31 March 2009


This seal can be found along the backside of the sets found inside of Studio 1, the shop that focuses on all things Muppet. Though not as funny as one might expect from a store dealing with Muppet memorabilia, this emblem does have a clear history with Walt Disney World.

The central lettering, WDI, is obviously the initials of Walt Disney Imagineering, the “creative resource for the entire Walt Disney Company.” The external lettering, however, poses more of a problem for the average guest/geek. BVCC, as it turns out, is the initials of the Buena Vista Construction Company. The Buena Vista Construction Company, as it turns out, provided the General Contractor work for the construction of Walt Disney World.

BVCC can be seen elsewhere in the parks, including the high honor of being memorialized in a window along Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom. This particular window lists Bill Irwin, Larry Reiser, Pete Markham, Francis Stanek, and Dan Dingman in various fictitious roles in the company. Each and every one of these men were, in fact, executives of the Buena Vista Construction Company.

Editing and Catering

For most of us out there, it may not be our day job that brings us the most joy in our lives. Aside from our friends and families, sometimes it is our side projects and non-paying (or paying very little) jobs that keep us going. Just like all of us, many of the Muppets have side ventures that keep them busy when they are not preparing for their next showing of MuppetVision 3-D, television special, or Hollywood blockbuster. Two of these entrepreneurs are Rizzo the Rat and the Swedish Chef.Rizzo is never short on schemes. When it comes to film production Rizzo, and his sneaky brethren, are able to get just about any prop your production needs…. umm, for a price. As for the Swedish Chef, apparently his day job of running the Yell & Howl Projector for MuppetVision 3-D as rubbed off on him, as he now dishes out food and film finishing in his spare time.

30 March 2009

Everything must go

There are, literally, thousands of details in Dinoland U.S.A. that bring the story to life. Most of these can be found in and around Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, the onetime gas station now dinosaur wonderland. Of all the maps, posters, sculptures, plastic dinosaurs, and other pieces of their collection, the pieces I find myself drawn to over and over are the signs found throughout the interior and exterior. This sign, in particular, continually draws in my attention.I would love to say that it is the screaming ball of molten rock and fire, or the unimaginable discounts that come with ‘going out of existence,’ that piques my interest, but it is actually the two names on the blob of land masses: Gondwanaland and Euramerica. Not only are they fun to say out loud (go ahead, give them a try), but they are also real places that once existed.

Gondwanaland was a land mass, known as a minor supercontinent, which formed between 550 – 500 million years ago. Gondwanaland included pieces of what would eventually become Africa (including the Congo and Madagascar), Arabia, India, Australia, Antarctica, and Argentina millions of years later.

Another minor supercontinent, Euramerica (sometimes referred to as Laurussia), was formed from areas that we currently know as North America, Europe, and Greenland. Eventually, Euramerica and Gondwanaland merged with Siberia to create the supercontinent, Pangaea.

This may simply be another example of the teacher in me, and the belief that learning should be fun, but this sign is a great way to give children a glimpse into the history of our planet. Show them the words, tell them the words if they can’t read them, let them laugh as the repeat it over and over, and then tell them, “Did you know that those were actual SUPERCONTINENTS (in a booming voice) millions of years ago?” It isn’t the whole concept, and who would expect you to teach an entire lesson on your vacation, but it plants the seed of curiosity for after they return home.

There are always little pieces of history, stories, and wonderful artifacts to take a gander at, if you are willing to look up, down, and around. These tiny stories tell us where we are, what to expect, and keep us in a distinct time and place that Disney has created.

29 March 2009

Blast to the Past

Today’s Back Issue is actually two separate pieces. Both are flyers, one from Disneyland’s 1989 Blast to the Past, the other a 1979 advertisement for Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground Resort. While at first the two items seem to have nothing in common, after reading both it becomes apparent that the both exemplify a classic Disney trait: creating emotional relevance for bygone eras and activities. From the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue to the Sock Hop at Videopolis, these advertisements are full of exciting possibilities from years gone by.

To read each in their entirety, simply click on the images.

28 March 2009

I'm no fool

In the 1960s Walt Disney Productions released a series of films starring Jiminy Cricket entitled, I’M NO FOOL. This series was comprised of 8 minute shorts dedicated to the safety of children. They included segments like I’m No Fool with Fire, I’m No Fool in a Car, I’m No Fool with a Bicycle, and I’m No Fool with Safety at School. Many of these films were turned into 16mm films and study prints for use in classrooms across America. Many of these films and prints were still in use in classrooms by the time I reached elementary school during the mid-1980s.The Walt Disney Study Prints included topics like the I’m No Fool with Fire and with a Bicycle, like mentioned above, but also included I’m No Fool in Water, I’m No Fool as a Pedestrian, and I’m No Fool Having Fun. The one study print that did not resign itself to the “I’m No Fool” mantra was School Bus Safety. Across the board, all of the prints in these sets were brightly colored, included the main idea in bold lettering, and incorporated a well-known Disney character into the artwork. The back of the prints, however, included a wealth of ideas for teachers including a narrative for the given topic, suggested activities, and a list of the set’s prints in order with their titles.For instance, on the KEEP HEAD AND ARMS INSIDE THE BUS print, the activities suggested for students are writing a letter to their parents explaining to importance of being a good passenger, making a list of potential accidents from riding with head and arms out the window, and drawing a picture showing how to sit correctly on the bus. While these activities may seem bland, they would certainly reiterate the importance of staying seated.These prints and films have been out of print for quite some time, but the lessons they teach and the manner in which they teach them will never go out of style. Educating children about being safe around dangerous items and circumstances is key, no matter what the era. In the case of the Walt Disney Study Prints and I’m No Fool films, they passed on these lessons with ease, understandability, and with a friendly, recognizable, face. Walt Disney once said, “…in the discovery of knowledge, there is great entertainment…” That is about as well worded an educational philosophy as any I have ever read, and the films and study prints adhere to it effortlessly.

27 March 2009

Riverboat landing

As has been mentioned from time to time, one of my favorite corners in all of Walt Disney World resides in the bend in the Rivers of America in Frontierland, just outside of the boundary to Liberty Square. In the evening, after the Liberty Belle has made her last journey of the day, you can view the lights flickering on her deck, with the eerie sounds and glows coming from the Haunted Masion beyond or you can look down river to the dimly lit activities of Frontierland’s Chick-A-Pin Hill and Big Thunder Mountain.

Today I thought we would look from the River up towards Liberty Square in the late evening hours. I hope these desktops bring a little bit of Disney to your evenings, wherever they may be.





Young Adventurers - Jedi Training Academy & Star Tours

Padawan, your journey will be filled with dangers you cannot imagine and distant stars you have longed to see. You must focus and control your emotions if you are to become a true Jedi Knight.

As a student attending the Jedi Training Academy, in the shadows of and Ewok village, you will learn the ways of the Force. After you have donned your robes and given your training lightsaber, a civilized weapon, your training will begin. Be mindful of your Jedi Master, for he will guide you down the path of good as your skills with your lightsaber grow strong. Even now, I foresee a disturbance in the Force, a Dark Lord of the Sith will challenge your abilities and offer you the easy path of the Dark Side. Mind what your master has taught you, save you it can, and you will be a stronger padawan for the experience.

After training alongside the Jedi, it is time for your first mission. Board your Starspeeder 3000, piloted by RX-24 (or Rex), as he and R2-D2 set a course for the forest moon of Endor. It may be your first mission, but it is also Rex’s first flight as Captain, and you may find that you have a bad feeling about this, but be brave. He may make some wrong turns, including exiting lightspeed moments too late and overshooting Endor, sending your starspeeder straight in the heart of an icy comet storm, or a trip through the Maintenance Bay, or entering into a dogfight against the Galactic Empire and its Death Star, but rest assured that with your Force abilities protecting both ship and crew Rex, Artoo, and all of your fellow travels will arrive back on solid ground.

May the Force be with you.

26 March 2009

Let me treat you all

Sweets are something that Disney does very very well. Whether it is the Confectionary on Main Street U.S.A. or Goofy’s Candy Co., there is a scent or treat that makes everyone’s mouth water within the Walt Disney World Property.For late night sweet treats though, there is no depot more delicious that Disney’s Candy Cauldron.

Situated along the main thoroughfare of Downtown Disney: West Side, Disney’s Candy Cauldron offers something for everyone, even before they gander at the sweet stuff. Upon entering the shop, guests are transported to the Queen’s, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, dungeon. If that were not enough to turn even the most hardened child’s eyes wide, the Cast Members who staff the store will engage customers in Old English conversations, using phrases like villagers (guests), pebbles (cents), and stones (dollars). For those seeking a more informed candy choice, Disney’s Candy Cauldron, like the Magic Kingdom’s Confectionary, offers guests a chance to watch the masters at work.What, precisely, is it that you can view them creating? Everything from fudge, to dipped fruits, and covered apples and pretzels can be found on the other side of the window. Each and every item is delicious in its own right, and deserves undivided attention, including those treats like that come prepackaged. My recommendation: a candy-covered apple, a beverage of your choice, and a bench along the shore of Lake Buena Vista when all the lights are just beginning to flicker on.

25 March 2009

The stars we find along the way

Every so often a new site/blog/podcast crops up that deserves recognition. As I find these gems I add them to the links via the Resources and move along, hopeful that someone, somewhere, will pick up on the treasures being offered and explore these sites. It is rare, however, to have several worthy nuggets come along all in one swoop, but that is what I stumbled upon this week. With such an influx of new material, or new to me material, I thought it best to let every know what is new to the Disney online community.
J. Jeff Kober, we’ve talked about his work on the Gazette before, has just launched a new blog called, Disney at Work. It will focus on some of the best practices of business that Disney has created and many have sought to emulate.

Chuck Lionburger has been a dedicate follower and purveyor of Walt Disney World knowledge for some time now. I’ll admit I have arrived rather late to the party when it comes to his site, DisneyDaddy, but it is definitely required reading. I recently had the chance to speak with Chuck during a segment for the WDW Radio Show, and look forward to further conversations, both on and off the air.

Cody Smith has come up perhaps the most intriguing, if not the most specific, idea for a blog that I have seen in quite some time. Global Disney Pinvestigation studies pins that are tied to specific attractions along with attraction and pin histories.

Joe Black (Yes, that is his real name, and no, I don’t believe he knows Brad Pitt or Anthony Hopkins) has a true heart and mind for Disney, specifically Walt Disney World, and it shines through in his site, Disney by Joe. Something to keep an eye on, Joe plans on doing a series of articles on the history of Disney’s America.

I hope each of you will take some time to discover the joys each of these blogs has to offer.

Share a dream

My aunt who worked in Walt Disney World security has been a topic on the Gazette from time to time. As time passes, I seem to inherit more and more of her belongings that came from Walt Disney World, postcards, recognition pins (most still in their wrappers), buttons, badges, frames, and the occasional medallion. I am of the firm belief that these treasures have taken up residence among my collection because my family knows I will cherish and care for them appropriately, a role a value and take on with the deepest respect for what it means to my family.

While organizing and reorganizing the pieces of this collection, as I am prone to do, I often think of how much joy I could bring to the readers of the Main Street Gazette by sharing pieces they may not have ever heard of, or have very rarely seen. It is difficult balances the aches of going through these items while at the same time wishing to share the passion we all share. Today though, I thought I would contribute the medallion from the 100 Years of Magic.

This celebration, honoring what would have been the 100th year of Walt Disney’s life, took place in 2001. The cast medallion, which is much larger and heavier than most of the coinage issued by Disney, was presented to Cast Members as a holiday offering.

24 March 2009

Pete impounds a lot

There is always a story to be found in Walt Disney World. The inactive movie set suddenly springing to life with you in its clutches, river tales of pirates and native peoples, a town overrun with tacky tourist attractions and grad students, and a multitude of other stories that we are continually engaged with and become a part of as we choose our own adventures inside the borders of Walt Disney World. Yet, all of these stories could simply fall flat. We could be told the stories, see the stories, and imagine ourselves pirates, pioneers, or playwrights, but never experience the story if it were not for the overabundance of details that draw us into and firmly root us in the stories we choose to participate in.One thing that could easily distract a guest from completing immersing themselves in a given story, or the overall story of a park, are strollers. They are everywhere throughout the parks, and rightfully so given that there would be thousands more cranky children if they had to walk all day long, and are visible along just about every line of sight. Thankfully most attraction, or at the very least an area, have stroller parking zones. It is these zones, however, that show you just what lengths Imagineering is willing to go in order to create a cohesive story.Giving the stroller parking areas a name that ties in with the experience allows guest to immerse themselves half a step sooner than they would have had they simply had to park under a ‘Stroller Parking’ sign. A couple of my favorite parking areas consist of Kilimanjaro Safaris’ road sign that includes a stroller, Mickey’s Toontown Fair’s Impound Lot, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s Valet Parking, all of which I have included in this article.Perhaps it is just the teacher in me that notices these little touches for the littlest guests and their families, but, in my opinion, it is just another way to turn a ride, show, or attraction into a full-fledged experience.

23 March 2009

Hotel guests only

It has often been said that there are no coincidences in Walt Disney World or, for that matter, any of the Disney properties. Discarded items, names, dates, numbers, everything has a rhyme or a reason. On the other side of that coin, it has also been said, although to not as extensive of a degree, that, “sometimes a suitcase is just a suitcase.”

In the case of the Hotel Burudika, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s African village of Harambe, a name is simply not a name. Burudika is, like many of the phrases and names found in Harambe, Swahili. However, as is often the case in translating from one language to another, burudika does not have a one to one correspondence to a word in English. Instead, burudika translates into a number of activities, such as be relieved, be soothed, relax, be refreshed, be pacified, be entertained, be cooled, be comforted, or be appeased. Whichever meaning you walk away with, one thing is for sure, your time spent at Harambe’s Hotel Burudika will more than likely leave you in a better state than the one you enter the hotel in.

The Romantic Road

Just along the border of the Germany Pavilion sits a little town, a village that is small in both size and stature. Cutting between the wooded countryside, the town-center, and the various railway lines is a footpath, set down to be World Showcase representation of the Romantic Road.

The true Romantic Road winds its way from Würzburg to Füssen in southern Germany, through countryside, villages, and a wealth of German history. In the Middle Ages, the route was used as a trade road. In the 1950s, however, the way became a tourist trail, highlighting areas that were considered to offer authentic German architecture, dining, vistas, and lodging.

Perhaps the most famous site along the Romantic Road is the Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein Castle was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, who hired a theatrical set designer rather than an architect to design the home. This would seem poetic since Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland owes much of its design to Neuschwanstein. Though the castle has not been miniaturized for World Showcase’s pathway, the interplay between the true Neuschwanstein and its location, Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, and Epcot’s Germany is just another example of creating cohesive stories throughout the theme parks.

The Romantic Road found alongside the German Pavilion is a wonderful piece of collaboration among the various fields (Imagineering, horticulture, WDW Design, etc.) that are required to complete any project in and around the Disney properties. While the miniature trains and village pay a high respect to the culture of Germany, it would not have been whole without the inclusion of the Romantic Road. Taking a few moments to pause here and listen to the trains rolling down the tracks, admire the diminutive flora, and take note of where you stand along the path generates offers a moment of calm and relaxation before you turn your attention to the feast of the Biergarten.

22 March 2009

The Next Five Years

Perhaps one of my favorite quotes from any attraction, past or present, comes to us from Horizons, “It’s always fun looking back at tomorrow.” In the case of today’s Back Issues, we’re looking at the five year future of The Walt Disney Company in 1987. Coming to us from the Fall 1987 issue of Disney News, this article briefly touches upon all of the park properties, films and television, products, and everything in between, as told by Michael Eisner in conversation with Bob Thomas. And, as they say in Horizons, Eisner “may not have had all the answers, but he had the right idea.”

Here is Eisner’s view of the next five years of Disney history:

Euro Disneyland – “That will be the major happening in the parks area. At least one of the gated attractions – the Magic Kingdom – will be opening in 1992. Possibly a second in 1993 or 1994; it might be a French studio and studio tour or a water theme of some kind. Resort hotels and other hotel rooms, golf courses, a festival market place will all be on our 5,000 acres at Marne-la-Vallee.”

Walt Disney World – “Our continuing expansion there will be just as important. The mega attraction will be the Disney-MGM Studios and Studio Tour. That will be opening next year, along with Pleasure Island, the Norway Pavilion, the Grand Floridian, Typhoon Lagoon – all that plus substantial hotel and convention expansion”

Disneyland – “We have unrealized plans as we try to work with the city of Anaheim in figuring out the parking phenomenon, what to do about a second gated attraction, how to fit it into our adjacent, undeveloped 40 acres, how it relates to the Disneyland Hotel, etc.”

The Burbank Project – “We have committed to a year of development. This would be the home of the Disney animation department, The Disney Channel, the Archives, plus the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot, which would be outdoor sets for movies. Mainly it will be an entertainment center with movie theaters, dining facilities, a studio tour plus tremendous retail shopping.”

Regional Centers – “The Burbank Project would be the prototype; others could be in Dallas or Chicago or Philadelphia. These would be festival market places with entertainment.”

Tokyo Disneyland – “We’re working with the Japanese on the possibility of some other entertainment around the Magic Kingdom, and how they deal with the peripheral situation. The train station will be completed, possibly next year, bringing visitors from downtown Tokyo in 15 minutes. ‘Big Thunder Mountain’ and ‘Captain EO’ just opened, and ‘Star Tours’ will be going there.”

Summing up the outdoor entertainment sector, Eisner observed: “You could say at the end of five years that sector of our company will be twice the size it is now. We will increase our gated attractions from four to seven, plus the festival shopping areas.”

Another Magic Kingdom abroad?

“Not in the next five years. We have enough on our plate now. If we get all of this done and do it well, I’ll have no hair left.”

Eisner continued with the five-year plan in other areas:

Motion Pictures – “We’re getting on track. In that whole division we will have some growth. We’ll surely be up to speed with our touchstone films and our Disney animated films, producing one every year or 18 months. We will increase the number of Disney live-action films.”

Television – “Hopefully we’ll expand substantially in network presence. Right now we have ‘The Disney Sunday Movie’ and ‘Golden Girls,’ plus a new show on CBS, ‘The Oldest Rookie.’ I hope if we are talking five years from now, it would take me a few more minutes to describe our other shows. Our television syndication has developed strongly, and we expect it to grow.”

The Disney Channel – “I guess we have three and a half million subscribers now. I don’t know what will happen in five years. There’s no way of telling where it will level off. Right now we’re growing strong and working very hard on making the programming good.”

Real Estate – “Obviously we have major areas to develop, in Florida and in France. There will be theme parks, hotels, office buildings, residential areas, farm land and green belt. All those things need to be balanced.”

Acquisitions – “We have to look for opportunities outside our existing businesses but in allied fields. Broadcasting is an area we are attracted to. We acquired KHJ-TV in Los Angeles for many reasons. The broadcast business in its own right has the kind of growth and potential that we need to achieve our projected company growth. KHJ-TV is in our home market where we can watch it, and it’s in the Disneyland market. Also it’s in the second largest market in the country and the first market in advertising dollars spent.”

Retail – “We’re looking very strongly into the retail area. We opened The Disney Store in the Glendale Galleria, and it has been a monumental hit. We’ve opened another one at Pier 39 in San Francisco, and we’re looking for other places to expand.”

Consumer Products – “Always a vital part of our business. We are looking into all areas for creative things we can do with the Disney franchise., whether it’s children’s furniture or whatever.”

21 March 2009

From the Elf Lodge

As some of you may have heard, or some of you may know from experience, I am horrible when it comes to Christmas cards. Every year I pick up a box or two, followed by another box or two during after holiday sales, and every year those cards ended up as scrap for my preschoolers to draw on, stuffed into a box in the attic, or in the trash. This year, however, I plan are starting earlier than ever in an attempt to curb my inability to send greetings out in a timely manner.

For this year, I thought I would find a Christmas scene for my holiday card. Sure, you can take a picture a year out during the winter holidays in any number of festive spots in and around Walt Disney World, but your family can change dramatically in just one year. Throughout the year there are a number of spots where you can find a holiday photograph spot, It’s a Wonderful Shop near Pizza Planet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the character snowmen at Downtown Disney: Marketplace, but the largest collection of year-round holiday décor comes from Winter-Summerland Miniature Golf.

While there are statues of Santa in his candy cane striped swimsuit, melting snowmen, wintery rhymes aplenty, perhaps the best composed shot for a Christmas card here is the sled near the entrance. With a bench for you and yours, Christmas is, literally, just around the corner. Just in case you’re planning ahead like me.Here are a few other photographs from Winter Summerland, including a few of Santa’s own holiday cards.

20 March 2009

His pedaling piano

Mark Anderson may not be a name you are familiar with, but picture this: You are strolling along The Boardwalk as the sun is setting. There is a small smile creeping across your face as you admire the reflections on the water and the breeze skimming across it, while in the distance you can hear the melodic sounds of a ragtime piano. This is a very good evening to be in Walt Disney World, but where does Mark Anderson fit into this scenario?

As it would turn out, that distant piano will get closer and closer to you, and soon not only will you hear the music but the voice as well. That voice belongs to Mark Anderson, better known as Musicále Mark, who pedals and performs along The Boardwalk five nights a week from 6:00pm until 10:0pm. Mark has a storied musical past that begins at the age of four and continues until he found his niche playing a pedaling piano Tokyo, Japan. According to The Legend of the Pedaling Piano, Mark is the great great great great nephew of Marcelloni Andressonna, an 18th century acrobat and the first pedaling pianist. Oh, and Mark has also taken a trip through the town of Celebration with star of screen and stage, Kermit.

Singing and playing the piano can be difficult enough, but the addition of creating locomotion at the same time would seem impossible, if it weren’t for Musicále Mark improbable combination of skill, talent, and showmanship. Mark knows how to entertain a crowd with songs from yesterday and yesteryear, songs we all know by heart, but may not have heard in years. He is an often overlooked treasure of not only Walt Disney World, but also the music world, and should be sought out during your next trip to Walt Disney World.

If your next trip is several months, or years, away and you wish to bring home that Boardwalk ragtime feel, Musicále Mark also has an album available. Mark, his pedaling piano, and Anthony the Banjo Man masterfully perform such traditional tunes as: Yes Sir, That’s My Baby, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, Dueling Banjos, and Mr. Sandman, while including a few Disney standards like Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and You’ve Got a Friend In Me. Songs From the Boardwalk is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

To learn more about The Legend of the Pedaling Piano, Musicále Mark, and the music from the bicycle piano, be sure to check out Mark’s website: Musicále Mark. Better yet, watch and listen for him as he makes his way down The Boardwalk.

19 March 2009

Form follows function

Last week, while taking a look at some of the gardens and designs from the past of Walt Disney World a friend of the Gazette mentioned the conical trees that were as essential to the Contemporary Resort as the murals of the Grand Canyon Concourse. Today, we’ll view a couple of photographs that highlight the Contemporary and its landscaping.

Picking up on a couple of elements from last week, this shot starts at the Magic Kingdom’s Hub, moves through Tomorrowland, and completes the composition with the Contemporary in the background.

Moving on to the actual greenery, these conical trees remain true to the form follows function approach of the resort.

The unique and familiar shape of these trees comes from the shearing of the laurel oaks. With the addition of the floral elements being underplanted this space uses minimal effort to create a complementary design.

Though the trees and flowers relate a part of the Contemporary’s story, they are also fully functional, creating a pedestrian footpath and a barrier between the path and the roads.

As a supplement, here are a few photographs from the construction of the Contemporary Resort.

18 March 2009

Addendum: Place of all delight

As a bonus for today’s Asia article, here is a copy of the map that is provided for guests as they make their way through the ruins and aviary of the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Perhaps the most important details of the entire map are the messages and viewing tips on the front. The coolest feature, however, is how the scotch take is applied to secure the front panel to the map.

Place of all delight

A little less than eleven years ago, Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened with a roar. It was the last park to open, to date, in Florida. As with all Disney properties, nothing ever opens in a completed state, or will ever be complete. For the second phase of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park would move beyond the heart of Africa to the “population explosions” and “wild places” of Asia.

Asia opened to guests on March 18, 1999. It would include the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Kali River Rapids (or what was planned as Tiger River Rapids), both of which would be take place along the Chakranadi River in the village of Anandapur. Additionally, the village would house a temple under renovation that had been overrun by gibbons. Of the gibbons and the temple, Joe Rohde relates this tale:

“This is just another example of starting from a real experience. In this case, we have the gibbons who are on the islands, you know, in Asia. And we know that they need something to swing on and climb on, that’s what they want to do, they live in trees. So, we’re trying to figure, ‘Well, what in the world could we possibly build that doesn’t look like a jungle gym, that makes sense out of an environment where these gibbons would be climbing and playing, and blah, blah blah.’ And we just happened on one of our research trips to see this temple under restoration. The one in the upper left hand corner, that’s a real temple, in Nepal, under restoration, and that became the inspiration for what we ultimately built as the gibbon temples, because it solved a problem that, frankly, we didn’t know how to solve until we came across this example.”

Like the poachers that invade the reserve in Harambe, Anandapur has its only illegal activities that harm the environment and fortify the message of conservation. Kali River Rapids, as planned and executed, would have an illegal logging operation occurring down river. The meticulous planning of the queue, as would continue throughout every corner of Asia, would include a trip through the rafting company’s office, where a radio would dispatch warnings about the loggers too late.As for the Maharajah Jungle Trek, this tour would include glimpses into the habitat and disposition of animals such as tapirs, tigers, bats, Eldt’s deer, Komodo dragons, and over fifty variety of birds. According to the account given to Melody Malmberg in The Making of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Them Park, the story behind this walk is:

“The tiger exhibit devolved from a ruined hunting-lodge palace to an even more ruined hunting lodge at the behest of the Advisory Board. They asked the Imagineers not to present guests with walls, as that design called up visions of dreary old-fashioned menageries. Instead, they encouraged the Imagineers to tear down visible barriers to give the illusion that the tigers are freely roaming in a preserve with hoofed animals…”

Today, Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Asia turns ten. The past decade has brought many wonderful interactions, experiences, and insights from Asia to the many guests of Serka Zong and Anandapur. Anandapur, in Sanskrit, means “place of all delight.” A meaning Asia has certainly lived up to over the past ten years, and a tradition that it will carry with it for many more decades. Happy birthday Asia!