Friday, February 01, 2008

Vanishing Walt Disney World, #6

Walt Disney World may not overall have the same intimate atmosphere as Disneyland, but one thing WDI was able to do in 1971 at the Magic Kingdom that they weren't able to at Disneyland and which they repeated again at EPCOT Center is to include a lot of Significant Details in a lot of out of the way places. Liberty Square was the recipient of a lot of these in 1971. In many ways this sort of thinking about including a lot of culturally authentic bric-a-brac in a bid for respectability / validity is very much in line with the Animal Kingdom aesthetic, and as such the '71 Liberty Square ideas about authenticity can be said to have trickled down through WED and WDI in a very real way.

Aside from the brilliance of the design of the buildings, one thing about Liberty Square supposedly true is that a lot of the slate used in the area is authentic to the Williamsburg, Virginia area and as such is slate our forefathers could've walked on. The slate brackets Liberty Square on the east and west, forming the transitory wall from the Hub and also the large wall comprising the Riverboat Landing on the Rivers of America. Who knows if it's really the same slate (even more similar slate covers the eastern facade of the Frontier Trading post a bit further down the way), but it is a Culturally Significant Detail.

Another detail more felt than seen is the supposed authenticity of all the lamps in Liberty Square. If you've ever paused in Liberty Square and noticed the number of lanterns hanging in the Liberty Tree is less than thirteen, it's because of the care that needs to go into maintaining these (authentic?) relics.

Outside the Hall of Presidents' main entrance stood two unique little lamp posts. Although I'm not sure if they were colonial in origin, they were original to the park and can be seen in The Grand Opening of Walt Disney World. Topped with little bronze eagles, they lent at atmosphere of distinction to the entrance of the attraction in contrast with the rest of the area's less authentic looking "gas lamps". As part of a recent initiative in Liberty Square, both of these little lamp posts and another between the Hall of Presidents and Hertitage House were replaced with brand new commercially available models. Although it's an understandable change - the one between the attraction's exit area and Hertiage House seemed to be held together with cable - it is a distinct loss of an original feature of The Magic Kingdom and, if those stories are true, of the careful design tt went into this often neglected area of the park.

1 comment:

Biblioadonis aka George said...


I am glad that someone is able to recognize these details!