With all of the added magic that Disney Imagineers provide us with, there are also natural pieces of magic to be found in many areas of the World.
n the way to the Fort Wilderness Marina, the Lawnmower Tree provides Disney magic rooted in reality and history.
I fondly remember the many times my family was running toward the marina docks in an effort to catch the boat to the Magic Kingdom only to turn around and find that I was not with them. I was a few feet back staring at the tree.
The Lawnmower Tree was a side attraction at Fort Wilderness since its opening in 1971. It even made the initial 1971 resort map but was removed on the 1973 update.
Years before Walt decided to but an “east coast Disneyland”, the land where Disney World now stands was mostly farmland and swamps. Amid the swamps there were a few inhabited homes and farms.
While the name Billy Bowlegs first comes across as either a farmer or pioneer fitting in with the theme of the surrounding Fort Wilderness, Billy Bowlegs was a real individual with a history in the nearby Florida swamplands.
Bowlegs became an elder and historian of his tribe and lived on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, near Lake Okeechobee.
Leave it to the Disney Imagineers to pull from this piece of real, local history and include it in the theming of their new campground.
In 1997 the tree was cut from about 12 feet to 4 feet in order to preserve this area.
Unfortunately, weather, bugs and the hands of children have gotten the best of the tree and it had to be cut down.