13 July 2009

The clearest way

The entrances to each of the parks feature a land or area dedicate to creating a break from reality and further involve guests in the story they are taking part in. In the cases of the magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A. or Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard these areas are lined with shops and details critical to the development of the story. Guests are enthrall and enchanted at, but also easily dismiss, the depth of these lands as they make their way towards their destination. However, the disregard shown to these entrances are nothing compared to the contempt shown towards Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Oasis.

Between the lack of retail space and attractions, coupled with the steep incline guests must endure for the breathtaking view of the Tree of Life, there is not a single area in any park that is rushed through more often than the Oasis. The shame of this occurrence is that the Oasis is teeming with life, quiet areas, and small features that should qualify it as a treasure in its own right.

The animal exhibits and architecture introduce guests to the theme of the intrinsic value of nature in a manner that is familiar to guests. The animals themselves are identifiable, even with slight differences, such as the smaller member of the deer family, the Reeve’s Muntjac. The plaques that describe the animals’ habitats and personalities also include a quote or proverb key to understanding the ideas being presented within the park. Some quotes include:

Listen to the voice of nature for it holds treasures for you. Native American Proverb

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi

The clearest way to the Universe is through a forest wilderness. Henry Thoreau

As we make our way, as guests, from the architecture that is based upon the early 20th Century style of American Arts and Crafts to the wilderness and universe beyond we are presented with plants, waterways, and rockwork the create shade and a cooling environment. These alcoves and walkways are the CliffsNotes or short stories that showcase how we are assisted by the plants and wild places of our planet, while at the same time these wildernesses create homes for a variety of beautiful animal and plant species.

Of all of the entrance plazas and lands of Walt Disney World, the Oasis is inflicted with the most complaints and is rushed through the most often. Yet, of all of the entrance areas, the Oasis is the single greatest example of how to cohesively introduce the greater story that is being presented by its park. The Oasis deserves to be explored, and its inhabitants admired, rather than being grumbled at and about.


Princess Fee said...

Completely agree with your last paragraph there! Lovely article.

AJ said...

I could easily spend half a day just wandering through the oasis. There are "caves," paths, and the most amazing displays. I love when cast members stand out there to answer questions; they know so much and are so patient with my curiosity!

Anonymous said...

Nice article. We hurry through as well, but usually hit the oasis on the way out.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Anonymous - I'm glad you are stopping by on the way out. Actually, that is probably the perfect time to stop by, as you would be in need of shade shade to cool off from the Florida sun.

AJ - I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it a thousand more times, the Cast Members of the animal exhibits at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and the Lodge, are some of the most top rated individuals in my mind.

Princess - Thank you, as always, for your care and support!

Scott said...

While I wouldn't say we "rush" through it (we always take some time to look at animals and go through the caves and some of the paths), I wonder if some of the rushing on the part of others is due to the fact that they want to see something they don't see elsewhere? I mean, with Main Street and with DHS entrance, you are treated to a sort of time reversal that you don't get in too many places in the real world. I have really never seen a "Main Street" in any small town that is as picturesque as the Disney verion. But with DAK, you can get something similar a lot of time at a local zoo or at a state or national park. Not exactly, of course...not the same animals, not the same depth of detail (at the zoo), not the same plant life, but nature is sometimes not as foreign to Disney guests as that small town vista, or that Hollywood street frozen in time...just some quick thoughts...

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Scott - I think you make my point for me. There is no Main Street as manicured as the one found in the Magic Kingdom. Similarly, I have never seen a zoon exhibit look so untamed, wild, and natural as those presented throughout the park, including the Oasis. Perhaps some guests are rushing by because of the zoo aspect, although many of the animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom, including those in the Oasis, are more exotic than I've seen at my local zoo.

That said, I think you are exactly right that guests are not stopping for these reasons, and it is a shame that they do not know what they are missing.