Part of the love of Disney is the love of detail. We take no small pleasure in knowing that the landscaping around Disneyland’s Matterhorn is completely indigenous to the Alps, or that the houses in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square are an authentic representation of architecture through the 1800s—the last two digits of each home indicating the year in which they belong. Every color, cobblestone, fixture and filigree exists for a reason and is backed by the quality control that Walt set in place from the very beginning.
And then, every once in a while, the rare errant flaw slips through the cracks of Imagineering expertise and deliberate storytelling to become its own unique nuance within the Disney timeline. This is one of those discoveries:
Roll the footage…
As we were seated at a sweet little table for two against the window at the Skipper Canteen restaurant, our Jungle Skipper apologized for the sorry state of the windows: “As you can see,” he said with a straight face, “they’re stained.”
We appreciatively played along until I noticed a crack in one of the panes. “Looks like someone tried a little too hard to get the stain out,” I commented.
Turns out, that was a crack with a history!
Our Skipper proceeded to explain, this time without the jungle humor, that the reason the cracked pane couldn’t be replaced is because the stained glass was original to the building—which dates back to 1971, when the restaurant first opened as the Adventureland Veranda—and that type of glass is no longer made. Even the soldered framework that holds the panes in place is no longer used.
Our Skipper pointed to the far end of the dining room, at more stained glass, explaining that although they were installed more recently, they, too, are irreplaceable. It was only the border treatment that was newer. “You can tell these are the older ones,” he added, “because these are leaded. The ones over there are un-leaded. Leaded/unleaded,” he paused for reaction, which was instantly forthcoming as groans. But before we could accuse him of the longest setup for a pun ever told by a Jungle Skipper, he confessed that only came to him just then, and it took even him by surprise. “That was not one of the regularly scheduled Skipper jokes, I promise you,” he was genuinely candid.
So… wow! That cracked pane beside our table wasn’t just a bit of jungle humor designed to excuse an unfortunate mishap, but, in fact, an indelible detail rich in authenticity and Magic Kingdom history—and a Disney story all its own.
Undoubtedly, there are other such precious gems just waiting to be discovered. If you know of others, do tell! Just like Hidden Mickeys, you can’t just stop at one!