The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Magic Kingdom - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Magic Kingdom
Many years ago, as a child I was taken to the cinema to watch that wonderful adventure film, ‘The Swiss Family Robinson, ’ starring amongst others, that great actor, John Mills. Having been shipwrecked, this family of five, including sons Fritz, Ernst and Francis, manages to salvage useful items from their ship, the Swallow, with which to make a home on their South Sea island. They choose a huge old tree as the base for their home, and build a complete house amongst its branches.
So when we first visited Magic Kingdom I was delighted to find that Disney had recreated the Swiss Family Robinson’s tree house. Many people walk past this attraction without realising what a fascinating place it is. You will find it in Adventureland, just before you get to the Jungle Cruise, and it is a wonderful re-creation which allows you to climb the tree and walk through the home that this shipwrecked family built for themselves.
The tree is, in fact, made of steel, coated in cement. These form the 1, 400 branches of the tree, which are decorated with 300, 000 plastic leaves, all of which had to be attached by hand. For extra realism, it is draped with real Spanish moss. It has foundations which are 42 ft deep, and made of concrete. It is 90 ft high and 60 ft wide, and has been given the name ‘Disneyodendron eximus’ which loosely translated means ‘out of the ordinary Disney tree.
You climb up steps, and along rope bridges, through the branches of the tree to reach the first room. You need to be able to climb the 116 steps, though. What strikes you immediately is that all the rooms look as if the Robinson family have just stepped outside. As you walk through the various rooms they are furnished with salvaged items of the era. In the living room there is the ship’s wheel from the doomed Swallow, plus a pipe organ which plays.
It is fascinating to see all the items which appear to be in use by the family. There is, for instance a desk, with a log book, fruit on a table, oil lamps and candlesticks. There is a dining table which is set ready for the family to eat their meal. The main bedroom has an ornate wooden bed with a floral bedspread and cushions, and upstairs in the boys’ room there are two hammocks, with clothes laid out ready for them to put on. In the kitchen area there are signs of food preparation, and lots of food stored ready to be eaten.
There is a system for bringing water to the top of the tree house by a system of pulleys and a waterwheel system with cups made of bamboo, which lift the water from the stream.
There are several platforms at different levels on the tree where you can look out over the park. These platforms give you a great view of the Jungle Cruise, so don’t forget to take your camera.
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Page added on: 10 February 2011
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