17 February 2012

Little red

Many attractions see tweaks to the imagery and story that is presented during the weeks and months that follow the attraction’s opening. One such story, the tale of Big Red and Little Red, has undergone many changes in its fourteen years, and is almost certain to disappear entirely very soon. I guess we should go ahead and talk about it now before it moseys off into the sunset.

When Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the poaching storyline was represented in a very aggressive manner. Perhaps the most startling portion of the story came from the inclusion of an elephant carcass, an effect not from a real creature. It should go without saying that even though this scene was only seen during Cast Member previews children, parents, and tender-hearted individuals were quite upset at this imagery and it was removed almost instantly.

Still, the story of an elephant calf and its mother being separated, presumably and later discovered as a certainty, by poachers. They were named Big Red and Little Red. The missing elephant is continually mentioned as the safari roams through animal enclosure after animal enclosure until guests are asked to join in the hunt for the poachers. Guests bounce about geyser fields, dart by an abandoned poachers’ encampment, and even survive being shot at. In the end, however, they are shown a Little Red Audio-Animatronics figure and informed that the uniting of mother and calf is imminent.In 2007, Kilimanjaro Safaris’ eye in the sky, Warden Wilson Matua, lost his partner in poacher hunting, Mrs. Jobson. Similarly, Big Red was also absent from the recorded narration, though the baby elephant figure remained central to the story and could still be seen in the finale scene of the attraction.

Word came down this week that this mechanical elephant will be removed to make room for more actual animals, including zebras. With some many live elephant calves roaming the savannas who could blame the park for wanting to show off some more true life adventures.


Dan said...

We visited the Animal Kingdom in May 1998, and there have been a lot of changes. The original Big Red/Little Red story was the most involved but startling like you say. I'm sad that the Wilson animatronic (with the arm waving out of the truck) was removed a few years ago. I understand why Disney's removing it, but it makes me a little sad.

Scott said...

I remember when they had a real jeep running beside the safari vehicle and real people standing around little red's truck waving. They also had someone in the plane I think...I'll miss the good times...