When it comes to the environments at Walt Disney World, from the majestic beams of the Wilderness Lodge to the soot dust on the United Kingdom’s smokestacks, it is easy to overlook the little details that make each corner unique and special places to wander through. Yet, it is that very same attention to the minor moments that put the attractions, shops, resorts, restaurants, and thoroughfares of the Vacation Kingdom a notch above other theme environments. Stop in just about any spot in one of the parks and you can see the remnants of stone foundations, meticulous tilework, or the prints of an animal that recently passed by. None of that is by accident, and all of it is important to Disney and their Imagineers.
How important is it? Well, it is important enough to be continually documented and, in 1989, it was significant enough to warrant sharing some of this work with the world as they prepared to open Disney-MGM Studios.
Here we can see Dave Lindsey working on the SS Down the Hatch, also known as Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. He isn’t installing the anchor or applying another coat of paint to the hull. Instead, he is providing the appropriate amount of faux rust and rust streaks to the marooned vessel. The angles and shading of this particular detail are important to get right, as anyone who has ever worked on a ship or near a dock would be able to spot a forgery right off. And let’s be clear, this is a counterfeit ship with counterfeit rust, and we all know that, but if it is supposed to feel correct it has to be correct. As this photo was originally captioned, “Lindsey is one of the aging experts who give instant period chard to brand new buildings at Walt Disney World.”
There isn’t much that the Imagineers don’t consider when crafting a whole new world or plussing a world they’ve already built. I know it is the eyes and attention to detail that I have particularly enjoyed discovering over the years, and something for which I am grateful to the Imagineers for.