Walt Disney World Resort is known for its attention to details and the vacation kingdom of the world. What about Seven Seas Lagoon?
Seldom discussed, the Walt Disney World site was once a swamp as far as the eye could see and is well-known in Disney history. Even though Magic Kingdom Park opened in October 1971, the parks site preparation began in October of 1965. However, did you know one of the first creations for Walt Disney World Resorts was not the castle, it was the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon surrounded by white sand beaches.
Since the beginnings the Seven Seas Lagoon property and waterways has been key to the maintenance of the ecology of the property. But was is the point to this lagoon? With Florida’s fragile environment the property demanded an enormous infrastructure preparation. This preparation includes 55 miles of canals and levees for flood control to manage and exchange water levels without depleting the overall reserve. In addition, this system functions completely on its own, without electricity, based on water levels!!
The site surveying of the natural body of water, Bay Lake, was already located on-property. However, after the survey it was determined the body of water was filthy with root structures, silt, muck and debris. Instead, Bay Lake was drained, cleaned and new dirt was moved to create the now “man-made” Seven Seas Lagoon. Don’t worry, the removed dirt was just moved to cover the ground-level floor of the Magic Kingdom.
However, the Seven Seas Lagoon was also first determined to be unstable and unsuitable for construction. The Imagineer team created an innovative and imaginative plan of making it a “sort of aquatic red carpet” to the Magic Kingdom Park. Behind Seven Seas Lagoon is a nine-acre ground-level floor for the park comprised of a network of corridors and storage rooms, called Utilidors, providing access to all backstage services and activities.
Still wondering where the beautiful white sand came from? While Bay Lake was being drained and dredged construction workers discovered the pure white sand under the roots and mucks. Imagineers couldn’t pass this beautiful sand up, instead they used it to create the charming beaches around the Seven Seas Lagoon, including the beach at the opening day resort hotel, Polynesian Village.
In addition, Seven Seas Lagoon consists of three islands-Blackbeard Island, Castaway Cay (similar to the private island in the Bahamas), and Beachcomber Island. Castaway Cay is often used as the launching point for perimeter fireworks, where as Blackbeard Island is the island near the water bridge that connects Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.
Beachcomber Island is closest to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. Beachcomber Island was once home to an “article wave machine” installed on the shore which allowed guests to “ride the waves”. However, with these waves came negative effects. The waves caused beach erosion diminishing the picturesque white sand away from the beach to the bottom of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Subsequently, the machine was shut down where it sat on the shore of Beachcomber Island across from the Polynesian Resort. After another failed attempt at the wave machine it was removed from the island, but remains of the wall where the machine was attached can still be seen on the shoreline.
Seven Seas Lagoon today is a beautiful body of water traveled by thousands upon thousands of visitors. Now as you are taking the boat across the lagoon you can tell a little piece of history on how the lagoon was made.
Source: Disney Parks Blog
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