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Cruise To Discovery Island

How about a musical interlude? This clip from 1978’s Christmas at Walt Disney World is supremely goofy and random, but at least it’s not as horrifying as the Clinkers (although they make a cameo at the beginning of the clip!) and grotesque megababies. It also gives some sweet footage of aquatic recreation on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon!

There’s a lot to laugh at in this video, but let’s watch first. Prepare for a megadose of 70’s machismo, as rockers Pablo Cruise (and their team of parrots) jam on the beaches of Discovery Island and yuk it up on the waters of the World:

Wow, right? Nothing like a little piratey molestation to kick off a fun evening at the beach! At least each of the band members got their very own parrot, even if they mostly have to stand around and watch the lead singer (who looks like Gordon Lightfoot got turned out by a Gibb brother). I especially enjoy the part in the middle where the guy does a huge air guitar solo during the song’s piano bit, then later we see the piano player (Benicio del Toro?) banging the ivories while we hear the guitar solo. Amazing.

Then there are the good times on the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is a retro watercraft bonanza. We get jet skis, water sprites, the old Disney catamarans, and the bumper boats. I especially enjoy the out-of-control water skier who nearly plows into the catamaran. No wake zone, dummies! At least the ever-responsible members of Pablo Cruise are sagacious enough to wear their lifejackets whilst motoring about.

If you really want the full Christmas at Walt Disney World experience, and want to truly understand how bizarre and confusing this special is, you’ll create the following playlist. Immediately after show’s opening credits, it went without prologue or explanation into the Clinkers clip. That, as you can tell, segued into this number. Call me an ignoramus, but I was unaware of the Pablo Cruise phenomenon so this was doubly baffling. Then, after this segment, we fade straight into the baby thing. All without any explanation, or context, or anything.

And, although I’ve mentioned it already, there were the parrots. Man, Pablo Cruise must have loved parrots. Someone was dead set on keeping those parrots front and center. “Look! We have parrots at Walt Disney World! Book today!”

Too bad they couldn’t fit in a trip to River Country…

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8 comments to Cruise To Discovery Island

  • philphoggs

    Ha Ha Ha Pablo Cruise living large, still love it! I guess that prove something about nostalgia, don’t it?

  • Haha I’m just grateful for it introducing me to Pablo Cruise. They sure knew how to party, Disney-style!

  • Another Voice

    There’s a story that used to go around the company (back in the days when people actually spoke about The Dead Guy with respect). It says that ‘Discovery Island’ is the reason WDW is located where it is.

    In the story, Disney minons had found several areas that they thought would work. So one day, they took Walt up in an airplane to look at the sites. After buzzing swamp, orange groves and pastures for a while – Walt saw this lake with a big island in the middle. He is claimed to have said that it immediately sparked a childhood memory of seeing similar islands in lakes and rivers, and wanting to take a raft like Tom Sawyer and go adventuring. “That’s the spot” it’s claimed he said, “that’s were the treasure is going to be buried”.

    True or not, I don’t know. But it sure seems like Walt, and it sure seems like a story Walt would want to be remembered by.

  • I’d heard that Walt had picked the spot but hadn’t heard that detail. You’re right – it sounds like him, and seems totally in character. He picked well! It’s bizarre and criminal that Discovery Island continues to sit unused.

  • As for the parrots used in the video, as long-lived as these birds are it is very likely that some of the same Mc Caws you might photograph today at Disney’s Animal Kingdom would be ones seen at WDW way back then, I know that they used to occasionally have parrots in Adventureland, in the space near Mexico on the World Showcase, and in the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort, as the public’s view of how to responsibly treat wildlife changed over the years, one by one these venues went away, I imagine thaty at first these creatures were kept on Discovery Island, whereas now they are liky to be seen on that newer Discovery island the one found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

  • philphoggs

    Hard to stop looking at the train wreck. All that 70s machoism reminds of older kids bent on kicking your butt, now thru the lens… a group of rambunctious puppies.
    I kinda wondered the same thing about the birds, thinking somewhere it’s written that a number of the animals migrated from “Treasure Island.” Next time I’ll check their Cruise awareness level to be certain.
    A bunch a suits gripping financial studies, geological surveys, population charts, timelines, when our man says “thats where the treasure will be buried”. Classic. I would like to think it’s out of respect that an uber DVC getaway’s never been built on the hallowed ground. Instead maybe a real yarn of adventure will take shape there someday, that’s the ring I’d toss my hat in.

  • Another Voice

    Around the time the Grand Floridian was going up, Disney did look into the idea of putting honeymoon and luxury cottages on the islands in the Seven Seas Lagoon. The idea was killed for costs – Disney didn’t want to buy a fireboat and other emergency equipment.

    Corporate policy is now that any non-berm development must be outsourced (along the lines of shuttering Pleasure Island and trying to rent it out like a shopping mall). There’s very little chance that any outside company would be interested in Discovery Island, so most likely it will just rot in the sun like River Country. As for DVC…they basically exist as part of the whole mortgage scam industry. Now that they can’t bundle up their paper and get someone else to take a fall, many pixies are expecting them to be sold off sooner rather than later.

  • philphoggs

    So cost conciseness does have benefits; it kept the boogie man away from those islands. Cutting off my nose to spite my face, without success understood. Maybe I’ll just grow a beard, shun zippers… rent Discovery Island and start a Disney Luddite colony there in 2010! ~ hey I’m serious :)

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