A few years ago – through a friend I got the chance to meet Jim Korkis. Jim is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles about all things Disney for over three decades. He is also a former Cast Member.
I had been a fan of Jim’s since hearing him on WDW Radio, and I have all his books.
My family, boyfriend and I met for breakfast at Olivia’s at Old Key West. We sat and chatted for over an hour about Jim’s job history, the parks, films and how we came to be huge fans of Disney.
Jim told us some back stories, including the one of the restaurant Olivia’s.
Olivia was a resident of Key West and used to cook for all, but didn’t have enough chairs or cutlery so asked the others to bring their own! That’s why it’s all mismatched in the restaurant.
After Breakfast Jim suggested we went to Wilderness Lodge for a tour of all the secrets and hidden treasures of the resort, I wasn’t going to pass this opportunity up! He also signed my new book for me.
We walked round the lobby and outside by the pool with Jim pointing out hidden mickeys, and bits of trivia. There was too much to say in this one small blog, so I will mention a few!
This is the only resort with an official mascot – Humphrey the brown bear. He is all around the resort, including on this sign with Mickey.
If you exit to the back of the resort, and head towards the pool. Take a look back and you will notice it looks like a bear. The top windows are his eyes, beneath that his muzzle, with the sides of the building being his arm stretching out. This is more noticeable in the evening with the lights on.
This a spring in the back of the resort looking towards Bay Lake, every morning a cast member has to measure the wind to determine how high the water jets, this is so it doesn’t drench the guests by the pool!
Look for bear paw prints in the walkways!
We also went and sat in the Carolwood Pacific Room, which is in the villas at Wilderness Lodge. This has part of the train that Walt himself used in his own back garden, this was on loan from his daughter Diane, other parts are in the Walt Disney Family Museum.
All in all I had a great morning with Jim, I learned a lot about Walt, the parks and Wilderness Lodge. It was a nice birthday treat organised by my friend Michelle, and I’m glad I got to meet Jim. I am aware this is a very special treat, and is not a common occurrence!
If you want to read about Disney stories I suggest you buy his books!