Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fort Wilderness Unplugged!

In February 2007, I took my last shots of the original Fort Wilderness structure on Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland. It was announced that the termite-infested fort would be torn down and not replaced.

Sadly, I took my camera to TSI and did my best to document the exterior and the little bit of interior that I could view through the wooden beams. The Fort had been closed off to guests for years and only used by cast members.

Sad indeed.

Miraculously, the Fort received an 11th hour reprieve; instead of being torn down, it was replaced by a not-so-miraculous structure. Looking as if it had been done on the cheap, the "new" Fort Wilderness is still closed off to guests, and mainly serves as an eye-sore for those who remember what it used to be. Recently, I acquired a treasure trove of photos from Summer 2002, back when the Fort was still vibrant and able to be explored by young and old alike. My favorite shot is this rare interior view:

There were signs to be read, stairs to be climbed, and rooms to be explored.

Here's a glimpse of a long-gone Keelboat, visible from one of the towers of the Fort. Just another victim of progress, legal-eagles, and cost-cutting measures.

Fortunately, the cemetery out back still remains.

I still hold out hope that one day Fort Wilderness will be restored to its former explorable glory.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter and view my most recent photos on Flickr. See more vintage and current Disneyland Fort Wilderness photos on my Fort Wilderness web page.


HBG2 said...

My favorite personal memory of the Fort is the old escape tunnel to the river, closed off even earlier than the general closure of the Fort, by several years IIRC. There were fish fossils in the "stone" walls in one place, very easy to overlook. Those Imagineers were so . . . imaginative.

K. Martinez said...

I mostly remember whacking my head in one of the “doorways” when exploring Fort Wilderness. I was a tall kid. Funny thing is I never hit my head on the “Mind thy Head” spot in the Swiss Family Treehouse.
I love the cemetery behind the Fort and glad it’s still there too!

Rich T. said...

I loved the escape tunnel, too!

Whenever the fort snack bar was open, I'd grab a brownie and a lemonade, then head out the back fort gate, turn right, sit on a nearby rocky ledge and just watch the river, ducks, and boats go by.

Anonymous said...

I loved that fort and especially the rifles in the blockhouses. But that was in the days of Westerns when it was cool to be a kid with a 6 shooter in his holster. Hi-Yo Silver...Away! Another wonderful attraction removed...