18 February 2013

Study and Protect Wildlife

If you’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom since late last year, you may have noticed a new addition to the Guidemaps and Times Guides in the map racks scattered around the park. Of course, these latest supplements would be easy to overlook unless you are a first time guest, are a rabid ephemera collector, or seek out a map because you’ve gotten lost. These new flyers are Animal Guides and their distribution has created a brand new way for guest to explore the park and its inhabitants.

The guides break down which animals can be found in a given land, from attractions specific exhibits such as the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to smaller habitats that are meant to be stumbled upon. In this way it makes for a great checklist and I’m willing to bet there is at least a single creature listed that you didn’t know resided within Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hopeful I’ll see and overhear guests ticking off the boxes on the guides and scurrying about in search of the 105 animals listed on the small sheet.

You may have also caught that the animal graphics come in two different colors. Those creatures that appear in tan boxes are beneficiaries of conservation programs that receive funds from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). The paragraph on the front of the guide encourages guests to speak with Cast Members to find out what specific kinds of help the animals receive from the DWCF. I sincerely hope this prodding sends more guests in search of the knowledgeable Cast Members who have a wealth of information and stories to share with the guests. I also hope that Cast Members are given access to more data specific to the animals in their assigned areas of the park, as I am certain the guests who do seek out further details are not looking for generic tales of DWCF. Although I have yet to find a story from the organization that I would consider generic.

This isn’t the first time Disney’s Animal Kingdom has put out an animal spotting guide. No, I’m not talking about the banners that run along the top of the jeeps in Kilimanjaro Safaris. In 2000 Roundtree Press release the Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Like the new Animal Guides, the book also divided the park into sections. Each section gave an encyclopedia type entry for each animal, along with full color photographs. Overall the field guide highlighted 200 animals and 200 plants that filled the park. While a great guide to use as a starting place for studying the park and its inhabitants, it isn’t necessarily easy to utilize inside the parks. The new Animal Guides, however, are perfect for launching a tour of park.

The Animal Guides are a great addition to those who wish to explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom for more than a few ours and also those that may be new to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. If I had my druthers I would add a second page to the pamphlet to consolidate the information on the DWCF while increasing the number of animals listed and possibly throwing in a few of the more intriguing plant species. No matter if changes are made to the Animal Guides or not, they are a great way of tailoring the material provided to the needs of the guests in the park.

No comments: