Ten Things You May Not Know About Adventureland
1. More Adventures
The first major expansion of the Magic Kingdom occurred in December of 1973, when the Caribbean Plaza was added to Adventureland. In addition to providing an appropriate home for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, the Caribbean Plaza also helped to smooth the transition between Adventureland and the Spanish-influenced styles of the 1850s American Southwest architecture of Frontierland.
2. Dig, Dig, Dig
Landscapers needed to bore through 14 inches of impervious clay to make the pits necessary to accommodate the root structures of the various trees. This is because the Adventureland area of the Magic Kingdom was constructed over an extensive landfill (created to raise and level the grade of the site).
3. Creating a Jungle
Great care was taken in the landscaping of Adventureland. Imagineer Morgan (“Bill”) Evans was primarily responsible for the design. The variety of exotic plants in Adventureland includes the cape honeysuckle, the Chinese hibiscus, Mexican flame vines, Brazilian bougainvillea, sword ferns, spider plants, and Australian tree ferns.
4. Up on the Roof
The rooftop of the Tiki Room building is also visible from Frontierland. In an amazing example of Disney’s attention to detail, figures of Asian Water Buffaloes were placed there so that the structure would look equally at home in both Adventureland and Frontierland.
5. Pirate Ships
When Pirates of the Caribbean was being conceptualized for Disneyland, it was originally going to be a walk-through attraction with wax figures. Partly out of concern for crowding and traffic flow, it was later decided to incorporate boats as the means of conveyance through the attraction.
6. Murky Waters
The river in the Jungle Cruise is actually dyed brown to give it an authentic look. If it wasn’t dyed, Guests would be able to clearly see the bottom of the river, which is only 3 1/2 feet deep.
7. From Film to Fantasy
One of the inspirations for Adventureland came from the True-Life Adventure series of
documentary films created by Walt Disney.
8. Watch Out!
The camels that occasionally “spit” on riders of The Magic Carpets of Aladdin were first used in the Aladdin’s Royal Caravan Parade at the Disney-MGM Studios. When that parade ended, they were relocated to the Soundstage Restaurant at the Studios.
9. A Spanish Fortress
The building in which Pirates of the Caribbean is housed is a fortress known as the Castillo del Morro, which stands in the shadows of the clock tower known as Torre del Cielo, which means “tower of the sun.” It was inspired by one of the oldest of the Spanish citadels in the Caribbean, known as the “Castillo de San Felipe del Morro” in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Roman numerals that were placed at the entrance to the building read 1643, which placed it squarely around the time of the real fortress, which was designed in 1637. It’s therefore appropriate to the story of Caribbean Plaza, which represents an island seaport from the Spanish and British colonies of the West Indies from the 17th and 18th centuries.
10. Keeping Watch
Speaking of Pirates, as you make your way toward Frontierland from the Caribbean Plaza, you’ll find the Crow’s Nest. As part of the story of this portion of Adventureland, it stands as a lookout point to warn the town of possible invaders. If you approach the Castillo del Morro from the opposite side, you’ll see a tattered Pirates of the Caribbean flag atop a ship’s mast and a pirate skeleton keeping a watchful eye with his telescope from his lookout point. These two crow’s nests serve as bookends to Caribbean Plaza. They ensure that no invaders to El Castillo can arrive unseen from either direction
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