09 May 2009

Can you dig it, baby?

Upon entering the heart of Dinoland U.S.A., observant guests will stumble upon a bulletin board. This bulletin board features some truly unique views into the characters who permeate the signs, documents, and world of Dinoland U.S.A. Additionally, there are maps, advertisements, and newspaper articles that add multiple layers to The Dino Institute’s story. We’ll take a look at the newspaper commentaries tomorrow, but today the Gazette will feature the people and documents that inhabit this land of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

For starters, here are the descriptions of the various staff members of The Dino Institute that we may encounter:

DR. BERNARD DUNN (Professor)
FIELD: Senior Paleontologist
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Get to work!” –Dr. Bernard Dunn

DR. SHIRLEY WOO (Professor)
FIELD: Paleo-Environmentalism
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Show yourself more human than critical and your pleasure will increase.” –Domenico Scarlatti

DR. EUGENE McGEE (Professor)
FIELD: Physiology
FAVORITE QUOTE: Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.” –Thomas Henry Huxley

FIELD: Taphonomy
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt

FIELD: Group dynamics
FAVORITE QUOTE: “One hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.”

A couple of notes here, as we will see later in this excavation of the board, there are also other personalities we have not yet been introduced to, such as Diana Sore, Dr. Helen Marsh, Dr. Tina Lee, and Dr. Grant Seeker, among others. Additionally, while a majority of the favorite quotes credit their original sources, Jenny Weinstein’s lacks this designation. For the record, this quote comes from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

Along the bulletin board are several classified ads covering everything from seeking a date, to house-sitting, and even a few items for sale. While these would be commonplace on any bulletin board or in a company newsletter or newspaper, here they offer us glimpses into habits and personal lives of The Dino Institute’s staff.

Work at The Dino Institute is as difficult as any other profession in the world, and, like many break room bulletin boards, the staff occasionally need to use humor to release some of the tension and drudgery. Whenever they come across, or come up with, a rather chuckle filled joke they share this with their co-workers, allowing a brief respite from digging, cleaning, and cataloging.

This community board also gives the staff access to documents they may need while out in the field, such as the Lab Report below. While this may seem like a way to keep staff on task, it is also a valuable time saving tool, as researchers will not have to trudge all the way back to The Dino Institute to gather and complete the forms they need.
Finally today, is a hand drawn map of Dinoland U.S.A. Created by Jenny Weinstein, who was apparently supposed to give us a tour of the facilities the day we arrived. Perhaps the most terrific piece on the entire bulletin board, this map was clearly created at the time of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s opening, as it references the Fossil Preparation Lab and the Dinosaur Jubilee, two exhibits that are no longer available and were stationed where Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama now stands. Countdown to Extinction, today known as Dinosaur, is also given a prominent mention on the map. In addition to giving information on every exhibit and building in Dinoland U.S.A., Weinstein’s map is detailed enough to discuss the dinosaur sculptures that can be found behind the Fastpass kiosks.


Anonymous said...

You simply must set aside an hour to read this entire bulletin board, especially if you hope to understand the full scope of the Institute...let alone the depth of Imagineer planning!
I always make this a scheduled visit when in AK. Thanks for giving it your excellent treatment!

Princess Fee said...

I adore the hidden - and not-so-hidden - details of Dino-Land. Anon is right - the depths the Imagineers go to tell a story deserves to be rewarded!

Mini-V said...

Just looking at the notes on the bulletin board reminds me that there are some fun jobs at WDW...or maybe someone just went around various offices and copied notes off WDW office bulletin boards.