This attraction closed before I could ever see it. I can kind of understand why they'd close it (the noise waking up sleeping campers in the morning and lack of safety railing around the tracks) but it' doesn't make its loss any less painful. They should have never built it at all if they were just going to tease people with it.
It's like the Nature's Mine ride at Disneyland, I never got to experience it because I was born right before it got torn out. But from the pictures and recollections of it I know it would have been something that I really would have enjoyed. It's not fair that other people can experience these things just because they're older... but then again, I have wonderful memories of stuff like the Tahitian Terrace, Motorboat Cruise and SkyWay so I guess it's all relative.
Moving, somewhere in time...but mostly stuck in SoCal in the County of Orange
Re: 9/7: Into the Wilderness
I wish this still stayed around in some format, like as a transportation option for people going from the Ticket & Transportation center to the Magic Kingdom(with some brief stops at the Contemporary, Magic Kingdom Park, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian and back at the T&T center.)
Agree wholeheartedly. A train communting guests throughout the back country of WDW would be amazing. I think given the options, folks would choose this over a bus for a liesurely and memorable ride to the park or another hotel for dinner.
I gather Walt was keen on several modes of transportation, and adding a train system throughout would be very Disney.
Well, I'm certainly no authority, but I once read that the chief reason for the loss of the FWRR was that after some years of operation they found that the soft, squishy reclaimed swampland that it ran over for much of its route was proving unable to hold it up long-term.
Repairs to tracks were getting more and more frequent, as it was starting to actually sink in some places.
It looked like it couldn't be maintained without a pretty hefty infrastructure investment in terms of reinforcing the ground over which the rails ran, so the accountanteers mandated the line's demise.
Yes, I remember getting to work on the design and layout of WDW's Fort Wilderness and Pioneer Hall back in the WED Days and the layout of the steam trains that would take guests over to the park. Wonderful experience leading next to designing River Country. Many years later around 1988, as EDL was be coming a reality, and the Fort Wilderness trains had been removed and sitting idle, a thought came to me. Why not re-employ them at EDL in Thunder Mesa like a Natures Wonderland. Big Thunder Railroad could take you out to the island and back. The park train could bring you to Thunder Mesa as will as take you away. Why not a train that could tour Rivers of America, the Geysers, etc.. When I asked Walt Disney World about getting the 2 trains for Thunder Mesa I was told no, they wanted to hang on to them. In the end I heard collectors had bought them. Years later such an attraction was layed out for Thunder Mesa but never green lighted.
In the end I heard collectors had bought them. Years later such an attraction was layed out for Thunder Mesa but never green lighted.
Very cool you got to work on such projects, DisWedWay!
And yes, all four of the engines were purchased (saved, really) by members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society after Ward Kimball alerted the group that the engines were rotting away in a WDW boneyard.
Steve, I'm glad to hear Ward Kimball was able to rescue the engines. When I was looking at them in 1987, WDW said they may use them in Studio Tours and they weren't available. Like all the old leftover bones, I saw them in Pluto Park where even the old Nautilus Subs were at one time. It had been said that a few cars were used in Studio Tours possibly in vending?? I would still like to see one making the "Natures Wonderland" like tour at PDL's Thunder Mesa.
The cars themselves have been spread all over. Several collectors have some (one has eight of them!), at least one is used in vending (there were two; one was then sold), one's in Marcelline, two went to an unknown Florida pre-school, and 4 went to the Brevard Zoo.