So that casino at Walt Disney World is finally happening?

Click-bait headlines are exclaiming that a casino is coming to Walt Disney World. Whether this is accurate or not isn’t important, but it did bring back memories of something my father told me long ago.

My dad was taken to Disneyland shortly after it first opened in 1955. In the 1970s, he took me to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Because of that, I can say there was a time when I had visited every Disney park in the entire world!

But I digress.

In the days before the Internet, Disney rumors were far more sparse. You really didn’t know anything unless you read it in a book, or you knew someone who knew anything. And, somewhere, my dad had “learned” that the space-age Contemporary Resort had been built to have a casino. Disney, doing a casino? That will never happen.

I grew up in Houston, and after I got my first computer modem (kids, ask your parents), I started frequenting the bulletin board systems (BBS) in town. One of the users was a guy who had worked at Magic Kingdom for a number of years doing behind the scenes stuff.

I exchanged many messages with him, asking him all kinds of questions. “What do the Presidents look like up close?” “How does xxxx work?” He explained things to me that I wouldn’t be able to confirm until a decade later after I got access to Internet (news groups like alt.disney.disneyland and rec.arts.disneyparks and, later, personal home pages on the World Wide Web).

One story he told me had to do with Madam Leota in the Haunted Mansion. I expect I knew it was a projection, but he told me something about air being blown to keep dust out from in front of the projection (true?), and that the lens was special with edges to keep the sides in better focus or something. A decade later, I think it was the Persistence of Vision magazine that contained some of this same information. I bet if I did some web searches right now I could find out if either of those sources were correct.

But not everything he told me was correct. Or, if it was, it never amounted to anything. He mentioned they had been wanting to do a similar Madame Leota effect for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, except it would be to project a giant octopus or something. I don’t remember anything else, except the term “angel hair” was part of it — to this day, I still don’t really know what that meant. I envisioned it as some kind of substance you could fill a glass sphere with and project on.

None of this is important, of course, but he, too, had heard about a casino at the Contemporary.

Over the years, Disney has made steps to fight against casinos coming to the area. There’s really no reason to believe Disney would ever do anything like a casino.

But then Pleasure Island happened, and none of us ever expected Disney to compete against Church Street Station by opening up a whole bunch of night clubs!

All of this to say that … if it does come to pass, at least we can change this crazy unsubstantiated and unlikely rumor from CLEARLY FALSE to OH I GUESS ITS TRUE. Even if one has nothing to do with the other.

Until next time…

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