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Behind the Scenes: 120-Ton Winnie the Pooh Tree Relocated at Walt Disney World

posted on May 18th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Winnie the Pooh Tree Relocated
While most of us slept, something quite amazing was happening this month at the Magic Kingdom Theme Park – a massive effort to relocate the 120-ton Winnie the Pooh tree to make way for the upcoming Fantasyland expansion. Florida Imagineers and the Buena Vista Construction Company used one of the largest mobile hydraulic cranes in the construction industry to make it happen over three nights. And today, we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how a year of planning came together to save the landmark tree and how it’ll now be used to connect “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” to the expansion’s new Fantasyland Forest. It was “Imagineering perfect.”

During the work, the crane had to be dismantled because of load limitations on a bridge leading into Magic Kingdom and transported in pieces to the construction site by a massive convoy that included the crane, a boom transport carrier and a fleet of vehicles carrying the crane’s 10-ton counterweights.
Winnie the Pooh Tree Relocated
The decision to save the tree was partially for theming, part economical and part ecological. Walt Disney World Concept Designer, Senior Director Chris Beatty said it would have been a lot less work to simply demolish the tree and send it to a landfill but the decision to repurpose it was “a prudent use of resources and a great green choice.” The Pooh tree will continue to be an asset to the Fantasyland storyline.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

35 Comments 1 Reply

1

Rina from TX on May 18th, 2010 at 11:35 am

OH yeah, I really want pictures of the tree when I go in August, my boys really love Pooh.

2

Anonymous on May 18th, 2010 at 11:54 am

I am so happy to see the tree being repurposed instead of just being demolished.

Can’t wait to see what else Disney has in store for us when the expansion is further along.

3

Jeffrey from MN on May 18th, 2010 at 11:55 am

What a massive undertaking. I’m glad to see the Tree will be around for quite a while. I have some very fond memories of spending time with my young sons in that Tree and love that it will remain – maybe for some very fond memories with grandkids? :)

4

Jennifer on May 18th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Great to see the Pooh Tree staying in WDW! I just have one thought on the video…shouldn’t the Disney Imagineers have “ears” on their hard hats?

5

maria from puebla on May 18th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

That´s only a little example of the Disney´s magic. My best memories are kept over all the wonderfuls parks. Thanks for all you´re doing to preserve those magical moments! I love Disney!

6

Sylvia on May 18th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Amazing……I hope it’s going to be a very friendly-interactive area for visitors – I gather for the little future imagineers! Although I still miss 20,000 Thousand Leagues! Call me old fashioned-raised on Walt Disney World since 1971! Congrats on the new innovations and imagination!

7

Sylvia on May 18th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

see ya real soon!

8

Brian on May 18th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Where is the tree going…is there any new plan for it? It was such a charming attraction. I would love to see Pooh’s tree and all of Toon Town moved to a new location. I am a lover of Princesses s but the children are going to miss Pooh!!

9

Kevin from IN on May 18th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Why not save the houses then ?!?!!???

10

Michael from TX on May 18th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I’m glad they are using the tree. I love the fact that everything has been recycled since the beginning of the park. Very resourceful. :D

11

MARISSA on May 18th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Oh so glad they saved it!! Our boys LOVED Pooh’s treehouse! I was so afraid they’d get rid of it! Thanks Disney for keeping a family favorite!

12

Deborah from PA on May 18th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

For what it is worth, both the crane (Grove) and manlift (JLG) were manufactured near my home. I guess that’s not all that important, but it is neat to see something from here that perhaps some of my friends may have worked on being used in WDW.

13

Rebecca on May 18th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

When we were in the Magic Kingdom on May 2, they had apparently just finished moving the tree. It’s sitting right outside the Winnie the Pooh ride now, to the left of the entrance as you are looking at the ride. The fence was still around it then so you couldn’t yet touch it; don’t know if the fence is still there. It’s so nice to see the tree being saved. I hope desperately there will be some play areas in the Fantasyland expansion. Kids so desperately need a little free time when we spend so much of our Disney vacations having to keep watch over them like a hawk. I hope to one day see a more boy-themed area in the Magic Kingdom, and more throughout WDW as a whole. I love princesses with the best of them, but my boys get a little tired of it after a while.

14

Lisa from NJ on May 18th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I so glad there keeping the tree, I have a picture of my daugter in there and she loved it.

15

Dori from FL on May 18th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I have some precious pictures of my 3 year old playing in that tree. She had so much fun playing there. I hope they open it again for kids to play in! It was a cute little play area. Thank you Disney for not getting rid of it… PLEASE OPEN IT BACK UP BY THIS FALL!

16

Dina on May 18th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I was there the first week of May and there was a wall around the tree.

17

Christopher on May 18th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

great post!! please, please, please keep posting these behind the scenes construction videos/updates/photos! i love being able to see how the magic is being made!

18

Nancy from WI on May 18th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Hate to be the negative one but moving a tree was more important than taking a small space to add the Pooh ride? Yes, I am talking about replacing Mr. Toad vs just adding the Pooh ride elsewhere. I know this doesn’t have much to do with the tree itself but if they could find a spot for that why not find a spot for other things vs replacing them? Some of us like our classics along with the new. Not like space is short. If anyone, like me, remembers it was (and still is) a huge deal when Mr. Toad was taken away. For me so much that I now own a ride car that is sitting in my garage waiting for a place to call home. Glad the fans of the tree were not disappointed by having it torn down but some of us still miss Walt’s classics.

19

Jason from Hampshire on May 18th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Its great that you are re-0using the tree! Is the same going to happen to mickey and minnies house? I would love for them just to be moved, but thats not going to happen! :( are the pieces going to be recycled?

20

Scott from IL on May 18th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I am so glad to see that tree survive! I think that is the first place my daughter really “connected” with the magic of Disney World on our first trip.
Are there places to see what / if / when different attractions will be affected by the fantasyland expansion? We’re taking our family in December, and we really are hoping that the expansion is not going to have closed down Dumbo by that time! My 2 year old asks daily to “Fly on the green Dumbo”. I understand that attractions will be affected by the expansion, and am all for it, but if I can find a place to be updated ahead of time to prepare her that we might not be able to fly on Dumbo (and just get her excited to fly with Aladdin instead), that would be excellent!

 

Thomas Smith on May 18th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Thanks, Scott. We’re trying to post those updates here on the blog.

21

Robert from TX on May 18th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

It is great to see the tree will still be there! My son loved playing near it and it made for some great pictures!

22

Liza from GA on May 18th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Very cool that your keeping the tree. A lot of kids will thank you for it.

23

Alex on May 18th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

What is going to happen to the houses in Toontown Fair, will they be re-purposed within the park or in another park or will they be demolished?

24

Shannon from TN on May 18th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Thanks so much for updating the progression on this blog! I’m planning a HUGE family reunion for Fall 2011 and was hoping to find out an estimated timeline for the expansion by then. Do you have a timeline as to when the first phase will be complete? I thank you so much and keep up the great blog!!! I will definately keep checking back for more awesome photos like these!

25

David from MD on May 18th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I am so glad that they saved the tree. That tree is a great memory from my Childhood and my courtship with my fiancee. Thank you Disney for trying to preserve our memories while endeavoring to build great new ones!

26

Jackie from KY on May 18th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

The tree looks awesome there!

27

Alexander on May 18th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

This was really cool. Thanks for sharing. I do have to wonder if they will be using this “relocating” idea with other attractions. Like is the current dumbo going to be one part of the “duel ride” dumbo planed? Also, what is planned for Mickey’s House? Will it be demolished and something new built to meet Mickey, or will his house be moved to a different area?

28

Laura on May 19th, 2010 at 12:17 am

I wish that the closure of this play area and Ariel’s Grotto had been listed on the online calendar. We are at DisneyWorld right now. I had 2 very disappointed kids when we got to the area and it was closed down. If we’d known we could have at least prepared them in advance. :(

29

Sarah from ON on May 19th, 2010 at 11:52 am

Oh my! Ariel’s grotto is closed? I hope that it is reopen when we are there in September. My daughter will be devastated if it is closed. :(

30

theresa from NC on May 19th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I’m glad the tree stayed at Disney and I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT WHEN I COME FOR MY BIRTHDAY IN OCT.

31

Krista on May 19th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for not throwing away the tree!

32

Patrick on May 19th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Is the Winnie the Pooh ride closed? What other attractions at MK are closed? We are going this summer!
-Patrick

33

Christopher from VT on May 19th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I am so glad they are using it and just not knocking it down. Shows some good character to move the tree and use it again instead of just scrapping it. I remember seeing the tree on all my visits and it will be great for my daughter to be able to see it too.

34

Briana from FL on May 27th, 2010 at 7:43 am

Ariel’s Grotto will not be re-opening until it is re-imagined for the upcoming expansion phases. You can still visit Ariel in the parade!

35

Darci on May 31st, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I cant wait in a few years

35 Comments