The Vacation Kingdom of the World Map Guide

Just want the Easter Egg listing? CLICK HERE

Want a copy of this poster or another copy? CLICK HERE

There are 71 “Easter eggs” & nods to episodes on the map – 70 are labeled above & the 71st is my signature hidden somewhere…

The Beginning

Back in 2018 for our Lake and Lagoon Tour: Discovery Edition, we gave each of our guests a special map as a thank you gift for attending our “three hour tour”. The map was a fun homage to Walt Disney World maps of yesteryear that were chock full of little details.

As a kid, I loved to pour over these kinds of maps to try to find everything the artist had tucked into the art. I still do. So when it came time to come up with ideas for our give away for this event I suggested maybe we should try to replicate one of the old maps, but fill it with gags from the podcast. I wasn’t 100% sure I could pull it off as I had never drawn anything so detailed and extensive. But I knew it would be cool if I could do it. So Todd let me try some tests to see if I could try to mimic the style of one of the original WDW maps.

I chose to emulate the style of the “Vacation Kingdom” map from the Spring 1975 Vacationland magazine as it covered the entire 1970s resort, had a style that I personally loved, was brightly colored and I really liked it. By 2018 we had quite a few podcast episodes under our belt and we had covered quite a few areas of WDW already so it would make it easier to come up with those “Easter eggs”.

WDW Vacationland Spring 1975 - Walt Disney World Map
The Inspiration

The Test

So once the style and general look was chosen, I took what I felt would be one of the more personally difficult items on the map and tried to replicate it by hand to emulate the original artist’s style. I’ve always found people difficult to draw. I’m more of a mechanical / architectural artist. Luckily, I could mimic it close enough to evoke the feel of the original.

An initial test to see if I could mimic the original style of the 1975 map.
Initial style test for the map

Let’s Go

So now that I knew I could replicate the style, I sat down and sketched out the overall layout of the map and started to come up with some of the Easter eggs. The lakes and waterways were based off an actual satellite map and then “cartoonified” & tweaked to fit the style.

Ya gotta start somewhere…

I knew I wanted to work in caricatures of the guys and Roy’s cabin had to be in there somewhere as it was an early running joke of the podcast. I asked the guys to chime in with their ideas and soon we had a huge list of stuff. Of course, this list grew over the weeks as we would remember something and adjustments would be made to accommodate the new ideas.

This was a fun but sometimes frustrating part of the process, as at some point, we had to make a call as to when to stop adding ideas or we’d never finish the map. You can see in some of the pics below the creative process as things moved around/flipped were added and changed as we went. I made sure to set up the digital file in such a way that allowed us maximum flexibility in changing things and still allowing a relatively quick design process.

You can see that at one point the map was going to mimic having a legend down one side of the map – but we had too much we wanted to squeeze into the map so it was removed to allow for more art.

Watch the progression of the creation of the map

The Western River Expedition also had a different look than it ended up with. A lot of the art would go through iterations. I would do a very rough digital sketch to establish overall scale and position of an item and show the guys to see if it matched what they had in their minds. Then I’d make adjustments according to their feedback and we’d all review it again. Sometimes this would spark an Easter egg idea.

And sometimes the ideas for the layout would come from one of the guys directly:

Todd had a very specific idea for the slides in River Country. 😀

On to the Easter Eggs

So now you know the history, let’s see what all we hid in the map. Because the map is so big, I’ve broken it into 4 sections – starting at the upper left and going counter-clockwise. I’ve also included links to the episodes in which we discuss the specific items being shown.

Section 1

Section 1 “Easter eggs”
  1. The Western River Expedition / Thunder Mesa
  2. The Original Frontierland Train Station
  3. Me!
  4. Electrical Water Pageant
  5. Barker Bird and the firing cannons at PotC
  6. Disney Legend Tom Nabbe testing to see if the Frontierland Riverboats will clear the monorail tracks
  7. The sidewheelers that used to run across Seven Seas Lagoon
  8. WDW 1st Birthday Candle walk-around character
  9. Richard Nixon – His famous “I’m Not A Crook” moment was at the Contemporary Resort
  10. Like a Chest of Drawers
  11. Original Contemporary Resort square pool
  12. Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop performing at the Contemporary Resort
  13. The missing monorail track
  14. Disney Legend Tom Nabbe walking and checking the monorail beam
  15. The Swan Boat
  16. A nun & sailor in a Skyway bucket
  17. RJ Ogren in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas lagoon
  18. Todd taking a picture of his favorite WDW character – Orange Bird
  19. Broken Haunted Mansion glass buried out back
  20. A cowboy & his horse on the roof of the tavern from the Western River Expedition concept art & models.
  21. The short-lived Jungle Cruise frogs
    • Watch video of these elusive frogs here & here!
  22. The Jungle Cruise crying crocodile

Section 2

Section 2 “Easter eggs”
  1. The proposed and never built Persian Resort. We showed the location of this in our Lake & Lagoon Tours.
  2. The band Pablo Cruise performing on the beach of Discovery Island
  3. Friend of the podcast & volunteer Rob Hinkle driving a classic Aqualark boat
  4. The Walrus – Sitting on the shore of Treasure Island / Discovery Island, this wrecked looking ship was once very visible. Pablo Cruise once sang next to it and the sand around the ship was pristine white. Whatever is left, is mostly covered by overgrowth and foliage.
  5. The Galápagos tortoises that used to live on Discovery Island
  6. The Shoe Tree – we pointed this out on our Lake & Lagoon Tours
  7. The Infamous Lawnmower Tree
  8. Roy’s Cabin – A running gag of the show
  9. Warehouse DC-6 (Drawer Facility) where the “drawers” or rooms for the Contemporary & some of Polynesian were built.
  10. Eastern Airlines 727 WhisperJet – The former official airline partner to Walt Disney World. If we had wings…
  11. Bay Circle
  12. The Admiral Joe Fowler riverboat being snapped in half
  13. Brian Miles with his captain hat – an homage to him on the 2016 & 2018 Lake & Lagoon tours
  14. Roy Disney fishing in Bay Lake outside his cabin.
  15. Testing Waterslides for River Country

Section 3

Section 3 “Easter eggs”
  1. Glenn Campbell from the opening of WDW special
  2. The “Mozzarella Stick Pool Fountain”
    • The feature pool at The Golf Resort wasn’t anything too spectacular, but it did have a water feature. These fountains resembled a 70s/80s mall fountain. A natural stone style coating looked to be on them and the water cascaded down over them.
  3. The Golf Resort (One of the original resorts – opened in 1973) -> The Disney Inn -> Shades of Green Resort
  4. Bob Hope – Bob was in the opening of Walt Disney World TV special & hosted the opening ceremonies of the Contemporary Resort
  5. Mickey Mouse shaped sand trap featured in a lot of their golf course advertising
  6. Shields & Yarnell from the wild 1978 Walt Disney World TV special
  7. An original style WDW Bus [picture]
  8. The Kennel Club at the TTC – advertised in the early years to encourage vacationers to visit even if they had pets. It was sponsored by Kal Kan pet food.
  9. The topiaries in between the TTC & Contemporary Resort. Many people have fond memories of seeing these either passing by them in a car or above in the monorail.
  10. The never built Mediterranean Resort. It’s still hotly debated to this day whether Disney will ever build a resort here. We pointed out it’s location on our Lake & Lagoon tours.
  11. The Seven Seas Lagoon Island Waterfall
  12. The never built Asian Resort – It would have built built where the Grand Floridan stands today. We pointed out its location and gave backstory on our Lake & Lagoon tours.
  13. Mike Douglas interviewing Mouseketeer Annette Funicello
  14. Coke & Treasure Chest
  15. John Lennon – The final resting point for The Beatles. John Lennon, who was staying at The Polynesian, was sent the paperwork to sign, to officially end the band. During this trip, he also took a huge liking to the Monorails.
  16. Golfing Bird – From a brochure for the “Wee Links” golf course – a 6 hole junior golf course that used synthetic turf. Today it’s known as Oak Trail. See the brochure at Passport to Dreams Old & New.
  17. Ford photoshoot for an ad
  18. Original tram tugs mentioned in various early episodes
  19. The Mark IV monorails – close your eyes and remember the “slam, slam, slam” of the doors.
  20. How with his recording equipment at his favorite resort – The Polynesian Resort
  21. A Bob-A-Round Boat – an early and frustrating boat you could rent and take out on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
  22. The Eastern Winds
  23. The Wave Machine – One of the biggest legends and myths of the Seven Seas, the Wave Machine for the Polynesian was designed to gently send waves to the shore. It could also do full-on shoulder height waves for surfing. The problem was it never seemed to work, and when it did, the beach would wash away. We have met people who surfed it, saw it, and even worked on it..
    We still have no video footage…
    We showed it’s location on the Lake & Lagoon tours.
  24. The one and only Dick Nunis surfing a wave from his wave machine. He never surfed a wave from the Seven Seas Lagoon wave machine that we know of – this is an homage based upon a publicity photo of an unknown surfer surfing in the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Section 4

Section 4 “Easter eggs”
  1. The STOL Port – Yes, Walt Disney World once had it’s own runway!
  2. The original brown Welcome to Walt Disney World highway signs. Just remember these when you think the new ones are ugly… [picture]
  3. Walt’s plane in it’s original livery
  4. The Fort Wilderness Railroad tower
  5. An original Fort Wilderness “Cabin”
  6. Fort Wilderness Supply Truck – known as the FOT – “Funny Old Truck”
  7. JT showing his daughter the wonders of Fort Wilderness
  8. The water in River Country turning brown…
  9. The Fort Wilderness Railroad
  10. My signature – it’s somewhere hidden on the map – it’s up to you to find it!

It’s Been Fun

Well, there ya have it – all the Easter eggs we somehow managed to squeeze into one massive map. Would I do it again, maybe. It was a ton of work, sometimes stressful and I think we estimated it taking well into the triple digits in man-hours to make.

So you’ll have to wait and see, as they say, “never say never”.

Jason

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Dan-Korte
April 30, 2022 6:57 am

This is incredible work. What a fun piece this must’ve been to create!

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