Uncovering SEA: Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

disney sea society logo

Credit: savepleasureisland blogspot

Kungaloosh! This is an all-purpose word meaning hello, goodbye, and how are you! Derived from an Adventurer’s Club beverage of the same name, the word has become a greeting synonymous with Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers.  Come explore with us the background and global mentions of SEA: Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

disney sea society logo
Credit: savepleasureisland.blogspot.com

Origins of Disney SEA: Society of Explorers and Adventurers

This mystical and secretive society has grown on the minds of Imagineers all over the world. Some credit The Adventurer’s Club lounge as the birthplace of the Society, while others insist it was the later Tokyo DisneySea Fortress Explorations attraction.

While many suppose that Imagineer Joe Rhode was responsible for this complex puzzle of Society members, he didn’t even know the origin of the club until a few years ago. The  Society of Explorers and Adventurers continues to be so popular because of its complex deep cut nature that is strung together all over the world.

Members of Disney SEA Society of Explorers and Adventurers

The list of Society members tends to grow in numbers as Imagineers and Disney guests alike draw connections to SEA. As of 2020, there are over 16 official members. This artistic portrait hangs in the hallways of Mystic Manor (Hong Kong Disneyland), and first introduces Lord Henry Mystic as a member of Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers. We also see seven additional members (listed in order of appearance from left to right) in the 1899 Society grouping:

  • Harrison Hightower III
  • Professor R. Blauerhimmel
  • Lord Henry Mystic
  • Doctor J.L. Baterista
  • Barnabas T. Bullion
  • Unknown Cold Weather Adventurer
  • Captain Mary Oceaneer
  • Artist Charlton J Taboret
Disney SEA Society portrait
Credit: Disney Fandom

Chef Tandaji, Sango Sio, and Luana Teixeira are (currently) unpictured members alluded to inside Skipper Canteen and the Tropical Hideaway. Other known members of Disney’s SEA society (listed in photos with attraction connections) are:

  • Jock Lindsey
  • Professor Garrett Reed (reportedly disgraced)
  • Maestro D’Elfman (a nod to Danny Elfman)
  • Vitale Robustelli
  • Captain Brieux
  • Merriweather Adam Pleasure
  • Camellia Falco
  • Dr. Albert Falls
Disney SEA society members 1
Credit: Disney.Fandom
Sea society 3 members
Credit: Disney.Fandom
Disney SEA society members 2
Credit: Disney.Fandom

Attractions that Reference Disney’s Society of Explorers & Adventurers

Adventurer’s Club, Pleasure Island

A long time ago in a galaxy… um, wait… this one? There was a lounge called the Adventurers Club. Located in Pleasure Island (before it became Downtown Disney and later Disney Springs at Walt Disney World), the bar was told to be owned by adventurer Merriweather Pleasure. The bar contained an extensive collection of artifacts that were collected from his travels around the globe, including artifacts that now reside in various attractions at the Disney Parks. Much beloved by Adventureland enthusiasts, some of the last used relics are barstools at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Disney Springs’s The Edison restaurant now stands in this same location.

adventurer's club
Credit: ITM

Fortress Exploration

Fortress Exploration is a walkthrough attraction at Tokyo DisneySea in the Mediterranean Harbor area that opened on September 4, 2001. The attraction provides nearly all the details from which the Disney SEA Society originated, including the logo, shield, crest, and mottos. Guests are challenged to solve a series of puzzles in order to join S.E.A., whose backstory is spelled out on maps. The entrance to Fortress Exploration mentions when the original organization was founded, in 1538.

Fortress Explorations
Credit: Disney Fandom
Fortress Map
Credit: Disney Fandom

Consisting of scientists, explorers, researchers, artists, travelers, and adventurers from around the world, the Society of Explorers and Adventures is dedicated to the exploration of the world. Guests can join the society if they can complete the puzzles!

Nearby is Magellan’s Restaurant, which originally served as the Society’s meeting place, and much like Jungle Skipper Canteen includes a secret cellar room behind a bookcase door. Historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Marco Polo, and Ferdinand Magellan can be noted here.

Mystic Manor

Disney Imagineer Joe Lanzisero headed the team to create Mystic Manor in the Mystic Point expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. The Park was missing a Haunted Mansion…something that, at the time, existed in all other Disney Parks across the globe. Lanzisero understood that truly spooky haunted houses weren’t something that the people wanted, so he went with a more magical, friendly-ghost experience that’s loaded with adventure…and Disney SEA nods.

Disney’s storytelling describes Lord Henry Mystic, a collector of antiquities and treasures from around the world, who was deemed the owner of Mystic Manor. Opening the home tours of his collections, Disney guests can see portraits, certificates, and anecdotes of Mystic’s adventures, including the aforementioned Disney SEA society portrait from 1899.

mystic manor
Credit: Disney

In these hallways, we see the portraits of Doctor J.L. Baterista, Maestro D’Elfman (a nod to musician Danny Elfman), flight man Professor R. Blauerhimmel, Captain Brieux (a supporting character from Disney’s 1974 The Island at the Top of the World and captain of the Hyperion airship), artist Charlton J. Taboret and more.

Nearby, the Explorer’s Club restaurant continues Mystic’s detailed story. Decorated with Mystic’s collection of artifacts and antiquities, many of these treasures originally hung in the Adventurer’s Club.

Tropical Hideaway

Airman Professor R. Blauerhimmel’s paddle, which marks his 1904 expedition on the Ucayali River in Peru, is on display at the Tropical Hideaway in Disneyland Park in California. He is a close friend of Henry Mystic and his portrait can be seen hanging in Mystic Manor. Other notable paddle owners include:

  • C. Falco, Zambezi River, 1831
  • B. T. Bullion, Colorado River, 1870
  • J. Chandler, Elaho River, 1882
  • H. Mystic, Ganges River, 1874
  • S. Shio, Amazon River, 1910
  • H. Hightower, Yangtze River, 1872
  • Dr. J. L. Baterista, Congo River, 1906
  • Dr. A. Falls, Mbeki River, 1903
  • M. Oceaneer, Orinoco River, 1899
  • M.A. Pleasure, Kissimmee River, 1900
  • Chef Tandaji, Irrawaddy River, 1913
The Tropical Hideaway
Image copyright Disney

Jungle Skipper Canteen and Jungle Cruise

Dr. Albert Falls, famed discoverer of Schweitzer Falls and owner of the infamous Jungle Cruise Navigation Company, (which hosts the Jungle Cruise Attraction) is a famed member of the Disney SEA Society. Dr. Falls and his daughter, Alberta Falls, created the Jungle Cruise Navigation Company (and subsequently the Skipper Canteen) to help his fellow explorers navigate remote areas.

The Jungle Skipper Canteen is rich with Disney SEA paraphernalia such as Jungle Cruise Skipper portraits, collectibles, member’s apparel, and a secret meeting room located behind a bookcase door. On your way to the restrooms, be sure to notice the Disney Society of Explorers and Adventurer logos, names, books, and more in the bookcase area.

Skipper Canteen exterior sign
Credit: ITM

In Disneyland Park, you can visit the FASTPASS machines to see luggage tags from Disney SEA members, Pamela Perkins (linked to Aulani Resort) and Emil Bleehall.  These were added after Tokyo DisneySea’s additions to enrich the queue.

Hightower Hotel

The Classic Tower of Terror storyline we know from Disney’s Hollywood Studios wasn’t popular in Japan, so Imagineers needed to craft a new storyline for the Tokyo DisneySea attraction. Show writer and Imagineer Michael Sprout concocted Harrison Hightower III (who reportedly was modeled on the image of Imagineer Joe Rhode) for Creative Lead for the Tokyo Disney Resort, Imagineer Joe Lanzisero. A ruthless explorer and known thief, he had an “ill-fated ending” when traveling in an elevator was a stolen idol. Hightower III passed at the stroke of midnight on the way to the penthouse when the idol came to life and blasted the surrounding area.

hightower III disney portrait
Credit: Disney.Fandom

The website Jungle Skipper posts this photo of Henry Hightower III (read in the caption of the photo) which is hung in the Jungle Skipper Canteen. It cements Hightower III as a Disney SEA member.

hightower III photo in jungle skipper canteen
Credit: JungleSkipper.com

Soaring: Fantastic Flight

Soaring: Fantastic Flight is a Soarin’-like attraction from Tokyo DisneySea in which guests seem to fly in hang gliders. In the queue, we meet adventurer Camellia Falco (who is so popular that she has her own Twitter account) in the year 1850, taking over the direction of the flight museum. We can see a portrait of Falco being inducted to S.E.A. which is on display at the Museum of Fantastic Flight. Lord Henry Mystic being seen in the crowd and member Jason Chandler having witnessed her initiation. Vitale Robustelli’s signature is seen on her certificate nearby, linking him to the Society.  Note the SEA banners with the club crest being held high.

camellia falco induction
Credit: twitter.com/camelliafalco

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

The sprawling Hawaiian Disney Resort doesn’t have many ties to the Disney Parks (attraction-wise) but you will find an amazing Easter Egg in Aunty’s Beach House. Inside the kid’s club, there is a painting that once hung inside the Adventurer’s Club, and beside it, a letter from Pamela Perkins. She references the late Disney SEA member Harrison Hightower III.

pamela perkins aulani letter SEA
Credit: Jungle Skipper

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Barnabas T. Bullion and Jason Chandler, both members of S.E.A., are found in the queue of this Disneyland rollercoaster. A handwritten letter is posted, from Chandler (SEA member) to Bullion (owner of the mine), asking him to stop digging into the mine on behalf of SEA, as it is too dangerous.  The letter, in fancy script, reads,

“Dear Barney,

Great Caesar’s Ghost, old chap, I haven’t heard from you since our little misadventure in El Dorado! I am indeed sorry to hear of the second disturbance within Big Thunder Mountain, but I did warn you that you were prospecting at your own peril when I sold you the drilling machine. I took the liberty of consulting Madame Zarkov at the Museum of the Weird, and it is her considered opinion that you should abandon the entire operation at once and find a less volatile site. I wish I had better news for you, old boy, but some forces simply are not to be trifled with.

On behalf of your compatriots of SEA, I do hope to see you around the club a bit more often!

Yours in Exploration and Adventure,

Jason Chandler, Founding Member The Society of Explorers and Adventurers”

bullion chandler letter big thunder mountain railroad SEA
Credit: Disney.Fandom

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

In 2015, an Indiana Jones gem came to Walt Disney World Resort in the form of a lounge. Jock Lindsey, a pilot from Raiders of the Lost Ark (he only has a few minutes of screen time) lands his gear in a hangar at Disney Springs. The watering hole’s decor and expansive menu hold not only Indiana Jones trilogy film references, but also mentions of Lindsay’s membership in Disney’s SEA Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar
Credit: Disney

Miss Adventure Falls

This two-minute long ride is the longest water ride at Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon and debuted in 2016, making it an extremely recent addition to the Disney SEA family. The attraction includes the backstory of Captain Mary Oceaneer and her parrot, who were diving for treasure when they were shipwrecked on the island. Her diving bell is part of the attraction and displays not only her titles but also Atlantis font.

captain mary oceaneer diving bell
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney Cruise Line

Follow the seas with Mary Oceaneer, once again. You can find her letters, portraits, and clues aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships inside the Oceaneer Lab. The Oceaneers Lab hosts the ships’ kid area and includes references to the Disney SEA Society as well as Mary’s portrait which also hangs inside Mystic Manor. Below, read her note to the Guests, including a red wax seal with the SEA logo.

Mary Oceaneer Lab
Credit: kellystilwell.com/

While Disney’s SEA Society started off at Fortress Explorations, it quickly took off a number of years later in the same Park (Tokyo DisneySea) with Imagineers and was officially extended to other attractions worldwide. Unofficially, The Adventurer’s Club (which was a standalone project) gets the nod as being the first place to see the “work” of these Disney’s SEA Society members, as the props and decor were taken to various SEA related attractions after it’s demise.

What other Disney characters would you induct into Disney’s SEA Society of Explorers and Adventurers? Leave us a comment below!

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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