22 October 2009

An astounding revolutionary dream

Four years before the United States’ bicentennial Liberty Square was the home of patriotism, as well as a few grim grinning ghosts. Of the many lands and many refurbishments of the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Square has change the least since 1972. In fact, the area footprint of the area is the only one to have not changed over the years.

In the realm of stories and attractions, Master Gracey’s Mansion has shuffled through brides and undergone a few interior decorating projects, the Hall of Presidents has gained several new Commanders-in-Chief as well as shifts in storylines, and the river has seen the addition and subtraction of a second paddlewheel. The only significant changes have been the loss of Mike Fink’s Keel Boats, based upon Mike Fink’s Gullywhumper from the Davy Crockett television serial, and the Diamond Horseshoe Revue. The Revue is worth noting not only for its unique brand of entertainment, but also because it was a dining show prior to the invention of Character Dining and also because it was free, meaning it did not require the use of an A – E attraction coupon.

Another name in the free entertainment of Liberty Square was the Fife and Drum Corps. While a modern version of these performers can be seen in from of Epcot’s The American Adventure, the pageantry and patriotism of this procession was something not to be missed and never failed to broaden the shoulders and swell the heart.

Other dining opportunities included three perennial favorites, Liberty Tree Tavern, Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, and Columbia Harbour House. While all of these restaurants have seen menu changes over the past 37 years, they have all remained time-tested favorites of guest making their way between Fantasyland and Frontierland or Adventureland.

The most drastic changes to have been thrust upon Liberty Square since 1972 have come not from their dining or entertainment venues, but rather from the shifts in available merchandise. Heritage House has remained as the only retailer to continue serving Liberty Square since its inception, with its collection of historical reproductions and Americana. The various residences that currently comprise the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, just over the bridge from the Hub, were at one time a trio of exceptional prospects. These shops included a silversmith for jewelry and gifts, an antiques dealer, and Mademoiselle Lafayette’s Parfumerie, where signature scents could be created for yourself or that special someone. For those seeking Revolutionary attire, or at the very least a facsimile, the Tricornered Hat Shoppe offer just the right accessory. Today, Liberty Square has also seen Madame Leota’s Cart roll in, along with open market artists, and the addition of the Yankee Trader and their wares.

While so much has changed, our past reminds us that so much has stayed the same, at least where Liberty Square is concerned. The bicentennial has passed and we are well on our way to the United States tricentennial. Liberty Square’s foliage has flourished since 1972, as has its sense of time and place with the inclusion of a Liberty Bell replica and the Court of Flags, which offers up flags for each of the thirteen original colonies. Make no mistake, though there have been some fantastic losses, this land is our land.


Bartsy said...

Another great piece!! I too, love Liberty Square and am glad it's pretty much stayed the same. It is very quaint, just like one could picture colonial times. The Columbia Harbour House is one of my favorite quick service dining locations.... (okay, nothing can beat Pecos Bill's, but after already have eaten their, Harbour House is always next up!) Anyway, good job!! Oh, ad let's not forget the Liberty Tree... not he resturaunt, I mean the ACTUAL tree!!!

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Bartsy, you are absolutely right about the Liberty Tree. I may have as many photographs of the Tree as I do of Cinderella Castle. The tree is clearly an icon in the park that even though it isn't mentioned by name in the 1972 guide, it is given a prominent icon on the map!