Tag Archives: walt

Photo by Nomeus, 2006 - Flurbex.com

AT&T New Global Neighborhood

Photo(Nomeus, 2006 – Flurbex.com): A shot of Spaceship Earth prior to the removal of the hand and wand.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s second theme park here in Florida, EPCOT. Originally planned as an experimental controlled community, home to twenty thousands residents; a test bed for emerging city planning and technological ideas and creations. As he put it in his own words:

“EPCOT… will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise. It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities. In EPCOT, there will be no slum areas because we won’t let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed.”

Photo(Nomeus, 2006 – Flurbex.com): An exhibit part of the “New Global Neighborhood” post-show experience.

Walt Disney died long before he was able to see an progress on EPCOT. Though his idea for a Utopian city was set aside for the moment, plans to open a new park continued. Originally, there was much indecision among Imagineers on the park’s purpose, with some wanting it to represent present and any future technological advances while others wanted it to showcase international cultures and customs. At some point in time, the two ideas came together forming a plan similar to those of the world expos, where new technology is presented and guests are able to experience different cultures from around the world with Spaceship Earth as the centerpiece and main attraction.

Opening in 1982, Spaceship Earth was sponsored by the Bell System who had a monopoly on telephone services across the United States. In 1984, the Bell System was broken into smaller companies, with it’s parent company, AT&T, becoming it’s own company. AT&T would go on to continue sponsoring Spaceship Earth from 1984 to 2004.

In 1994, technology had drastically changed since Spaceship Earth opened and AT&T saw it as something that represented the old world, so they decided it was time for a update. Though the majority of the scenes of our history remained unchanged, those showing our current and future communication were largely updated; the script was rewritten, the theme song removed and Jeremy Irons was brought in to narrate. It was with this update that the post-show area was changed, replacing the original “Earth Station” with “AT&T’s Global Neighborhood”. The new post-show experience featured hand-on exhibits featuring AT%T’s communication technology.

Photo(Falcon’s Treehouse): Falcon’s Treehouse designed the new post-experience with the idea of combining nature with high technology materials.

In 1999, to coincide with the Millennium Celebration, AT&T once again updated the post-show. The original “Global Neighborhood” exhibits were removed and replaced with a large tree made of thick steel cable dubbed “The Network Tree” which sat atop a geodesic, transparent floor. Guests were able to see all the cables which connected to various exhibits through the tree’s branches and roots. This new post-show was renamed “The New Global Neighborhood”.

In 2003, after nearly 20-years as the sponsor, AT&T decided to end it’s partnership with Disney and subsequent sponsorship of the attraction. The “New Global Neighborhood” was removed and the area boarded up.

Photo(Nomeus, 2006 – Flurbex.com): The Network Tree as it stood years after it was boarded up.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2006
Website: FLURBEX

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com

Disney’s Pop Century, The Legendary Years

Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Flurbex.com): The Legendary Years section was to be themed around the 1900-1940s decades

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of four hotels that cost less but still retain the Disney quality you expect. Originally planned to open in 2001, the opening was delayed due to a sharp drop in tourism following the September 11 attacks. The resort finally opened on December 13, 2003.

The hotel is unique as it is themed around American culture icons from different decades. The icons are then super-sized and placed throughout the building of the decade they pertain to, for example, the 1980s themed buildings have super-sized versions of Pac-Man and Mr.Potato Head.

Part of two phases, the first phase was named “The Classic Years” and includes 1950-1990s themed areas. This section of the resort consists of 2880 rooms, three pools shaped like a flower, a laptop, and bowling pin, and a central area called the “Classic Hall”.

The second phase was to be called the “Legendary Years”, which was to include 1900-1940s themed areas. The section was to be located across a lake from the “Classic Years” resort and connected by a bridge. Though construction on both resorts were started at the same time, Disney scaled back the project after the drop in tourism, opening the “Classic Years” section and abandoning the “Legendary Years” section that had already been partially constructed.

Photo(Nomeus, 2007 – Flurbex.com): The project was abandoned mid-construction

Disney began preparing the land around “The Legendary Years” in January 2010 and announced on May 12 their plans to complete the buildings as part of an all-new resort known as Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. As with Pop Century, it will be value-priced and will be themed around four of Disney’s popular films; The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars.

Construction began that same summer with the first section of the resort, themed around Finding Nemo, opening on May 31, 2012. When the “Legendary Years” buildings were first being built, a bridge named the ‘Generation Gap Bridge’ was constructed to connect both parts of Pop Century and made them accessible to each other. The bridge now connects Pop Century to the Finding Nemo section of the Art of Animation Resort.

The Cars section of the resort opened on June 18, 2012 and was themed after the Cozy Cone Motel from the film. The Lion King section opened on August 10, 2012 and features a more “natural” setting reminiscent of the wild. The final section of the resort, themed around The Little Mermaid, opened on September 15, 2012.

Photo(wdwmagic.com, 2012): The Cars section of the resort, themed after the Cozy Cone Motel from the film.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2007
Website: FLURBEX

Photo by Nomeus, 2008 - Flurbex.com

Discovery Island


Located in the middle of Bay Lake, there is an island known today as Discovery Island, which is owned by Walt Disney World. The island though, has a long history going as far as the early-1900s when the island was called Raz Island.

The Raz family owned the island, using the land for farming up until the late-1930s when the land was purchased by Delmar “Radio Nick” Nicholson for $800, renaming the island to Isles Bay Island. He lived on the island with his wife and pet crane for 20 years before selling the property which would be used as a hunting retreat and again renamed, Riles Island. The property was finally purchased by Disney in 1965.

The island was renamed Blackbeard’s Island, but remained undeveloped until 1974. The Buena Vista Construction Company added nearly 15,000 cubic yards of soil, increasing the island to 11 acres. Over 1000 tons of boulders and trees were exported from other countries such as China, South Africa and the Himalayas, to be used in creating an entirely new landscape for Disney’s new attraction, Treasure Island.

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – Flurbex.com): Large amounts of paperwork was been left behind when the island was abandoned.

On April 8, 1974, Treasure Island opened. It was accessed by either taking a direct trip from a resort dock or as part the “Walt Disney World Cruise,” a tour of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake that stopped at the Island. Though the island was named after the 1950 film of the same name, the island’s loose pirate theme was largely overlooked by the dozens of animal exhibits.

In 1978, Disney renamed the park, Discovery Island, losing any references to pirates and focused more on the island’s rich, botanical settings. Charles Cook was the park’s head curator and was often seen posing with birds in Disney publications and also on various TV broadcasts when the island’s conservation efforts were discussed. As an extension of other responsible environmental practices on the part of the company, the animal care on Discovery Island was a very public and important component.

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – Flurbex.com): The buildings on the island are quickly deteriorating due to the harsh Florida weather.

Disney’s conservation efforts were recognized in 1981, when it was made an accredited zoological park by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. The park was also widely known for housing the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow before it died in 1987, and then officially declared extinct in 1990.

In September 1989, the Orange-Osceola state attorney and a U.S. attorney in Orlando filed 16 charges against Cook and four other Discovery Island employees with a large number of allegations included the mishandling of vultures and other wild birds, the destruction of ibis and egret nests and the shooting of hawks and falcons.

According to Disney employees, the vultures attacked animals and defecated on a boardwalk, the hawks, falcons and owls attacked show pigeons and the egrets and ibises were noisy. Investigators found a metal shed measuring 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 7 feet high with no windows, ventilation, water or perches. Old food, feces and feathers were on the floor. 19 vultures were in the shed at the time, one of them dead, though Cook told investigators that as many as 72 vultures have been kept in the shed at once. Jim Found, the manager of Discovery Island, told investigators that they even had discussed destroying the vultures before.

Even though it was a major blow to Disney’s public reputation, they were able to keep the park open in a respectable manner.

Disney had decided to close the park soon after Animal Kingdom debuted. On April 8, 1999, 25 years after the park had opened, Discovery Island closed.

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – Flurbex.com): A freezer full of vials and other specimens.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2008
Website: FLURBEX

Archive Photos

A page from an unknown publication about Discovery Island

Different variations of maps of Discovery Island1 2 3

Discovery Island Pamphlet

Flurbex – Florida’s first and only urban exploring community

Shaneperez.com – Shane Perez made the news when he posted this on his site and was in turn, banned by Walt Disney World.

Different variations of maps of Treasure Island1 2 3

Treasure Island Pamphlet

Time.com – Oct. 1989, Florida: Cruelty in the Magic Kingdom

Youtube.com – Vanished World of Disney

Youtube.com – Discovery Island Interactive Map