June 5th 2019 marked the twentieth anniversary of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. For twenty years families have ridden bouncing honeypots through the Hundred Acre Woods to join Owl, Roo, Tigger and, of course Pooh, the most gentle of bears as the begin another adventure. Until your next visit, here are some fun facts to enjoy:
Walt was a fan of Winnie
Walt Disney became interested in Winnie the Pooh based on his daughter Diane’s enjoyment of the book. He attempted to get the movie rights as early as 1938 and succeeded in 1961.
Walt had a hand in the movie, even 31 years after his passing
The Many Adventures Winnie The Pooh was a re-cut combination of three separate short films; Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). This was the last feature cartoon that Walt Disney had a direct hand in, overseeing the first two segments.
The plan was not for Orlando
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction was initially imagined in the late 1970s after the movie was released and was planned for an upgrade to Disneyland’s Fantasyland. But, that fell through and Disneyland did not get a Winnie the Pooh ride until 2004.
Mr. Toad is gone but not forgotten
The ride replaced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Walt Disney World, a sentimental favorite. Never ones to forget their history, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh displays pictures of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl and of Pooh and Moley, one of Mr. Toad’s best friends. Nearby, a statue of Mr. Toad is also in the pet cemetery outside the Hunted Mansion.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was born quickly
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride closed in September 1998 and nine months later The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh opened. That’s a much faster turnover than most attractions today. Of course, a galaxy takes a little longer than an adventure to build.
Two special stars are shared between the movie and the ride
Walt Disney World’s version of the ride is the only ride to feature two of the movie’s original voice actors; John Fielder as Piglet and Paul Winchell as Tigger. Fielder and Winchell died within a day of each other in June 2005.
Tigger was no slouch
Paul Winchell was an amazing individual. He was an early TV star with a medical background. He developed a method for cultivating Tilapia fish in remote African villages as a means of solving hunger. You can see Tilapia growing in tanks in Epcot’s The Land. Winchell also held patents for an artificial heart, a flameless cigarette lighter, a disposable razor and an “invisible” garter belt.
The Apple doesn’t fall far from the Honey Tree
Paul Winchell is also the father of April Winchell, a current Disney voice actor who voiced several roles for “Goof Troop” as well as Cruella De Vil and Clarabelle Cow.
Pooh can be heard in Epcot if you listen quickly
Jim Cummings voiced Pooh for Disney World’s Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and replaced Winchell as Tigger in the Disneyland ride after Winchell retired in 1999. He also is the narrator for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot and provides many other Disney voices.
The biggest change to the ride
Visitors to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh can experience a top-rated interactive queue (if you don’t use a FastPass). The attraction added the interactive queue in 2010. Pay attention while enjoying the queue area. The Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of the carvings inside the treehouse play area.
A final note; the family vote
Our household is split on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction. Bob has been a fan of Disney’s version of Pooh since the 70’s with a particular fondness for Tigger. (He has the whole song memorized). Pat and Stu have mixed reviews. Pooh was a favorite TV choice for Stu when he was sick and Pat saw more hours watching than was healthy. Thus her rating is OK and a nice place for a break. Stu feels the ride itself lacks adventure, but thinks the highlights are the big story boards and finds the sound quality excellent; “It’s the only place you can hear Winnie the Pooh in high fidelity surround sound.” Bob also thinks that they would rate the ride higher if they weren’t afraid of his singing along.
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