I’m worried about the Tree of Life.
While the Tree of Life is a new use for an oil rig and not an actual tree capable of growth, there are a wide variety of trees, bushes, and other plants all around the Tree of Life that will continue to grow and could, at some point down the line obstruct some of the views that guests have become accustom to.
The first argument against this is that Disney Horticulture would never allow other plants to hide the park icon. My concern is that some of these plants have, and will continue to, become intricate parts of the animal habitats that surround the Tree of Life and its garden. Replacing the trees and shrubberies that are so much a part of the lives of the park’s citizen creatures, while possible, is a tricky proposition. Changing landmarks, the odors and markings, and the nests and other structures that the animals call home is not as easy as it sounds, and I’m certain it doesn’t sound all that easy.
As it is replacing trees and other plants isn’t all that simple in and around the other parks. Case in point, and the reasoning behind my worry, is the Disneyodendron eximus or Out-of-the-Ordinary Disney Tree that the Swiss Family Robinson calls home. This is the tree in 1971 when the park opened.
Jump ahead forty-plus years to 2012, and what use to be the visually stunning and outstanding structure near the entrance to Adventureland has lost a bit of its striking visuals. The treehouse hasn’t lost any of its height or sprawl, the canopy of the trees surrounding it has encroached upon the once monolithic nature of the Swiss Family Robinson tree. Even around the base, where the bridges connect the treehouse to the mainland of Adventureland, the structures have been overrun with lush, textured plant-life.
While the Tree of Life offers a breathtaking backdrop from Asia, Discovery Island, Africa, and all points in between, what will still be visible in another twenty or thirty years? I imagine the first glimpse of the weenie, as guests make their way through the Oasis and down into the valley of Discovery Island, will be maintained at all costs. Other spotting locations, such as the bridge between Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A., may become more concealed, leaving only the upper branches of the tree visible.
No matter what is able to be seen, and from where, the Tree of Life is a gorgeous central gem for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a shining example of the park, much like the animals themselves. As the years go by and the park, its creatures, and its foliage continue to grow, these are the problems it will encounter, and I am sure whatever solution is enacted, it will be in the best interest of all parties involved!