Thursday, March 22, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

The Richard F. Irvine, long a staple of transportation between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom at WDW, is pictured here today in all its resplendent glory. After parking at the TTC or arriving by monorail one always faces a significant challenge: monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom? Most visitors will tell you the monorail is quicker to the MK and, while I tend to think they're right, the ferry is a most pleasant way to span the distance.

Now, wait a minute some of you might say. Isn't the Richard F. Irvine the Rivers of America ferryboat? Well, yes - and no. Originally, the Richard F. Irvine was one of the riverboats found at Liberty Square with the other being the Admiral Joe Fowler. The Fowler debuted in October 1971 and the Irvine followed in 1973. At this time the ferries which carried guests across Bay Lake were known as Magic Kingdom 1 and 2. In 1980, according to the good folks at the Fowler sustained irreparable damage in 1980 and the remaining boat, the Irvine, was renamed the Liberty Belle. In order to keep the good names part of the stable, the MK 1 and 2 were renamed the Fowler and the Irvine. This photograph was taken by the author in May, 2005.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pirates, anyone?

Here's a shot of Pirates of the Caribbean prior to its recent interior and exterior rehab. This area of Adventureland is, or was, always beautiful at night and this evening in 2005 was no exception. Unfortunately, the new exterior themeing detracts from the old arcade; the parrot is gone, certain landscaping removed, and a mast with crow's nest has appeared. While one can endlessly debate the merits of altering a classic let's choose not to and just appreciate the now extinct facade of Pirates of the Caribbean. This photograph was taken by the author in November, 2005.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


This post is a bit out of the normal style here but it does represent many things at WDW lately: a wonderful idea that's lacking focus. This photograph was taken by the author in June, 2005.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Epcot Topiary

One of my favorite segues from ticket turnstiles to park entrance has always been the Epcot topiaries. This area is a natural transition from monorail/tram/turnstile/stoller rental/gift pick-up to Spaceship Earth and does a great job of funneling people into the park. Now that the original Epcot 'monument' is gone (why did that have to leave?) this is the last remnant of the original 1982 entrance area. (Yes, the topiaries often change but this space has always been there.) These topiaries cannot, however, hide the Leave a Legacy monoliths; that would be too good to be true. This photograph was taken by the author in June, 2004.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Yachtsman Steakhouse and Crew's Cup Lounge

On the heels of recent news regarding the closure of Epcot's L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante I wanted to take an opportunity to discuss the Yachtsman Steakhouse located inside Disney's Yacht Club Resort. While it's clear Disney doesn't shy away from the previously taboo price of greater than $40 per entree, it's not clear to many readers how wonderful this restaurant truly is - or rather, was. With the inclusion of this and many other Signature restaurants on property to the Disney Dining Plan we will see more and more the lowering of standards and choices in order to move guests through their dining experience. These Signature restaurants, which include Yachtsman's, Jiko, The Flying Fish, California Grill, Citrico's, Narcoossee's, and Artist's Point, all represented wonderful get aways for adults when dining on property. While precious few remain off the plan (Victoria and Albert's, for one) it still means the dining experience many of us once enojoyed will largely disappear. This photo was taken by the author in January, 1999.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Picture Perfect

This is absolutely one of my favorite photos of Epcot; it's been on a desk at my house for the past 8 years. To the far right of the photo you can see the Odyssey building and underneath Spaceship Earth you can see Innoventions West. This photograph was taken by the author in October, 1998.