A Photo Tour of Adventureland

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

It's been several years since I took a walk around Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom with my camera. In fact, the last time I took a photo tour of this area, much of the central part of the land was under construction with the installation of the then-new Flying Carpets of Aladdin attraction. I thought another visit to this part of the Magic Kingdom would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Adventureland hides behind a stand of tall foliage off of the Magic Kingdom's hub. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Adventureland has always been one of my favorite areas within the Magic Kingdom. Just as intended, many of the land's design features evoke a sense of fun, the unknown, and, well, adventure. The Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean are, of course, two of the most fantastic attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Still, this part of the park suffers significantly from a lack of freshness. It wouldn't hurt at all if the powers-that-be were to decide to add a restaurant here, an attraction there, perhaps do some significant retheming and—voila—Adventureland would become busy again—not just as a thoroughfare for folks walking from the hub to Splash Mountain—but as a destination in it's own right.

Also, since there are so many rumors that this whole land may be rebuilt in the not-too-distant future, it seemed fitting to capture what Adventureland circa 2007 looks like. Maybe we'll all look back at these photos in 10 years with a bit of nostalgia... but if the rumors are true, we'll all be thrilled to have the new sweep away the old.

Of course, the incredible resurgence in popularity of the venerable Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, due to the wildly popular movies starring Johnny Depp, have sparked those rumors which have this entire part of the park turned into a veritable "pirate land." Frankly, I would love to see this happen but only time will tell if the rumors turn out to be anything other than that.

One rumor that's been floating around is that the restaurant right at the entrance to Adventureland, formerly known as the Adventureland Veranda and closed since 1994 (except for a short reopening in 1998 when Pecos Bill's Cafe was shut down for renovation), was going to be reopened as a pirate-themed restaurant named Tortuga.

The old Adventureland Veranda restaurant is now being used as a Captain Jack Sparrow meet-and-greet location. Photo by Brian Bennett.

It's interesting that the restaurant is being used now as a meet-and-greet location for the Captain Jack Sparrow character.

The interior of the old Adventureland Veranda restaurant has been dressed up a bit as it serves as the Captain Jack Sparrow meet and greet location. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Across from the old Adventureland Veranda restaurant location is Bwana Bob's pushcart. Bwana Bob's is the place to shop for plastic leis, cheap metal necklaces, plastic beads, and other fine jewelry.

Bwana Bob's is located to the left as you enter Adventureland. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Aloha Isle, where the best soft serve in the park is served up, is located just past the old Adventureland Veranda restaurant location.

Aloha Isle... home of the pineapple-flavored Dole Whip. Photo by Brian Bennett.

This area of Adventureland is quite isolated from Pirates of the Caribbean, but the buildings here are still themed to appear like buildings located on the Caribbean islands.

Across from those Caribbean-themed buildings is the venerable Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. This walk-through attraction remains a crowd pleaser after all of these years. Since the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disneyland has been given over to Tarzan, it's nice to be able to come to the Magic Kingdom and see this treehouse in its original form.

The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse stands between the hub and Jungle Cruise. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Another Caribbean style building houses the Island Supply store, which sells all sorts of resort wear.

Island Supply located across from the Treehouse. Photo by Brian Bennett.

While the Zanzibar Trading Company, which is contiguous with Island Supply's building, sells rubber reptiles, and other such souvenirs and trinkets. The theming of this area of Adventureland is based on a Middle Eastern or Moorish motif. It provides a great backdrop for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction, but clashes with the Caribbean and Polynesian themes on either side.

Zanzibar Trading Company, located behind the Flying Carpets of Aladdin. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Another view of Zanzibar Trading Company. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction was added to Adventureland in 2001 and the shops behind the Dumbo knock-off were refaced at that time. Now, instead of seeing a smooth transition from the Caribbean (Adventureland Veranda) to the Polynesian (the Enchanted Tiki Room) and back (Pirates of the Caribbean) there is a stark change from tropical to desert back to tropical that is rather jarring.

Obviously, I'm not a fan. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of the purists that insists that nothing ever change in a Disney park. In most cases change is good. Not many guests would want to visit a Magic Kingdom that didn't have a Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road or a Splash Mountain and neither would I. On the other hand, I do have a wish that additions to the parks fit in appropriately.

Magic Carpets of Aladdin is located in the center of Adventureland. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Agrabah Bazaar, located just beyond the Zanzibar Trading Company, sells more jungle-themed items including Aladdin-themed souvenirs.

Agrabah Bazaar provides a themed backdrop for the Magic Carpets ride. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Bazaar is also the perfect place to find Genie and other characters from Aladdin.

Genie can be found in Agrabah Bazaar. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Sunshine Tree Terrace, an original location from when the park opened in 1971, sells frozen beverages including iced coffees, juices, and so on. In recent years, the Terrace has been open almost year round, whereas in the late-1990s it was closed most of the fall and winter. No matter what time of year you visit, the Sunshine Tree Terrace is a great spot to "juice up" and enjoy a little break in the mid-afternoon.

Sunshine Tree Terrace is a great place to buy cool beverages, especially during the hot Summer months. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Another Magic Kingdom original, the Enchanted Tiki Room has been modified much more so. According to the storyline, the original Enchanted Tiki Room (featuring the show that debuted at Disneyland back in the early 1960s) was bought out by Zazu (from The Lion King) and Iago (from Aladdin) and is now "Under New Management."

The Enchanted Tiki Room was bought out by Zazu and Iago several years ago. Photo by Brian Bennett.

I know an awful lot of frequent park guests dislike the new version of the show, but personally I'm a fan. I like the old show at Disneyland, too, and make sure to see it whenever I'm in Anaheim—but as long as the original attraction can be seen in the original park, I see no reason why the copy of the original can't be made more unique. I do wish that the new show was longer, but baring that I have no complaints.

The Enchanted Tiki Room exterior hasn't changed much in 36 years. Photo by Brian Bennett.

A closer look at the gable end of the building. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Across from the Enchanted Tiki Room is the Jungle Cruise. The queue for this almost-like-the-original attraction has been upgraded to be more like the fabulous 1930s explorer theme that has taken over the queue at Disneyland's original Jungle Cruise. Other than that, the attraction itself is pretty much what a guest in 1971 would have seen.

The Jungle Cruise Plaza viewed from above. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Shruken Ned's Junior Jungle Boats was added to Adventureland in 1997 in a portion of the canal that used to carry the old swan boats through Adventurland's entryway from the hub.

For just a few dollars you can be a Jungle Cruise skipper. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Jungle Cruise is scheduled to have a significant rehab in 2008, but whether or not the attraction will be "plussed" or just repaired and maintained remains to be seen.

The queue was fairly empty this September afternoon. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Passengers disembark from Congo Connie. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Exiting the Jungle Cruise plaza, one can see the Enchanted Tiki Room building framed by jungle foliage. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The "back end" of Adventureland, just beyond the Enchanted Tiki Room, is known as Caribbean Plaza. It includes the Pirates of the Caribbean, of course, and a somewhat pirate-themed counter-service restaurant called El Pirata Y El Perico (Pirate and the Parrot).

Caribbean Plaza spreads out away from the Enchanted Tiki Room. Photo by Brian Bennett.

A relatively new and very popular addition to this part of the park is the frequent appearance of Captain Jack Sparrow. The Captain appears several times a day to recruit new crew members for his ship The Black Pearl.

A crowd gathers to join Captain Jack's crew. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Captain Jack and his mate select new crew members. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The local actors who play Captain Jack do a fabulous job of repeating the attitude and mannerisms of the Johnny Depp-developed character.

Captain Jack leads his new crew members in reciting the pirate oath. Photo by Brian Bennett.

That increase in popularity of Pirates has also caused the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction itself to be updated with several new effects and audio-animatronic characters (Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow now appears three times during the sacking the village scenes and Captain's Barbossa and Davey Jones both make cameo appearances).

The Pirates of the Caribbean marquee. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Across from the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Fuente de la Fortuna (Fountain of Fortune) provides a small oasis under the Florida sun.

Fuente de la Fortuna, or the Fountain of Fortune. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The El Pirata Y El Perico (Pirate and the Parrot) restaurant, adjacent to the Fuente de la Fortuna, is a small counter-service eatery. The seating areas of this restaurant wrap around the building and thus are contiguous with Pecos Bill's Cafe that actually is part of the same building but on the Frontierland side.

The Pirate and the Parrot restaurant is directly across the plaza from the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The restaurant is only open at lunch time recently, and is sometimes closed seasonally altogether.

When not serving, the restaurant is often used as a meet-and-greet area for Captain Hook and Mr. Smee from Peter Pan.

Not to be outdone by Captain Jack, Hook and Smee are available for photos as well. Photo by Brian Bennett.

When operating as a restaurant, the choices are typically limited to taco salads, tacos, nachos, and the like.

This sign for El Pirata Y El Perico is framed with barrel staves. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Just beyond El Pirata Y El Perico is the Crows Nest shop, a very small place that sells cameras, film, batteries, and so on. It can be handy if you need such things, but the prices assume that you're in the middle of a theme park on your vacation-of-a-lifetime and just ran out of film... which is the only reason why you'd shop for film there anyway, right?

The Crows Nest marks the end of Adventureland. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Crows Nest marks the end of Adventureland. Beyond it the road bends to the right and within a short distance you'll find yourself at the far end of Frontierland with Splash Mountain looming overhead.

Making a U-turn from the Crows Nest back into Caribbean Plaza takes you past the Plaza Del Sol Caribebazaar which is a big name for what effectively is the Pirates of the Caribbean store. The Plaza Del Sol Caribebazaar sells such pirate-themed merchandise as swords, action figures, hats and t-shirts. Bags of "jewels," Pirate's pistols, leg irons, and other pirating necessities are also available.

The Plaza Del Sol Caribebazaar is the store through which Pirates of the Caribbean riders exit. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The store sells a wide variety of pirate-themed souveniers. Photo by Brian Bennett.

These crystal vending carts used to be located on either size of the plaza exit across from the Crows Nest.

These crystal vending carts are now located adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean queue entrance. Photo by Brian Bennett.

The Castillo del Morro is based on the real Castillo del Morro that overlooks Havana Harbor on the island of Cuba. The Roman numerals translate to 1643. In researching that year I was unable to find anything that related to pirating, Cuba, or the Castillo del Morro... except for one Web site that reported that year as when the Castillo del Morro was built. Other sites cited other construction timeframes for the Castillo del Morro, though, so I don't know for sure. If anyone was in Cuba back in 1643 and can fill me in, please feel free to email me. I'd love to know what you know. (Like where Ponce de Leon and his pals found that fountain they were looking for...)

Pirates of the Caribbean riders enter the queue that winds through el Castillo del Morro. Photo by Brian Bennett.

In my opinion, Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of Disney's all-time best attractions. The original version at Disneyland obviously has some strong advantages over the one here at the Magic Kingdom, but I never fail to enjoy riding on the Florida version either.

The first part of the Pirates of the Caribbean queue winds through the entrance of el Castillo del Morro during the busier times of the year. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Well, the clock is telling me that my priority seating at Boma is coming up soon, so I'm off to Animal Kingdom Lodge to meet up with some friends who are visiting WDW from California. (Dinner with Pat, Mark, and Judi was great, by the way... the food was awesome and the conversation enjoyable. I hope you guys had a great rest-of-your-vacation!)

The Castillo del Morro clocktower rises above Caribbean Plaza. Photo by Brian Bennett.