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Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Closer Look At The Safari Club Arcade - Magic Kingdom's First Extinct "Attraction"

A Closer Look At The Safari Club Arcade - Magic Kingdom's First Extinct "Attraction"
by: guide4wdw - Collin

Throughout the early years of Magic Kingdom, very few changes were made, but rather additions were often being developed. Disney had all the space they wanted, so unless something simply did not function as planned, it often remained in the park for at least 5 to 10 years. However, there was one attraction that simply disappeared a short 2 years after it's debut as an opening year attraction. In 1972, Disney created (by default) it's first extinct attraction with the redevelopment of a simple arcade into a retail merchandise location.

The arcade, simply known as The Safari Club Arcade, was a simple experience where guests of all ages could take some spare change and test their skills hunting exotic animals in a simple arcade style format. 

While the overall experience was very similar to the early format of the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade a few short steps away, the concept was scaled down to an arcade machine format. Essentially, guests could shoot small bb's out of air powered rifle at small targets a short distance away. As you can imagine, this concept later proved somewhat dangerous despite the rifles having a limited range of motion. As a result, we have the more modern, laser based, Frontierland Shootin' Arcade.

While this experience is remembered by very few guests, even if they did experience it first hand, in 1972 Disney decided to convert the location into a merchandise area to appeal to those exiting the Swiss Family Treehouse. That particular location, known as Colonel Hathi's Safari Club, was later replaced by the Island Supply Company which still remains today. Island Supply, after a fairly recent remodel, is now a Sunglass Hut branded location and the first of it's kind in the Magic Kingdom. 

Many guests may not remember this arcade, but one many still remember today that features a similar concept is The Caribbean Arcade that developed a short distance away in 1974. The arcade, which was located near the exit to the current Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, featured a similar style game to what was found in the Safari Club. Guests could shoot Pirates instead of exotic animals, and a few lucky individuals got to make a puppet like skeleton move around using an early electronic button based interface. While this location was also short lived, closing (1979) just 5 years after it's debut, many guests today that got to experience the Disney of the 70's still have fond memories of this quaint little arcade tucked away in a corner of Adventureland. Today, the land no longer features an arcade, partially due to the decreased demand for the games, but also as a result of new regulations and rules against many of the machine presentations. However, these unique opportunities led the way for many of the more creative shopping areas in the Magic Kingdom.

(Photo: Disney)

As I like to say, Disney is always changing and those changes help give us one more reason to return to the parks to enjoy all new experiences and a few classics that have stood the test of time! 

As always, we ask that if you liked this article or you learned something new, simply SHARE it with friends and it will truly help us out! Thanks! 

(Source: Classic Disney Photos and Additional Info: Omniluxe.net)

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