I reread a few days ago the chapter about Adventureland in what is clearly considered today as "the bible" about Disneyland Paris, the art-book "From Sketch to Reality." While doing so, I realised that the stories about the Middle-East section, the African area as well as Adventure Isle were extremely complete. I learned a lot and did not have anything to add. As to the Asian side of the land, however, that was a completely different story. There are quite a few stories to tell that for some reason Alain and Didier missed. So follow me. Let's head east.

During the 1950s, Walt Disney and Marc Davis worked on a concept for a restaurant that should have been situated within Disneyland's Adventureland. Visitors to this restaurant, called "The Tiki Room," would have been entertained by Audio-Animatronic birds. The idea, which proved impractical, never became reality. However, it evolved into what would later become at Disneyland, California, the "Enchanted Tiki Room" attraction based on the same idea of AA birds. Now, at Disneyland Paris, Walt's original concept was dug up and gave birth to the Explorers' Club, a restaurant that featured Audio-Animatronic toucans perched on the branches of a giant tree.

The Explorers' Club, now called Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost, is a real mixture of influences. From the beginning, the restaurant, according to its story, was a meeting place, the place where, in the 30s, explorers from around the world would meet and share their discoveries and experiences. In the first concept for the "Explorers' Club," which later evolved, a plane was supposed to have crash landed on the building and its engine supposedly powered the fans.

But during the first few months after the opening of the Park, the place and its menu were not successful, so it was decided to convert it into a Chinese restaurant. To justify this change of direction and to keep the story of the restaurant coherent, the Imagineers concocted the story of an explorer and member of the club. That character was a great traveller and gambler, who met a Chinese woman and married her. Having won the Explorers' Club in a bet, he decided to settle down with his wife who then did all the cooking. This explains the presence of Chinese cooking in the middle of a Caribbean scene and the rickshaw that was added at the time. The restaurant today is a pizzeria, its concept having evolved again. Its new name comes from the famous elephant, Colonel Hathi, in "The Jungle Book." However, the two giant wrought iron gates in front of the fireplace still display the initials 'E.C.', reminding us of the existence of the wonderful Explorer's Club.

Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost contains huge wall paintings in its main dining room. Each of them is made up of three large scenes created by artist John Horny. John, being subversive by nature, included on purpose some women in those scenes as adventure stories at the time only had men in them. He also filled the murals with puns and inside jokes : One of the names that one discovers in them is that of a company called 'Basswell's', which is a name made up of the surnames of Sid Bass, the largest Disney shareholder at the time, and Frank Wells, the former number two at Disney, who died in a helicopter accident. Both of them were great mountaineers. Two imaginary railways also contain obvious puns : the 'Mesca Line' (!) and the 'Inkaline', pronounced 'incline', the steep line which heads up mountainous slopes towards Machu Picchu.

Close to Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost is a place which has undergone nearly as many changes as the restaurant - the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost. Originally, before the attraction Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril opened in 1993, this little shop in a far corner of the jungle was called Trader Sam's.

The shop was given the name of the character Sam that can be found in the American attraction Jungle Cruise. Since Imagineers didn't have much room to theme the location they hung the accessories on the ceiling. At the time there was a ladder going up to Sam's hammock, a set of golf clubs and some musical instruments that he was supposed to have exchanged with other explorers or inhabitants of Adventureland. There was also a pair of Safari shorts with holes in them. The idea was that a tiger had attacked him and had ripped his shorts with its claws. Happily, Sam escaped. Some of the accessories can still be found in the shop. I'll let you discover which ones.

That's it for today, but before wrapping-up, here are a few odd additional details and titbits:

One of the attractions originally planned for the Asian area of Adventureland was an attraction called 'Lost Worlds Rapids', a sort of jungle cruise around a volcano inhabited by dinosaurs. That attraction came directly from concepts created in the '70s by Tony Baxter for Discovery Bay. For more info about that attraction, click here.

Imagineers added paintings from the artist Harper Goff to the walls of the Explorer's Club. Harper Goff was one of the Imagineers who created 'Jungle Cruise' for Disneyland, California.

John Horny did a concept painting of the Explorer's Club for the version of the restaurant where a plane had supposedly crashed on its roof and was used by the owner to power the fans. In that rendering (reproduced on page 133 of the book From Sketch to Reality) you can see the bar with the pilot as barman, and as customers you discover Cousteau with a fish in his glass, Hemingway, Beryl Markham smoking a cigarette and looking over Hemingway's shoulder as she was said to have stolen her book idea from him, Indiana Jones, Crocodile Dundee and John Horny himself in the background with a duck under his arm.

Some of the props used in the queue area of Indian Jones and the Temple of Peril have a strange story. The horns on the jeep were originally supposed to be displayed at the Lucky Nugget Saloon in Frontierland and wood from Fort Comstock was used to create the wagons.

Since I always refer to the book "From Sketch to Reality" in that series, I just would like to remind you that, at the latest news, Didier Ghez still seemed to be selling limited editions of the English version of the book at a discount price. For more information you can contact him at [email protected].