October 21, 2009

The Keys to the Kingdom: Western Lands

Today’s post will take us through the Western lands of Magic Kingdom, including Adventureland, Frontierland, and part of Liberty Square.

After treking up Main Street, our guide took us to a covered seating area and let us do a Q & A with him about ANYTHING DISNEY. A lot of it was kind of already trivial stuff that most Disney fans know, but someone asked “what is going on with Space Mountain?” And our tour guide answered beginning with some apprehension to answer it, but then he told us, “….my fiancé is an Imagineer working on a Photo Booth pick up area for a NEW ON RIDE PHOTO system being added to the attraction. As well as a pieces of track replacements.”

Then with that, I asked, “What was the MAIN reason that they knocked down and are re-building the old Tomorrowland Skyway building?”, he answered with, “for future expansion plans that are flying around, after the big Fantasyland expansion.” Then people asked about the Fantasyland expansion, and he revealed that the Cast Members call the new Dumbo, “dueling dumbos” as well, and that EVERYONE is excited for it and it will enhance the story of Fantasyland even more. Also asked in this session was about the yet-to-be-finished Pop Century: Legendary Years.

After this Q&A session, we had a 5 minute restroom break, or as they call them, “Biological Experiences”. Then after that we walked over to the Jungle Cruise to ride with him and let him talk about the attraction and its history.100_1445As we pulled away from the station he began giving us the back-story of the attraction and the history, in which most of you probably know, that Walt wanted LIVE animals in his Disneyland version, but instead used non real ones.100_1449Also in the tour he let us know that the water is at most 6 feet deep (most is at Hippo bathing pool, below) and lowest is 3 feet. Also, that the water is dyed to not let guests see that the bottom of the water is very close to them. The Fountains, waterfalls, and animatronics, as well as the boat movements, mix the dye around and dont allow it to settle at the bottom.100_1454

As we moved past the campers scene our guide revealed that their clothes are changed every 2-3 weeks. And that there is a rock in front of the rhino that covers the crank that lowers the tree to allow them to change the clothes. 100_1452

After Jungle Cruise, we headed past Pirates of the Caribbean, and our Tour Guide said, “Ah Pirates!, the ride that was never suppose to be here.” Then another tour member asked, “Why is that?” So he took us to the El Pirata y El Perico to sit and he told us about Western River Expedition and how Pirates was never suppose to be (which most Disney Fans, I'm sure like most of you all ready knew, so I'm not going to go into detail). But he did say that following about how without the 1964-65 World’s Fair, Pirates might have taken longer to come to fruition, as Walt wanted to combine the boat system of “its a small world” and the Human AAs of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. (Might I add, the guide was impressed that I knew ALL 4 attractions Walt did for the fair, especially impressed by me know Magic Skyway.) Well, after we spend about a half hour talking about the history of Pirates, we moved to Frontierland, and went into Backstage through the gate near Splash Mountain.

From there we worked our way back and stopped next to the “Trash dumper” which SHOOTS the trash from different areas of the park to the central “dumpster”. They try to recycle as much as possible. And every 30 minutes the custodial staff is “scheduled” to check each trash can, and if they are over 1/2 full, they must replace. Then they take it back stage and begin to sort through by hand. We then moved over to behind Splash Mountain, and saw the GIANT pool of water that was used in the attraction with the dirtiness and such. Every couple of weeks, they replace the water, and everyday the ‘fish’ out using a GIANT net, the miscellaneous items found in the water, i.e. Hats, Glasses, Flip Fops, etc. The water also has a chemical in it (sorry forget name of it, but its not chlorine). It is used to “clean” the water, just incase liquid from the AAs leaks out.

After moving from Splash Mountain, we moved into the Parade House and saw the SpectroMagic parade floats. They really were nothing to write home about, they did look different though, very very different. And if you were to drive them in the daytime to “replace” a broken float, you just cant. And they check the lights everyday incase some of them don’t work. Also, our guide let us know that they train the parade float drivers in the SpectroMen balls and Ursula float, and they MUST have 16 trial performances, after the park closes, before they can “perform” for the public. Also, if you want to drive the GIANT Princess float in the daytime parade or the Castle Float that has been around forever, they need at least 3 years experience before even allowed to TOUCH the drivers area.100_1028

From Backstage we moved back on stage, and we made our way from Frontierland. And our guide explained how from the Thunder Mountain area to the entrance of Fantasyland you move back in time and across the country, basically around the Rivers of America. From Big Thunder Mountain, which is modeled after Bryce Canyon in the West, in the late 1800s, to the Haunted Mansion, which is modeled after early 1700s/ late 1600s Upstate New York Mansion in the Hudson River Valley.100_0393

As we entered Liberty Square, we crossed the country by going over a “Mississippi River” of sorts, a small bridge that runs between the Shooting Gallery area, near the DVC hut and the Entrance to Adventureland/Bathroom Area. As we entered we were told the story behind Liberty Square and some subtle details of the area. Like for one, how there are NO BATHROOMS in Liberty Square. And the BROWN “curvy, pathway” that runs throughout the land represents the “sewage” because when this land takes place (mid 1700s, Colonial pre-America), there was no indoor pluming so they “dumped” it in the street, and that is what the brown path represents. Our guide explained how there technically are no bathrooms “in” Liberty Square. And since restrooms are needed in public eateries, Disney got “clever” and pushed them AS FAR BACK AS POSSIBLE. For Liberty Tree Tavern, the bathroom is way in the back and up steps, and technically located within Adventureland, and he said, i quote, “Because it was an adventure to go to the bathroom in that time.” And for Columbia Harbor House, it is pushed far in the back into Fantasyland limits, because “At the time, indoor plumbing was a fantasy.” (Those quotes were said by the guide, and meant to be funny… Just letting you know as you are reading it and might not see the humor).

From there we went into Columbia Harbor House, top floor, and ate our Lunch. Personally, i LOVE Columbia Harbor House, and it is in my opinion, one of the best Quick Service in MK, if not WDW. During Lunch, we received a pin that was attached to our name card, letting us know where we were suppose to eat, and who's was whose.pin2879


That is it for today… Come back tomorrow for our FINAL installment in the Keys to the Kingdom series…

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