Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WDW Memories - Discovery Island

Like many others, I grew up a child of Walt Disney World. My parents took me to WDW for the first time in 1972. I was four years old at the time.

I have few specific memories of that first visit. I remember being scared to cross the gangplank into the Nautilus, and a souvenir Donald Duck baseball cap (complete with a duck-bill that squeaked when squeezed!). Even though I can't remember much from that first trip, it certainly made a big impression. Let's just say I was hooked.

The resort was a *much* simpler place in the 1970's, but it was no less magical for it. One of our family traditions in those early years was to visit Bay Lake's Discovery Island.

Here are some scans from a Discovery Island map from 1979:


(click on the thumbnails below for high-resolution images)


It's fun to compare the maps to see just how differently Disney marketed "Treasure Island (1974)" from "Discovery Island (1979)". In 1974 it was all about pirates (sound familiar?), but by 1979 the theme was focused on wildlife (mostly birds).

Notice for example how "LOOKOUT POINT" became "BIRD'S EYE VIEW", and "MATES AND MAIDENS (Ye olde restrooms)" becomes "HIS TERN/HER TERN (restrooms)".

I have to admit, the 1974 concepts look very cool (and in fact seem to foreshadow the version of Tom Sawyer Island we see at Disneyland today), but for me the late 70's Discovery Island was a welcome change of pace from the Magic Kingdom and remains one of my treasured WDW memories.

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