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.
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.