31 May 2010

Spending even a few minutes

In the introduction to Winnie-the-Pooh, the book not the film, A.A. Milne briefly expounds about the two types of guests that visit the zoo in London. During this narrative Milne recounts, “There are some people who begin the zoo at the beginning, called WAY IN, and walk as quickly as they can past every cage until they get to the one called WAY OUT. But the nicest people go straight to the animal they love the most, and stay there.” Similarly, there are many guests who rush as quickly as they can through Disney’s Animal Kingdom without every truly taking time to pause and absorb the wild world around them.While A.A. Milne observed two types of visitors to the zoo, it is my opinion that there are three types of guests that visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The category of guests include those that dart throughout the park and are gone as quickly as they arrived, others who plod along through the various lands taking note of a few exhibits as they continue moving from the entrance back to the exit, and, finally, the guests that find places to stop and savor every moment for as long as they can.Upon entering Disney’s Animal Kingdom, plenty of guests make their way through marquee experiences, including Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, a showing of Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo – the Musical, and perhaps a spin through either Primeval Whirl or Kali River Rapids, before beating a path back towards the exit before noon. These guests refer to the park as a ‘half-day park,’ and dash through Disney’s Animal Kingdom as early in the morning as they can before moving on to one of the other three parks for the afternoon, evening, and night.A second collection of guests will, most certainly, rush with the crowds to obtain a Fastpass before moving on to the queue of another attraction. After successfully taming several attractions, they will meander at a slower pace to the remainder of the plotted points they wish to experience. Along the way, they could be cajoled into visiting one of the animal trails or pause to take a few moments to marvel at DeVine, before the heat of the afternoon drives them to the air conditioning of their cars, resort rooms, or attractions of the other parks.The final selections of guest notice when one of the multitude of animals are available for viewing, they take in the occasional attraction, but will spend a majority of their day viewing their favorite creatures, and taking time to talk with the Cast Members positioned throughout the exhibits. While possibly not their favorite animal, these guests are always in wonder of the nature world being presented, and are content to stop and stay put for as long as is necessary to understand a bit more about the animal in front of them.As stated above, not everyone’s favorite animal is presented in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, however I find it difficult to believe that among the plethora of species roaming around the park, which include gorillas, tigers, otters, macaws, hippopotamuses, bats, and meerkats, to name a few, there is not a creature that each and every guest could find intriguing. This is not to say that any of the above factions are right or wrong, it is simply that some guests are more attuned to the message of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Taking a few excerpts from Bob Lamb’s introduction in the Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, we are reminded of what this park truly means:
“Spending even a few minutes, for example, watching the gorillas interacting with one another or seeing the tigers at play is a poignant reminder of what a privilege it is to be able to observe these creatures.”“When guests visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, we want them to enjoy the wonders of our animal world, but we also want them to go away inspired by what they see and to become personally involved in conservation efforts in their own communities and in conserving wildlife and wild places around the world.”

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