Thursday, October 23, 2008

Discover the Old Faithful Inn, the inspiration for WDW Wilderness Lodge

As i always say, i defy anybody who enter Walt Disney World Wilderness Lodge stunning lobby to don't stop and say: " Wow! ". And it's true that the gorgeous work on this spectacular lobby leaves everybody breathless.

But where the imagineers did found their inspiration for the Wilderness Lodge? This is what we will see today, but first, i want to say a big thanks to Eddie Sotto for his pictures and his exceptional contribution today at Disney and more. Eddie was the show producer of Disneyland Paris Main Street - simply the best Main Street ever built for a Magic Kingdom - and, among many other projects he worked on when he was a WDI imagineer, Eddie was also the creator of the Sci-Fi City project, a new and fantastic vision for Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland.

Recently, Eddie went at Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, at the Old Faithful Inn. And, as we will see, it seems that this Old Faithful Inn was the source material in many ways for WDW's Wilderness Lodge. Note that the Yellowstone Park also inspired many years ago Disneyland now extinct attraction "Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland".

The pictures below - a mix of Eddie's photos of the Old Faithful Inn and official pictures of the Wilderness Lodge will show you how the Old Faithful Inn was inspirational for WDI Imagineers. But as usual, they didn't made a simple "copy" of the original. Although the Old Faithful Inn is beautiful, i think it's fair to say that the imagineers transcend it to give us an even more spectacular version of this 100 years old hotel.

A bit of history, first: The Old Faithful Inn, located in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, was built by architect Robert Reamer, an architect for the Great Northern Railway. The structure is the largest log hotel in the world - possibly even the largest log building in the world.

With its spectacular log and limb lobby and massive (500-ton, 85-foot) stone fireplace, the inn is a prime example of the "Golden Age" of rustic resort architecture, a style which is also known as National Park Service Rustic. It is also unique in that it is one of the few log hotels still standing in the United States.

Initial construction was carried out over the winter of 1903-1904, largely using locally-obtained materials including lodgepole pine (the bark was later removed in 1940) and rhyolite stone. When the Old Faithful Inn first opened in the spring of 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat.

The Inn has been expanded and modified several times. In 1913 the East Wing was added to the 120-room original structure, and in 1922 the dining room was enlarged. In 1927-1928 the West Wing was built, and the front of the main building extended.

The facility was closed for the duration of the Second World War and on August 17, 1959 the Old Faithful Inn was shaken by the Hebgen Lake earthquake which collapsed the dining room fireplace chimney and damaged the huge lobby fireplace. The Old Faithful Inn was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

The first pictures below show the Old Faithful Inn exterior...

...and the Wilderness Lodge building.

Here is some views of the Old Faithful Inn lobby, with its huge fireplace chimney...

And here is the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge, also with a huge chimney.

A close-up on the chimney of the Old Faithful Inn...

...and the one of the Wilderness Lodge.

Another view from another angle of the Old Faithful Inn...

...And one of the Wilderness lodge.

When we look at the ceiling, it's amazing how all these logs were assemble together one hundred years ago.

A view from almost the same angle, shoot at Christmas at the Wilderness Lodge.

One of the restaurants of the Old Faithful Inn...

...And the Whispering Canyon Cafe and the Artist Point Restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge.

But there is something else that the Old Faithful Inn and the Wilderness Lodge share together: geysers! the Old Faithful Inn got his name, precisely, from the "Old Faithful" geyser which erupt regularly nearby...

The Wilderness Lodge also have a geyser, but it's an "imagineering-made" geyser!

As you saw, it's quite obvious that the Old Faithful Inn was the inspiration for WDI imagineers when they've designed the Wilderness Lodge. But as i've said at the beginning, it's also true that Imagineering did with the Wilderness Lodge a new version of unbelievable grandeur. This last picture, a beautiful sunset shot of the Wilderness Lodge, is a perfect example of what i mean.

Old Faithful Inn pictures: copyright Eddie Sotto ( except pictures 3 and 8 from the top )

Wilderness Lodge pictures: copyright Disney


Anonymous said...

Thank you!!

The Artwork of Christi Bunn said...

Very, very cool pictures and comparison.


Anonymous said...

My first post ! :)

Anonymous said...

My first post! :)