Monday, June 7, 2010

Disney World After Dark: Crossroads of the World

As many of you no doubt already know, that when you walk into Disney's Hollywood Studios, you are not only walking into a theme park, but also into a living history of iconic architecture. The Imagineers have given us many representations of the Golden Age of Hollywood in the facades along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. It is also a mint for those of us who have a great appreciation of the Art Deco style.

You may remember that Disney World After Dark looked at the Programmatic, or "California Crazy" architecture, on February 22nd of this year when we looked at The Darkroom. We also touched on it with photos of Gertie and the S.S. Down the Hatch. In the next few installments of Disney World After Dark, we'll stay in the Studios and look at other examples of iconic landmarks that the designers installed. Today, we'll stop at the Crossroads of the World.
The "Crossroads of the World" has been referred to by some as the first outdoor shopping mall built in the United States. It was built in 1936. The centerpiece building was designed to resemble an ocean liner and was surrounded by European-style bungalows. The 30 foot tower rose above the development and was topped with an eight foot revolving globe. Today the Crossroads of the World is home to business offices and two retail art galleries.

Of course, the version of the tower that greets us upon entering the park is topped with a revolving Mickey Mouse. This Mickey serves multiple tasks. Depending on which way he is facing, he is either welcoming you to the park or waving good-bye as you leave. He is also standing guard against lightning strikes, as the uppermost ear serves as a lightning rod.

It is said by many other people, not just me, that there is so much more to the parks than simply attractions and rides. True, they may what gets most of us through the turnstiles, but Disney has taken great care to give us so much more. Next time you're in the Studios and you're waiting for your Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass return time, take a walk around and explore the detail and history that has been built into just about everything you see.

More to follow...

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