Wednesday, March 30, 2011
WDW 2011 - Animal Kingdom Thoughts (and massive photo/sketch dump)
Gorgeous place that it is, Disney's Animal Kingdom is almost fourteen years old and it's still very unclear what direction Disney wanted to take the park in. To illustrate what I mean, here are two T-shirt designs sold within three feet of each-other in one of the park's gift shops:
So there's this side of Animal Kingdom, which I strongly approve of.
But there is also this side. In case the image is unclear, this is basically a group portrait of Disney film characters who correspond somewhat to the live animals in the park. What's worse is that they are seemingly the first ones they pulled out of a hat at that. Really, Bre'r Bear, Lady Cluck, Dumbo, and Dragon!Madame Mimm? And seeing King Leonidas (from "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" although the other one would be a hell of a lot more interesting) next to Simba is just...
One would hope that Disney would eventually "get" what brings most fans of this park back: the animals, darn it! The name of the park is not Disney's Thrill Ride Kingdom after all. What you're seeing here in this photo, besides the Ankole and Elands, is a possible sign that Disney finally has a clue as to what their animal park can do. That's an observation deck for the Wild Africa Trek, a new tour that takes you up close and personal with the animals in Kilimanjaro Safari. You have to pay quite a lot extra for it... but you *also* ride in a vehicle that will actually stop so you can take photos. Earth to Disney: please give us more Animal Kingdom attractions like this.
Herewith, the good side of animal kingdom, as seen through my camera and sketches. These are sights I wouldn't give up for all the puppet fish and audio-animatronic Yetis in the world.
Obligatory pink Flamingos!
Although honestly, I more readily associate white Ibises with Florida. I love how they strut around the Disney parks like they own the place.
Macaws in flight, as they should be. And an awesome Eagle Owl.
And a Crowned Crane. Truly the bird show Flights of Wonder is better than most people expect.
A very handsome Mandarin Duck. This is a good example of it being one thing to see a painting of an animal with unusual features in an encyclopedia or something, and quite another to see it in person.
Which brings us to this lovely Victoria Crowned Dove, sitting proudly in her nest right as we walked into the amazing Maharaja Jungle Trek aviary.
I don't know why, but I have a great affinity for Spoonbills.
And Okapi! I should really say that I have a great affinity for animals most people have never heard of.
And, of course, the obligatory amusing sign:
Here come sketches! Click for big:
For a bit of levity, Awkward Family Photos just dug up the single most amazing photo they have ever found or will ever find. It is... tenuously related to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Nothing can prepare you for it.