Joe Rohde Gets Disney Cruise Fans Excited for Lighthouse Point

in Artwork, Disney Cruise Line

Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde

Credit: @joerohde (left); Disney (right)

Whether he is aware of it or not, Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde has us excited, once again, about his latest project: Lighthouse Point on the Bahamian Island Eleuthera.

Lately, we have not heard anything new about Disney Cruise Line’s second private island, and nothing new has officially been posted. But that does not matter because the latest posts on Rohde’s Instagram have gotten us pretty excited.

lighthouse point
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Imagineer shared his latest at-home project on his Instagram. The project had him using the bubble-forming topography of his pool cover and his imagination to bring a whole new island come to life on the page.

He explains in his first post:

Because this is where we are now… I have been taking photographs of the bubbles in the pool cover and imagining that they are various landforms at different scales. In this case a tropical island formed by remnant volcanic activity with a few small towns in a single road… Perhaps someplace in French Polynesia. If that town is a mile long, then this island is about twenty miles long. I try to imagine if it was real where would I want to build my main town…

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Because this is where we are now… I have been taking photographs of the bubbles in the pool cover and imagining that they are various landforms at different scales. In this case a tropical island formed by remnant volcanic activity with a few small towns in a single road… Perhaps someplace in French Polynesia. If that town is a mile long, then this island is about twenty miles long. I try to imagine if it was real where would I want to build my main town. And it seems to me this little fishhook shaped bay, which is probably another remnant caldera, has a single channel out to the deep ocean and is protected from storms plus has watershed from the high mountains nearby. So it would be a good place to build a town with a little harbor, Just be careful of the reef. Pretty obvious that the southern end of this island gets battered by deep water storms as it appears to have nothing but cliffs straight down into the water. There are some very nice beaches up to the northeast where all the agricultural land and the big mangrove swamps are and where the main river dumps out into the shallow ocean. It looks like whoever lives up around the old volcano does not have a road connection to the big town. Perhaps they’ve just decided to isolate themselves up there where it’s cooler and greener, or perhaps they are displaced, like indigenous people, into an isolated area. I would bet that The island is agriculturally self supporting. It looks like there are terraces and adequate farm land for such a small population and there’s plenty of shallow protected areas for fishing in the ocean. Looks like an all together nice place to visit. For a bubble of air on a pool cover.

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It was this first post that put our minds back on Lighthouse Point and getting excited for the project announced at last year’s D23 event.

Then, from this Aerial perspective, he takes us closer to ground level to the seaside town on his imaginary island.

Since we have nowhere to go except the imaginary landscapes of the mind, I have taken my imaginary island a step further and tried to create an impressionistic view of the capital town at Fishhook Bay….the climate may be tropical…But does not necessarily need to be Asia or South Pacific. There are places like this in the Azores, and the Canary Islands, even in the Mediterranean…

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Since we have nowhere to go except the imaginary landscapes of the mind, I have taken my imaginary island a step further and tried to create an impressionistic view of the capital town at Fishhook Bay…. which presumably has a more colorful indigenous name. Because of our experience of history, it is difficult not to imagine this is some kind of colonial town… However this is not a place of history, but a place of the imagination, which allows us to imagine a completely different relationship than what is implied by the word colonial. Perhaps it is a place of extraordinary cultural harmony. It is implied from the foreground that some of the houses incorporate roof details that might be an older and more indigenous, and that there are ritual buildings interspersed among commercial and residential buildings. And there seems to be a consistent use of color that may or may not be ritually prescribed around windows. Also that the climate may be tropical…But does not necessarily need to be Asia or South Pacific. There are places like this in the Azores, and the Canary Islands, even in the Mediterranean. And this ocean is none of those places…It is a pool cover. The image is sketchy and impressionistic by design. It is for your imagination to live in, not mine. By making it less focused, we make it more inhabitable…so, give us a tour, a report, an analysis, an anecdote. What happened, happens, or will happen here?

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Then he takes us further inland to a village on a lake.

Our guide explains:

This is the indigenous village by the lake near the extinct volcanic crater. As we can see, the entire crater has been terraced, and the watershed managed as it flows into the lake…

After explaining everything he sees, like a proper Imagineer, he asks his audience what they see attempting to ignite their own imaginations.

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One more imaginary location which can be deduced from examining the topography of the pool-cover air-bubble Island from 2 posts ago. This is the indigenous village by the lake near the extinct volcanic crater. As we can see, the entire crater has been terraced, and the watershed managed as it flows into the lake. This particular volcano must have created hexagonal basaltic columns, because the stilt houses are not raised on wood but on thick stone pillars. And it appears that this ritual tower is also made of basalt pillars a bit like the ruins of Nan Madol. What looks like bamboo grows in the forest along the slope, and while the entire crater appears to be deforested and terraced, The slopes appear to have ample trees for the demands of architecture in boat building. And people are cooking… And the smoke seems to flatten and level out… Which probably means it’s a bit chilly. So perhaps very early in the morning. There must be fish because people are fishing. ZAnd we now see the more robust traditional form of the roof detail from the edge of town at fishhook bay. And perhaps the cultural origin of the tower like but much more elaborate structures implied in town. And that’s all we know… What else do you see?

A post shared by Joe Rohde (@joerohde) on

Joe Rohde created this beautiful imaginary world simply from shapes formed by the bubbles beneath the cover of his backyard pool.

While one could argue only the first of the three posts could really make one think about the new private island, our excitement was sparked by what he created rather than what it resembled. If a Walt Disney Imagineer could create this remarkable world from mere bubbles, just imagine what he and his team will be able to do with a real location, real materials, and a real pre-established legacy and culture! This reminds us of the raw power of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Cruising may be out of the question at the moment, but these posts–along with the progress we have seen with the construction of the Disney Wish–definitely have us ready to set sail on a high seas adventure once again.

Related: Joe Rohde Discusses the Expedition Everest Yeti Problem

Are you excited to visit Lighthouse Point? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

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