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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: “Ah Ha!”s at Walt Disney World



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 yourfirstvisit.net.

AH HA!S AT DISNEY WORLD AND THE INDIANA JONES ROPE PULL

By Jim Korkis

While many Walt Disney World guests are obsessed with finding Hidden Mickeys throughout the parks and resorts, they may not be aware of what some Imagineers call “Ah Ha!”s.

Those things are not marked on guide maps and are there for people to serendipitously discover as they are enjoying their day at Walt Disney World.

The first “Ah Ha!” that was ever pointed out to me by an Imagineer was the heart in the cement outside of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, with cupid’s arrow going through it and two sets of paw prints.

Obviously, especially being outside of Tony’s and in an area of the park devoted to the turn-of-the-century time period, it was meant to reference Lady and the Tramp who made a similar heart in the animated feature. When it was pointed out to me, I actually did go, “Ah!”

These are not just images but sometimes an interactive experience. In 1999, in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, a Metrophone booth from the Galactic Communications Network (GCN) was installed.

By randomly punching several numbers brought up a loop with one of nine possible hilarious one-sided conversations from Rocket Realty, Sonny Eclipse’s agent Johnny Jupiter, Earth Crust Pizza, Intergalactic Movie Line, Psychic Robots Network, and more, including the time and weather from Corona Borealis of the Tomorrowland News Network. It was quietly removed in recent years with some people never even knowing it existed.

Today, thanks to websites and books, many of these things have been documented for Disney fans to enjoy including the fabled Indiana Jones Rope Pull.

To the left of the entrance to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show is some sort of excavation site over an ancient well. There is a large wooden sign next to it declaring: “Warning! Do NOT Pull Rope!” The word “Not” has a line going through it.

Of course, the rope is within easy reach of the guests and the temptation is to see what might happen. Pulling on the rope sometimes elicits no response and other times an echoey voice from down in the well yelling, “Hey, what’s going on up there?” or the lengthy scream of someone falling to the bottom.

According to the Imagineers, that person is the very British Dr. Dunfor Pullit, an archeologist who is supported by the rope beneath the sarcophagus stone.

Repeated pulling on the rope can generate some different responses:

“Leave off the rope old chap, be a good fellow. I have a frightfully valuable artifact down here. Oh no [crash.] I HAD a terribly valuable artifact down here.”

“I say, leave off the rope old chap, be a jolly good sport. I say! Uh oh… oh no… blimey [fall, thud]”

“I say quit mucking about up there. Oh blast! Not again [fall, crash].”

“Blast it all, you don’t want to pull the rope. [crash] Oh dear.”

“Careful while I translate this… Let’s see, um, ‘twenty years of,’ ah, ‘sorrow to the,’ ah, ‘destroyer of this vessel!’ ” [crash.]”

Are there any that I missed? Of course, there is a similar well in the interior queue for Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

*  *  *  *  *

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

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new Halloween-appropriate Vault of Walt Volume 9: Halloween Edition, and his other new book, Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.

 

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