More Thing…. It’s Time To Clean The Carpets of Adventureland! 


With all the fantastic work happening in Adventureland concerning the Sunshine Tree Pavilion, there is still one major piece of the puzzle left to fill in. 

And, as usual, it is the easiest: Aesthetics. 

While the Sunshine Tree Pavilion looks fantastic after it’s refurbishment, and the Orange Bird sits cozily in the terrace, there is still the major issue of being able to see all of this: The “Magic” Carpets of Aladdin blocks the view of the entire facility. 

Adventureland can be treated as one long thoroughfare. It has a few turns and alleyways, but for the most part the original 1971 layout of the land is a large street, the attractions and eateries off to the sides. Except for the Enchanted Tiki Room, which is at the original terminus of the land… and who’s massive form could even serve as a visual anchor (or weenie!) when it comes into view.

 When Pirates of the Caribbean was added in 1973, Adventureland stretched on behind the Tiki Room with Caribbean Plaza. But even so, The Sunshine Tree Pavilion AND The Tiki Room AND the Sunshine Tree Terrace was the visual standpoint of the area, with a large and lush garden spread out in front of it. 

In 2001, this was all changed with the arrival of Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, which not only blocked the view of the Tiki Room, but changed the South Seas and Polynesian thematic trappings to Middle Eastern inspired facades and details. 

So, not only is there a plastic, hulking, spinning ride in front of the Sunshine Tree Pavilion, there’s a thematic rift in environmental sensibilities. 

Now, Adventurland is looking at her history and reviving it in ways her fans never thought possible. The Tiki Room is playing the classic show. The Citrus Swirl is back. The Orange Bird has found a historically accurate home. Adventureland is abloom with respect for the past. 

…There’s only one thing left to really do to make Adventureland a cohesive whole, again. Tear down the carpets, reinstate thematic cogency to the environment and let the Magic Kingdom revel in her details and originality. 


Photos of the original 1971 Orange Bird figure that has been restored to the Sunshine Tree Terrace, that now boasts a sign featuring its mascot. 

Photos are from the Disney Parks Blog. 

The Orange Bird Renaissance and The Road Ahead
Several months ago, I wrote about the return of the original Enchanted Tiki Room and what this classic show meant for the thematic cogency of Adventureland. 
Several weeks ago, I wrote about how the Citrus Swirl, a long forgotten menu item had also returned and was bettering the Magic Kingdom with unique and quality dining options. 
Today, this all comes together, with the formal return of The Florida Orange Bird to his original home in Walt Disney World. 
Now, in the Sunshine Tree, one can not only find Citrus Swirls, but the original 1971 figure and a sign featuring the Orange Bird. There’s even a new poster in the Magic Kingdom Train Station featuring the Sunshine Tree Terrace. 
This is something small. He is a singular character. But he represents history, culture, and preservation of these two often forgotten topics in a corporate world. 
This is something small… that could lead to something bigger. If Disney is finally looking at their early history in Florida, where does it end? What’s to say that old quality can’t bring about the new? If the Magic Kingdom can revitalize an area we all thought broken, EPCOT can too. 
D23, the arm of the company dedicated to fandom, heralded in the Orange Bird to his new (old?) home this morning with a small ceremony and a new line of merchandise. For the first time in their existence, I am very pleased with what D23 is doing for Disney history. I have often been a critic of them. They are too expensive. Their events are far too esoteric and limited. But this? Supporting history and the preservation of unique texture that is the heart of what Walt Disney World was? I can not complain, but I can applaud. 
Several weeks ago, I thanked whomever was bringing this sort of history into the limelight in WDW. Again, I thank you. But this time I challenge you to keep going. Keep doing this sort of thing. The benefits of respect to historical obscurities are limitless. 
Yes, there’s a long way to go in fixing The Vacation Kingdom of the World. But today is a sunny one for looking at that road ahead. 


———
Support the Orange Bird’s return! Watch and “like” D23’s video all about the Orange Bird’s storied past here-  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv_CGF2kDy0

The Orange Bird Renaissance and The Road Ahead

Several months ago, I wrote about the return of the original Enchanted Tiki Room and what this classic show meant for the thematic cogency of Adventureland. 

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how the Citrus Swirl, a long forgotten menu item had also returned and was bettering the Magic Kingdom with unique and quality dining options. 

Today, this all comes together, with the formal return of The Florida Orange Bird to his original home in Walt Disney World. 

Now, in the Sunshine Tree, one can not only find Citrus Swirls, but the original 1971 figure and a sign featuring the Orange Bird. There’s even a new poster in the Magic Kingdom Train Station featuring the Sunshine Tree Terrace. 

This is something small. He is a singular character. But he represents history, culture, and preservation of these two often forgotten topics in a corporate world. 

This is something small… that could lead to something bigger. If Disney is finally looking at their early history in Florida, where does it end? What’s to say that old quality can’t bring about the new? If the Magic Kingdom can revitalize an area we all thought broken, EPCOT can too. 

D23, the arm of the company dedicated to fandom, heralded in the Orange Bird to his new (old?) home this morning with a small ceremony and a new line of merchandise. For the first time in their existence, I am very pleased with what D23 is doing for Disney history. I have often been a critic of them. They are too expensive. Their events are far too esoteric and limited. But this? Supporting history and the preservation of unique texture that is the heart of what Walt Disney World was? I can not complain, but I can applaud. 

Several weeks ago, I thanked whomever was bringing this sort of history into the limelight in WDW. Again, I thank you. But this time I challenge you to keep going. Keep doing this sort of thing. The benefits of respect to historical obscurities are limitless. 

Yes, there’s a long way to go in fixing The Vacation Kingdom of the World. But today is a sunny one for looking at that road ahead. 

———
Support the Orange Bird’s return! Watch and “like” D23’s video all about the Orange Bird’s storied past here-  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv_CGF2kDy0
Why Citrus Matters: Thoughts on the Restoration of Details and Quality in Adventureland 
A few months ago, I wrote an essay on the Sunshine Tree Pavilion and how it’s component parts make up a thematic statement for Adventureland. This, of course, was in reference to the fact that the Enchanted Tiki Room had returned to the pavilion and was once again gracing the Magic Kingdom with a classic, cogent, and particularly unifying piece of performance art that is the hearthstone of what a Magic Kingdom should be. 
In Florida, we are particularly lucky. We might not be the original Magic Kingdom, but we are an extension and variation on that theme. We have our own unique history, our own version of concepts and attractions originally from Disneyland.  The Sunshine Tree Pavilion is one of these aspects; it surrounds the Tiki Room show itself, and gives it texture and flavor to our Adventureland that is totally our own. The complex has unique architecture and flair. The Tiki Room’s story itself is expanded through a humorous pre show that hints to the mythologized origins of the show, and pokes fun at the rest of Adventureland. And the Sunshine Pavilion even has its own eatery, rounding out the offerings with tropical delicacies and thoughtful menu choices to reflect the South Seas mood. 
Of course, this was slowly whittled away over the years. We lost the original show. We lost the original aesthetics. We even lost Florida’s original name for the show, being the “Tropical Serenade”. And in the Sunshine Tree Terrace, where citrus inspired treats had been guest’s favorites for years, we lost the unique fare that made the Sunshine Tree Pavilion a full fledged entity in Adventureland.
But from this nadir, the original Enchanted Tiki Room show was reinstated after a series of bizarre and frankly, fateful circumstances.  
And now, several months later, another piece of the original puzzle has come back into place: The Citrus Swirl. 
Its a simple ice cream treat, from the heady, early days of WDW, but its a bit more than that, too. 
Its a small victory in terms of getting a vestige of quality back into the Walt Disney World Resort. 
Its a bit of unique texture and taste coming back to be enjoyed by guests. 
Its simply a nice thing. 
There’s nothing wrong with this. And it certainly doesn’t mean that the problems of the Magic Kingdom are solved in one fell swoop. But… 
The return of the Citrus Swirl is indicative of attention to detail and that there are people in places that remember the unique qualities of the Vacation Kingdom and are brokering for their return. 
A simple appreciation of a simple thing is the base of this expose, and hopefully the terrain of thought surrounding it. In the end, if more and more details come to be appreciated, more and more will come to pass. The texture of Walt Disney World that so many of us love and miss revolves around this restoration of things missing, things forgotten, things craved. 
Small fixes, small victories, and small steps to pave a path for greater change in Walt Disney World. 
So, kudos to whomever pushed this through. Thank you for remembering a tangible piece of Disney World History that is now back in the Vacation Kingdom of the World and thus, slowly starting to revitalize what’s sorely been missing for a few years. 
I greatly look forward to seeing what else you can do with this mindset. 

Why Citrus Matters: Thoughts on the Restoration of Details and Quality in Adventureland 

A few months ago, I wrote an essay on the Sunshine Tree Pavilion and how it’s component parts make up a thematic statement for Adventureland. This, of course, was in reference to the fact that the Enchanted Tiki Room had returned to the pavilion and was once again gracing the Magic Kingdom with a classic, cogent, and particularly unifying piece of performance art that is the hearthstone of what a Magic Kingdom should be. 

In Florida, we are particularly lucky. We might not be the original Magic Kingdom, but we are an extension and variation on that theme. We have our own unique history, our own version of concepts and attractions originally from Disneyland.  The Sunshine Tree Pavilion is one of these aspects; it surrounds the Tiki Room show itself, and gives it texture and flavor to our Adventureland that is totally our own. The complex has unique architecture and flair. The Tiki Room’s story itself is expanded through a humorous pre show that hints to the mythologized origins of the show, and pokes fun at the rest of Adventureland. And the Sunshine Pavilion even has its own eatery, rounding out the offerings with tropical delicacies and thoughtful menu choices to reflect the South Seas mood. 

Of course, this was slowly whittled away over the years. We lost the original show. We lost the original aesthetics. We even lost Florida’s original name for the show, being the “Tropical Serenade”. And in the Sunshine Tree Terrace, where citrus inspired treats had been guest’s favorites for years, we lost the unique fare that made the Sunshine Tree Pavilion a full fledged entity in Adventureland.

But from this nadir, the original Enchanted Tiki Room show was reinstated after a series of bizarre and frankly, fateful circumstances.  

And now, several months later, another piece of the original puzzle has come back into place: The Citrus Swirl. 

Its a simple ice cream treat, from the heady, early days of WDW, but its a bit more than that, too. 

Its a small victory in terms of getting a vestige of quality back into the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Its a bit of unique texture and taste coming back to be enjoyed by guests. 

Its simply a nice thing. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. And it certainly doesn’t mean that the problems of the Magic Kingdom are solved in one fell swoop. But… 

The return of the Citrus Swirl is indicative of attention to detail and that there are people in places that remember the unique qualities of the Vacation Kingdom and are brokering for their return. 

A simple appreciation of a simple thing is the base of this expose, and hopefully the terrain of thought surrounding it. In the end, if more and more details come to be appreciated, more and more will come to pass. The texture of Walt Disney World that so many of us love and miss revolves around this restoration of things missing, things forgotten, things craved. 

Small fixes, small victories, and small steps to pave a path for greater change in Walt Disney World. 

So, kudos to whomever pushed this through. Thank you for remembering a tangible piece of Disney World History that is now back in the Vacation Kingdom of the World and thus, slowly starting to revitalize what’s sorely been missing for a few years. 

I greatly look forward to seeing what else you can do with this mindset. 

El Rio Del Tiempo: Abstraction in Culture 

An attraction deeply rooted in the quirky stylistic mode of WED in the 60’s and 70’s, El Rio Del Tiempo encapsulated the spirit of Mexico through song. 

Shifting through three phases of Mexican History, the experience of El Rio Del Tiempo was punctuated by music, screen, and scenery that conveyed the mysterious and exotic locals of the country.  Prefaced by a 220 foot wide mural, complete with erupting volcano, the Yucatan wilderness,  and model of a pyramid, the sojourn through history took us through the abstraction of Mayan culture as told through ancient dance, the era of colonialism, and finally, to the frantic, and celebration present. 

The surroundings, idyllic and even bizarre, were portrayed in a campy mix of tableaux and screens, adding wonderful splashes of light and reflection to the ride’s waterways. 

El Rio Del Tiempo was something holistically Disney without having characters, or overarching technology. It’s quality and story, and feel, was emblematic of the showmanship and care that WED put into their creations when this ride was built.