Monday, November 19, 2007

Vanishing Walt Disney World, #4

Since I have a lot of smaller pieces I want to do left in the ether I'm going to be posting them in rapid succession this week rather than stretching minor material out over a long period of time. So I'll be posting Wednesday and Friday also; be sure to check back late this week for more obsessive minutia!

I've also posted an index section in the navigation bar to the right; is this remotely useful?

Usually I use Vanishing Walt Disney World here to bemoan small-to-medium losses, but this one is starting to verge on trivial if it weren't something I was actually rather fond of. It (was) the little oval sign to the right of the Adventureland bridge to the hub. There it sat for many years in a little circular planter embellishment to the pathway, with a few angry Tikis, utterly redundant in that you'd be more likely to notice the big bamboo Adventureland arch than her little wooden oval cousin nearby, but it made sense in a perverse way because it seemed to announce, dammit, that Adventureland was the only land cool enough to have two signs!

Recently, as I've been told, it was discovered by maintainence and/or WDI that the sign was actually installed during a refurbishment to the gate during which the actual Adventureland sign went missing for some time. The little wooden sign was installed to help any potentially confused guests in finding their way towards such exotic delights as Tropic Toppers or The Magic Carpet (the store, not the spinning ride with the camel). After the refurbishment was done the other sign was never removed and, as such, Adventureland had a dual-sign system which was deemed silly this year, the extra sign was removed and screwed to some wall somewhere backstage (this is what happens to old park signs incidentally).

This temporary nature explains something with actually bothered me for years, which is why the sign was only half finished: the embellishments around "Adventureland" were carved, whereas the text was merely painted. Really, that bothered me to no end.

It's pretty hard to argue that it's a major loss, but just another minor loss in a land which has suffered a crippling epidemic of minor losses: Elephant Tales, Traders of Timbuktu, the barker birds for both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Enchanted Tiki Room, The House of Treasure, Lafitte's Portrait Deck, the Caribbean Plaza fountains, the Castillo del Morro roofline cannons, the Jungle Lookout atop the Swiss Family Treehouse, the torches throughout the whole land.. are there any others? Oh yeah... the Adventureland Veranda. It's a wonder there's any character left in the land at all, to be honest.

Anyway it's gone now, and it was cute, but hardly important. What's interesting is that the tikis flanking it remain behind, which gives the entrance an interesting dynamic in that they are no longer literal embellishments of the sign but moodsetting pieces pushed out beyond the land itself, the first sign of wilderness as you leave the civilization of Main Street.


Unknown said...

Foxxfur, this particular removal bothers me greatly and I'm glad someone else has noticed. This sign, and the accompanying photo op, is one of my favorites. I'd much rather see the silly Adventureland sign above the bridge removed and the more tasteful, Polynesian Resort-like, other sign restored.

Spaced Out Dude said...

The Index on the navigation bar doesn't really help.

krueg said...

You know what's sad...the barker birds along with many of the other "small details" that you talk about have been gone for so long that I actually had forgotten about them...only to be reminded of slow disintegration of the Magic Kingdom that pains me so much. When I first visited Disneyland last year, I was suddenly was reminded of how the Magic Kingdom is slowly turning into something far less than itself. A big mega-store with less and less of the personality and detail that has made such an impression on my life as well as that of millions of others. We can only hope that someday, someone realizes this neglect and does something about it...

FoxxFur said...

I don't think Disneyland is so much better off, frankly. There's still a profileration of bland stores all selling the same stuff everywhere else and too much of it. You can't ride their Haunted Mansion on Halloween anymore and see the original show, the success of the Pirate Island overlay is negligible at best, Big Thunder Ranch is decaying beyond use, you can't see Country Bears anymore, and Tomorrowland feels empty and dead. Different set of problems, same internal decay.

krueg said...

I was only there one time, my first time, so maybe I missed most of that in my happiness to be there. The big thing that had remained unchanged that was near and dear to me was the Firehouse on Mainstreet. I loved that place as a child and when I walked into Disneyland...there it was!

Unknown said...

I like the index (being a librarian and all). Personally, I think you should move the Imaginerding link to the top since you think we are the greatest!

Actually, I would move the PAST ARTICLES section to underneath the INDEX. (But leave the links near the top!)

I love the signage in Adventureland and Liberty Square the best. I don't get to visit nearly enough to notice the subtle (and not so subtle) changes over the days, weeks and months.