28 March 2011


Looking around the four parks of Walt Disney World, there is a single park which no one could argue needs some plussing. Adding new life and fresh attractions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is paramount to the continued success of the park. Regardless of fantastical ideas that have been left on the drawing boards, there are spaces both undeveloped and underutilized that could be used to expand the borders and believers of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Which brings us to the roundtable topic of the day…

Roundtable Topic: What continent or ecosystem would you add to Disney's Animal Kingdom? What would this area bring to the park?
Roundtable Contributors: Fiona Doyle (DF’82), Melissa Loflin (Makin’ Memories), AJ Wolfe (The Disney Food Blog), Chris Fore (Yet Another Disney Blog), and myself.
Fiona – I had to think about this one for a long time, as it would be quite easy to reminisce about what would have been of the proposed Beastly Kingdom. But, to go out on a limb here, I would love to see the continent of Antarctica represented. I understand why it hasn't before (with the close proximity of Walt Disney World to other, aquatic based theme parks), but I think it would be a truly interesting area.

To learn about the ecosystem and the flora and fauna of the Antartic area would be fasincating. Plus, I do have a soft spot for penguins! So to see these beautiful creatures in Animal Kingdom would be a big bonus for me (I can be selfish - this is my fantasy!).

Additionally, there has been so many past explorations of Antartica, as well as present day research on the continent, that Disney's Animal Kingdom could really educate its guest with some of the history of the region. As well as providing insights to the type of research that is currently being undertaken in the region. A great way to provide edu-tainment to the guests of Walt Disney World.

Melissa – One piece of the planet the Animal Kingdom is missing is sea life. So much of Earth is made up of what exists under the water and should also be represented in the park. I think the addition of Australia would introduce this ecosystem to the park. Just as Asia and Africa boast treks and trails with the native animals, so could Australia. The “Outback” could take you past the various native marsupials that inhabit the continent, allow you to see the monotreme animals (mammals that lay eggs) such as the platypus and echidna up close, and let you walk through an amphibian and reptile enclosure before making your way to the main attraction of the area: "The Great Barrier Reef Exploration". This attraction could be like the Kilimanjaro Safari in Africa except it would take you under the water to see the creatures that call the Great Barrier Reef their home. At “Queenslanding” guests could board submarine vehicles called “Reef Marine Voyagers” (or RMVs) created to skim the surface of the water while still allowing guests the ability to see out all sides and see the animals around them. Of course, just as on the Safari, the animals would be kept away from the vehicles by unseen barriers. The creatures could include the various whales, dolphins, and sea turtles specific to the Reef, the coral that call the Reef home, and the numerous tropical fish that make up the Reef. To continue the park's theme of animal and ecosystem education, this would be a great time to incorporate more about conservation of the reef as well. I'm not sure if it could even be possible, but I would love to experience it!

AJ – I have two answers I can't decide between. My first response was that it would be nice to see an element of fantasy in the park. I like the original Dragon concepts for the park, and it might be an interesting foil to the Wizarding World in Universal. My other choice, however, which I think would be better received, would be the Australia concept that's been floating around. There's so much rich history in that area of the world, and the theming could be done very well.

Chris – What if a day at the Animal Kingdom could include an excursion to the lost city of Atlantis? This would give us a chance to experience both the fantastic and authentic denizens of Liquid Space. It might also give WDW a new home for a submarine and/or hydrolator experience.

Ryan – If I were going to add a continent or ecosystem to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I would have to cheat by making the area an amalgamation of both the Galapágos Islands and Madagascar. Call it, Exotic Isles. The land would fit well with the lush vegetation present throughout the park, while taking advantage of the water elements inherent to the islands for attractions.

Oh, and I did I mention the vast array of animals, both from the land and seas, that could call the Exotic Isles home? With ‘Animal’ in the park’s name, there are an overwhelming number of creatures rarely seen outside of their native islands and archipelagos that could inspire awe in guests young and old.

The Gazette Roundtable has presented ideas for Disney’s Animal Kingdom from the cold chill of Antarctica to the sweltering heat of South America. The question is, what would you add to the park? Do you think one of the concepts above is a winner or do you have an even better idea of your own? Let us hear it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see an area of the park devoted to the polar regions, because then you would be able showcase polar bears, penguins, snowbirds, and various aquatic life. BUT - I can imagine why it would be difficult (and potentially dangerous to the animals) to bring those things to central Florida.

With that in mind, I agree that Australia would make for a great addition - it has its own unique ecosystem and wildlife, yet the animals are on the smaller side and easier to care for.