08 July 2009
An island filled with tropic beauty
Whether you know it as Blackbeard’s Island, Treasure Island, Discovery Island, or the obscure Raz Island, the sanctuary that sits in the middle of Bay Lake has been a part of the Walt Disney World landscape since before Disney owned the land. According to the legends of the island pirates galore have wondered the shores of this island, but today it sits just as weary and tired as their old bones might have been when they found rest upon her shores.While the dream of Ben Gunn’s Cave, the Admiral Benbow Inn, and the towering wreck of the Hispaniola may only have ended up being dreams that went out with the tide, Discovery Island (as it was last known) did have its own miniature shipwreck of the Hispaniola and enough treasure in the form of animal wealth that guests of Walt Disney World flocked to the island.Between January and March of 1976 Discovery Island, which originally opened on 4 April 1974, crafted the addition of the Thirsty Perch and the aviary that would come to be known as Avian Way when the island reopened on 1 April 1976.Though not accessible to guests these days, by boat or otherwise, Discovery Island still retains its sense of mystery as it can be seen anchored out in the middle of Bay Lake. For those guest taking a Motor Cruiser or a Motor Launch from Fort Wilderness, this past of pirates is almost within reach. At the very least the overgrown remnants and structures of the Hispaniola, Avian Way, Pelican Bay, and Tortoise Beach can still viewed as the high seas ferries you away.For more information on Discovery Island, be sure to check out the WDW Radio Show,
Episode 94, where Lou Mongello and I take his Wayback Machine to dig up some of the history and treasure of this long forgotten and abandoned island.