Thursday, April 18, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom at 15

On Earth Day, April 22nd, 15 years ago, the forth theme park opened at Walt Disney World – Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Inspired by Walt Disney’s longtime wish to have live animals in his theme parks, combined with the success in the 1990s of The Lion King, Animal Kingdom broke new ground in the theme park world, as well as in the zoological world.

Plagued with problems in the beginning with some of the animals, as well as marketing challenges, (remember notazoo) staggered expansions and previously promised lands never built, Animal Kingdom has weathered the challenges and made the control of animals once thought to be difficult, by Disney standards, rather easy. While Animal Kingdom is still not considered, by many to be a full-day theme park, it has some of the most intricate theming and detailed attractions in all of Walt Disney World.

As Walt Disney World once said, his parks will never be complete, and this is holding true in the Animal Kingdom, as Avatar Land is moving from the design phase into reality, with the construction beginning this year! This land, based on the planet Pandora, has the potential of making Animal Kingdom a full day park. It is still my hope that Disney forces James Cameron to keep the politics out of it, and I believe there will be no politics in this attraction, as Disney does not want to offend at least half of its customer base. Will this addition bring about a Florida World of Color? Will they bring back the Discovery River? Will they make a night parade along the Discovery River? Only time will tell, but I look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for the next 15 years of Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

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