In 1999 in a sort of preparation for the then upcoming 30th anniversary of
WDW in 2001 it was decided that it would be fitting to re-christen Walt Disney
Worlds fleet of three Ferries, The Blue-Paneled Kingdom Queen, would be re-named the
General Joe Potter, the Green-paneled Magic Kingdom would honor
Admiral Joe Fowler, and the Red-paneled Magic Kingdom II would be
given the title of Richard F Irvine. This series of articles will talk
a little about each of the Disney Legends these ships are named for.
When we left off I had mentioned that upon retiring from Disney General
Potter formed a consulting partnership with Admiral Joe Fowler, this
installment will talk a bit about the Admiral and his contributions to the Company.
Admiral Fowler was in charge of the shipbuilding yards in San Fransisco during WW II.
In 1954 when Walt Disney was looking for a naval expert to help with the building of the
Mark Twain Steamship in for the then under-construction Disneyland,
he found the retired General supervising the construction of tract homes
in the San Francisco region, he hired him, not just to help with the Mark
Twain but as construction boss for the whole Disneyland project, after
the building of Disneyland Fowler stayed on as General Manager of the park for
it's first 10 years a period in which a lot MORE construction occurred,
eventually as the Florida project began he transferred onto it, bringing
his vital experience and knowledge to the construction of Walt Disney World.
He retired around the same time as Potter though he too continued on as a
consultant (I've seen pictures of him visiting the Epcot construction site)
The Green paneled ferry Admiral Joe Fowler
seen above was originally named
The Magic Kingdom I.
Originally the first steam ship in the Magic Kingdom was named for the
Admiral, and when a second steam ship was added to the Rivers of America in
1973 it was named for imagineer Richard F Irvine, but that original Fowler
was damaged during a refurbishment in 1980 (it slipped in its cradle and
the hull cracked) as so many attractions had been added to the Magic Kingdom
since it first opened it was decided that having TWO steamships in the Magic
Kingdom was not necessary so that ship was scrapped though some bits and
pieces were salvaged and either re-used at places like Typhoon Lagoon or
sold a property Control sales
in the Mid 1990's the second Liberty Square riverboat the Richard F
Irvine was renamed the Liberty Belle, so in 1999 with WDW's 30th
anniversary only two years away it was decided to re-name the ferries of the
Seven Seas lagoon in honor of these three men.