Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The World's Fourth Kingdom At Ten...
On this day...
Ten years ago, the largest Disney theme park in the world(over 500 acres) opened up in Walt Disney World. Disney's Animal Kingdom's gates swung out to welcome guests on this day a decade ago. It was a little lacking in rides, but hey... what theme park under Eisner wasn't after Euro Disneyland? Granted, one its two major lands(Asia) wouldn't open for another year, but the Mouse trudged forward with this new park.
And to be frank, out of all WDW's parks, the most beautiful and filled with the theming one expects from a Disney park... DAK is it. It is still lacking in any nighttime entertainment(River of Dreams is on hold), and several areas aren't what was or should have been built(Hello: Camp Minnie-Mickey!) and one area is surprisingly garish and carnie in nature(Dinoland U.S.A.), but this theme park is well worth the experience. Anyone that has seen its lush scenery, animals and Expedition Everest realize how wonderful and different this is from the normal Disney experience... and yet, it's still Disney.
Now the great news is this park is still young... and it has nowhere near the problems that DCA has. This is mainly due to the leadership of one Imagineer Czar that has watched over it since he pitched the idea to Eisner in the first place: Joe Rohde. Now, we can't blame Joe for the mess that is Dinoland or the out of place Camp Minnie-Mickey... he's a man that knows when and where to fight his battles. He got to build a good percentage of what he wanted and realized that the rest could come with time. That time may soon arrive over the next four to six years. By then it will hopefully reflect the original intention of the park: to have examples of animals that are real, extinct and myth... with Asian and Africa they have the living part, and Dinoland U.S.A. they have the extinct part, but the third land that was to represent the animals of myth never really materialized. Now some think that having the Yeti from Expedition Everest fills this category, but let's face it; Yeti's are real. I've seen them many a time when I was night skiing up in Big Bear and Parking City. The fact that alcohol was involved is purely coincidental.
Disney's Hollywood Studios will be getting the majority of the TLC over the next few years, but DAK will get some loving. One of the best bits of news for Disney Geeks/Fans in years is that "Beastly Kingdom" is not dead. It's not only dead, but the concept is apparently moving forward although slower than we'd like and is going to be different than what was originally conceived. Put that together with Steven Davison's(Vice President, Disney Creative Entertainment) plans to come up with a nighttime alternative to River of Lights and things could be downright rosy...
Come 2011(there's that year again!) or 2012 if plans shift and construction dates slip, Disney's Animal Kingdom will be the crown jewel of all five parks. Errr... oops, I meant four parks. Didn't I?
Anyways, happy birthday DAK. You don't look a day over nine...
Posted by Honor Hunter at 6:23 AM
Labels: Blue Sky, DAK, Imagineering, John Lasseter, Michael Eisner, Themeparks, WDI, WDW
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five parks? okay...spill it. or at least hint at it...
Got to see it last Oct., and loved it. Good to see some of what Walt wanted originally - having real, live animals.
Spill what? I have no idea what you're talking about... (waves his hand) you never heard me say that. Nope... nothing, nothing at all.
So I take it this was a mini-Blue Sky Alert for WDW?
My biggest beef with DAK... not Dinoland, not Camp M/M, but the steel railings around Nemo Musical, and the giant box of a theater. It looks absurd and out of place.
Great tribute for DAK. I am soo excited about Beastly Kingdom. I wonder if they will tie-in some of the upcoming animated films with it. Also, - could you be hinting at Disney's Night Kingdom for the Fifth gate?
By 2011, the only new addition to WDW will be that Night Kingdom, so I assume that is what you were refering to by the 5 parks thing.
Great post! This blog has been bookmarked for alil over a year now, and I really enjoy it.
Is there anyway we will be getting a full bluesky-alert for WDW anytime soon? or will this be it for a while?
fifth park- that is nothing new. it was all over the news not too long ago about DISNEY'S NIGHT KINGDOM, but if he had said a sixth park, then i would have really raised an eyebrow...
5th park if true, is rumored to be some boutique, very expensive park. Something I will never visit.
I love Dinoland, a bit cheesy but the rides are fun and they have many Hidden Mickeys. :) Enhance Dinoland but don't remove the rides!
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