Disney: The Story That Connects (Almost) All the Parks

Artist rendering of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Debuted at Mystic Manor in 2013. Copyright goes to the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

Disney really likes storytelling in their parks. Usually, though, each of their storylines are confined to one ride or show. It isn’t like you can connect something like Space Mountain to It’s a Small World. Not that you’d want to. Surprisingly, there are several attractions you can connect. These aren’t just attractions located in one of the Disney parks, either. Several attractions from most Disney locations are involved in this huge storyline. I’m talking about the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, or SEA. This society was officially brought to light when Mystic Manor appeared in Hong Kong in 2013. There, a photo of some of the societies most memorable members was put up. After that, these characters began to play major roles in some of Disney’s most classic rides. Let’s go through some of this societies members and the rides they’re attached to.

Lord Henry Mystic (and Albert, of course):

Lord Henry Mystic is the owner of Mystic Manor. He is a famous adventurer, known for his collection of 7000 mysterious artifacts he’s collected from all over the world. He also encountered a monkey caught in a spider’s web during his travels and adopted him, naming him Albert after his uncle. Henry appears in Mystic Manor of course, though Albert is the star of the show there, but signs of him can be found in various other areas. Letters he wrote about his artifacts appear in one of Hong Kong Disneyland’s restaurants, the Explorer’s Club, and a quote of his condemning an antagonist of Hong Kong’s Jungle River Cruise attraction, Garrett Reed, can be found in the newsletter handed out for the Halloween overlay of the ride. He also donated an expedition paddle to the Tropical Hideaway in Disneyland. In the photograph above he can be seen sitting in the armchair with Albert on his shoulder.

Harrison Hightower III:

Harrison Hightower III is the owner of the Tower of Terror in Tokyo Disneysea. Just like Henry Mystic, Hightower was also an adventurer who would collect artifacts from around the world. However, he would often exploit friendly natives and plunder items in order to bring them into his collection. He also proved not to be very knowledgeable about the artifacts he possessed, because he stole a cursed idol named Shiriki Utundu. This idol was owned by a tribe who viewed it as a protective entity and placed it atop an altar in their village. Hightower stole the idol and brought it back to his hotel, where he celebrated his find lavishly and refused to show the idol any respect. At the end of the night he walked into the hotel elevator with the idol in hand, hoping to find it a place amongst his collection. Inside the elevator, the idol electrocuted him with green lightening and sent the elevator plummeting down the shaft, killing him. Harrison Hightower’s ghost can be found inside the Tower of Terror and some notes written by him can be found in the Skipper Canteen restaurant in the Magic Kingdom in Florida. He can be seen above on the far left, holding the Shiriki Utundu.

Captain Mary Oceaneer:

Mary Oceaneer is the owner of the ship M.S. Salty IV, which can be found shipwrecked in Typhoon Lagoon in Florida. This shipwreck is the centerpiece of the water-slide attraction, Miss Adventure Falls. She is also the developer of the Disney Cruise Line’s Oceaneer Lab. Oceaneer was another treasure hunting adventurer, though most of her adventures were had at sea. She was especially famous for her knowledge of Atlantis. During one of her treasure searches her ship was hit by a hurricane, leaving her stranded in Florida. Mary has an entire section of the Disney Cruise Line dedicated to her where her collection can be found, as well as information on her pet parrot, Salty. More of her collection, and her other parrot Duncan, can be found in Typhoon Lagoon. At the Skipper Canteen several notes, including a map she drew, can be seen displayed. She also donated an expedition paddle to the Tropical Hideaway in Disneyland. She can be seen second from the right above, the only woman pictured in the SEA photograph.

Barnabas T. Bullion:

Barnabus T. Bullion is the founder and president of the Big Thunder Mining company, occupying Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Bullion believed his destiny was to obtain large amounts of gold and he also believed that he would strike gold inside Big Thunder Mountain. However, locals warned him that the mountain was protective of it’s gold. The mountain was considered haunted given it’s regular natural disasters. Runaway trains were also a common sight on the mountain. Barnabas T. Bullion remained at the site until his death, and various letters can be seen around it revealing him to be part of SEA. He also donated an expedition paddle to the Tropical Hideaway in Disneyland. Unfortunately, he died before the photograph above was taken.

Dr. Albert Falls:

This is a name most people will recognize. Albert Falls, of course, discovered and named the famous Schweitzer Falls, as well as the Shir Lee Temple, all of which can be found in The Jungle Cruise. He established the Jungle Navigation Company, hoping to make transporting cargo over jungle rivers more efficient. The headquarters of this company was used as both his home and as a secret meeting space for SEA. Books he wrote can be found in the Skipper Canteen and his portrait can be seen in the Bengal Barbeque in Disneyland. He also donated an expedition paddle to the Tropical Hideaway. It seems he will be at least briefly referenced in the upcoming “Jungle Cruise” film, as well! Though the photograph above was likely taken in his home, it doesn’t appear as if he’s present in it.

Camellia Falco:

Camellia Falco is the host of Soaring: Fantastic Flight in Tokyo Disneysea. She was the first woman inducted into SEA, although she isn’t pictured above. She was the daughter of the two founders of the Museum of Fantastic Flight, which she inherited upon their death. She often traveled by hot air balloon and was so interested in flight that she created the Dream Flyer, or the gliders featured on Soaring: Fantastic Flight. Eventually she died, but her spirit lingers in the Museum of Fantastic Flight to host guests. All of her SEA documents can be found in the ride, and she also donated an expedition paddle to the Tropical Hideaway.

These are the most present members of SEA in the parks, but there are definitely more. Disney hasn’t even given stories to the majority of the characters featured in the photograph in Mystic Manor. So far we’ve only seen bits and pieces of these characters around the parks, but their story just keeps getting bigger. New additions to the parks seem to bring more references to this society. Hopefully this storyline will grow detailed enough that we can more easily recognize these characters. Until then, I’m hoping Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disneyland will get to add their own adventurer to this promising lineup.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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