Cool MK Attraction History Bits

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
Pirates at Disneyland opened in 1967, but didn’t debut at the Magic Kingdom until 1973. That’s right- it was not an opening day attraction. Imagineers didn’t think guests would want to experience Pirates of the Caribbean in Florida since they were so close to the actual Caribbean Islands, yet when guests showed up in ‘71, one of the most frequent questions asked was where the attraction was.

In ‘73, they added Carribbean Plaza to Adventureland (which originally dead-ended at the Enchanted Tiki Room), an area originally set aside as land for a Frontierland attraction known as the Western River Expedition, which never saw the light of day.

Additionally, this version of the ride once featured a “Barker Bird” animatronic to greet guests at the entrance, but it was (unfortunately) removed sometime during the Jack Sparrow overlay.
Nope. Thunder Mesa was going where BTM was built - not Caribbean Plaza.

The barker bird was originally at the rides unload before being moved outside.
If You Had Wings and Delta Dreamflight were essentially the same ride
About the same as Buzz Lightyear and Haunted Mansion.
but Magic Journeys originated in EPCOT at the Imagination Pavillion. It was a temporary place-holder
It wasn’t.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
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The original theme song of the Carousel of Progress in Disney World wasn't "Its a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", but "The Best Time of Your Life ", with the instant ear-worm opening, "Now is the time, now is the time...". I don't know if this is true, but supposedly the reason for the different song was that the sponsor, GE, didn't want people waiting for "tomorrow" to buy their latest appliances. Hence, the change to "now" being the "best time of your life"... to buy current GE products.

I seriously doubt the distinction between "tomorrow" and "now" would have changed any guests' shopping behavior.

On pure aesthetics, I prefer "The Best Time of Your Life", but that might be because I grew up with it.

There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow actually was the original theme. They changed it in the 70s (when it moved to Magic Kingdom) to The Best Time of Your Life, then eventually changed it back to the original song. I think there may have been a third song used too sometime in the 80s.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow actually was the original theme. They changed it in the 70s (when it moved to Magic Kingdom) to The Best Time of Your Life, then eventually changed it back to the original song. I think there may have been a third song used too sometime in the 80s.
Two songs only - but whilst Now is the Time played in the CoP, Horizons played GBBT.
 

HauntedPirate

Sheltered-at-home Park nostalgist
Premium Member
There's an "futuristic" version of 'Now is the Time' playing, if memory serves, somewhere in Buzz.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow actually was the original theme. They changed it in the 70s (when it moved to Magic Kingdom) to The Best Time of Your Life, then eventually changed it back to the original song. I think there may have been a third song used too sometime in the 80s.
Notice I specified "in Disney World".
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Hey everyone! So I am starting to work on a website that will be called "mythemeparkguide.com" ... It's not currently open, so no, you can't see it at the moment. I have the domain name, and I've designed simple sites using wordpress in the past for other people/companies before. ANYways... I'm wanting to have a really huge history section!

I've received permission from @marni1971 to use the info provided on his videos, and I will be crediting him as such. Similarly, I'd love for this to be a wdwmagic forum user collaborative effort kinda thing! (If that is allowed, mods, you may tell me wrong if so.) I'll gladly give credit to any and all username on these forums that can provide some useful, fun, and little-known historical facts about any attractions/shows/restaurants/ect. So please help me out! This should be a really fun project. (-:

My first daunting task is to obviously do: Magic Kingdom Attractions. Below I will list literally every attraction to do with MK. If any of you know a bunch (or even a little) info on any of the things listed below, I will add it in a paragraph under each respective name. Feel free to mention any attractions (current, past, future, or never happened) as well with info! Think of this like a gigantic huge historical Disney thread. Thanks to any help! (-: Feel free to post gigantic posts.

  • Main Street U.S.A.
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom
  • Town Square Theatre
  • Harmony Barber Shop
  • City Hall
  • Main Street Chamber of Commerce

  • Adventureland
  • Jungle Cruise
    -Opening day attraction at Disneyland & WDW. Also found in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Inspired by Walt Disney's "The African Lion.” Original version was to be more like Kilimanjaro Safaris, featuring live animals. Original version was more serious. Has become the center of dad puns. MK's version features asian temple. Received the first version of "Jingle Cruise" in 2013. Inspired restaurant: Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen.
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    -Pirates at Disneyland opened in 1967, but didn’t debut at the Magic Kingdom until 1973. That’s right- it was not an opening day attraction. Imagineers didn’t think guests would want to experience Pirates of the Caribbean in Florida since they were so close to the actual Caribbean Islands, yet when guests showed up in ‘71, one of the most frequent questions asked was where the attraction was. In ‘73, they added Carribbean Plaza to Adventureland (which originally dead-ended at the Enchanted Tiki Room), an area originally set aside as land for a Frontierland attraction known as the Western River Expedition, which never saw the light of day. The MK version of the ride is noticeably shorter than the DL version, and is missing many of the scenes, most notably the entire Blue Bayou segment, some of the cave segments, and the finale where the boats go “up the waterfall”. Part of this is because of the rushed and slightly unplanned production of this version, and also because this version is set in Adventureland and not New Orleans Square, thus the whole New Orleans/Bayou elements were cut entirely, being substituted for a Caribbean Spanish Fort. (Max Duane)

    Additionally, this version of the ride once featured a “Barker Bird” animatronic to greet guests at the entrance, but it was (unfortunately) removed sometime during the Jack Sparrow overlay.
  • Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Tinker Bell's Magical Nooke

  • Frontierland
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Splash Mountain
  • Frontierland Shootin' Arcade
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes

  • Liberty Square
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Mike Fink Keel Boats

  • Fantasyland
  • Cinderella Castle
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephants
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • It's a Small World
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey's Philharmagic
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Seven Dwarves Mine Train
  • Mickey Mouse Revue
  • Magic Journeys
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
  • Skyway
  • The Legend of the Lion King
  • Pooh's Playful Spot
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Tomorrowland
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • TTA PeopleMover
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
  • TRON Lightcycle Run
  • If You Had Wings
  • Mission to Mars
  • Delta Dreamflight
  • Skyway
  • ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
  • The Timekeeper
  • Stitch's Great Escape!

  • Toontown/Storybook Circus

Looks like a great project. Good luck with it!
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
I remember it playing in Horizons quite vividly. I think it was in the robot kitchen scene?
Yep. Three instrumental versions played through the Jules Verne, Robida Flats and Future from the 30s scenes, with vocals in the latter by Larry Cedar.

CA90AB25-A5B8-4263-B4C0-958D82941B91.jpeg
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
Original Poster
I do want everyone to know, that I know a majority of this information, AND I know I can do research myself (which I will for many). The essence of this is to create a shared community experience... Showcasing that there are many people passionate about the history of Disney's theme parks. :)

Didn't want anyone to think I was just being lazy making everyone do the work for me! Even if it's the most basic knowledge, such as an opening date, or a little fact, don't hesitate to post it! All forum members who contribute to this project will be listed at the end of any page they contributed to in italics, 12 font type. :) (Martin will be acknowledged everywhere, because I use his videos as a source.)
 
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WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
Original Poster
Nope. Thunder Mesa was going where BTM was built - not Caribbean Plaza.

The barker bird was originally at the rides unload before being moved outside.

About the same as Buzz Lightyear and Haunted Mansion.

It wasn’t.
Thanks for the fact checks.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
was there a plan for the Carribean plaza area pre pirates? Was it always an adventureland expansion pad?
I’ve yet to find plans for anything but. As we know shortly after opening attention was intended to look at Thunder Messa and Space Port.
 

Brer Panther

Well-Known Member
Here are some more fun facts I'd like to add.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The spitting camels featured in the attraction were originally built for an Aladdin-themed parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios called Aladdin's Royal Caravan, then were moved outside a restaurant in the park called the Soundstage Restaurant before winding up at the Magic Carpets of Aladdin in 2001.
- Versions of the attraction with different names are found at Walt Disney Studios Paris and Tokyo DisneySea.

Pirates of the Caribbean
- Johnny Depp reprised his role as Captain Jack Sparrow for the attraction's 2006 refurbishment.
- Redd, the female pirate who was once the attraction's iconic "Redhead", is voiced by Grey DeLisle-Griffin, the current voice of Daphne from Scooby-Doo.
- Many of the pirates featured in the attraction are voiced by Paul Frees (the original voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Haunted Mansion's Ghost Host, Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam, and Ludwig Von Drake), Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger, Buff in Country Bear Jamboree, and Fritz in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room), and Wally Wingert (the voice of Jon Arbuckle in several recent Garfield productions and the Riddler in many Batman productions).

Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
- The attraction was originally known as "Tropical Serenade".
- Fritz is voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger).
- Clyde, the orange-feathered toucan in the attraction's preshow, is voiced by Dallas McKennon (who also voiced the safety spiel of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Gumby, and Benjamin Franklin in EPCOT's The American Adventure), whereas Claude, the green-feathered toucan, is voiced by Sebastian Cabot (also the voice of Bagheera the Panther in The Jungle Book).

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- The safety spiel is provided by Dallas McKennon, who also provided the voices of Benjamin Franklin in EPCOT's The American Adventure, Gumby, and Clyde in the preshow of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.
- Each of the six trains has a name. The names are "U.B. Bold", "U.R. Daring", "U.R. Courageous", "I.M. Brave", "I.B. Hearty" and "I.M. Fearless".
- The attraction covers over two acres and rises almost two hundred feet above sea level.
- The queue features a portrait of the founder and president of the Big Thunder Mining Company, Barnabas T. Bullion. He is modeled after one of the attraction's lead imagineers, Tony Baxter.

Country Bear Jamboree
- This was an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World. Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland would later get their own versions, but Disneyland's closed in 2001.
- December 1984 saw the debut of a Christmas overlay of the show called the Country Bear Christmas Special, which ran until 2006.
- In 1986, the show was updated to a new version called the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown. In 1992, the original show returned.
- Henry and Max are both voiced by Peter Reneday, who also provided the voices of Master Splinter in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Abraham Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents, the Huntsman in Snow White's Scary Adventures, and the Narrator in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
- The show was originally sponsored by Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay.
- Buff is voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft, who also provided the voices of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger, Fritz in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and several pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean. He also sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in the Chuck Jones adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

The Haunted Mansion
- The attraction's Ghost Host was voiced by Paul Frees, who was also the original voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy, Ludwig Von Drake, and Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam.
- The Haunted Mansion is featured in a different land at every Disney park where it appears.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- This attraction was originally placed in the center of Fantasyland, but during the land's expansion it was moved to the "Storybook Circus" section. An additional "carousel" was also added, allowing for double capacity.
- Before the attraction was moved, the Timothy Mouse figure on the attraction's sign was placed in the center of the ride. He is voiced by Chris Edgerly, who also provided the voice of Scuttle for Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Mickey's Philharmagic
- According to Imagineer Kevin Rafferty's 2019 book Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career, in early stages of development the attraction's main character was to be Tinker Bell. Michael Eisner suggested having Donald Duck be the star instead.
- Some of Donald's lines in the attraction are recycled audio of his original voice actor, Clarence Nash.

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Scuttle's voice in the attraction is provided by Chris Edgerly, also the voice of Timothy Mouse for Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- The voice of Winnie the Pooh in this attraction is Jim Cummings, who has been the official voice of the character since 1988. He is also the current voice of Tigger and Mickey Mouse's nemesis Pete. Other Disney characters that he has voiced include Ed the Hyena from The Lion King, Darkwing Duck, Don Karnage from TaleSpin, Razoul from Aladdin, and Humphrey the Bear.
- Tigger is voiced in the attraction by his original voice actor, Paul Winchell. However, Jim Cummings provides Tigger's voice for the safety spiel.
- As a reference to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, in Owl's house there are framed pictures of Owl with Mr. Toad and Pooh with Moley.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
- Buzz is voiced in the attraction by Patrick Fraley, who also provided the voice of Buzz for several video games.
- This attraction marked the first appearance of Buzz's nemesis, Emperor Zurg - he is only mentioned in the first Toy Story, and the attraction opened before Toy Story 2 was released.
- Zurg is voiced in the attraction by Frank Welker, who is also the voice of Scooby-Doo and his friend Fred Jones, Abu from Aladdin, and Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, among other characters.
- The attraction was originally sponsored by Mattel.
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
Original Poster
Anyone have some more info on some various main street attractions I've left out, past and present? Main Street is where my knowledge starts falling flat.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
Main Street had an old timey photo studio. You could dress up in turn-of-the-century clothes (appropriate to the era of Main Street), and your group posed on a mock-up of a luxury Pullman car. I'm glad my parents forced us to do this. We hated it at the time, because obviously, we would have rather been on rides, but now those pictures being back great memories from our family trips ik the 70s and 80s.

I have no idea when this studio closed, but I would estimate sometime in the late 80s-early 90s.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
The only things I remember about the Main Street arcade are the kinetoscopes and several games that operated via a mechanical hand crank. It's been a few years since my last trip to Disney World, but I seem to recall that some of the kinetoscopes are still there, but are non-functional now. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Simba’s Mom

Active Member
The only fact I can add is that Splash Mountain opened in 1992, and it necessitated making the MK Railroad change to riding thru/over it.
However, I do have a few questions-
1. Does anyone know what year the Buzz Lightyear attraction opened?
2. Is the Buzz Lightyear attraction in the same place as Timekeeper, the one with Robin Williams and Rhea Perlman and the "lean rails" was?
3. Is there any history to the paddle wheel boat in the Splash Mountain "Zip a dee do Dah" scene?
 
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