Contemporary, Polynesian, Golf Resort and Fort Wilderness... They started it all. Then we saw the Villas, the Grand Floridian and a few others.. Then it got crazy...
So I learned something new today. Back in the 80s, Fort Wilderness had a breakfast show. What I find interesting is I stayed at the Fort forever, and I don't recall seeing anything related to this whatsoever. I must have walked by Pioneer Hall many, many times and just didn't pay attention to the showbill signs posted. Too focused on finding the lawnmower tree I suppose.
I've also heard that originally in Pioneer Hall, they used to have super fun learning sessions about nature and animals showcased in films and with guest speakers. Who has footage or pictures of that going on? There is the gem we need for the Imageworks Department...
This whole breakfast show came to light for me when this eBay posting from Theme Park Connection circulated across my desk. Melvin the Moose, the actual moose, is for sale! Now for me, this doesn't mean a whole lot because I've never seen him live. This does happen to be a piece of Fort Wilderness history though and is also super cool, so this will be a fun one to keep an eye on the next couple days. - Click here to view the auction -
I also did some digging and found Melvin in action. It doesn't look as big in size on the auction page, but I did some analyzing and believe it is the real deal... Hope you enjoy!
From the Bill Cotter collection comes these gems from 1979... A time when Brown and Orange seemed in tune with the "modern design" of the era. I remember playing on the Whatchamacallit in '81.. it rocked!
These photos are used on http://www.worldsfairphotos.com/themeparks/disney.htmwith permission from Bill Cotter. If you'd like to purchase copies of these photos please visit:
JT, our historical investigative reporter has been on this for years... Like the amazing Bob-A-Long boats, the Polynesian Resort Wave machine has somewhat shrouded in mystery... We are close to solving some of the lingering questions around this short lived water feature..
For now, here is a teaser photo... but get ready for a Close Up!!
Not sure what got me thinking about the Fort Wilderness Railroad...but did some quick searches and came across this gem - its got to be the very early 80s as it parts look like video, however I suspect it is an 8mm home movie conversion via a telecine. Regardless.. enjoy this bit of history most of us never got to experience:
UPDATE: After some researching, I found a way to get in contact with Disney Legend Dick Nunis. I figured since he was the expert on this and the man behind it, he would be able to shed some light and new information, maybe even the famous photographs that we have all heard about. I am amazed to report that Dick himself actually called me today, crazy! Dick was a very nice guy, talked to me for about ten minutes, but no photos were offered up. I asked him if he had anything as far as a photo of the waves at the Polynesian. His response was, he doesn't do that sort of thing because it would be a full time job. I respect that, but I know he would probably have some amazing stuff to share! Apparently, a 1971 copy of Eyes and Ears Magazine (Disney Employee Newsletter/Magazine) has a photo of surfers on the waves. Anybody out there know of this or have a copy? I don't think it would be very economical for me to start buying old copies of the magazine one by one until I found the actual issue... So anyways, the search continues, maybe a new lead will pop up here in the future. Dick Nunis did say he was going to start working on a book soon, so maybe that is when we will get the photos...
We all know the story, and if you do not here is the short version. When the Polynesian opened, they had a wave producing device installed on the island across the bay. This sent a nice soothing wave all the way to the white sand beaches of the Poly. The only problem was it eroded that very beach, so they had to shut it off. I have only seen the photos of what is left now, never what it once was. I am calling all experts, photo journalists, Google masters or anybody else to do a hard target search. There is a rumor that pro surfers were photographed back in the 70s surfing the Poly!!
For RetroDisneyWorld.com, I think it would be such a great addition to our historical archives. If you have a photo to share, a link, or anything please do so. I don't know about you, but I for one would love to see how this looked and how big the waves actually got. Somebody somewhere has to have vacation photos or even Disney themselves might be sitting on a nest egg of great photos of this attraction. The ultimate would be a film or video of this - Can you imagine?? Thanks for any help you can offer, post your comments, links, or anything below. Have a great day!