Has anyone else noticed that, whenever WDW parks are doing something special for the holidays or any other event, Disney's Animal Kingdom gets nothing?
I'd like to propose a schedule of special offerings and events that will make Disney's Animal Kingdom all that much more exciting to visit, year-round:
Earth Day/April: Come on. This needs to be important. Not only is it a day that celebrates almost everything that Animal Kingdom stands for, but it's the anniversary of the park's opening. Before rope-drop, Wes Palm and Pipa the Talking Recycling Bin should be out in full force in the Oasis. (Are they even still around?) Some special decorations in Discovery Island for the occasion would be nice. Kilimanjaro Safaris could have some special narration from the guide. Now, most importantly Rafiki's Planet Watch needs to be pushed. All around the park, it should be advertised. "Come celebrate Earth Day with us at Rafiki's Planet Watch! Take the Wildlife Express Train from Harambe," or something along those lines. In Out of the Wild, the store in Planet Watch, exclusive Earth Day merchandise will be available. It would be cool if they used the stage near the Affection Section for a special Earth Day show. Rafiki's Planet Watch should see more visitors in this season than it sees at any other time during the year.
July Fourth/Independence Day: Dinoland U.S.A., and more-so, Chester and Hester's Dino-rama, should be decked out with patriotic decorations. It would be cute if they had a very small motorcade or parade with people from the town that goes down along the highway. It would also be nice to have a little band playing jazz music in a gazebo, (that, I suppose, would need to be built...) Camp Minnie-Mickey should also have a few little things going on, and maybe a flag retreat, like Main Street does every day. (There's a flagpole there, right?)
Summer Nightastic: The Taste of Africa Street Party should continue. Not necessarily every night, all summer, but from what I've heard it is great and should continue. Another event that could happen in the summer is some sort of Yeti festival, in Serka Zong. On select summer nights, they could have Expedition: Everest open late and really up the atmosphere for the experience. Bring in cast members to play villagers. Have some special decorations depicting the Yeti. You know, maybe get the Yeti to work, for once. Who knows. If it would make sense, they could make this a cheap hard-ticket event.
I think it would be awesome if, for summer nights, they could have little boat cruises on the Discovery River. It would be nice to see the park from that angle as the sun sets... They have the docks. And the boats must be around, somewhere.
Halloween: Okay, this one is a little tough. They could continue the aforementioned Everest nights. It's too bad we don't have Beastly Kingdom, because that would make this season a lot easier. Maybe it would be a better idea to leave the Halloween to the other parks.
Christmas/Holiday Season: Camp Minnie-Mickey should be the center of DAK's Holiday celebrations. The land's rustic setting fits it well. Another Christmas tree, (besides the park's main one,) should be in this land. The old Pocahontas theater should be used for a simple but fun Christmas show, (maybe similar to Minnie's Christmas Party.) Hot chocolate and cookies should be available at the Campfire Treats location. Characters in their little huts could have special Holiday costumes. Santa can be available for meeting in one of the locations. Festival of the Lion King can remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, the Jingle Jungle parade will run. Now, this might be a little bit of a stretch, but Disney should run the Jingle Jungle parade at night, (with special lighting,) or make a whole new nighttime DAK holiday parade, (not so likely...) If Disney felt so inclined, they could put over-sized ornaments on the Tree of Life... Then again, maybe not.
I was thinking of some way to incorporate Africa and Asia, but it wouldn't seem very tasteful. They could, however, bring in an extension of the Holidays Around the World program from Epcot's World Showcase, and have storytellers in Africa, and maybe two in Asia, (one for India, one for Nepal/Tibet.)
And, I hear that the Lights of Winter aren't very busy right now. Might those fit on Discovery Island? I don't know...
New Year's Eve: To relieve the crowds from other parks, Animal Kingdom could have a small party. For this, I imagine that not all of the park would be open. At most, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, DinoLand U.S.A., and Expedition: Everest. They could have projections and light shows on the Tree of Life, celebrating the new year. When the countdown to midnight happens, the numbers can be projected on the Tree, on Everest, and on surfaces in DinoLand and Camp, (like the concreteasaurus.) Then, synchronized lighting and confetti blasts could substitute for fireworks blasts when midnight comes around.
Do you have any ideas? Anything to add? Animal Kingdom seems to be the forgotten park of the World. But, just this past month we saw new life in its summer nights with the start of the Taste of Africa Street Party. A better future for this park can't be far off, right?