Legend Behind Expedition Everest

Truth and Legend Behind Expedition Everest and The Yeti

Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World is inspired by Mount Everest and the legend of the Yeti. As you travel through the queue, you’ll walk by shrines dedicated to the Yeti, photos, artifacts, and various pieces of evidence pointing to their existence.

Disney’s story for Expedition Everest goes something like this: The region had once been a booming tea plantation, using trains to deliver the tea to Anandapur. Mysteriously, the plantation suddenly shut down and the trains stopped running. Now new businesses like The Himalayan Escapes Tour & Expeditions Company have cropped up that arrange expeditions into the “forbidden mountains” using the old Royal Anandapur Tea Company trains and tracks. The only problem is the legend of the Yeti. As you travel through the mountain it becomes clear that the legend is true and you’re being chased by the infamous creature!

Who is the Yeti? Where does the legend come from? And who are the people who believe in the Yeti?

Tucker, Corey. “What's the Real Story: Expedition Everest.” The Main Street Mouse, 16 Apr. 2020, www.themainstreetmouse.com/2014/07/01/whats-the-real-story-expedition-everest/. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

Tell Me About Mount Everest

Part of the Himalayan Mountain Range, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, standing at an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 meters). The Himalayan Mountain Range can be found on the continent of Asia and separates the Plateau of Tibet to the North from the Indian subcontinent to the south. Everest sits at the border of Tibet and Nepal at the Eastern end of Nepal. (See map below.)

Mount Everest . image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 18 Feb. 2021. school.eb.com/levels/high/assembly/view/138978. Accessed 7 Aug. 2021.
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Mount Everest has many names from the many cultures that surround it. In Tibet, it is named Chomolungma, which means “Mother Goddess of the World.” In Nepal, it’s called Sagarmatha, which translates to “Peak of Heaven.”

In 1865, the mountain was named Everest after Sir George Everest, a British geodesist who introduced cutting edge surveying instruments which brought greater accuracy to the science. He also played a large role in surveying India from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin.

The climate of Mount Everest is very hostile to the living. During the summer months, the warmest it ever gets is about −2 °F (−19 °C) at the summit. In the winter months, you’ll see an average temperature of −33 °F (−36 °C) with numbers dipping as low as −76 °F (−60 °C).

The extreme weather is also affected by the fact that storms can appear suddenly, bringing winds with sustained speeds of more than 100mph and snow during the summer wet season. Temperatures can drop very quickly and unexpectedly. Because of this, it is very dangerous for climbers and Everest has claimed its share of victims.

"Mount Everest." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 May. 2021. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Mount-Everest/33358. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.
"Himalayas." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 19 Mar. 2021. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Himalayas/110521. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.
"Sir George Everest." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 20 Jul. 1998. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Sir-George-Everest/33357. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

Who are the People Around Mount Everest?

While the mountain itself is unable to sustain human life, the people that surround Everest in the valleys are mainly Tibetan-speaking folks. Most notable among these people are the Sherpas who guide people wanting to climb the mountain.

The Sherpas live year around at high altitudes and are accustomed to the weather and climate conditions. This adaptation allows them to guide the mountain climbers who travel from all over the world for their chance to conquer the mountain and make it to the top. Sherpas are hired to assist climbers in many ways, including setting up camp, managing the porters who carry all the luggage and supplies, ensuring all the loads are evenly distributed, and ultimately being responsible for the safety of the climbing party.

Mountain climbers and trekkers are another very important group of people on the mountain, as their increased numbers over the years have changed the livelihoods of the Sherpas; they’ve come to depend more on climbing expeditions for income to support their families. An interesting note is that the mountain is sacred to the Sherpa people, and many of the people have been unwilling to climb Mount Everest over the years.

"Sherpa." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 28 Jun. 2017. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Sherpa/67323. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.
Foreman, Bruce. “The Sherpa Cheat Sheet: 9 Things You Were Embarrassed to Ask.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 July 2017, www.cnn.com/travel/article/sherpa-facts/index.html. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

What is the Legend of the Yeti

The Tibetan Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is a cryptid, a legendary animal whose existence has been suggested but is not recognized by science. The Yeti is most commonly described as being ape-like in appearance, with dark gray or reddish brown hair, standing roughly six feet tall. Sightings of it have been reported along the snow line of the Himalayas, but many believe it may in fact live among the Himalayan forests which could be better able to support such a being.

There have been many expeditions over the years which have set out to prove the existence of the Yeti. Such apparent evidence as footprints, bones, and hair have been attributed to the creature, yet there is no scientifically backed evidence. People have claimed sightings for over 2,000 years; in fact Alexander the Great himself demanded to see one when he conquered the local people! (They told him the Yeti could not survive being brought out of the mountains.)

Other similar creatures have been seen around the world as well, like Sasquatch in America, Yowie in Australia, Mapinguari in South America, and Orang Minyak in Malaysia.

Here in Florida, we have our very own Bigfoot-like cryptid called The Skunk Ape! He’s been spotted mostly in the Everglades and is aptly named for the pungent odor people experience when they sight him.

"Abominable Snowman." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 4 Jun. 2018. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Abominable-Snowman/3375. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.
McNeely, J. A., et al. “The Yeti — Not a Snowman.” Oryx, vol. 12, no. 1, 1973, pp. 65–73., doi:10.1017/S0030605300011108. 
Radford, Benjamin. “The Yeti: Asia's Abominable Snowman.” LiveScience, Purch, 28 Nov. 2017, www.livescience.com/25072-yeti-abominable-snowman.html. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.
Wolchover, Natalie. “Why Do so Many Cultures Have a Version of Bigfoot?” LiveScience, Purch, 21 June 2012, www.livescience.com/34021-bigfoot-yeti-myth.html. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.
Stromberg, Joseph. “On the Trail of Florida's Bigfoot-the Skunk Ape.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 6 Mar. 2014, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/trail-floridas-bigfoot-skunk-ape-180949981/. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.
Featured image: Expedition Everest by Steven Miller
Educational Overview Main Street USA

Educational Overview of Main Street USA at Walt Disney World

Main Street USA is the first land that you encounter when you enter Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Most people rush through on their way to something more thrilling, but there are countless educational elements if you take the time to stop and look around. As you’re “walking right down the middle of Main Street USA,” as the song says, here are some lessons to learn.

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Setting and Inspiration of Main Street USA

Main Street USA is set in a charming Victorian era train town at the turn of the twentieth century. Many say it was inspired by Marceline, Missouri, where Walt Disney spent some of his early childhood, but the area also shares a great deal of inspiration from Fort Collins, Colorado, and even Chicago, Illinois.

Magic Kingdom’s initial land is set in the very specific period from 1890 to 1910, which allows for the usage of both horse-drawn carriages and motor vehicles, as well as both gas and electric lighting. It also draws some inspiration from Disney’s 1955 animated film Lady and the Tramp, which takes place in a Midwestern town in 1909, fitting perfectly into Main Street USA’s time frame. Here you can find Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, themed around the film, and outside the restaurant you can even find the heart drawn in the cement where the two love-dogs put their paw prints. 

Main Street, U.S.A. Is NOT Based on Marceline.” Jim Korkis, Mouse Planet, 23 Jan. 2013. https://www.mouseplanet.com/10203/Main_Street_USA_Is_NOT_Based_on_Marceline. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

The Santa Fe and Early Railroad Systems 

Inspired in part by railroad town Marceline, Missouri, it only makes sense that Main Street USA would house a train station. The Santa Fe Railway was one of the largest railways in the US, originally spanning from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, along the Santa Fe Trail. Using the railroads allowed people and goods to travel at a much faster rate than they used to. This in turn heavily influenced the settlement of the American Southwest.

According to the city’s website, sometime in the 1880-90’s the Santa Fe Railway was expanded to stretch from Kansas City to Chicago, and Marceline was one of the many towns that opened up along the railroad. Towns sprung up along the route at regular intervals that would allow locomotives to refuel, restock supplies, and change out the crew.

Santa Fe Trail." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 21 Oct. 2019. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Santa-Fe-Trail. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
Our History!.” City of Marceline Missouri, 15 Jun. 2012. http://www.marcelinemo.us/home/history.html. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

Edison Bulb featured in the
Car Barn on Main Street USA.

Early Electricity

The setting for Main Street USA in the turn of the century also meant towns and cities were transitioning from gas lighting to electrical lighting. This was a time where gas lights were still the main source of light in people’s homes during the night.

In 1880 Thomas Edison patented his incandescent light bulb, which was brighter, more consistent, and much safer than the flames from candles and gas lamps. Edison initially brought his invention to well-off customers in New York City as a luxury, setting them up with bulbs connected to individual generators that would in turn light their homes.

J. P. Morgan was one such customer who also helped fund Edison’s efforts to supply this new energy to more people. Edison started setting up power plants that could bring energy to multiple households and businesses. The General Electric company was born from these efforts. 

Another man named Samuel Insull showed up in the picture to help Edison with the sales and business side of things so that he could concentrate on his work. Together, they were able to find better ways to bring electricity to even more people, creating power grids and reducing the cost of electricity. These advances took what had been a luxury product and turned electricity into an affordable part of everyday life.

On Main Street USA, go check out the Car Barn in Town Square, where you can find an Edison Bulb that Disney commissioned to be made in the same way that Thomas Edison made them himself.

History of Electricity.” Institute for Energy Research, 10 Jan. 2020. https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/history-electricity/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
WDW Radio Show #198.” WDW Radio, Lou Mongello & Jim Korkis, 28 Nov. 2010. http://www.wdwradio.com/2010/11/main-street-usa-steven-miller-interview-disney-merchandise-show-198-november-28-2010/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

Main Street Vehicles

The vehicles you’ll find on Main Street are also indicative of the era. Here you’ll find both horse-drawn vehicles as well as the motorized variety. Here are the vehicles you’ll find traveling up and down the road from the train station to the castle and back!

Horse-Drawn Trolley 

Another name for a vehicle like this is a horsecar. The horsecar, a trolley pulled along a track in the road by horses, was introduced in 1832 by a bank president named John Mason. Generally these could carry up to 30 people, and there were numerous variations of the horsecar which provided different seating layouts.

You could even find fully enclosed as well as double-decker horsecars. Naturally, the larger the vehicle, the more horses it would take to pull it, but you would usually see the simpler horsecars being pulled by one or two horses. Trolleys like these started out being used in larger cities like Boston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

By the 1880s, there were about 18,000 horsecars being used in other cites all around the United States.

According to Disney’s website, they employ a variety of draft horses (bred to pull heavy loads, even though the trolley is light weight), including Clydesdales, Percherons, and Belgians. At Tri-Circle-D Ranch (located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort) you can visit the horses and learn from the horse experts there.

"Horsecar." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2 Dec. 2018. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/horsecar/41108. Accessed 14 Mar. 2019.
Horses - Disney Animals.Disney, 10 Aug. 2019. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/animal-kingdom/disney-animals-horses/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

Fire Engine

Main Street’s Fire Engine is a replica of one of the first fire engines ever made. The earliest fire engines that weren’t pulled by horses were steam powered, but these were quickly replaced by internal-combustion engines in the early 1900s. This new technology helped to improve the response times and effectiveness at fire emergencies.

Other features were added to the emergency vehicles to aid in fighting fires, such as powerful water pumps (also powered by the engine), long lengths of hose (usually 1,000 ft), and water tanks to be used in rural areas or where water supplies weren’t readily available.

Auxiliary vehicles with other purposes were also developed, like water tank trucks and ladder trucks with large extendable ladders mounted to the vehicle, which often included a high powered nozzle at the top of the ladder.

"Fire engine." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 Aug. 2010. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/fire-engine/34327. Accessed 14 Mar. 2019.

Omnibus & Jitney

Disney’s Omnibus and Jitney cars are good examples of some of the early gasoline engine cars that started appearing around the turn of the century. First owned by the wealthy, cars soon became a necessity as Henry Ford made them more affordable, versatile, and easy to maintain, ushering in the automobile revolution. By the mid 1920’s, the country was on wheels and the automobile industry had become an important part of the American Economy.

"Automobile." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 21 Apr. 2017. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/automobile/110735. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

New Direction for Go Mouse Scouts!

New Direction for Go Mouse Scouts!

Hey, Kris here! I know it’s been a while since we’ve been consistent with our content. Life has been pretty crazy the last year-and-a-half or so. As you may know, we’ve added to our family with Roddy, our fourth kid, who’s now four. I’ve landed a new job, and we’ve started doing some DIY work around the house. We’ve also JUST moved from Southern California to Central Florida JUST SOUTH of Walt Disney World. That’s where all of our time has been diverted and why we haven’t put out much content lately. 

I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.

Walt Disney

Megan and I have been thinking and talking behind the scenes about what we want to do with Go Mouse Scouts. It didn’t seem like we’d found our niche in doing park tips for visiting with kids so we’re going to pivot. We homeschool our kids and so in our daily life, we’re always trying to find teachable moments wherever we go to help enrich our children’s education and visiting Disney is no exception. In fact, Walt Disney is credited for saying, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

That said, being so close to the theme parks, we’re currently writing brand new content for the websitefocusing on finding the education at Walt Disney World. This will involve taking deep dives into the attractions, lands, shows, and small details to spotlight the underlying educational lessons. This will be geared for homeschoolers, those that want to take their kids out of school for a Disney trip without feeling guilty, and anyone who would like to learn while visiting Disney. 

By the way, if you enjoyed and would still like to go back and listen to our podcast, you can still find it in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google, or over here