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  1. #1

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    Post AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    I originally wrote this for my web site as an editorial but, thought I might get better feedback here:
    Animal Kingdom is rapidly gaining steam. This wonderful park gained a whole new thrill ride about 6 months ago, and as I speak performances of the brand new, broadway, quality, Finding Nemo production are going on. AK is constantly expanding. With Beastly Kingdom gaining ground again, AK is starting to look like one of, if not, the best theme park(s) in FL. Even with it's small list of "attractions", it has already become a better theme park than say, the Disney Studios, in my opinion. Animal Kingdom, due in part to its theme, is able to remain fresh and new, in real time and interactivity. WDI put it's heart into everything seen here. Their efforts don't go in vain, by having this much detail there's always something new to appreciate; even at the "same old" location. For every detail you see there's 99 your missing. Even such simple things as smoke areas are heavily themed.The whole park is lush in greenery. Other than certain areas in Dinoland, there isn't a single place in the park where a tree is more than 10 ft. away. This is a park that is very in tune with the earth. All benches in the park are made of recycled milk plastic containers. The food quality here is also top-notch, with what might possibly be the best theme park fast-food location anywhere (Flame Tree BBQ). And to top all this off, the whole park is/was the first Disney park to be entirely handicap accessable. At this park, Disney makes a valient effort to make their customers get the most out of their dollar, unlike some of their other parks (WDSP, DCA, DSF).

    Of course for all the plusses there have to be some minuses. The most notable one being Dino-Rama, a large area in Dinoland U.S.A. Dino-Rama was built over what was a tent-like structure called the Dinosaur Jubilee & unbuilt land. Few people know or remember the dinosaur jubilee(s), if you don't check out: http://www.wdwmagic.com/animal_archive1.htm*. The whole theme of this area is a very confusing one that will only be recieved by fellow disney fanatics or people who have really researched their trip. The theme in question? Chester & Hester a middle-aged couple have decieded to build a roadside attraction similar to those found at city & county fairs. This area contains two attractions, Triceratops Spin and Primeval Whirl. Both could be fun experiences but, they're cheapend by tacky decorations and minimal-storytelling. There has to be a way that the geniuses at WDI can retheme these off-the-shelf rides to AK standards. We're not talking Expedition: Everest or Dinosaur-quality just simple retheming that makes it believable and enjoyable. Is it not possible to retheme Primeval Whirl as an indoor semi-in-the-dark coaster ala Space Mountain? It could be simply the same ride layout, enclosed, with video screens and other simple effects to make it a well-themed, yet fairly inexpensive coaster. Triceratops Spin requires even less thinking. Along with all this, the midway games should be removed. The problem with this is very blatant. It's the simple "if you build it, they will come" problem, people constantly are lining up to pay for these hokey games. All of this is built over a faux abandond parking lot. The imagineers made this so that the pavement is cracked; old parking spaces are visible, and other things are found on the ground. Many people mistake this strange theming for Disney being cheap(er) and actually building these structure over an old parking lot. Big mistake. There are many other things that could be improved upon (Rafiki's Planet Watch) but, I'll end my complaining here.

    This park is great. WDW needs to keep expanding it while at the same time removing little to none. This could become WDI's crowning jewel if time and effort are continually put into it. Enough of what I think. What do you have to say? I'd love to hear your comment on AK and this article!

    * = Look at the entries on: 11 June 2000 & 30 June 2000, for pics. I've tried to find other places for the pics but, have found none.
    - Horizonsfan

  2. #2

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Everest truly was a kick in the pants when it came to Animal Kingdom popularity and with Nemo the Musical on the way things look to be possibly getting better, but I still feel Aniaml Kingdom needs so much more, though Disney fanatics can find more than enough to do at Animal Kingdom for a full day, the average guest usually considers it only a half one (a similar problem Disney-MGM Studios had for a long time). Hopefully with the popularity of the Yeti, the planned but unused ideas of the Mythical Beasts area may come to fruition because Anaiml Kingdom (though technically the biggest of the four parks) still has a lot of space if they wish to use it. Maybe throw in an Austrailia themed area and some kind of night time display (after the fireworks used at the Everest opening, I think the excuse of disturbing the animals is ridiculous), though fireworks aren't the only way to do a night time show. I also agree with that small area in Dinoland... it just doesn't have the Disney magic that it probably should. If we wanted to ride cheap looking rides with pay as you play games, I could pay a few dollars at a county fair instead of the price Disney charges. Other than that flaw, I believe Aniaml kingdom is going in the right direction. The theming is second to none as all Disney parks usually are, but the plant life alone is something to marvel at. Add another E-ticket attraction, a couple C or D's and some smaller shows and it could finally be considered a contender for the number two park on the Disney property (Magic Kingdom will always be number one). But that's just my two (maybe three if ticket prices go up again) cents.


  3. #3

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Quote Originally Posted by goofgeek View Post
    I still feel Aniaml Kingdom needs so much more, though Disney fanatics can find more than enough to do at Animal Kingdom for a full day, the average guest usually considers it only a half one (a similar problem Disney-MGM Studios had for a long time).
    I agree. I'm a Disney fan and I only do a few things there. Safari and Everest (which was Safari and see Tarzan Rocks! before).

    I would love to see a dark ride added, maybe themed to the Jungle Book, Tarzan or even that silly Lion King movie (there is a show already)... It would be nice, especially since DAK gets so HOT and the AC of dark rides is so wonderful.

  4. #4

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    I agree the AK needs a dark ride, nothing too fancy, but a dark ride nonetheless. Also I think that it needs to be rid of the dinorama area.

  5. #5

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Oh a Jungle Book dark ride would be killer!

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    I love the details in this park. The walking trails were fantastic! Dino-Rama belongs in the garbage, but the rest of the park is so much fun. Very immersive. And it will always be too hot with all of that foliage around. But that's the price for jungle beauty.

    I wish the safai ride didn't have that lame plot line. You know...something goes wrong and now we're going crazy...the end. Bleh! The animals are cool enough.
    "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." --Carl Sagan

  7. #7

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    I would call the dino-rama theming garbage but the rides are okay (see what I wrote above). I think that if the rides got rethemed to fit in with the rest of the park it really would do wonders for those ride's popularity and acceptance by the disney community.
    - Horizonsfan

  8. #8

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    AK is my absolute *favorite park* at WDW! It's usually my first and last park to visit during my trips to Orlando. That being said, I have to agree with a lot of the other posters here. It still needs to have significant developments before it's considered a full-day park for casual guests (I can spend a full-day there easy, but we're in the minority). It's definitely moving in the right direction though--Everest and Finding Nemo the Musical should make the park's attendance move upward. BigPigletFan's suggestion of a dark ride is excellent! Great idea!!!

  9. #9

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Heck we spent 2 days there during the Invasion this past October.....my favorite Disney Park of all! Can hardly wait to make a return trip and spend a couple of more days there!
    Mom, remember, it's not what a person is like on the outside that counts,
    it's what they are like in their HEART!


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  10. #10

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    MGM was a better park in its hey-day. DAK has the immersion done well, but the 'meat' is a bit lacking.

    We certainly just found ourselves going from A to B.. and not really anything inbetween the rides except for the animal sightings along the way (which makes it feel just like a regular zoo). The safari ride is well done as is Everest (probably the best overall ride in WDW). Lion king is great.. but everything else kind of fell through for us. I liked the Bug 4-D movie, but the kids didn't. I think the queue and theatre setup in the tree is awesome. They should have had a Honey I shrunk the kids/Bugs Life type bug-size experience for kids to enjoy.

    The attempt at 'lands' doesn't really pan out so well here. Without Everest I'm sure the park would have been a real drag before.

    MGM when it was current sooo much a better experience. Alas its movie core has been abandoned leaving it a mix-mash of good stuff with huge gaps inbetween.

  11. #11

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy999 View Post
    Heck we spent 2 days there during the Invasion this past October.....my favorite Disney Park of all! Can hardly wait to make a return trip and spend a couple of more days there!
    Jimmie and I only spent 3/4 of a day there, but I liked it enough to make it my second favorite park at WDW. Epcot is still #1 for me.
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
    2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
    2014 so far: 6956 miles, 398,000 feet


  12. #12

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    Everest definatly helped attendence but, all the times I went since 2000 to pre-everest were far from boring. The way AK stages the animal exhibits isn't like any zoo I've been to. As for AK being a full day park it's sort-of based on: how much do you want to see? I you see only one or two shows you could be done around 2:00 but, if you see everything at the park, you'll be there till closing. AK has already leapfrogged over DS in my book. I think that this park really uses the WDW resort's best asset, the blessing of land. Unlike DS everything isn't smashed right next to each other.
    - Horizonsfan

  13. #13

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    To tell you the truth, this park and the AK Lodge are the two reasons why I am going back to Disney in Florida. I believe that those two properties are the best in WDW.

    They did so many things right that it is quite unbelievable to me. It is a magnificent Park. The only thing you need to do is to take your time instead of running from one side to another. Granted the Dino-something is a disgrace but I think that it can be removed fast. It still needs three good rides though: at least an E-ticket and two D-ones before it can be great.

    Sadly, AK looks even better in comparison with the three others. MK is just a bit sad to me: it looks really old and it looks really pale if you compare it to Paris or California. MGM Studios is a big let down too since we do not see any of the movie studios anymore (the Tram Tour has devolved, there is no animation done there) and the whole theme is therefore collapsing (I will not even mention the big ugly hat). Epcot is different: it is still good but its educational purpose is disappearing and it is disappointing because it was part of its identity: the discovery of other horizons, new technologies and foreign countries.

    Do not get me wrong, I like WDW but I do not spent much time in the Studios (except for The Tower of Terror) and MK (except for Buzz and Splash Moutain). I must confess that if I have four to five days, I usually go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure instead (gasp of horror from everybody in the forum
    Last edited by jml338; 11-19-2006 at 06:57 AM.
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  14. #14

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    I dunno..AK is good...my fav ride on all WDW property is still Dinosaur so thats a plus for me...it just doesn't seem very...I dunno Disney..maybe its too realistic for me...can't really explain it...I like the park just fine but it will never be number 2 for me

  15. #15

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    Re: AK - Is it on it's way to becoming the King of Florida?

    DAK will outdraw Disney-MGM next year for sure, if it doesn't for 2006.

    And that will fuel future growth.

    The Studios are in trouble and need some coherent vision and planning for the future. Midway Mania should be good, but it's just one attraction.

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