Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1983 Guidebook and Blackfooted Rock Hopper

Ah, Disneyland in the early 1980s. New Fantasyland. New Coke. Here's the souvenir guidebook for 1983, along with the "Adventureland" section showing how things were back in the days before "Aladdin" took over the "Tahitian Terrace." Of course, there was no "Indiana Jones" attraction then, either, so it's probably a wash since Indy definitely is one of the few gems added to the park during the Eisner era. Still...losing the "Tahitian Terrace?" Ouch. Still hurts.

Here's a Tahitian Terrace-related Jungle Cruise story. It is true.

As the boat approached the dock at the end of the ride, there were some stepping stones in the water along the back side of the Tahitian Terrace stage. These were part of the pathway that led from the Jungle Cruise to the "backstage" break area behind Main Street. You would walk along the stones on your way behind the Tahitian Terrace to the area where the Jungle boats were stored when they were taken off line.

This walkway was also used by the Samoan "fire dancers" who were Cast Members in the Tahitian Terrace dinner show. They would use the walkway to make their entrance from the rear of the stage, dressed in full Polynesian regalia. These guys were enormous and were not known for even tempers. One Jungle Cruise skipper found out the hard way why it is not good to anger large Samoans.

It seems that one such Samoan gentleman was making his way across the stepping stones as the skipper and his crew were passing by Trader Sam and heading toward the dock. The skipper pointed out the Samoan to his crew of guests. He told them over the microphone/speaker to enjoy their glimpse of the "Amazing Blackfooted Rockhopper on the port side." The Samoan gentleman hear this crack (as he was only a few feet from the boat) and became...shall we say...agitated. He leapt onto the dock and then onto the bow of the boat---in full Polynesian war regalia---and reached in and grabbed the frantic skipper by his shirt. He was about to unleash a torrent of physical pain on the poor guy when other nearby skippers (and Disney security) came to his rescue. The angry Samoan never got a clean shot as his prey, but sure scared the heck out of the guy. Mental note: don't refer to large Samoans as "Blackfooted Rock Hoppers" (especially when they are within striking distance).