Disney is famous for it’s attention to detail, and WDI spends a huge amount of time researching through legends and history to be sure that they get the story right when they retell it with their creation of theme. Even the subtlest details can tell a story. Something as simple as a light fixture may spark the imagination of a guest walking by who finds that they have a connection. It’s this attention to detail and dedication to theme that makes Disney Resort Hotels so special and why millions choose them for their Orlando vacations.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is no exception to this rule, and around every corner you can find subtle detail that tells a story of Native Culture. From the creation myth embeded in the floor, to the representation of the tribal stories on the totems, the building is alive with history. One of my favorite subtle details at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is captured in this light fixture within the great lobby. The Menominee people of the Northern Woods believed that day and night were created after a talking contest between a Saw-whet Owl and a rabbit. I can’t say that I know for sure the Imagineers knew that they were telling a tale with this charming mission style owl silhouetted against the light from this fixture. What I can do, is share with you the Native American legend it stirs within me.
- “One time Manabush (the Rabbit) was traveling through the forest and came to a clearing on the bank of a river. He saw the Saw Whet Owl perched on a twig, but it was almost dark and Rabbit could not see very well. He said to Saw whet, “Why do you like it dark? I don’t like it to be dark, so I will make the daylight.” Then the Saw whet said, “If you think you are strong enough, then do it. But let us have a contest to see who is stronger and whoever wins can have it the way that he likes.”
Then Rabbit and Owl called all the animals and birds together. Some wanted Rabbit to win so that it would always be light. Others liked the dark and wanted Saw Whet to win.
The contest began. Rabbit began repeating “Light, Light,” while Owl kept repeating “Night, Night.” If one of them make a mistake and said his opponent’s word, he would lose. So Rabbit kept saying “Light, Light,” and Saw whet continued “Night, Night.” The birds and animals cheered on their heroes. Finally Owl accidentally repeated Rabbit’s word “Light” and he lost the contest.
Rabbit decided that it should be light, but he also decided that night should have a chance for the benefit of the loser and all of the animals and birds he represented. This pleased everyone and such was the way.”
Next time you’re strolling through the lobby, I hope that you look for this lovely little sconce near the Headwaters of Silver Creek and remember the story of how the Menominee people believe night and day were created.
Have you noticed small stories within the greater at Wilderness Lodge? Do you have a favorite Native American detail in the Lodge? I’d love to hear how the theme moves you to remember our nation’s history. Leave a comment and tell me what stirs your spirit!