By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Expedition Everest

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

According to the Imagineering back story in the queue line of Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, two business men, Bob and Norbu, have rebuilt an existing railroad that once transported tea in order to take travelers to the base of Mount Everest for profit. The railroad journey goes through the Forbidden Mountain that is in the path to the final destination.

As travelers exit Bob and Norbu’s office, they begin to see shrines of the yeti in various sizes. The majority of these shrines are showered with jewels and food, symbolizing the tremendous respect the locals have for the yeti. Previously, guests saw shrines and prayers flags and red paint (to ward off evil spirits).

Next, travelers walk through Tashi’s Trek and Tongba Shop filled with hiking supplies and equipment. Once travelers have finished their shopping, they then enter into the Yeti Museum of Professor Perma Dorje, Ph.D. The museum, which was transformed from a tea warehouse, is dedicated to “the serious study of the scientific and cultural aspects of the mysterious creature known and revered throughout the Himalayas as the yeti.”

The first half of the museum focuses on the geographic region of Nepal, the people of Nepal, and their interpretations of what they believe the yeti to look like. This setting is meant to establish a sense of reality before venturing into the fantasy elements.

Next, the Lost Expedition of 1982 is displayed in the museum. Legend has it that in 1982, a group of trackers went in search of the yeti. When none returned after several weeks, a search group was sent to find these trackers only to discover they had not survived. The remains of their expedition, including their tent, hiking equipment and camera, are shown throughout the exhibit.

A little more than halfway through the museum, travelers notice pictures of lowland jungle animals, midland forest animals and mountain animals. The purpose of this display is to rationalize that if these animals can survive the different areas of the mountain, then why can’t a creature like the yeti also survive?

Towards the end of the Yeti Museum, travelers notice a brown display cabinet filled with actual different discoveries that Walt Disney Imagineers made during an expedition by Disney and Conservation International to the Himalayas, meant once again to establish a sense of reality.

Upon exiting the museum to board their train, travelers see one last warning sign posted by Professor Dorje: “Respect the Power of the Yeti. The weight of the evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion: The Yeti is Real. You are about to enter the scared domain of the Yeti, guardian and protector of The Forbidden Mountain. Those who proceed with respect and reverence for the sanctity of the natural environment and its creatures should have no fear. To all others, a warning you risk the wrath of the Yeti. Prof. Perma Dorje, Ph.D Curator The Yeti Museum.”

Of course, Bob and Norbu can not allow the good professor to scare off potential customers and so they also post a sign that reads: “The opinions expressed by the curator of the Yeti Museum in no way reflect the views of the owners and operators of Himalayan Escapes, Tours and Expeditions.”

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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, Disney Never Lands, and about planned but unbuilt concepts, and 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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