Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vanishing Walt Disney World, #2

For better or for worse Walt Disney World has been consistently doing what it was built to do: change. Although the passing of a major attraction or show will these days be greeted with a flurry of photos and video, so that we can rest assured that future generations will have good quality copies of El Rio del Tiempo to puzzle over, each month more and more original, minor establishments are quietly closed or remodeled into something newish.

It is in the spirit of these fleeting locations, which are often the ones which we most wish for extensive documentation of, that I offer this new feature, attempting to capture at least passable representations of recent losses or eminent ones, as well as provide a forum for the pooling of resources among readers of this Blog.

Impending Fatality: Mexico Leather Shop

Probably one of the least likely to be mourned of locations currently on the chopping block is this unlikely and unmemorable little shop on the east interior wall of World Showcase's Mexico pavilion. If you don't remember it it's because it's been closed for years and only recently reopened with an assortment of jewelry and leather handbags.

And yet EPCOT's World Showcase has been getting a lot of work recently, especially those pavilions nearest the entrances, and the May refurbishment of El Rio del Tiempo into Gran Fiesta Tour was just the first of a reworking of the Mexico showcase into a higher capacity venue. One of these plans is to close this shop and reopen it as a limited seating.. Tequila bar.

Inside the doors you'll find a rectangular little shop done in pastel browns, yellows, and earth tones. It is, as you can see, small and functional without being very charming. The first picture is looking immediately to the right once inside the doors, then a detail of the rack display on the wall to your right, and finally looking back at the doors.

This shop was, like all the World Showcase shops, not without its' charms, such as this stencil detailing, but by and large rather bland. There was, in 1982 at EPCOT Center, for all of its' wonderful shops full of exotic and scientific wonders, a few which seemed rather plopped down in an unoccupied corner. If anybody here actually remembers Broccoli & Co. at The Land, they'll understand. Still, today I wish I had a few photos of that place too. I'm sure that in 1957 nobody would be especially impressed by extensive photo documentation of the Crane Bathroom of Tomorrow, either...


RED ALERT ITEMS: Things I need a number of photos of, recently deceased.

Robinson Crusoe's, Polynesian Resort, 1971 - 2005
Captain Cook's Food Court
Robinson Crusoe's was a significant final holdout of the Polynesian Village of 1971 and primarily offered overpriced mens' wear in its' final years. It was located in what is now the arcade. Across the way, where there are currently spacious bathrooms, was a children's clothing store. Both were open air and remarkably untouched for 34 years. The 2005 opening of the large new BouTiki shop in the lobby made both of these outposts of the original Polynesian superfluous; Captain Cook's, originally a bar and then a food court, expanded and swallowed both up. Photo documentation of the last few years of all three of these locations desired.

News From Civilization
Another lost Polynesian Hotel shop, which sold a lot of generic Island themed junk and some Lilo & Stitch stuff in its' last few years, is currently a Wyland Gallery. Much like Concourse Sundries & Spirits, it was a functional hotel shop.

GENERAL ALERT ITEMS: Probably lost to the sands of time?

Interior photos of The Golden Galleon or Princessa de Cristal, Magic Kingdom Caribbean Plaza

Interior photos of Pecos Bill Cafe, pre 1998 refurbishment, Magic Kingdom Frontierland

Interior photos of the Tricornered Hat Shoppe, Magic Kingdom Liberty Square

Interior photos any pre-1996 Disney Village Marketplace establishment - the older the better!

Have something you're looking for? Ask and I'll add it to the list!


Stephen said...

I'm afraid I don't have any of the photos you're looking for, but I really admire what you're doing with your "Vanishing WDW" project. These little pockets of the World are collectively as important to the WDW experience as any E-ticket, and it's fantastic that you're taking the time to permanently document some of the little touches that are on their way to extinction.

Sleepy Hollow said...

What was the location of the hat shop in Liberty? I see references to it where I work, on old phone lists and such.