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Entries in Behind-the-Scenes (39)

Saturday
Oct152011

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

 

 

 

Saturday
Oct012011

WDW Before Opening Day 1971

Walt Disney World opened 40 years ago today. Here we bring you photos of some of the work that went on before Opening Day- October 1, 1971.

On the left (below) you see the foundation of Cinderella Castle taking shape and the utilidor tunnel being built under what would become the castle moat. Now on the right you see the same tunnel but covered in dirt. What looks like a trench next to the covered tunnel is not actully the tunnel. I imagine it was the last bit to be filled in or was used to access something. Notice the underground offices, shops, utility access, storage, etc. behind the castle foundation. This area exists today under Fantasyland.

 

Below you see the back end of the castle with views of restaurant construction and what is now the Castle Suite.

Looks like a fancy tool for inserting strands of hair into this Jungle Cruise lion. In more recent years I remember using a needle with half its eye cut off with the point inserted into a wooden handle.

Notice the maquette of the gorilla holding the rifle next to the full size figure of the same gorilla.

Check out the guy in back of the station wagon filming the elephant on its way to the Jungle Cruise.

Anyone know exactly where this yellow building is today? I always figured it was in downtown Orlando but really, I have no way of knowing.

UPDATE: Thanks to comments by World Famous Dave Ensign and Cousin Orville we have the location of the "yellow building". Seen here is the building in Plant City (as predicted by Dave) at the corner of Highways 39 and 92. The photo from Google Street View (as found by Cousin Orville) shows the building today almost exactly how it looked 40+ years ago. Mystery solved!

Speaking of where things are today... below we bring you a little bonus. A quick search on Bing Maps shows us an old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus submarine at backstage Epcot of all places. And right in front of it, an old Jungle Cruise boat. Yep, still hanging around. Used now and again for special events.

Before any of the above photos were taken, this model was built:

Click to enlarge and look closely. Clearly on the right you'll see the never-built Thunder Mesa. Look in the background. Behind John Hench on the right, is that a model of the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station? Towards the center it looks like a rather large model of the Contemporary. And to the far left, a tiki bird!

Happy b-day, Walt Disney World. You haven't changed a bit.


Thank you, The Story of Walt Disney World Commemorative Edition for the great pics. All photos ©Disney.


Related posts:

Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
Disneyland in 1955
EYE CANDY: National Geographic Aug '63

 

Thursday
Jul212011

ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts

Take a look behind-the-scenes of a four-decade favorite that is no longer what it used to be.... Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts.

How it worked

It is no secret that holograms were never used in The Haunted Mansion. Old stage techniques including Pepper's Ghost effects and the use of two-way mirrors are about as low-tech as you can get while still accomplishing jaw-dropping "how'd they do that" illusions. 

You'll notice in the above diagram that the "ghosts" were on a revolving track lined up with the Doombuggies on the opposite side of what look like normal mirrors. Light reflecting off human guests would reflect off the surface of the mirrors. At the same time light shining on the hitchhikers behind the mirrors would be visible through the mirrors, allowing both ghosts and humans to be seen together. Get it? It's like walking by a highly reflective office building and seeing yourself in the windows and seeing electric lights inside the building all at the same time.

The right lighting conditions were needed to pull off the illusion. If the house lights in the room behind the mirrors were to turn on, the mirrors from the other side would look more or less like clear glass. 

Disneyland or Magic Kingdom?

Seen here are two fantastic pics from Long-Forgotten where we learn that Disneyland's Hitchhiking ghosts on the "ghosty-go-round" have no hands. Hands were included in the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland versions.


Dark Beards?

You'll notice the handless Disneyland figures happen to have white hair. And these Magic Kingdom figures have dark hair. They both are supposed to have white hair as to better reflect light through the mirrors. As was mentioned in a previous post, oil, grease, and dust cake the artificial hair of the Haunted Mansion ghosts and the hair becomes far less visible especially in the Ballroom and with the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Occasionally fresh hair could be spotted along side old dingy hair, illustrating the importance of clean, white hair.

So long, fun illusion that entertained us so well for all those years.

For the time being, we still have Disneyland's low-tech, high-entertaining, original effect:

 

 

Related posts:

The Haunted Mansion Like You've Never Seen It
I Miss Paul Frees
Little Box of Treasures
ABANDONED DISNEY: Country Bear- Max
ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower
If This Doesn't Scare You.....
Pirates of the Caribbean Like You've Never Seen It
Carousel of Progress Like You’ve Never Seen It