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Fun Find Friday

 

April 1, 2011

Location: Asia, Disney's Animal Kingdom

When it comes to Disney, story is everything! The Imagineers plan out a story for every attraction, land, resort, park, etc. years before a guest can even experience it. As time goes on the story begins to change. One of the biggest changes that occurred in a Disney theme park story was in Asia. As we all know, five years ago Expedition Everest opened up, and with it a brand new story unfolded before our eyes. However, what was the story of the famed Anandapur before the Yeti made his home here?

Luckily, there are bits and pieces of that story still lurking around every corner, but nothing shouts on the past quite like the map of the Anandapur Township.

While walking towards Kali River Rapids you can find this map on your right hand side and most guests never notice that it is there. Others think it is a map of the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Us Disney nerds see it as a piece of history.

Let's begin by taking a look at the map itself. You will notice that the bridge that crosses the river in the lower left corner is the actual bridge we cross to enter Asia from Discover Island. However, if you followed the trail that follows that river past 6 it comes to an abrupt stop. Why is that?

Well, when this portion of the park first opened the trail didn't lead to Expedition Everest, but to nothing at all. In fact, you would walk down the path and go literally nowhere.

On the left side of the map you will notice some train tracks. These train tracks show exactly where the Eastern Star Railroad (aka, the Wildlife Express to Rafiki's Planet Watch) goes.

Number 4 represents the Maharajah Jungle Trek while number 16 doesn't even have a label! That's because these are the ruins we walk through while in the tiger area of the

Jungle Trek.

My favorite fun find on this map is actually number 5. Seven Summits Mt. Trekking is a fictional company that doesn't have a home just in Anandapur, but over on Main Street, USA as well (however there it's named Seven Summits Expeditions)!

So what exactly is Seven Summits Expeditions? Back in the 1980's, Disney brought a man named Frank Wells to join the company as the President and Chief Operating Officer alongside Michael Eisner. The man was a financial genius (much like Roy O. Disney), but more importantly, was an adventurer!

He had a goal of climbing all seven summits in the world (the highest peak in each continent) and successfully climbed all but Everest.

His window on Main Street is on the third story (the highest point you can reach) in honor of his quest to climb the seven summits around the world. Frank obviously realized that Anandapur would someday be a popular travel destination for daredevils attempting to reach the peak of Everest and set up another Seven Summits shop here in Anandapur!

 

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