By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Catalina Eddie’s

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

Many think that the Catalina Eddie’s quick-serve food and beverage location at the Sunset Market Ranch at DHS was meant to be a reference the popular 1988 feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit where one of the plot points in the film was a past vacation detective Eddie Valiant and his girlfriend Dolores took to the island of Catalina. However, that is not the case at all.

The name is a reference to a Southern California weather condition known as the Catalina Eddy that sometimes occurs.

Here’s a description from the San Francisico State University Meterology site:

“The Catalina eddy, named for the Catalina Islands off the coast of Los Angeles, is an occasional phenomenon of coastal southern California south of Point Conception. It sometimes forms when the wind across the region in the lower atmosphere blows from the north or northeast.

“As air crosses the east-to-west oriented mountain ranges north of Santa Barbara (just east of Point Conception) and descends to the ocean, the pressure on the air increases, causing it to warm dramatically. As an indirect consequence of this warming, a region of relatively low pressure (compared to surrounding areas at the same altitude) develops in the lower atmosphere, south or southwest of the east-to-west oriented coastline.

“This warm, cloud-free region of relatively low pressure offshore draws cool marine air up the coast from the south. The marine air–which is often full of fog or low stratus clouds visible from space–then spirals around the low pressure center, creating the eddy and bringing cooling winds to the Los Angeles basin.”

(c) easyWDW

Catalina Eddie’s is part of the Sunset Market Ranch that includes a number of different counter service food venues like Rosie’s All American Cafe, Anaheim Produce, Hollywood Scoops and the Toluca Legs Turkey Company.

The Sunset Market Ranch was inspired by the original Farmers Market located at the intersection of 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles. During the summer of 1934, a group of farmers set up an informal market at that location.

The idea for expanding the space into a permanent marketplace with various stalls originated with two individuals, Roger Dahlhjelm, a businessman, and Fred Beck, an advertising copywriter. A complex of stalls and buildings quickly appeared in the formerly vacant area.

The market’s now iconic clock tower was built in 1941 and remains a part of the complex to this day, so its inclusion at the Sunset Market Ranch sets the time period as 1941 or later. Rosie’s All American Cafe establishes that the area is sometime during World War II.

The nautical pennants hanging overhead spell “CATEDDIES”. The slogan for the eatery is “Harbor Your Hunger”. Despite an anthropomorphic flying fish in a sailor cap on the sign, the location ironically does not sell any kind of fish item on its menu.

The image references the famed flying fish that soar out of the Island waters to heights of up to 30 feet and glide for distances as long as a quarter mile during the months approximately May to September every year.

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Call Me Walt, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

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