21 March 2011

Settler's cabin aflame

If you have been following the Main Street Gazette for any length of time, then you know that I have a longstanding interest in Frontierland and the area known as the Rivers of America. The majority of watercraft have disappeared from slow waters, but the Liberty Square Riverboat, also known as the Liberty Belle, still carries guests along the river. With all those eyes searching out scenes along the banks, perhaps it is time to freshen them up.

First, let’s talk about the watercraft that used to frequent the Rivers of America. While I would love to see them returned for guest use, I understand why they were permanently docked. Bringing them back now wouldn’t reinvigorate the area, but they are missed. Scattering a few more canoes, keelboats, rafts and other boats along docks and the shores of the river would add the invisible touch of life in motion to the river. Additionally, the numerous river markers, such as Howling Dog Bend and Raccoon Point, have slowly but surely disappeared from the waterways. These signs give a sense of space and adding the lost markers, or creating new buoys, back to the river would only add depth to each scene’s story.

There are several vignettes presented along the Liberty Belle’s route. From Wilson’s Cave In to the burial site, wildlife, native villages and Beacon Joe at Alligator Swamp, there are a lot of small details that could either use a fresh coat of paint or animated visual upgrades. The scenes themselves are still just as charming and appealing as they have ever been, but adding a little more motion and cutting back overgrowth would bring them back to the forefront of the riverboat attraction’s attention. The value associated with a pair of hedge trimmers, a couple of gallons of paints and a few gears would do more for the attraction than all the publicity an ad campaign could bring.

The most recognizable and dilapidated set piece of the Rivers of America is easily Settler’s Cabin. This singular scene serves to emphasize what has become of the canals. Once upon a time, Settler’s Cabin was continually engulfed in flames as the river pirates had made an example of the homestead. The hillside surrounding the cottage was well manicured, as if the settler had taken excellent care of their small plot. Today, the roof is rotting and weeds and wild growth have reclaimed the entire area, but the scene can still be seen by guests in Frontierland and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. To bring the Rivers of America back to prominence, the first and foremost item on the checklist must be the resurrection of Settler’s Cabin.

The Rivers of America should be a spot in the Magic Kingdom that brings time along the Mississippi to life. In its current state, it is a shell of its one mighty place in the park’s attraction catalog. For the most part, the waters and scenes on the shores could come back with some TLC. It may take a bit more time and expertise to revitalize some of the more prominent, but disregarded, moments of the Liberty Square Riverboat, but the Rivers of America is worth the investment.


Greg said...

Good post Ryan and I totally agree

forevermickey said...

I agree 100% Aren't the cabin's flames out for reason though, Florida state? I would love that scene to be resurrected along with the whole river. Like you said it wouldn't take much in the grand scheme of things.