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Swiss Family Treehouse
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
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Swiss Family Treehouse
Walt always said that Disneyland (and by extension the other theme parks) would continue to grow and change. And change is something you certainly see, over time, in the parks. Original attractions giving way to newer and better ideas; or at least ideas deemed to be better. And of course with change you have those that love the old thing, and those that love the new thing. Thereby, there is lots of history to be found within the Disney attractions.
The Swiss Family Treehouse was first found in Disneyland. The treehouse opened in 1962, two years after the Swiss Family movie was released. In the Magic Kingdom the treehouse was an opening day attraction--opening day being October 1, 1971. The quite realistic tree is made of steel, concrete, and stucco, with green vinyl leaves. It is 60 feet tall and 90 feet wide, and was made to look just like the treehouse found in the movie, with bedrooms, stairways, bridges, a kitchen, 'running water', and furnishing--including an organ--taken from the family's ill fated ship.
The treehouse was also an opening day attraction in Disneyland Park Paris but with a slightly different name, La Cabane des Robinson. Tokyo Disneyland's Swiss Family Treehouse was added to the park 10 years after the park first opened.
In February of 1999, Disneyland closed its Swiss Family Treehouse, and created a new treehouse experience--can we say growth and change. The tree was re-themed to Disney's latest animated film, Tarzan. The re-theme included a new hanging bridge entrance, where guests entered and climbed a new tree across the sidewalk from the old entrance, then crossed the bridge over to Tarzan's Treehouse. The work included leaf replacement, new furnishings for the treehouse rooms, and the addition of an interactive music-making area at the base of the tree--an idea straight out of the apes in the camp scene from the movie. The tree was reopened in June of 1999, just as the film was released.
So the original treehouse can still be found in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and the new and improved--New-Movie promoting version--in Disneyland. It all fits in to Walt's idea of taking movie magic and using the same tricks, construction, and story-know-how to create a theme park.
Next: Magic Carpets of Aladdin