Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Alex Caruthers recently shared a little-known piece of trivia with me regarding the inspiration for the Magic Kingdom Park quick service restaurant Sleepy Hollow, located in Liberty Square. I have been passing Sleepy Hollow regularly, since 1974, and never gave a thought as to a “story line” … (There is ALWAYS a story line).
Sleepy Hollow (the restaurant) offers tasty caramel corn, assorted cookies and refreshments, and is generally busy most of the time. Washington Irving is the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – you remember Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. In 1835, Irving purchased a tiny, two-room cottage situated on ten acres in Tarrytown, New York, along the banks of the Hudson River. He described the place “capable of being made a little paradise.”
Irving spent many years remodeling and expanding the residence, combining elements of colonial New York architecture and buildings he knew in Scotland and Spain. He named it Sunnyside in 1841, and history shows that the home was a busy place, full of friends and family most of the time – not unlike the restaurant.
Compare the old woodcut image of Sunnyside with a photo I just made of Sleepy Hollow. Those Imagineers continue to amaze me …