When you think of iconic places, the name goes with the location. Be honest, do you call it Willis Tower or do you still call it the Sears Tower? Names tend to stick even when they’re no longer accurate. I still will call the Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World by its old name, Disney-MGM Studios.
When a place changes names, it’s confusing. There are times when it’s understandable to rename a location when re-branding because you’re trying to leave behind the past and start new. I don’t see anyone complaining about them changing the name of the Milford Plaza in New York to the Row NYC.
But iconic hotels don’t change names often. The name is part of the history of the location. There better be a good reason to mess with that.
This is the beginning of a series of posts I’m affectionately calling, “The really cool places around the world that my dad and his wife have visited.” Being retired, they have no restrictions on time, and since I’m able to help them book trips using points and miles, the list of places they can travel to is pretty incredible.
One of the freedoms they have (that I don’t) is the ability to travel to out of the way locations. When Sharon and I travel for a week, we have to limit ourselves to a few destinations each trip. When Dad and Joann travel for a month, they can take a day to fly to a location, stay for two nights and then fly somewhere else. We don’t have that luxury of time.
Mount Bromo is one location my dad visited on his last trip to Indonesia and Thailand. It’s a volcano located on Java and I’d never heard of it before I saw their trip plans. Now I wish I never saw their pictures because now I really want to go there.
Walt Disney World opened in 1971 with three places people could stay. There were the Polynesian Village Resort and the Disney’s Contemporary Resort that were both there on opening day and were standard hotels on the monorail line.
Fort Wilderness Campground opened about a month and change later, and it was available for those who preferred to sleep in campers, tents or in the wilderness homes that people could rent.
ABOVE: Rare photos of Wilderness Homes at Fort Wilderness. They began to be replaced with “log cabins” (they’re still just single wide trailers) in the late 1990s.
Back in the very early days of the resort, you could only navigate Fort Wilderness’ 700 acres by walking, or guests staying at the campground could rent a golf cart. But just a couple of years later, people could also take a steam powered train, the Fort Wilderness Railroad, on a 3-1/2 mile ride through the fields and wilderness, and over trestles, to get them from the main entrance to Pioneer Hall, the now-defunct River Country (they simply abandoned that one. Click here to see what River Country looked like in its later years), and all of the camping loops in between.
“…The system featured four stream trains that circulated through the campground on a 3½-mile track. The trains’ cars were themed after “plantation locomotives,” a specific style of open-air cars that shuttled consumables, like sugar cane and pineapples, around Hawaiian islands.
“Each of the four trains – decorated in forest green, red, and gold colors – measured just under 115 feet and could seat 90 guests.”
The Fort Wilderness Railroad only ran regularly from 1973 to 1977, and on special occasions from 1977 to 1980. Its full history, including its start up, the multiple reasons why the project was abandoned, and how/why it was almost revived, and then not, is pretty fascinating. Take a look…
It’s summer in Florida, which means chances are good it’ll rain just about every afternoon. And it’s not just rain, it’s like we have a daily monsoon, complete with 50mph winds and so many huge raindrops falling from the sky that you can barely see across the street. And the thunder! As well as the lightning! Often at the same time!
Yeah, our afternoon thunderstorms are a sight to behold…preferably from the safety of indoors. And the thing is, it can be gorgeous outside (boiling hot, but gorgeous), then the rain comes in, and 15 or 20 minutes later it’s all done and the sun is out again.
Welcome to Florida in the summer. Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it…