We all have wish lists. Things we would love to do or see or collect. Some of these are because we know the experiences are once in a lifetime, or they harken back to another time in our lives, or the wish is for someone else because they mean so much to us. With Walt Disney World, just a trip alone is sometimes a massive bucket list item that has been checked off. For those of us that go more often, we know that we will never do and collect everything that the resort has to offer, because the list is ever growing and always changing.
For my part, as an amateur Walt Disney World historian, there are pieces, artifacts that I would love to include in my collection. Some, okay most, of these items I know I’ll never see, and I’m truly okay with that. For me it is a matter of love, just like the Main Street Gazette has been for all these years now. For whatever reason I know that if some of these pieces were in my hand I could share them with the rest of the world, while at the same time I would know that they are being taken care of with the utmost care, because I’m the one handling them.
Since I know I’m going to drone on about some of these, what’s say we just get on with it, huh? And since news just broke of Indiana Jones returning, we’ll just call this top seven list the Raiders of the Disney Ark…
Adventurers Club Mask – Due to my age, I got to the Adventurers Club late in the game, but that never stopped me from loving every corner and every letter, postcard, picture, or artifact in the building! The Mask Room was home to some of my favorite member interactions and is where I have some of my fondest memories of friends that are near and dear to my heart. Plus, it’s just an amazingly cool room! I wouldn’t pick out a specific mask, but I’d love to have one hanging on my walls. If for no other reason than to create outlandish tales to tell friends and family about where it really came from!
Horizons Artifact – Horizons was, and continues, to be what Future World and Epcot is all about. It is the meeting of yesterday, tomorrow, and today. It is believing that tomorrow will be better than today because our children’s dreams will be so much grander than our own. Up to the day it closed, Horizons was always what I dreamed I would see in my lifetime, and I have yet to give up on that dream, even if some of it is a bit of a stretch these days.
I could say that I’d love to have anything from Horizons, and that would be true, but if I’m being totally honest, I would have to say it comes down to three pieces. The floating shoe from the space scene, an orange from Mesa Verde, and the ride vehicle displays that allowed you to choose your own adventure ending. The first two pieces are obvious as they are some of the things that we all love about Horizons. As for the panels, they were always a source of contention in my family, with votes often being two to two. That would inevitably lead to me trying to trick the system into giving me the ending I wanted to see (either the desert or space scenes) and not the one my sister wanted (the underwater scene). These memories alone make me wish that I could have one of those panels, light the back of it up, and pretend to torture my poor sibling again…
WorldKey Videos – We’ll make this one, and the next one, quick. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and I would love to have a complete recording of all of the pieces of the old WorldKey kiosks. Touch screens aside, I could spend hours as a child watching these videos, about places that were literally only a few steps away!
EPCOT Teacher’s Center Library – Again, I know this information is woefully outdated, and I know it isn’t what most people would want if given the choice, but I would love to have a copy of all of the materials from the EPCOT Teacher’s Center. For the unaware, this is where educators could go and gather materials to use in their classrooms back home. This would just be a cool library to watch over.
Studios Backlot Artifact – This falls into the Horizons category above. I have been sad to see the Backlot, Catastrophe Canyon, and all of its storehouses go, and I want to make sure at least a piece of it is remembered. An artifact from two of my favorite guilty pleasures, The Rocketeer or Dick Tracy, would be terrific! It could be a living, breathing piece of movie history living in my home.
However, the real treasure I’d love to watch over is something from Mojave Oil. This was the oil company that was working on the Catastrophe Canyon set when the tours came through. The company’s plane was just outside the canyon, while a truck emblazoned with Mojave Oil logo was one of the major set pieces in the scene. There were of course barrels, and Mickey Mouse even had Mojave Oil cans in his garage back when Toontown resided in the Magic Kingdom. It’s one of those little pieces that may have been overlooked by a majority of guests, but that I truly loved.
Nautilus Artifact – Who wouldn’t want a piece of one of the Nautilus submarines that used to glide through Fantasyland?!?! 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has always been a big part of who I am. As a child it showed me just how much my father loved me that he would venture onto one of the subs even though he was terribly claustrophobic, simply because I wanted to visit sea serpents, mermaids, and divers in Vernian suits. As an adult, it has been a catalyst for get to speak with George McGinnis, one of my personal heroes, and has been a shared sense of joy between me and my good friend, who is also a personal hero, Lou Mongello.
Speaking of Mongello, I know he has a Nautilus porthole in his collection. How great would it be to have one of the “eye” windows or serrated fins to one up him?!?!
Lawnmower Tree – This is the one artifact that truly lives in my heart that I would cherish more than any other. Growing up in Fort Wilderness, this sign in the Settlement area was a never-ending source of wonder for me. How did it get there, could it ever come out, who was Billy Bowlegs? Over the years the Lawnmower continued to be swallowed up by the tree. Eventually the tree had to be cut to stop the engulfment of the lawnmower, which in turn led to the tree rotting and having to be removed several year back.
I put out feelers once upon a time, but what I wouldn’t give to have the Lawnmower Tree’s lawnmower parts or sign. Fort Wilderness is a large part of who I was, am, and will be, and I’d love to carry this piece of the campground with me and share it with the world.
So there you have it! Some are emotional, some are selfish, and some are just plain nerdy, but they are all a part of who I am. What items from in and around Walt Disney World would you love to have in your personal archives?