There are two giant ruins in Walt Disney World, coincidentally very close to each other. River Country is over on the shores, a lost water park that closed a good many years ago. But even older is the once-civilized island in the middle of Bay Lake, now a land that time forgot, ripe for a Will Ferrell movie.
Every now and then rumors pop up about a replacement for the attraction that used to require a separate ticket for admission. It will set everyone buzzing about what could be. There’s another rumor making the rounds this week, and it will be interesting to see if it comes and goes like the others. But I present to you now, the many faces (real and imagined) of the Island.
Treasure Island – Back when Walt Disney World was just a wee mega-resort-destination, the island soaked up the adventure from a classic novel and spit it back out as a pirate paradise, complete with treasure hunts and shipwrecks (last time I took a boat ride past, the shipwreck was still there). Treasure Island was also coincidentally the name of a popular Disney movie, but I’m sure that had no bearing whatsoever on the original title of this piece of property.
Discovery Island – The pirate theme went by the wayside when the island became a zoological park focusing on toucans, peacocks, and flamingos. Discover Island was the longest-running name, and it continued to be the name up until the park’s demise. In 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom — which was a zoo that desperately wanted to market itself as nahtazu — decided it was a zoo and shut down its little cousin and stole its name out from under it (it really did. Discovery Island is the name of a land in Animal Kingdom).
And it is here that things turned interesting…
Myst Island – Myst was a PC adventure game that took place on an island full of strange and fascinating puzzles. At the height of its popularity (okay, maybe a little past), Imagineers explored the idea of turning Discovery Island into a Myst adventure, a brand new type of Disney experience that included puzzle-solving and treasure hunting. Later, they decided that a Kim Possible attraction in Epcot was by far the best way to baffle their fans. Plus, interest in Myst was sort of waning.
Which was not the case for …
Pirates of the Caribbean – The movie version, obviously. Johnny Depp broke all sorts of Disney box office records and everyone figured it was time to return Discovery Island to its pirate roots. They even went so far as to briefly offer a pirate-themed cruise for boys that launched out of the Grand Floridian and (if memory serves) actually did stop at Discovery Island at one point. This rumor hasn’t popped up recently, but I wouldn’t rule it out just yet, with Pirates 4 on the horizon.
Which brings us to…
LOST – The ABC hit show is now is about to start its final season, and now rumors (both credible and otherwise) are coming out of the woodwork to talk about adding a Lost attraction to Disney. Most of the latest buzz is focusing on a fan petition to redo Tom Sawyer’s Island out in Disneyland, but Discovery Island also keeps popping up. Interestingly enough, this would be similar to the Myst idea, but based on a Disney-affiliated property. No word yet on whether or not Benjamin Linus is behind it all, but Oceanic Air did recently start offering Disney’s Magical Express service.