Join me this week as we look at Ten More Secrets and Stories You Never Knew About Walt Disney World, including a different kind of pirates, a lost Liberty Square dark ride, the park entrance that’s in the wrong place, what almost came to Walt Disney World outside the parks… and a cheese attraction?
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We are all storytellers and Disney is a storytelling company at its heart, from the retelling of classic fairy tales to new fantastical journeys into the unknown. We are fascinated by and fall in love with the stories that Disney tells on the screens and in the parks. But sometimes it's the locations themselves that are the subject of those stories, cuz it's within the parks that some of the stories are actually born, but not all of those stories are known.
And I think some of the most interesting, intriguing and fun ones are often lost to time and of various other factors. But those are some of the ones that I love sharing here on the show most and I am not alone. In fact, Mr. Jim corcus has been sharing some stories from the Disney people, parks, movies, and animation for years.
Dare I say decades. And this week he's joining me, us here at the virtual table to discuss 10 more secrets and stories. You never knew about Walt Disney world. And back again is my friend prolific author, former cast member and rack on tour. Mr. Jim Corki, Jim buddy. It is good to see you again.
Jim Korkis: Uh, thank you so much.
My friend, Lou, and, and trust me, you will never, ever be alone. I, I, I, you're certainly not alone, uh, in life. And at any event that you go to, you are the furthest thing from alone that I, that I can imagine. So, um, But it, it, it's always so much fun to, uh, get together, even, even if it's, uh, uh, just over the phone for, uh, uh, a podcast here.
And, uh, one of the [00:02:00] exciting things about your podcast is I always feel I come away, uh, smarter. I always feel I come away with a, uh, uh, a new perspective and oftentimes, you know, that new little bit of information that, uh, uh, I never, uh, uh, knew, you know, and, and, you know, Walt Disney world is just such a, a rich place for, uh, uh, details and, and storytelling and, and you can't, um, you.
Grasp them all, you know, and, and especially these days, uh, Walt Disney world just seems to be that, uh, uh, reservation vacation, where you have to make a reservation for a, a particular day and a particular park and for a particular attraction and a particular place to eat and, and all of that. So it, it, it takes away a lot of that.
Um, just aimless, uh, wandering where sometimes you stumble across something and you go, what is that? And, and why is that there? And, and, and I know you have that, uh, same fascination that, that I do that, you know, you, you, it's so seamless, it's so easy to just accept things, but, um, there's a reason oftentimes why things are there.
There's a, there's a story behind things. Are there, it, it's not just, you know, uh, Woke up one morning and oh yeah. Let's, let's put that lamppost right there. , you know, uh, there's all of that. And so, you know, I'm very excited, uh, uh, about that, uh, be because, uh, as you know, I just released, uh, uh, the book final secret stories of Walt Disney world available on Amazon.
And it's the fifth book that I wrote that contains. [00:04:00] Uh, uh, two page stories about, uh, details of, of, of the parks and the resorts and outside of, of the resorts and, and the history. So there there's over 500 stories that I've documented a as well as, uh, another book called, uh, uh, extinct secret stories of, uh, Walt Disney world, the listing, you know, many of the things that, uh, we miss that, that disappeared, you know, from the, uh, you know, like the lawn moer tree at, at, at Fort wilderness and, and all of that.
And so it's finally gotten to the point where I'm pooped, things are just happening so quickly at Disney things are changing so much. Disney's middle name is, is, is changed that I can't keep up that I decided, look, I'm just gonna write a final book to wrap up the first 50 years. And one of those people listening to, to lose podcasts will have to start writing books about the next 50 years.
that? That are coming because, uh, I'm just out of breath.
Lou Mongello: right. You're not outta stories. You're you're out of, although you could be. I mean, I know you're not outta stories because when I said before about you being a prolific writer and look, you are so generous with your time and your friendship. We talked about the first 10 stories back on shows 6 37, but you've been on so many over the years.
We've talked about wilderness lodge and old key west mm-hmm and the Disney Institute and the boardwalk and Luna park and some of what might have been and some of what is extinct. But I love this idea of first of all, I, I love the way just as a very quick. About the book. One of the things I love about the book is the way you've laid it out.
I like the fact that they are short, easily consumable stories, so you can pick it up, grab a story, and then just move [00:06:00] on. You don't have to worry about getting lost in these very long chapters, sort of these little bite size bits of Disney history and stories and facts. And that's why this week we're gonna share in a relatively bite size ish format.
If you don't mind taking big bites, 10 more secret and stories that you may have never heard before from Walt Disney world, Jim, you are my guest. You are my friend. You are the author of the book. So I invite you to please go for first. We'll sort of go back and forth and, and share some stories and, and chat a little bit about 'em.
And I'm very curious to hear where you go first and, and why you sort of put this one first on the list of the ones that you wanted to share.
Jim Korkis: Okay, well, uh, this has always been a, a favorite of mine and, and it's been one that, uh, most guests, uh, completely miss it's Wilson's cave in, I N N you know, referring like to a, a, a Tavern, uh, type of situation.
And the only place you can see it is on the, uh, river boat on the rivers of America. I, I, I don't think it occurs to, to most Disney fans that there's some things that you can only see, uh, from the riverboat, you know, like, uh, uh, good old, uh, uh, uh, beacon Joe over there who, uh, I wrote about in, in previous volumes and is a huge favor of mine because a again, he appears in other Disney attractions, he, he, the same.
Audio animatronic sculpt for beacon Joe there, sitting there with his dog and fishing is, is the one used for the, uh, uh, king at the banquet table in, in haunted, uh, mansion. And, and one of the, uh, pirates in the cell trying to get the dog to give them, uh, uh, the key. So, uh, [00:08:00] and, and of course, beacon, Joe originally came from, um, uh, Disneyland where, when you're taking the boats and on the right hand side, you have blue Bayou on the left hand side, you have, um, uh, this, uh, uh, shack, you know, in the Bayou and, and, and this guy, you know, in, in the chair, you know, playing his banjo, that that's, uh, beacon Joe, and, and he was designed by, uh, Mark Davis and, and he ended.
Uh, on the rivers of America because, uh, pirates was never supposed to come, uh, to, um, Walt Disney world. They, they were gonna do big thunder Mesa with Cowboys and Indias, but anyway, getting back to, uh, Wilson Cain, Wilson Cavan is, is actually based on something real, you know, that's one of the reasons that I, I, I love it.
It, it, it's based on cave in rock. Uh, that's still on the shores of the Ohio river in, uh, Southern, uh, Illinois. And, and basically what would happen is, uh, river pirates and all would hide in the cave and then come out, you know, and, and attack boats, uh, basically, you know, robbing victims, killing them, you know, and.
Uh, it, it was there since the revolutionary, uh, uh, war and, uh, in the, uh, uh, 17 hundreds, a fellow by the name of Jim Wilson, uh, took the whole thing over and opened a business there called Wilson's liquor, vault, and house of entertainment. So river travelers would then stop there and go in, you know, for food and drink and gambling.
And, uh, uh, let's just say overly friendly women. And as a result would get drunk and, [00:10:00] and would get, you know, killed and, uh, robbed and all that. So the pirates didn't have to go out and, and, and attack, uh, uh, the, the boats, you know, and, and so on the river boat at Walt Disney world, you know, you hear Sam tell the guests that.
Cutthroat corner. There is the most likely place to find the river pirates and, uh, uh, listening to the noises coming outta Wilson's cave. He says, you know, we should be safe for a while because their interests lie elsewhere, which means gambling and wild women. Now, the reason, all this sounds so familiar and the reason it's there.
In a Disney park. Uh, it, uh, first off you can go on the history channel. There's a, a, a documentary about this. And, and if any of you saw the movie, uh, how the west was won mm-hmm , you know, Jimmy Stewart ended up in there, but in, uh, 1955 in the television episode, Dave Crockett and the river pirates, it was.
Dave Crockett and Georgie Russell, you know, who, uh, uh, discovered the, the cave in, and, and that the, uh, criminals in there were disguising themselves as, as Indians. So that Indians native Americans would get, uh, blamed, uh, as they were looting passing, uh, uh, uh, boats. And, and so, uh, uh, Davey and Georgie, you know, uh, went in there and, uh, with, uh, uh, several kegs of, uh, uh, gun powder, you know, uh, blew up the cave.
But in real life, of course, the cave, uh, uh, uh, still exists, uh, there. So, uh, you can, uh, see it, not only at Walt Disney world, but you can see it at, um, in, in [00:12:00] Ohio. And, you know, I I've just. Old school. I just love, uh, uh, Davy Crockett. And, and there are just so many Davy Crockett references, you know, uh, uh, through, throughout the, the park and, and, and, and, you know, you, you think, oh, well, yeah, well, uh, frontier land, Davey Crockett frontier land, no, go over to Fort wilderness.
And, and I think one of the, the hidden treasures over there is, um, uh, Crocketts Tavern. Uh, you know, it, it, it opened in, uh, uh, 1985 as an extension of, uh, trails, the trails and, uh, uh, restaurant, which I also, uh, like, and. You know, it has a full service bar and all that, but, but the, uh, uh, manager of resort, uh, design at the time, uh, was a huge, uh, Disney daily Crockett fan.
So it's loaded up with Crockett, Anna, you know, uh, uh, there's uh, a small replica of the, uh, gully Wier, uh, uh, keel boat from the TV series. And, um, Uh, Davies's old Betsy rifle and there's paintings of the Fest parkers, Davey and buddy Epson is as, uh, Georgie. And there's this huge imposing, terrifying, stuffed grizzly bear, uh, next to a glass, uh, display, uh, featuring, uh, uh, a classic, uh, 1843 portrait of the real Davy Crockett, and a Koon skin cap, a real Koon skin cap and letters and other items.
And, and, and I'm sure your listeners know, and you know, why would they have a stuffed grizzly bear
Lou Mongello: there? I mean, because why not? Why wouldn't you have a stuffed grizzly bear at the front of Crocketts Tavern killed
Jim Korkis: him a bear when he was only three. That's the bear. So [00:14:00] some kind of fake Disney, Stevie Crockett fan, you are for crying out loud but, but if it's any constellation, it took, it took me a couple of minutes too.
Well, grizzly bear. Yeah. Disney usually doesn't do, you know, stuffed, you know, animals and, and, and, and all of that, you know? Uh, they used to when Disneyland don't, but he's not
Lou Mongello: stuffed to me sleeping. The bear's just resting kids. The bear's just
Jim Korkis: taking a nap. Well, well, you know, I, I, I guess the gag, uh, it could be made.
What do you feed a, a grizzly bear. Uh, you don't feed him anything cuz he's stuffed, uh, from eating over there at, uh, trails end. So there you go. Your turn buddy, your, your, your turn to come up with something as a very
Lou Mongello: quick aside, I love the fact that you put this in because this was one I actually thought of too Jim putting in so great nerdy minds truly do things think alike.
Yeah. Because one of the things that, or, or,
Jim Korkis: or love, love certain things because it's like, that's just so right. The, the that makes sense. That's why they did that. Wow.
Lou Mongello: That's cool. Well, I, I love this because like so much in, in frontier land and in Liberty square, it's based on a real place, right. It's based on mm-hmm, something that has a, a significant historical.
Story to it. Plus the, the, the Davy Crockett, you know, television program connection, uh, which tell me if I, I it's been a long time since I see it, but didn't the Davy Crockett version reference. Um, not Jim Wilson, but, uh, Sam Mason, who took over
Jim Korkis: yes. Examination, uh, it took over after, uh, uh, you are sharp, buddy.
You are sharp. Yes.
Lou Mongello: But I love the fact too that, you know, we, we go by it and we hear these sort of sounds, if you pay attention, you're on the starboard side of the boat, you can hear some of those sounds coming up, [00:16:00] but you don't really know the sort of deep, dark, somewhat nefarious history of what that sort of throwaway almost detail.
Is on that side. And again, you know, we could look, we can go into long detail and story about, you know, the entire history of what we used to be able to see. That was a little bit, not necessarily DFI on the right hand side of the boat, on the Liberty square riverboat. But, but I love the fact that, that you put this one in there.
Jim Korkis: well, and, and, and, and, and again, this is another example of how, when Imagineers are really, really good, they can put something in and if you don't know what it is, it doesn't impact your experience at all. But if you do it just enhances it, it gives it just that little plus that little Disney plus it gives it that little extra Disney plus
Lou Mongello: But to your point, everything speaks. There's a reason why everything there mm-hmm, , there's a story. And if you want to peel back those layers, Those stories are there. And it's, it's why I love doing these shows. It's why I appreciate the, the books and stuff that you do. So I'm gonna, you know what, I'm gonna stay in the same general vicinity because when I was researching my Liberty square audio tour and my frontier audio tours, I love mm-hmm.
the stories that the lands themselves had to share both real history and imaginary legends and with Halloween coming up, I think it's also a great way to tie in my love of the legend of sleepy hollow, right? That shared story by Washington Irving published in the early 18 hundreds. We know about Ichabod crane, the school teacher, the headless horseman, sleepy hollow cemetery, et cetera.
Disney's connection to this by way of just quick history was they retold this in. If you haven't seen the, the package film, the adventures of acaba Mitch, Mr. Toad from [00:18:00] 49, you have to mm-hmm , especially during this time of year. And it really made for a natural fit to incorporate this into Liberty square because of the time and the place in which the story took place.
The story that you might not know is that when designs and and plans for Liberty square were coming together, uh, in the late sixties, early seventies, even as late as probably early 1970, there was actually a concept for a dark ride based on the legend of sleepy hollow. That was proposed by one Mister.
Tony Baxter. And that was going to help sort of tell that if you listen to the audio tours, I talk about how really the, I think the best way to come into fantasy into Liberty square is from fantasy land because that story sort of crossing the Atlantic and moving forward in time, really sort of helps sort of pull those two lands together.
And this would've actually helped sort of be that connective tissue. And you would've ridden in not a doom buggy, but this Jacko lantern through a number of different scenes from the story. And then obviously at the end, you come face to face or face to pumpkin with the headless horseman it was obviously it was meant to be more of a humorous attraction, right?
So before they decided to do things like Mr. Toe's wild ride, this was gonna be one of the more lighthearted humorous. Attractions and where it would've been is where memento Mori, Yankee trader shop is mm-hmm today. Um, and it's not, you know, what I love too, Jim is it's not the only time. And again, I really do love the story, not just the, the one from the adventures of IBO, Mr.
To, but I love the, the, the legend of sleepy hollow itself. And it's [00:20:00] not the only time that the legend was planned for either Walt Disney world or even Disneyland. We know of the concepts for the hearted mansion in Walt Disney world and the museum of the weird, and maybe they were gonna, that was the, this Ichabod crane encounter was with the headless horseman, was going to be incorporated into that.
We know what we ended up getting, which in is obviously a much smaller and scaled back reference to. The legend to sleepy hollow with sleepy hollow refreshments, and then the voice of music lessons by IBA crane over in yield Christmas shop. But even in Disneyland, like Ken Anderson had submitted a concept for this finale encounter with the headless horseman.
And we have other references in places like Mickey's not so scary Halloween party with the headless horseman, sort of kicking it off. Um, if you've ever done at Fort wilderness. And I don't think they do this anymore, the haunted hay ride, which, um, I think they discontinued, gosh, maybe it was 10 years ago or so, which was one of the coolest.
Special add-on ticketed events. You could do very quick story. Like it probably was 11 or so years ago, I was able to book it for my family on Halloween night. I love Halloween. I lo I was, so it was a surprise for them. My kids were very young. Don't make me cry on the podcast. So here I was like super dad of the year, like, oh my God, we are gonna live through the story of the headless Warman.
My kids were petrified. I'm hysterically laughing but to sort of wrap it up in a, in a bow, this idea of the legend of sleepy hollow, while we have elements of it in Walt Disney world. Now, at one point we really almost had an entire dark ride based on the legend of sleepy hollow. And, and I wonder what [00:22:00] that concept art and what that final attraction might have looked.
Jim Korkis: Excellent choice, Lou, I, I, I'm a huge fan of, uh, uh, the story of the legend of sleepy hollow myself. And, uh, when I was working for the, uh, Walt Disney, uh, world travel company, uh, uh, briefly I actually got sent, uh, to the Hudson river, uh, valley and, and got to, and it, it really looks like it's just from the book and it's so spooky and you, you, you don't know what, uh, I is there.
And, and, and as you pointed out, there's suggestions of, uh, the story all throughout, um, Uh, you know, Liberty square, you know, the food and beverage, uh, uh, location at, at the entrance, there is actually based on, uh, the, uh, two room cottage, um, uh, that, uh, writer, Washington Irving, uh, purchased along the banks of the, uh, Hudson river in Harrington.
I, in fact, it's a museum, uh, uh, today, uh, you know, a after lots of, uh, remodeling and, and I'm old enough to remember when you could go to that food and beverage location, and sometimes. Uh, they would have an item like a, uh, uh, a plastic mug that, that you could buy that would have the, uh, headless, uh, horseman, uh, you know, on, on, uh, one side.
It, it, it was, it was designed like a, a, a, a Stein, you know, rather than just a, a, a cup. And, and, and again, that's just that, all that attention to, to detail, uh, that Disney does. And, and yes, I remember the haunted, uh, hay ride, uh, uh, as well. And, um, I think it, yeah, I think you're right. I think it, uh, discontinued around, uh, 20 10, 20 11, uh, [00:24:00] somewhere, uh, uh, around that.
And, and again, uh, to this day, you know, you still have, um, uh, the headless horseman leading off, uh, uh, the Halloween parade for Mickey's, uh, not so scary. And, and to me, the scariest thing is that according to Disney Halloween starts in August , but I'm way behind in eating my Halloween candy
Lou Mongello: for Disney Halloween starts when the weather gets down to a nice, cool fall, like 97 degrees outside
Jim Korkis: will that ever happen? Uh, again, uh, so anyway, uh, and, and as long as you brought that up, let's, let's stick around Liberty square. That, that, that that's good because, uh, there's something that I just really love in, in Liberty square and, um, It's sort of a hidden treasure. It it's a place that I always like to, uh, go grab a, a quick bite to eat and there always seems to be room and that that's the Columbia Harbor house and, uh, you know, theme to, you know, a colonial, uh, uh, new England, uh, Tavern.
And, and I can tell you that the. Uh, uh, a proprietor of the Harbor house is, uh, Harold stall master. And the Inkeeper is a woman by the name of Priscilla Lapham. And, and I can say that with, uh, a hundred percent, uh, as surety as, uh, Eddie, uh, uh, Disney fan could, because around, uh, 2011 crates were added to Liberty square and they were addressed to different residents of the locale, you know?
Yeah. You and I always talk about, you know, you should look up, you should look down, you should look around, you know, cuz you never know what's going to be there. [00:26:00] And so there's a, a crate, uh, addressed, uh, to the proprietor of the Harbor house. And that's Harold stall master. Now Harold stall master happened to be the actor who portrayed the role of Johnny TMA.
In the 1957, uh, uh, uh, Disney film and there's another crate address to Inkeeper Priscilla Lapham. And that was the name of the character who is Johnny's love interest in the story. And, and I agree with you, uh, a great entrance. Into Liberty square is, is through fantasy land. And, and in fact, Columbia Harbor house has two entrances, but the two entrances are different, you know, cuz it's located between fantasy land and Liberty square.
And so, um, the fantasy Lance side actually represents a, uh, a dock, uh, in England, you know, uh, uh, because again, it's just right below Peter Pan's, uh, uh, flight attraction there and this would've been the dock area where you would've boarded, you know, uh, the, uh, uh, ship, you know, to, to go to the new world.
But at that time, uh, people were generally illiterate. So if you look up at the hanging sign, it features a chicken and a fish. And that's to indicate what was served inside the restaurant, because people couldn't read, you know, and, um, you know, just like English pubs, uh, at the time sometimes had images on them to, uh, to identify themselves.
But on the Liberty side square, it represents a port in new England. And so it's later, you know, I in history and the sign spells out the name Harbor, uh, with a U in it, and instead of images of chicken and fish, there's an image of an [00:28:00] American Eagle. And, and that doesn't mean they serve American Eagle, uh, uh, in there.
What it is is it means that this represents that time of the, you know, American revolution, cuz the Eagle was, uh, first designed. As a symbol, uh, in, uh, uh, around 17 75, 17 76. And, and if you look closely at the Eagle and I always love to do this when I have friends there, you know, J just to show off, you know, there, there's no sense in, in, in knowing all of this stuff, you know, I, if you can't sometimes, you know, just show off and go haw, you know, oh, you know, I'm not really, you know, that knowledgeable.
Uh, so, uh, those of you who are listening, you can do this. Um, if you look at the Eagle, the 13 arrows representing the original 13 colonies are in the right claw and that signifies war. But if you take a look at a, a dollar bill and you look at the back of the dollar bill, there there's again, the same image of the Eagle, but the arrows are in the left claw and the olive branches in the right one.
So that signifies peace. Now, uh, something that, uh, a lot of people probably don't realize is that the concept sketches for Columbia Harbor house were done by imaginary, Dorothea red. And I I'm sure, uh, some of your listeners, uh, recognize, uh, her name. You know, she did a lot of design work at Walt Disney world, you know, including the, uh, the mural in the breeze wave of Cinderella castle there, and, and a lot of stuff at, at Disneyland, uh, and Harbor house didn't open until, um, summer of 72.
So that that's almost a, a year after the park opened. And, and along with the Harbor house, uh, old world antiques, the perfume shop, uh, heritage house, all of that opened now in the original concepts, it, it [00:30:00] was, uh, called the Nantucket Harbor house. And, and sometimes in, in, in some of the early, uh, uh, blueprints, it was new Bedford and sometimes it was Montauk point.
Now it became Columbia Harbor house. Because they had plans for the sailing ship, Columbia to apply the waters of the river of America, just like they, they do at, uh, Disneyland. And, and again, one of the reasons that didn't happen was, again, it all comes down to money and, you know, trying to get the park opened by October 1st, uh, uh, 1971, you know, they, they had to make, you know, some cuts and they never got back to replacing some of those.
Because again, there was an oil crisis in, uh, uh, 1973, an oil prices shot up. So, you know, travel was cur can you imagine that? Can you imagine that that oil prices shot up so high that people couldn't afford to travel? Fortunately, we learned from that in 1973, so it will never happen again anyway. Uh, one of the reasons for incorporating the Columbia was, uh, because in, uh, 1787 that he, it became the first American sailing ship to circumnavigate the globe and 1787 was also when the constitution was ratified.
And that's also, um, uh, the. That is on the building that, uh, houses, uh, uh, the hall of presidents. And, uh, uh, one of the things I love about Columbia Harbor house is even though it's one of the largest restaurants of the magic kingdom, it it's divided into these small dining areas, you know, named after, uh, port towns in new England, like Charleston and, uh, Cape Hatteras and Cape Cod and, uh, Portsmouth and Salem and, and, and all of [00:32:00] that.
And then on the second floor, uh, there's a, a room dedicated to the, the haunted mansion. So it has paintings of the ghost ship, like the flying Dutchman and. there's a map from the national geographic, uh, that is framed at Mark's locations of, uh, 500 ships that were lost on the us coastline between Virginia and, and North Carolina.
There, there's all sorts of things, including a recreation of a painting from 20,000 leagues under the sea. But here's something I didn't know until, uh, recently you, you, you know, um, I, we look at the haunted mansion across the way there and we go, oh yes, well, it's on the, uh, Hudson river. Right. And no, it's not, not really because if you take a look at that left side of the queue, as you're, you're going up to the haunted mansion, that is a sea wall and a sea wall would have been built near an ocean.
And the ocean is where the Columbia sailing ship would have sailed. Hmm. So that's why that wall is there is it's a sea wall, uh, you know, uh, meant to per, you know, stop, uh, the waves from the sea, you know, pounding into your, into your house and onto, onto the, the land there. So, um, that's, that's a little bit of new information for, for some of you and, uh, a again, um, Liberty square only exists at Walt Disney
Lou Mongello: world and this kids is why we have Jim corcus on the show.
I love it. I love it. Um, [00:34:00] and you know, I, I it's, it's interesting because I, I think we're, we're also very similar. We love talking about the things that. Never came to be. And I wonder all the time, like just how different the parks would've been. Not just if some of these concepts have come to pass, but like what if Wal had been alive to take it through construction and not just inside the park, but throughout property.
So, for example, we've talked about on the show in the past multiple times, and we know of the, the concepts for the Asian, the Persian and the Venetian resorts, which obviously were unbuilt. But did you also know all of you collectively that original plans for Walt Disney world included things like including, but not limited to an ice rink, a swamp ride, a roller dome near the monorail station near where the ice rink would be.
And an international airport with multiple runways, not the little stall port, but an international airport. where celebration sort of currently sits. Right? So in terms of the airport, between MCO, which was not an international airport becoming the, or Orlando international airport, it didn't necessarily need that on property.
And then as plans for Epcot, the city became abandoned. That idea was as well. And one that I've always had a, I've always fascinated by, I haven't really seen or heard a lot about was a, another concept, which seems incredibly cool way out of place, but there was also rumor of an attraction that was dreamed up by Claude coats, legendary imaginary mm-hmm that would've been located between tomorrow land and the contemporary.
utilizing the waters of bay lake [00:36:00] based on natron, but dinosaurs and according to Tony Baxter, Claude loved dinosaurs. He helped design the ones for the world's fair. And he wanted to have this water ride through prehistoric times and life size dinosaurs in this area, in between tomorrow land and me and, uh, uh, and the contemporary.
I'm sure you have heard this story. You probably know way more about it and maybe have seen some of the concept art that I have never been able to find, but the idea of a dinosaur attraction and an ice rink and a roller dome and all these things, how different that sort of 30,000 foot view landscape of what Walt Disney world could have been is always fascinating to me.
Jim Korkis: You know, and, and you're, you're absolutely right. And, and so, so Disney should probably be, uh, uh, suing, uh, universal studios, uh, uh, Florida for the Jurassic park ride. Right. For, uh, uh, infringing on copyright there. But, but yes, there was supposed to be a dinosaur ride. Uh, not only because, uh, uh, Claude loved dinosaurs and who doesn't, you know, but it would also help connect the contemporary with, uh, uh, tomorrow land, you know, to, to make that connection.
You could get on the ride at one point and you could get off the ride, you know, at, at the other. And I know that some listeners are going that doesn't make any sense that tomorrow land is the future. And, and the contemporary, you know, is the future. That's where that, that's why you could see it from tomorrow land.
And I say, You've got to know your history because at Disneyland, when you leave the train station in tomorrow land, what do you [00:38:00] experience?
Lou Mongello: Right. We experience you see through the tunnel. Yeah.
Jim Korkis: Yeah. And, and so that's why it made sense to them. Oh yeah. Dinosaurs at the end of tomorrow land, of course. that makes sense.
You know, and when Wal incorporated prime, evil world into, um, uh, uh, Disneyland, even John Hench said, this make, this makes no sense. And, and, and Walt replied, John, you don't understand storytelling. You know, this is a grand circle tour of the park. You need a grand finale. and so that's why primal world was there now logistically it's because that's the only place it can fit
But, but you know, the grand canyon diorama and then prime, that's the only place logistically it could fit. But for, in Walt's mind, it was like I'm telling a story, you know, and, and a story needs a finale. And, and again, Disneyland, didn't used to have all of those, uh, train stations. You, you know, when, when it first opened you, you basically got on at, at main street and it took you around the entire park because it was supposed to introduce you to the park of what was there and all of that, because nobody had ever done anything like this before.
And. Speaking of things that, you know, uh, just never existed. Uh, I was blown away years ago when, when I had, um, uh, a dinner with, uh, uh, Tom Naby, Tom, Tom Naby of course the original, uh, Tom Sawyer over there at, at, uh, uh, Disneyland. But, but later, you know, came over to Walt Disney world and was originally in charge of the, uh, uh, monorails and, uh, [00:40:00] then so many other different things, a Disney legend and, you know, still full of energy and, and, and, and all of that.
And, and so I wanted to talk to him because I had always heard that, you know, uh, the monorails were supposed to be extended and one of the extensions, uh, was supposed to. Uh, towards, uh, the lake Buena Vista shopping village, which is now called Disney Springs and, and that they had even gone so far as, uh, to lay some, um, uh, preliminary work for setting foundations for pylons, you know, because, uh, Florida has an aquifer.
So you really have to make sure that that monorail track is, is secure so that there there's no sink holes and it it's not gonna happen. And so I wanted to talk about those concepts cuz he was there when that was doing and, and he said, yes, and, and the monorail was supposed to go. And it, the, uh, uh, the station would've been where, um, team Disney is today now and now Tim team Disney is that thing that looks like that nuclear power plant with that huge, uh, uh, sun dial there.
And, and he said, uh, yeah, and, and then that's where people would grab hold of the people mover. And I. What are you talking about Tom? And, and, and, and he said, yeah, the, the monorail would get there, but in order to get you, you know, to the, uh, uh, to the shopping village, there would be a people mover that would take you there.
And then it would go. Uh, you know, all the way up, uh, hotel Plaza Boulevard right up to right up to crossroads. And, and, and I don't think people realize that when crossroads opened and for many, many years, crossroads was owned by Disney mm-hmm , you know, Disney didn't announce it, but it, it did. I, I, I, I had a friend who [00:42:00] came out and did not want to ever be off of Disney property.
And, and I suggested crossroads because, you know, they had some great places to eat and it was less expensive and he would not set foot on the property. So I had to prove to him that Disney owned that property anyway. Um, There was gonna be a people mover. And, um, uh, uh, Tom was in, in a meeting where there were, uh, concerns about how do you justify, you know, doing a people mover that, that operates 24 7, uh, you know, on, on the off hours, you know, when there would be little usage.
And so Tom suggested that they designed the cars, so they were more modular and then they could be used to deliver, uh, a product. So, so, you know, you could deliver product to the hotels along the way and up at crossroads, you could pick up stuff and then, you know, uh, bring it back down. And, uh, I later talked with Imagineer, uh, Tom K Morris, and, and he said, oh yeah, he said that whole people mover.
Uh, was part of, uh, uh, in the seventies, we were developing something called satellite communities. You know, Epcot was supposed to be the real community, the center community. And then there would be satellite communities, uh, springing off from that. And, and the, um, uh, a transportation to get there, uh, would be this, uh, uh, uh, people mover, you know, and, uh, uh, wing chow was involved, you know, uh, in this and, uh, all of that, you know, and, and they were gonna expand the, expand the shopping village, uh, more than 300% it's initial size.
And, and people don't realize that when, um, what is now Disney Springs originally opened. It was so remote. People didn't want to get there. And so in the ticket book [00:44:00] sold at the magic kingdom, uh, there was a ticket good for a complimentary round trip bus transport to the village and back so that they would encourage guests to go visit it and, and see where that was.
So, so roughly where a team BI Disney building is today, would've been a transportation hub, mm-hmm , uh, for the monorail and extension of the monorail from there elsewhere. And extension of the people mover, uh, elsewhere, uh, a as when well, but, uh, what happens all of this, and this was really up for serious discussion until about, until about 1982, when Epcot opened and, and what happened again, we're talking money, you know, EP.
Again was bleeding money was, was, you know, going over budget and all that. So there were certain things that had to get cut. And so this proposal was cut. They never cut. They said, well, we're putting this on hiatus. We'll come back and revisit this, but they never do. They never come back and revisit thunder MEA.
They never come back and revisit any of these, uh, other things. But. You know, we could have had, uh, a people mover and we wouldn't have had to, to depend on, uh, mirrors buses or, uh, minivans. So yep. Quite a different world.
Lou Mongello: Listen, any opportunity for more people mover in my life would be a, a good thing. Um, because it's remains one of my favorite attractions in, in, in Walt Disney world.
Um, and, and,
Jim Korkis: and that, and that was just Walt's place saver name. Yeah. You know, he he'd often comes up with just a place. He says, we'll have this people mover do this. Assuming they would come up with a fancier name and they never did. They just kept Walt.
Lou Mongello: So you know, all this, this conversation about things like the, um, the airport and even this with, with the [00:46:00] monorail gets me thinking about, again, some other things that, that happened and changed.
And Jim, I, I hope you're sitting down. You too. My friend who's listening. Because you might not know this, but the entrance to Epcot is in the wrong spot. Huh? Entrance to Epcot is not where it's supposed to be. Let's go back to what we were just talking about. Walt's idea for this airport again, which was supposed to be not just a place for people to come in and out of, of Walt to zero.
Like this was supposed to be by the early nineties, like this huge airport with thousands of workers and hotels and motels, you know, for people coming to the Epcot, the city area and across from this airport is where the entrance to Epcot or the main gate was supposed to be. And now if you, if you are a Disney world of fishing auto, if you are a cast member, you know, the words main gate very well, because main gate now.
Are these buildings that host different entities within the, the Walt Disney company, the Disney design group mm-hmm , uh, merchandise, I think entertainment
Jim Korkis: is still entertainment. Has it? Yeah. And they do auditions there. Yeah.
Lou Mongello: Right, right. So there are these non Disney looking sort of industrial, almost buildings and offices that are there on an area by Sheth road.
And that's known as main gate. That is the main gate area mm-hmm and Sheth road. Uh, you might see science for it if, and when you head on down to disease, animal kingdom, it sort of connects that area over by 1 92, but Walt wanted every guest to enter the exact same place in the exact same way. Again, having, I think learned from not the mistakes, but sort of the effects of Disneyland being surrounded on all sides [00:48:00] by so many non Disney, like or Disney owned buildings.
Mm-hmm he wanted to not only control. The entire experience in terms of what you see, but even just the way that you arrived. So at this main gate would be a welcome center that would have cast members there, like Epcot, who would have the ability to speak multiple language, to welcome, to welcome guests from wherever they were coming from in this, you know, entrance complex.
Uh, but again, once things like MCO, which stands for McCoy air force base, which used to be there mm-hmm, opened in 1976. And obviously other plans change. This never happened, but if you sort of looked down at a map, you could imagine the entrance to Epcot. So to Walt Epcot being by main gate. Wow.
Jim Korkis: You know, that, that that's so cool.
And, and, and again, uh, that was the spot of land after Walt passed away, that was the spot of land, that card Walker and Don Tatum tried to convince, uh, Roy O Disney. That is where you should build the magic kingdom because the infrastructure is already, you know, in, in place. So it would save so much money.
And Roy Disney said, absolutely not. He said, we're, we're gonna build it where Walt wanted it built, which was on the, the north part of the property on the worst piece of land on the property they purchased. That's where they're building the magic kingdom, because Walt felt. Everybody would wanna go to the entertainment venue.
So if you put it up there at, at the north point, and the only entrance was at the south point, people would have to go through Epcot in order to get to the magic kingdom. And then they would also have to go through Epcot after they left the magic kingdom. So they would be, you know, exposed to that [00:50:00] and something that is little known and not written about in the Disney approved agenda narrative.
There is that at one point, uh, card and Don had private discussions about trying to declare Roy mentally incompetent because he was wasting. That never happened, but just the fact that they even had that discussion, it is, uh, very worrisome, uh, there. Yeah. Well, I, I know the time is short, so let let's do it, uh, little lighten,
Lou Mongello: a little lightning round through the last couple of ones.
Jim Korkis: right. Well, I I've only got two more left, so, uh, let, let's do a quick one. Let, let's go to, uh, a resort. Let's go to the Riviera resort, you know, and, and there's some, there's some Disney, Walt Disney world resorts that are extremely immersive, you know, like wilderness lodge that just, you know, is overwhelming and takes your breath away.
And, and then there's some resorts that are just, I would say, light. Uh, uh, themed and, and I think, uh, uh, the Riviera, uh, is, uh, uh, one of them, you know, and, and it is supposedly based on a, um, a European trip that Walt Disney and his brother Roy and their wives took in, uh, 1935 that took him through England and France and Germany and Italy.
And so, uh, as a result, they, they, uh, spent some time on, on, on the Riviera there. But, but again, I, I don't think the resort is completely themed to that, uh, trip. It, it's more sort of a light, uh, European Disney type theme, you know, like including foreign movie posters of Disney animated films on the wall.
But, but one of the hidden treasures that I want to, uh, do before we move on to something else. Is the Voyager's lounge, [00:52:00] you know, and, and it's done up like a, a, a library and there there's all these books on the shelves and people, I don't think guests get the story on this 1935 trip. Walt brought back with him, hundreds of books, uh, children's books with illustrations of, uh, little people and bees and small insects, and that he hoped would, you know, help in inspire, you know, the artists at, at his, uh, Burbank, uh, studio, you know, they were all in foreign languages, but you know, you could look at the illustrations there.
And when I say some books, 700 books, and that was the beginning of the Disney studio library that began that same year. He came back from the trip under the supervision of, uh, uh, Helen, uh, uh, Hennessy. And so in this Voyager's lounge, these shelves are filled with books, but if you look at them closely, they're all foreign additions from the 1930s, including several Disney story books that were printed overseas.
And there's a display case that features an original Charlotte Clark do. Uh, Mickey mouse stall and, and it's similar to the one that, uh, of photos of Walt and Lillian on, on, on, uh, on the trip, you you've seen pictures of Walt carrying it, you know, on mm-hmm on the, on the ship, you know, because again, ships only wait to get to Europe in those days.
And, and again, in those days you didn't have a costumed Mickey mouse. So Walt used, you know, uh, usually a, uh, a Charlotte Clark do sometimes of varying sizes. Uh, there's also a fedora hat that looks very, very similar, uh, to one in a photo next to it that, uh, uh, Walt, uh, war, you [00:54:00] know, uh, on his, uh, on his trip.
And, and again, one of the things that I love and it, and it breaks my heart when I see people. Walk by so quickly. And don't look is just outside that that lounge are all these black and white pictures, uh, from, uh, that 35 trip, uh, on, on, on the wall, including, uh, there's one with Walt at the, uh, London zoo from June, 1935 mm-hmm and he's playing with, uh, with penguins, you know, and it's like, oh my gosh.
And just like, I love the, uh, uh, the, the photos down in, uh, Primo, uh, uh, PTO, you know, the quick service, uh, venue on the first floor. So anyway, I, I just want to tell folks next time you go visit Riviera, make sure you spend some time in the VO lounge, and don't be as stupid as I am to try and pull a book from the shelf.
They're all glued together. I guess they figured there'd be a Jim corcus, who is figuring. Nobody would miss this for an edition of three little pigs here. Let me, oh, you know, no, Jim, it's just set decoration.
Lou Mongello: Uh, alright, very, I have just two left and, and I'll go through these very quickly. Um, again, I'm gonna go back to this idea of things that were never built.
I, I, I love this. I love looking at old maps and some of the maps movie are not super old and still had some intriguing concepts that we've just sort of forgotten about. So as long as we're talking about things, we, that we never saw built and likely never will. Let's talk about cheese. Hmm. The cheese attraction.
I don't mean cheese, the food, which would be awesome as long as it was indoors and air conditioned, but I mean cheese, the character attraction. Cheese, and you're probably going, who or what is cheese? Cheese was a character [00:56:00] from the Disney fairies franchise that first debut viewed in the 2008 film, tinker bell, tinker, sorry, tinker bell.
He was one of these mice and pixie hollow that were sort of helpers of all of the different fairies. He was int bell and the lost treasure TLL and the great ferry rescue Jim, I know you have these all on 4k and maybe we don't know if his name was actually cheese, but you
Jim Korkis: know, they said I have the extended, uh, edition his cut the, the two disc, uh, set with the director commentary.
Yes. Yeah. They
Lou Mongello: said, well, cheese has to be his name because he always comes when we say cheese and cheese, the character I guess, was intended to be huge and planned for new fantasy land. If you remember when Disney first announced plans for new Fantasyland, as part of that large expansion of magic kingdom, pixie hollow was part of that original, not very Des excuse me, map and plan.
There was a second iteration of that map, again, not necessarily what we ended up getting today, but that second iteration of the new fantasy land model had a very different pixie hollow area than what we saw on the original concept. Art, the area itself had moved a little bit, but the attractions were different as well.
One thing that was gonna be part of this was going to be a huge. Meet and greet area. And the speculation was, this was going to be something very different than anything we had seen before. This was going to be a much more high tech, character interaction, living character technology experience, where fairies would be projected in there and they'd be interacting with guests and things like that.
But part of this [00:58:00] area was going to be this cheese, almost like a, um, a, a Luigi's attraction from Disneyland meets. Uh, the mad tea party meets Dumbo, the flying elephant, um, in this outdoor uncovered area, obviously as plans for the new, new, new fantasy land took shape, the entire pixie hollow area, uh, was abandoned, but we almost had an attraction built on.
Jim Korkis: and, and, and again, when the, um, the plans for pixie hollow and fantasy land, uh, fell apart, they, they discussed building a pixie hollow, uh, for the flower and garden festival at Epcot. It would've been in that area between that little walkway area between, uh, a journey to imagination, to the entrance of, uh, uh, world showcase, uh, Plaza, you know, where they, they had done other, uh, little things like at one time, I, I, I think there was an AZ, uh, uh, thing that was, uh, Done there.
So, and then they talked about moving pixie hollow and building it at, uh, the studios because of the tinker bell mm-hmm , uh, film franchise, you know, and you could put that there. And, and again, I have an entire chapter, uh, about, uh, the fair franchise and pixie hollow in my, uh, newest book off to Neverland, 70 years of Disney's Peter pan.
And I, I love the original, uh, uh, film that came out in, uh, 1953. So, uh, 2023, it's gonna be its uh, uh, 70th, uh, anniversary and. Nobody really writes about it. It, it, it's sort of like one of those orphan films, uh, [01:00:00] after, uh, uh, world war II that a lot of people just, you know, oh yeah, I like that. And then just move on.
And I, and it didn't look like Disney was gonna write a book. And so, um, I actually started writing this book in 1992 and, um, the publisher, uh, let's say was not a man of integrity. And he took the manuscript in my illustrations and. Those of other authors and, and sort of, uh, disappeared into the MIS and, uh, I, I kept working on it and working on it and working on it.
And so, uh, finally put it together and I figured I want to cover as much of Peter pan as I can, and not just the film. So I, I cover Walt Disney, uh, performing as Peter pan in his elementary school play in his own words, uh, uh, uh, Walt, uh, the, uh, silent movie version of Peter pan that, that Walt bought, uh, I, I found essays through essays by Walt Disney, talking about, uh, Peter pan and why he, he made it.
And, uh, then there's separate chapters on captain hook and tinker bell and, and there's a whole Margaret Carey, uh, interview and, uh, Peter pan and comics and tinker bell, peanut butter commercials and, and Peter pan in the parks, including, uh, uh, Disneyland's first flying tinker bells and, uh, Peter pan on ice and, and movies like Peter pan returned to Neverland.
And I even have a chapter about Peter pan and Wendy that live action film, uh, with a diverse set of lost boys, uh, that will be coming out on Disney plus, uh, later this year. So this is as up to date as, as you can get it. And [01:02:00] so, uh, uh, off to Neverland, 70 years of Disney's Peter pan, uh, is, uh, a available.
amazon.com. Right, right now. And, uh, the, uh, forward is by Margaret Carey. And, uh, the afterward is by June foray. And you're gonna say June foray, the voice artist, but she's passed away. Yes, she did. But she was the voice of one of the mermaids. And she was, uh, the voice of the Indian squad, but she saw my original manuscript and wrote a forward for the book.
And then when I later ran into her at, uh, uh, the Disney Institute, when I was working as animation instructor, there was an animation celebration. And, you know, you would bring in guests and June fray was brought in because she was doing, uh, the voice of the grandmother in, in, uh, uh, Mulan. And, uh, the first thing June said to me, where's the book.
Did you find another publisher? And so it's taken nearly three decades, but it it's finally finished. And, uh, Should be, uh, something worthwhile for you and, and those of you who are in the central Florida area, give kids, the world is doing a, uh, fundraiser in October at, uh, give kids the world, uh, through the local, uh, Disney, uh, fan club.
Um, and, uh, they're going to have Margaret Carey there. They're going to have a guy who actually made a short Peter pan featurette, uh, and, and, uh, he and the animators will be there. And, uh, the moderator for all of this will be yours. Jim corcus. So, uh, those of you who are in the central Florida area, there are still tickets available.
Uh, so I'm, I'm sure Lou will, uh, post the information on his site. And, [01:04:00] uh, gosh, this has just been exciting to, uh, go over all of those Walt Disney world, uh, stories from the, uh, uh, final secret stories of Walt Disney world, which is also available out there. And for those of you who are Disneyland fans, uh, and who are gonna be like Lou and attending, uh, D 23 out there in Anaheim while I'm suffering in the Florida heat and humidity.
Uh, uh, another book that I that came out this year was Disneyland historical highlights, the Walton Roy years, where I cover each individual year of Disneyland, uh, from 1954, In 1972. So each chapter is just about that year. So there, there are facts. There are anecdotes, there are little, uh, uh, essays. Um, so, uh, you might want to think about those, especially with the, uh, holidays coming up.
Uh, you might wanna ask Santa to put those in your, uh, uh, stocking as a stocking stuffer or, or maybe. Uh, uh, one or two for, uh, your friends, uh, as a, uh, as a holiday gift. And, uh, Lou, I wish you safe travels, uh, to Anaheim I'm, I'm tremendously, uh, envious. And, uh, I, I'm also excited about all those people in California who have never seen Luman jello in person, and now are gonna get that chance.
Lou Mongello: I'm not sure that anybody's going out there hoping for that, but Jim, this is always so much fun. There are, listen, we're gonna have to do it again because there's way more secrets and stories we have to, I didn't absolutely that Epcot is sinking. I sort of we'll save that for another day and we'll just, we'll sort of just leave that little tease out there.
I wanna know. And I think Jim does. From you, our friend, [01:06:00] who's been sitting around this virtual table with us. What is your favorite secret story from Walt Disney world? You can let me know by calling the voicemail at 4 0 7 909 3 9 1. That's 4 0 7 900 WDW one, or I will post post this question in the WW radio clubhouse at WW radio.com/clubhouse.
Make sure you pick up Jim's secrets and stories, book, his Peter pan book or anyone, or really all of his 35 other books that he has written about Disney and animation. Uh, take them from the shelves of Amazon. Put them on the shelves in your home. Jim corcus brother. I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you so very much for what you do and the time that we shared today.
Now, next thing, next time we do this, we have to share stories over a meal at Disney. Oh,
Jim Korkis: AB AB absolutely. Thank you. And thank you to all the listeners who have, uh, uh, uh, stayed and listened to all of this and may all your Disney dreams come true.