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Orange Bird Photo Hunt



Entries in Abandoned Disney (8)


Mural-Removin' Season at Disney

We bring you rare documentation of an old mural you might remember.

Recently my soul was hit with a sledge hammer when I read Kevin Kidney's post about a different mural literally being hit with a sledge hammer. Then I was informed by Michael Crawford that another equally obscure mural had the same fate. It's times like these I'm glad I documented the Bill Justice character mural in the old Walt Disney Story Theater.

Above for the first time online (we think) you can see the entire mural panned out this way. Forgive the distortions here and there. I photographed it in sections years ago with a digital camera that was sub-par. Nevertheless I'm happy I did it. Click image to enlarge or click here for extra larger version (6.6meg).

Bill Justice seen here working on other projects.

The mural was placed in the holding area of the Walt Disney Story attraction (1973-1992) in the Gulf Hospitality House on Main Street.

Guests would approach the mural on the curved wall, hear a cast member speil a few words, then proceed to one of two theaters. Doors would open on either the left or ride side of the mural depending on which theater was available at the moment. For a detailed history of this experience I refer you the great Widen Your World site.

Here you can see the doors to Theater 2 to the right of the mural.

Here you see where the doors to Theater 1 were removed when that theater was drastically changed to accommodate plywood photo ops (not pictured). Just behind those (temporary) curtains there used to be a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride car. Even better than the plywood in my opinion.

"But you hate when characters are mixed together" you say? Yes, normally I do. But I only really hate it when characters from different time periods/locations interact with each other. Like in the hideous Villains Tonight show on the Disney Cruise. A less-offensive-to-my-intelligence way of mixing characters is Mickey's PhilharMagic. Those characters do not interact with characters from films (Donald being the exception). The same is the case with this mural. The characters only look at the other characters from their own film (with a couple exceptions, like a Dalmatian puppy barking at the antics of The Three Caballeros).

Sleeping beauty was represented with a whopping 19 characters.

And Robin Hood with 14, including one of my favorites, Alan-a-Dale.

I know many fans of less-represented movies who loved the mural wide-spread representation of many films.

Black Cauldron fanatics (all thirty five of you), I'm sorry your only Black Cauldron reference is now gone.

I'm glad Elliott made it onto the mural. But I have a question... Isn't Pete's Dragon a live-action film with some animation mixed in? But so is Mary Poppins. And others. Song of the South made the cut. That makes sense because it's more of an animated film with live-action mixed in. Elliott was added years after the original mural was painted. I'm sure it was done to promote the latest film. And the film did have an animated title character. It makes sense.

The Three Little Pigs wasn't a full-length feature but they fit in nicely.

Charcters from new releases were added up until The Great Mouse Detective (1986).

When was this quote added? After the microphone and control box were no longer needed?

Added bonus.

Here are two control boxes from Theater 2. I love discovering remnants of things that no longer exist. Things like labels for "PRE SHOW PODIUM" or "PROJ ROOM" or "TURNSTILE". Even better, "MAPO", a label we don't see much anymore.

Theater 2 awaiting its fate.

Instead of posting my thoughts about what currently occupies this great Magic Kingdom building, I refer you Mr. Crawford's post about the Town Square Theater. I share his thoughts. And when you visit the Town Square Theater in person look closely for this little nod to the mural. Thanks @Crushinat0r for sending us the photo.

As it turns out, this particular mural has escaped the ill fate that other murals have not. The Disney Archives has kept the actual painting for preservation. And maybe to post it somewhere else??


We are getting messages that the mural was NOT saved. Reports claim that the fine people of the Archives attempted to save it but the 40 year old paint crumbled as the canvas was removed from the wall. Let us know if you have further details.



Thanks to a comment from "Wedway" we share this little tribute to the Plaza Pavilion mural that Kevin Kidney wrote about. This artwork can be found in what was the Plaza Pavilion, now called the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. It resembles the former mural but features song lyrics and imagery from Mary Poppins. Thank you Wedway, Kevin, and The Disney Food Blog.


To anyone who worked on the refurb who might have found my Mike Fink Keel Boats sign... GIVE IT BACK. It was given to me a few years back, then I hid it in the theater for a moment, and I never saw again. Another soul-crusher.


Related posts:

Illustrated Donald Duck
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
What Disney Characters Love
Disney Characters...Maybe We Should Rethink a Few Things
Walt Disney and the Santa Maria Railroad
HORIZONS MURAL, "The Prologue and the Promise"
ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower



ABANDONED DISNEY: River Country [Part 4]

We present the fourth part of our River Country series. Rumors continue, as they have for years, about what will happen with the River County land. One thing is for certain, River Country will never open to the public again... At least not as the River Country we remember.

When you think about it, it's not all that shocking that Disney closed something only to let it rot. They've been doing that for years. I for one am glad River Country stuck around. We can now enjoy creepy photos of the abandoned place. Few Disney attractions close and are demolished immediately after closing, for whatever reason, unless the replacement attraction is ready to be built. Think of: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Submarine Voyage, PeopleMover, the Skyway towers, Image Works, Food Rocks, Mission to Mars (Disneyland), America Sings, etc. All were abandoned for years after they closed, before they were eventually removed completely or redesigned as something else.

Below we get a view of the Contemporary and even Bay Lake Tower. In Part 1 we see similar photos not long before Bay Lake Tower was constructed. Additionally you can see Space Mountain.

A banner encouraging "recycling". Ironic.

An old yellow float tube.


Once again we encourage you to not tour this closed area of Walt Disney World without permission.


Also enjoy [Part 1][Part 2], and [Part 3]


Photos from "Tri-Circle D" at The DIS Discussion Forums. Images of Resort Guest tickets from "CAJUNWDWFAN". A big thanks to all three.


Related posts:

ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower
ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts
If This Doesn't Scare You.....
Bin Laden Mansion Minutes From Walt Disney World 





Fake Disneyland in Japan

We were not behind the camera in this photo shoot, unfortunately  I've never been to Japan but this would be my second stop right after Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea.

"Nara Dreamland" is a cheap Disneyland ripoff that opened in 1961. It was closed in 2006— imagine that. Not only is it creepy for its current ghost town-like condition but it's terribly scary just how blatantly they ripped off Disneyland's design. They shamelessly recreated dozens of pieces of Disneyland but did so in such a mediocre way.  At the same time, as you'll see in the videos posted below, it was once a beautiful, happenin' place. Its opening day ceremonies lead you to think that Dreamland did for Japan what Disneyland did for the U.S.... Well it really didn't.

Photographer Kyle Merriman, based in Taiwan, spent 4 hours recently with friends in Dreamland despite rumors that the abandoned park was heavily guarded.

"We spent 4 hours exploring this incredible place, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day. There were still areas of the park that were next to impossible to get to no matter how hard we tried. The main entrance, filled with shops, restaurants, makeshift police and fire stations, ticket booths and even a public hall was showing clear signs that the plant life wanted back what was once theirs," Kyle says. 

The color scheme is right up there with Old Town Kissimmee. Who doesn't love a whole lot of cotton candy pink and sea foam green??

Kyle ain't the only one touring the abandoned property, dodging guards, and ignoring warning signs. Urban explorer Florian, a German expatriate living and working in the Osaka area, has made his way into the park both during the day and at night.

Florian says, "all the 'If you see somebody entering Nara Dreamland: Call the police!' signs were replaced by new 'If you get caught we’ll fine you 100,000 Yen signs... Exploring an abandoned amusement park on a warm night in late summer is nothing but an amazing adventure – and I guess it is even more so if you can suppress the uneasy feeling of not being wanted there.  I can’t say that I really enjoyed shooting Nara Dreamland at night, but I nevertheless cherish it as an exciting and educational experience."

"'Wait a minute!', you might say at this point. 'If you felt uneasy all the time, why did you even wait for the sun to come up?' Well, the answer is simple: Since the sun rises at about 5.30am in Japan even in late September we though we could kill two birds with one stone and do a second round through the park, shooting it under way easier lighting conditions – and that’s what we did," said Florian. Read more on Florian's blog.

What did the Walt Disney Company think of this place?? What did Walt think of this place? He had to have know about it. Did he care? Was it considered a compliment? An insult?


Theme Park Review tells of their Dreamland visit and how they showed up to what looked like a closed park with no visitors out front, though the place was open for business. They mention that at first glance the park looked nice but "take a closer look and most of the place looks like a dilapidated abandoned park. Most of the stores are boarded up, trucks are parked on the streets.  It's just bizarre."

Rewind to the early 60s:


Related posts:

Abandoned Disney: River Country Then and Now [Part 1]
Abandoned Disney: MK Fantasyland Tower
Abandoned Disney: Country Bear- Max