Category Archives: Fastpass to History

Bus transportation at EPCOT

In the early days of World Showcase, there were double-decker buses in addition to the two World Showcase Friendships to take guests around the World Showcase loop.

photo courtesy of the disney tourist blog
photo courtesy of the disney tourist blog

These buses stopped at all ten World Showcase nations (Norway was added after the retirement of the bus service) on the 1.3 mile World Showcase loop.  The buses traveled a little faster than a normal walking pace.  Disney did not want buses zipping through the walkways of the World Showcase and potentially running over guests.

photo courtesy of florida memory
photo courtesy of florida memory

As attendance at Walt Disney World and EPCOT grew, it became more and more difficult for these buses to navigate the wide walkways of the World Showcase.  The walkways were getting more congested with people who slowed the buses down even further.  As a result, the buses were retired though their retirement date is unknown.

The buses make rare appearances transporting Disney characters throughout both Future World and the World Showcase.

photo courtesy of yesterland
photo courtesy of yesterland

Does anybody remember these buses going through the World Showcase.  I vaguely remember them on a trip to Walt Disney World and EPCOT in the mid-80’s.  If you do remember, please share your experiences on the buses with us.

Thanks for reading!

Remembering 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

It’s been 20 years since one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions closed…..20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The attraction was based off the movie of the same name.  The attraction never actually went under the sea.  Guests entered boats and sat below the water line while the boat went around a track.  Bubbles were used to simulate going deeper and deeper into the water.

photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore
photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore

The attraction went on an underwater journey which started with a surface storm and the boat descending into the water to avoid the storm.  It continued through the wreckage of other boats and a journey to the South Pole.  The attraction concluded with a voyage to the lost city of Atlantis before re-surfacing. The attraction was very popular, however, line management led to its demise.  The unloading/loading time was very long.  Each boat sat 40 guests and the boats came in groups in three (there were 12 boats in total).  In addition, the ride was very expensive to maintain.  It was these two factors which led to the attractions closing despite its popularity.  The attraction was converted into Ariel’s Grotto but then the lagoon was filled in.  The attraction became Pooh’s Playful Spot and now the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Three of the 12 boats were saved from the landfill. One of the boats can be seen on the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.  The other two boats were shipped to Castaway Cay and sunk.  They are now part of the snorkeling lagoon.  For guests who still pine for this attraction can go to Disneyland where the attraction has been converted to Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or to Tokyo Disneysea where it operates as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats
One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats

Dumbo – The Elephant Who Saved an Empire

Today, I return to the Fastpass To History link-up hosted by Kimberly at The Frontierland Station.  This link-up allows bloggers to go back into Disney’s past.  I like to use this link-up to explore the movies of Disney.  I’m going to take a look at Dumbo – the elephant who saved the Disney empire.  Disney was in rough shape after Pinocchio and Fantasia both failed at the box office.  It wasn’t because they were bad movies but it was because of World War II.

photo courtesy of filmexperience
photo courtesy of filmexperience

Disney needed a movie that was inexpensive to make and be successful so they could balance the books.  Insert the story of a big-eared elephant who had a dream that he could fly.  Dumbo was a children’s story that was written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl in a format called a Roll-A-Book.  Disney bought the film rights to this story and gave the animators the direction to make the film short and make it inexpensively.  The studio needed revenue.

photo courtesy of scienceblogs
photo courtesy of scienceblogs

The animators originally wanted to make a series of shorts involving Dumbo.  They decided to make one of Disney’s shortest movies instead.  Dumbo is only 64 minutes long.  The movie was made for only $950,000 and made $1.6 million dollars in its first run through the box office.  That $650,000 helped save Walt Disney Studios from going under and allowed it took make and distribute future films.

The empire may have started with a mouse but it was saved by an elephant.

Storybook Circus #2

 

Thanks for reading!

Tomorrowland Speedway – Fastpass to History

Today, I join my friend Kim, who runs the Frontierland Station blog, on her Fastpass to History blog hop.  This blog hop looks back on the history of Disney.  This is one of my favorite blog hops because I like history, in general, and Disney so it’s a marriage of two of my favorite things.

This week, I’m looking back on the history of the Tomorrowland Speedway at Walt Disney World.  Tomorrowland Speedway is one of the few attractions that is still running from when Disney opened in October of 1971.

Continue reading Tomorrowland Speedway – Fastpass to History

Characters From the Past – Orangebird

In this week’s Fastpass to History, hosted by the Frontierland Station Blog, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite Disney characters from the past.  This character was one of the original characters present at Walt Disney World on opening day but went on a long hiatus a few years later.  I’m talking about the one and only….ORANGEBIRD!

photo courtesy of Disney vinyl mania
photo courtesy of Disney vinyl mania

Orangebird never starred in any Disney movies nor did it appear in any Wonderful World of Disney shows.  Orangebird wasn’t even created by Disney.  It was created by the Florida Citrus Commission who sponsored the Tropical Serenade attraction when the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971.  The adorable little bird appeared in two TV ads and had one album which was narrated by Anita Bryant who told the character’s story.  Orangebird communicated only through thought bubbles.

Continue reading Characters From the Past – Orangebird