This opening-year map and ticket from Walt Disney World’s Treasure Island, feature text and artwork describing the earliest incarnation of the now-unused Bay Lake property.
The island, themed around Walt Disney’s first live-action feature, played home to numerous species of plants and animals (birds and tortoises, in particular), in addition to serving as a walk-around attraction of sorts, in the same vein as the Magic Kingdom’s Tom Sawyer’s Island, albeit with a much heavier focus on nature and conservation. In fact, less than two years after opening, the island would be renovated and re-branded as Discovery Island to reflect the ever-evolving purpose of the island as a wildlife sanctuary. In 1978, the island was accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in its operation of breeding rare birds. As evidenced by this earliest of island maps, however, the original intent for Treasure Island was an interactive themed attraction, more in line with the nearby park offerings. Sadly, the island, which was said to have piqued Walt Disney’s interest for its potential, even in his earliest scouting trips to the Central Florida area, was permanently closed to the public nearly twenty-five years to the day of its opening in April 1974.
The brochure’s cover is fronted by the image of a pirate ship and the following invitation, which makes reference to the original Treasure Island story:
Sail the Seven Seas of Walt Disney World to an island filled with tropic beauty, colorful birds, and the mystery of Ben Gunn’s buried treasure!
The three-panel interior features a hand-drawn, overhead view of the island, with eighteen “points of interest” highlighted and described in the margins. A single back panel is devoted to informational text related to the variety of exotic plants and birds that visitors may see on the island, such as Indian bamboo and orchid trees, Chinese gardenias, South American passion flowers, Blue Pea Fowl, Spotted Guineas, Caribbean and Chilean Flamingoes, American Bald Eagles, and South American Macaws and Cockatoos. The second back panel showcases “Future Attractions” planned for the island, including both a themed cave and children’s playground.
The adult admission ticket to Treasure Island: Bay Lake’s Tropical Island Paradise, printed on the standard Globe Ticket paper, was originally included as a “Special Adventure” extra in one of the resort’s coupon-style ticket books and included transportation to the island via motor launch (from either the Contemporary Resort-Hotel, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, or Magic Kingdom) or by way of a scenic, 50-minute excursion from the Magic Kingdom, known as the Walt Disney World Cruise.
This rare map and ticket, from a stand-alone island attraction that didn’t last two years in its original state, provide a fine example of early Disney World history and conjure fond memories for the relatively few guests who graced its shores.