Like every aspect in Walt Disney World, the story is in the “Disney” details and a building is never just a building. As we continue to take a look at all the fun things to do around Fort Wilderness Campground, we can’t leave out one of the most important halls in all the Walt Disney World resorts: Pioneer Hall. Here are some fun pieces of trivia about Fort Wilderness’ own Pioneer Hall:
- Pioneer Hall officially opened in April 1974 about three years after Walt Disney World opened.
- Pioneer Hall’s architecture was based on the Frontier style lodge of the American Northwest territories.
- Pioneer Hall was assembled using 1,283 hand fitted logs. However, Florida Pine trees were not an appropriate tree for this project. Not only were the Florida Pine trees not tall enough for the proposed building but they did not have suitable bark.
- In order to find the correct type of trees to build the structure, a 6 month search was conducted. The search finally ended approximately 2,500 miles away from Florida in Montana where the Western White Pines were found.
- When Pioneer Hall originally opened, it housed Crockett’s Tavern. A full service lounge an dinner that featured tons of official Davy Crockett memorabilia. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
- The Entertainment Division of Imagineering objected to two architectural elements of Pioneer Hall, the size of the balcony and the size and placement of two aesthetic pillars. Executives wanted a wide balcony in order to accommodate additional rows of tables and cash flow. The Entertainment Division fought back, effectively arguing that having multiple rows of tables and chairs would hinder stage sightlines for those not in the front row. For anyone who has ever visited Pioneer Hall, it is clear the Entertainment Division won.
- As for the two pillars, it again came down to an issue of sightlines. The Entertainment Division deemed the pillars to be too wide. Executives won this decision and the pillars were constructed using 70 tons of rare ebony stone from North Carolina. However, in the end the Entertainment Division was correct and over the years the width of the pillars has been reduced.
- During the time the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue was under rehearsals in 1974, the Pioneer Hall hosted the New-York based country-western group Star Spangled Washboard Band.