Fun Find Friday
May 27, 2011
Location: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Lions and tigers and....dragons?
There are no dragons in the Animal Kingdom, right?
Wrong! In fact, dragons are scattered throughout the park in some
obvious, and not so obvious ways. But why are the dragons here?
That's an easy question to answer. It's a reference to Beastly
Kingdom! What is Beastly Kingdom? Well, that's a little more
difficult to answer.
Back when Disney's Animal Kingdom was being
developed the Imagineers had decided to focus on three different
types of animals: animals that we can find today, animals that are
extinct (Dinoland, USA), and animals that are born from the
imagination (like dragons!). The last area listed there was intended
for Beastly Kingdom, which would focus on the good side and bad side
of make believe creatures. Let's introduce these two sides in an
announcer type way.
Announcer: LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, BOYS AND GIRLS,
it's time for the Beastly Kingdom Lineup! Coming from the land of
butterflies and rainbows, it's the uniiiiiiicooooooooorns! And their
rival, the baddest of the bad and the meanest of the mean, the fire
Alright, for those of you who stuck with this
article after that nonsense, let me go into a little more detail
about this (what could be) amazing land. Like I said, the area would
be divided into two lands that focused on the good (unicorns) and
bad (dragons). The good side featured a Fantasia based attraction
(it would be similar to "small world," but would take you through
scenes of the film) and a Unicorn maze, while the bad side featured
a rollercoaster (Disney's Animal Kingdom's first thrill ride) that
would take you on an adventure as you attempted to slay the dragon.
Alright, so I know some of you out there are
wondering when I'm going to get to the connection with the park
today. Let's start with the most obvious one. Throughout Disney's
Animal Kingdom you can find the "park logo" which features a lion,
elephant, triceratops, antelope, and a dragon (right in the center).
This is featured on the sign near the buses, the direction signs
throughout the park (see picture below), and some of the benches in
The Oasis (see picture below).
These signs can be found throughout most of Disney's Animal
Park bench near my exit at Disney's Animal Kingdom
These logos show that in earlier stages dragons were
definitely going to have a home here at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The
big question is: How close did Disney get to actually putting this
land into the park? There are three details found in the park that
help us answer that question. The first one is at the tickets booths
just before the turnstiles. Here you can find a different head on
each of the three ticket booths. There's a dinosaur, elephant, and
then this guy:
The fact that a dragon stands at the entrance to the
park shows that the idea was still in the Imagineers minds right up
to park opening. What really solidifies it though is Michael
Eisner's opening speech which can be found in The Oasis:
Here he clearly states that the park is "ruled by
lions, dinosaurs, and dragons." Even on opening day, the idea of
dragons being present in the park was still a very real possibility.
So what happened? Money! It takes a lot of money to build a brand
new park (while still updating other parks around the World) so the
idea of Beastly Kingdom was put on the backburner. To keep guests
satisfied for the first year or two a temporary land was put in it's
place: Camp Minnie-Mickey.
As time went by, Beastly Kingdom slowly faded away
while The Festival of the Lion King and the Character Trails became
more popular. However, part of Beastly Kingdom can still be found at
Disney's Animal Kingdom (even though no rides are present). While
approaching Camp Minnie-Mickey, stop on the bridge that takes you
into the land. On your right hand side, near the water, you'll find
Here lies a dragon, anxiously waiting the day for
his home to be built. Will Beastly Kingdom ever become a reality?
Who knows? I for one would love to see this land built, but not at
the expense of The Festival of the Lion King. What are your
Share them over in the forums.
Return to Fun