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Hodgepodge 3

Jack Spence Masthead

Occasionally, I have a topic I wish to discuss, but it's not long enough to make up an entire article. To remedy this, I've created my Hodgepodge series. In these, I will discuss, two, three, or four unrelated subjects. Today I'll be writing about Highway 429, Disney World Aromas, and Restaurant Cards.

Highway 429

The following is a driving tip for those of you who travel to Walt Disney World by car and motor down Florida's Turnpike (Highway 91). This suggestion has been shared in the AllEars newsletter in the past, but it bears repeating.

Since I've moved to the far west side of metropolitan Orlando, I now frequently use Highway 429. This relatively new stretch of toll road runs from Orange Blossom Trail down to Interstate 4. Also known as the Daniel Webster Western Beltway, Highway 429 is never busy. Even during rush hour, this four lane stretch of road is practically deserted. It was constructed prior to the Great Recession in anticipation of the housing boom that is only now beginning in this area in earnest.

Highway 429

Most people traveling to Disney World via Florida's Turnpike stay on the turnpike until they come to Interstate 4 (heading west toward Tampa). Although traffic on Interstate 4 ebbs and flows during the day, it is always busy and often stressful to drive. However, you can avoid this hectic stretch of road by exiting the turnpike onto Highway 429 (south) about 9 miles north of Interstate 4.

Once on Highway 429, it's about a 14 mile drive to the Western Way Disney World exit. Here you'll encounter the quintessential Disney sign as you enter Western Way. This road travels behind Disney's Animal Kingdom and deposits you near Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.

Disney World off-ramp

Disney World off-ramp

Disney World off-ramp

Disney World Arch

I would definitely consider this route next time you're driving to Walt Disney World from the north. It can possibly save you time and it will definitely save you driving frustration.

Here is an interesting side note" In the months just prior to the Great Recession, Disney announced a major development for the land surrounding the Western Way off-ramp. The project was called Flamingo Crossings and was to feature a value-oriented, themed tourist district. Here guests would find lodging, restaurants, timeshares, and shopping opportunities. Most of these businesses would be non-Disney enterprises.

Flamingo Crossings

Land preparation and roadways were completed for Flamingo Crossings, but unfortunately, when the economy turned south, this project took a backseat to other, more pressing ventures. Today, all you can see of this development are beautifully landscaped streets, painted fences, and vacant land. Since the website for this endeavor still exists, let's hope that someday this project will be resurrected.

Flamingo Crossings

Flamingo Crossings

Disney World Aromas

When I worked at Disneyland (1971 - 1980), the Imagineers employed a sneaky trick to entice guests into their Main Street Candy Palace. They placed bowls of vanilla (or other fragrant aromas) near air vents and had fans blow the smell out into the passing throngs. If you look at this next picture, you can see the vents below the windows.

Main Street Candy Shop

As we know, smells can evoke memories and produce strong emotions. The Imagineers know this and use aromas in ways other than selling candy. For example, when designing Spaceship Earth, the Imagineers wanted guests to instantly know they were going to experience the "ages of time." To do this, they created a musty odor that greets time travelers the moment they enter the loading area. It's subtle, but if you pay attention, there is no mistaking this smell.

Spaceship Earth Loading Area

A not so subtle odor can also be experienced later in this same attraction. When we travel through the burning of Rome tableau, the smell of smoke is very strong.

Burning of Rome

Of course, we all remember smelling oranges as we passed by the desert farm in Horizons.

Horizons Farm

This same scent can be experienced today on Soarin' as we fly over a California citrus grove. This attraction also produces the smells of a pine forest as we glide over a mountain river and the aroma of the raging surf as we wing over the Pacific Ocean.




It's interesting to note, these scenes were each placed well over a minute apart so the fans and air conditioning could remove one aroma before introducing the next. In addition, the air conditioner needs to be able to entirely remove all odors before the next group of hang gliders arrive.

The same is true over at the Imagination pavilion. When Figment introduces the foul smell in the Journey into Imagination with Figment attraction, the air conditioner must suck out all of the offending aroma before the next group enters the room.


By the way, this foul smell is actually a modified coffee aroma. Disney couldn't really use a truly obnoxious smell or guests would complain. In this case, Disney tricks us into thinking the smell is actually bad. First we see Figment as a skunk, then Dr. Nigel Channing says, "That really stinks."

Disney uses another unpleasant aroma in an attraction at the Magic Kingdom. In Tomorrowland we find Stitch's Great Escape. Here, Stitch burps and we're subjected to his chilidog breath. I don't know what this smell actually is, but most guests find it unpleasant and groan when it is released.


Over at Mickey's Philharmagic in Fantasyland, audiences are treated to more pleasant aromas. On this attraction we experience the smell of champagne and pie. At one time, the scent of jasmine (the flower, not Aladdin's girlfriend) was used during the magic carpet sequence. However, it was discovered that many people are allergic to this smell so Disney discontinued its use.

Mickey's Philharmagic

Disney also uses the sense of smell in It's Tough to be a Bug at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Here, a stink bug bombards the audience with his potent defense mechanism. Later in the show, an insecticide scent is sprayed into the air.

It's Tough to be a Bug

It's Tough to be a Bug

Distinctive smells are not just limited to the theme parks. The hotels also have their individual odors. For years, I've noticed that the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary has a distinctive odor. I always assumed it came from the various building materials used during constructions. But of course, over 40 years later, these smells would have dissipated. So when I learned that Disney also manufactures aromas for their various hotels, I wasn't surprised. So the next time you walk into the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or other Disney hotel, take a deep breath. You'll notice a pleasing smell that is unique to that establishment.

Contemporary Resort

As we know, Fantasia was a ground breaking film with the use of Fantasound in some theaters, a sound system that eventually evolved into stereo. But this wasn't the only innovative idea Walt had for the movie. He also wanted to release aromas into the theater during different segments of the film. For example, the smell of incense was suggested for the Ave Maria piece. He proposed having ushers walk up and down the aisles with spray bottles to release the appropriate scent at the appropriate time. But this method of distribution was impractical and it wasn't feasible to install mechanisms to do this automatically.


There are also the unintentional aromas that captivate us. Who doesn't get a craving when walking by the popcorn machine? Or the smell of burgers can be alluring over by Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe.

Popcorn Wagon

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe

And thankfully, Disney restrooms are kept clean enough as to not offend us with obnoxious odors. LOL

Restaurant Cards

Whenever I visit a Disney resort, I always pick up the free paper goodies that are available to guests. These include resort maps, theme park guide books, brochures, and anything else I can lay my hands on. While rummaging through my Disney paper goods recently, I came across a short-lived handout that was available at any of the concierge desks located around Walt Disney World - restaurant cards.

The front of each card featured the name of the restaurant, its logo, and the phone number for Priority Seating. Inside, guests could find an abbreviated menu with no prices. The back cover offered a brief description of the restaurant or its offerings. These cards were small and could easily fit into a pocket, wallet, or purse. Closed they measured 3½" x 2". When open, they measured 3½" x 4".

Below is an example of a Brown Derby card:

Brown Derby

Brown Derby.jpg

These cards were displayed in a special rack and were available to anyone walking by -- just like the Theme Park Guides are today. They offered guests a way to learn more about Disney World restaurants without having to wait in line to speak to a concierge.

I thought it might be fun today to take a look at some of the restaurants that no longer exist. This is a great way to learn a little about Disney World's past and perhaps stir up a few memories.

Flagler's - Citricos replaced Flagler's in 1997 at the Grand Floridian. Flagler's was named after Henry Flagler, the man who brought the railroad and resort hotels to the east coast of Florida.



Concourse Steakhouse - This moderate-to-fine dining restaurant was located on the fourth floor of the Contemporary on the Grand Canyon Concourse. It was replaced by a quick-service eatery called Contempo Café. A new restaurant, The Wave, opened on the first floor of the resort to fill the void left by Concourse Steakhouse.

Concourse Steakhouse

Concourse Steakhouse

Coral Isle Café - This casual dining room was located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at the Polynesian. In 1998, this space was remodeled and reopened as the Kona Café.

Coral Isle Café

Coral Isle Café

Tangaroa Terrace - This other casual dining spot at the Polynesian was open until sometime in 1996 when it closed permanently and was not replaced. Today this space is used for special functions.

Tangaroa Terrace

Tangaroa Terrace

BonFamille's Café - Located at Port Orleans (now Port Orleans French Quarter), this lovely restaurant was open for breakfast and dinner. It closed permanently in 2000.

Bonfamille's Café

Bonfamille's Café

Fireworks Factory - The Fireworks Factory was located on Pleasure Island when the original backstory was in place. As the story goes, this was an industrial wharf began by a man named Merriweather Pleasure. The Fireworks Factory was one of the businesses that had taken up occupancy here. This restaurant closed in 1997 and was replaced by Wildhorse Saloon in 1998. Today this building has been completely razed in preparation for Disney Springs.

Fireworks Factory

Fireworks Factory

Ariel's - When the Yacht and Beach Club Resort first opened, the Yacht had a steakhouse restaurant (Yachtsman Steakhouse) and the Beach had a seafood restaurant (Ariel's). In 1996, the Boardwalk opened nearby with the Flying Fish Café. Soon after, it was determined that there just wasn't a need for two seafood restaurants in the area and Ariel's close in 1997.



Captain's Tavern - The Caribbean Beach Resort was the first moderately priced hotel to open at Walt Disney World. The Imagineers did not think a full-service restaurant was needed and opted to create only a counter-service eatery. Unfortunately, they misjudged their audience and hastily converted a nearby lounge into the Captain's Tavern. In 2002, this establishment was closed and completely remodel. It reopened as Shutters at Old Port Royal.

Captain's Tavern

Captain's Tavern

That's it for Hodgepodge Three. Check back next week when I discuss the Shootin' Galleries.

The previous post in this blog was Aulani - Part Two.

The next post in this blog is Shootin' Galleries.

Comments (32)


Enjoyed reading this article. Would like to see more.


I would agree on the Disney smells bit. My favorites are the smells from Spaceship Earth and POTC. The entire Land pavilion also has a certain smell to it. But I do love Disney smells... good or bad!!!

Clare C.:


Love the Hodgepodge of Disney info! We always take 429 now when coming from NW Florida to Disney, it's a very quiet stretch of road.

I'd never seen the restaurant cards before. Good thing we now have All Ears to give us all of that wonderful restaurant information, including prices!

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! Sometimes, a little hodgepodge goes a long way. I learned a lot this time.
I had no idea those restaurant cards existed. I think they are very cool and I totally would have collected them.
I always enjoy the different scents from the resorts and attractions (with the exception of the chili dog odor from Stitch and the skunk smell in Figment, yuck). I love the scent that greets guests at the YC. It's so fresh and flowery.
Well, 5 more days until I'm down in the Florida sun at my beloved Disney World. Can you tell I'm excited? I think I'm driving my husband a little crazy...Mostly looking forward to breakfast at Olivia's, the Flower and Garden Festival, and the new parade at MK.
Have a good day, and I hope to catch your blog next week (maybe I'll read it while waiting in line at one of the attractions at HS, because that's where I'll be a week from today). :)


Bonfamiles!! I was definitely at that place the last morning of my first ever trip. My parents decided they wanted a "nice" breakfast before our flight home. Good memories, haha.

Loved looking at the other old restaurants. We always have nostalgia for closed rides and finished shows but very rarely do you ever hear about old restaurants/bars not called the Adventurer's Club. Really cool change of pace...would love to see more sometime if you've got 'em.

Josh Weiss:

Hey Jack
Next time we drive to Florida I will have try using 492. We always look forward to the many smells that Disney has to offer whenever we visit (even the skunk and stink bug). It was also interesting to learn about the resturant cards that were available. It's too bad they don't have them anymore, they would have made a nice souvenir for me. Can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Regina A.:

I've traveled Hwy 429 when driving in from Texas. On previous trips, we had travelled all the way to I-4, but when we used a GPS, it took us down Hwy 429. It was amazing with no traffic. Then when the GPS told us to exit Hartzog Rd., I just knew we would be lost!! But as we came up on the Walt Disney World Archway, I was okay. What was funny was there was NO traffic as we drove under that sign and my sister asked, "Do you think they closed Disney?" LOL

Next time I go to WDW, I will do more "smelling"!!

Thank for the blog!


Love all of the Disney smells. My favorite is walking under the train tunnel and the amazing smell of popcorn comes through.

Great blog!

Maja K.:

Hi Jack,

Our GPS discovered Hwy 429 a few years ago, and it has really made driving to Disney World a lot more enjoyable - we love driving over the overpass and seeing most of Disney's large attractions and hotels all at once! We also love no crowds.

Uh, and all of these years I just assumed Disney was not cleaning the Spaceship Earth ride :)! I really did - that's why it is not one of my favorites.


Great Hodgepodge! We always say that all the All Star Resorts have the same aroma when we walk in. We take a deep breath and know we are home!!


I love the smell of Kidani Village. It matches the décor and the feel of that hotel. That being said, I also love the hotels "sounds" - birds, crickets, drums. Love it!!


Jack - Shhh - don't tell people about the 429 - I use it almost everyday as I work in Clermont and live below 192. It's a great ride with NO ONE bothering me on the road. Thanks for all the great smell info - the Beach Club also has a distinct almost powder smell. I'd love to know what it is exactly so I could get soap in it or something.....


Hi Jack,

I love the Hodgepodge! I've been enjoying the pleasant drive on the 429 since the month it opened.
I have always associated all the different attractions, resorts and areas with certain smells/scents. Spaceship Earth has always had a scent that reminds me of a greasy auto mechanics garage. I can smell it every time I walk by.
The heavy musty smell you get when you launch off in a boat on, let's say...Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm not so sure that it's completely artificial....;)
My favorite resort is the Poly, with its wonderful smell of lush tropical plants.

Thanks again for the great blog, Jack.

~ Johnny


My wife and I went to the Grand Floridian a week or two before Christmas. It was my first time ever visiting the parks in the Christmas season and it was, of course, amazing. For the holiday season the Grand Floridian lobby was heavy with an amazing scent that combined vanilla and spices and pine. It just smelled like Christmas. Every time I went to the general store in the lobby, there was always someone in there asking if they could get the scent for home use. Unfortunately they said no, but I think they'd make a fortune if they did! Well. More of a fortune. The fact that people are staying at the GF at all makes them something of a fortune.

The Brown Derby card surprises me. I'm a bit shocked to see that grapefruit cake wasn't always on the menu. They make it seem like such a staple! (A staple that isn't all that great, but hey, to each their own.)

And since you briefly mentioned a restaurant at the Polynesian, it's a crime that the pulled pork nachos at Captain Cook's aren't as widely loved as the Dole Whip. Holy cats, those things were delicious!


Oh, and one other thing about smells.

"Who doesn’t get a craving when walking by the popcorn machine?"

From what I've been told (this was by a popcorn vendor at 6 Flags, but I'd be willing to bet Disney invented and perfected it) the popcorn scent itself is a fabrication. The amazing popcorn you smell isn't what's popping up, but yet another scent being piped into the air. Which is why popcorn that may have been sitting there for hours and tastes kind of like woodchips smells movie theater perfect.


I have some of the restaurant cards. I only took the cards of the restaurants we liked, but in hindsight should have collected them all. I thought they were so novel!

Wendy Snelgrove:

Hi Jack,

Another artificial smell is the burning fire at Kali River Rapids. That's very strong.

Thanks for the interesting blog.



Love, love, LOVE reading your blog posts, but this one in particular hit the spot! Loved the info you passed along about 429 (did that once by accident heading back North and now go that way every time) and Flamingo Crossings. The smells...not surprised at all to hear that Disney does that intentionally. It's just another reminder of how far Disney will go to build positive memories of the Happiest Place on Earth. It certainly works! Can't wait to get back there this summer!

Greg Highfill :

Hi Jack,

The “hodgepodge” blog idea is a great one.

The first time I experienced Hwy 429, was returning from California with my father. I knew of this way, and that there was a western way into Walt Disney World. Since I had hotel reservations at what is now, The Doubletree Club Hotel on Apopka Vineland Road, just outside Disney property, I thought this “new” toll road would be a nice way to avoid the I-4 mess, while also snaking through Disney property.

As for aromas, I believe science tells us that nothing can evoke a sharp memory, many times complete with emotions, like an aroma. I remember the first time I took a whiff from a bottle of sage. I was instantly transported to my childhood, where sage grew across the road from our house in Laguna Canyon. I love all the Disney aromas, and that “familiarity” even in the resort hotels make you really feel that you are visiting an old friend.


I used to love Ariel's when I was little.
Also, always thought Spaceship Earth was just...old. And I would give my foot to be able to bottle the Polynesian lobby smell.

Heather Hynes:

We always used 429 when driving from Mt. Dora/Eustis Area.. No traffic and it was such a nice peaceful drive.. I swear at one point you can look over and see the contemp hotel from the highway but only for a split second..The entrance to WDW is very well marked and getting to the hotels is very eay..

Fun read, Jack! I've always heard rumors that the "burning Rome" smell in Spaceship Earth is created with lapsang souchong tea—which smells just like a campfire. Just a tip for people who want to try it at home!

Jack's Comment:

There is a cooking condiment called Liquid Smoke. You use it in BBQ sauces and the like. It can be purchased in any supermarket. I've always thought that the Burning of Rome smells like Liquid Smoke. Who knows? LOL

Steve B:

I always thought the Figment/skunk smell in the Imagination ride was the same odor as the stinkbug in "It's Tough to be a Bug".

Jami K:

Can you describe the smell at Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary? I can never quite put my finger on it... And the water has such a distinctive smell all around WDW!

Jack's Answer:

No. I can't describe it.

Okay, I'll try.

I've always thought the Contemporary has a musty but pleasant smell. I know it sounds contradictory, but that's my take on it.

Davida Kosa:

Thanks for the memories, Jack. We honeymooned at WDW in '96. We ate at Flagler's, probably paid for with traveler's checks. (Google that, young folks!) I don't remember exactly what we ate, but I do know that dessert was some sort of delicious chocolate confection. We also ate at the Fireworks Factory -- yummy BBQ & a great backstory.

Jill K:

When we spent our honeymoon at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in 2002, my husband and I just loved the scent of the place. It was so ubiquitous that we assumed it was something used on the carpets or actually piped into the air. But when we asked at the gift shop (I would have loved some air freshener or a candle with that scent), they had no idea what we meant.

We've stopped back a few times to visit the restaurants, and I believe the scent is a sort of mix of sandalwood and some of the foods and/or spices from Boma and Jiko. One of the first things we do when we walk in the doors is take a good, deep breath. :) It brings back good memories.

Penny from Vermont:

Love the Hodgepodge stories.
Next invention....Smell-phones!

Rob Dickinson:

Hi Jack,

I really enjoyed the Hodgepodge article. Good thinking. Looking forward to more!!


Eileen Miller:

'Hodgepodge' - what a great idea! You know, of course, that many people would just take one of the sections and call it thier post for the day. But you never just phone it in - quite the contrary! Which is what makes yours one of the very few blog I actually read every week.

My family has enjoyed the scents of WDW for years, and just started noticing the different hotel scents a few years back. Glad to know we weren't imagining them! I had to laugh when I recently caught a WDW 'infomercial' (one of those hour-long specials they put the Destination America channel, and one of the cast members was earnestly explaining that they pump the scents onto Mainstreet USA to evoke the turn of the century. You know good and well it is a way to entice people into the stores and spend! But we love it, and it is interesting to think of how they have to work to remove smells as well on some attractions. They just don't miss a trick - and that's one of the reasons why we love it!

Thanks again for a wonderful post.


Hi Jack,

I always use 429 on my way down from TN! The first few times I went to WDW as an adult with others driving, we went down I-4 and it was very busy with traffic. However, my first trip down being the one in the driver seat, I'd printed directions from MapQuest and it took me down 429 and I loved it! So pleasant. I haven't turned back since!

Thanks for another great post!


Ah, the smells of WDW... the dinosaur portion of Universe of Energy used to have a really great, distinctive smell. I'm not sure if they still use it.

Spaceship Earth is my favorite ride, and one way to remember it is with a certain fragrance, "Bonfire" by Demeter. It smells just like the burning scene in the ride. I'm wearing it today! You can almost smell the flames.

Thanks for all the love you put into your entries!


Me and my family always talk about the "Disney Smell"! for us, its the certain mix of AC and water in Splash Mountain that you can smell walking thru the caves in line. On our last trip, Splash Mountain was our first ride and it was a hot day. When we were in line, we hit a certain point where the AC hit us from above and we all looked at each other and said, yup, we're here!!!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 3, 2014 6:40 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Aulani - Part Two.

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