So, at this point, if you follow me on social media you likely know that I’ve started doing a little show called “After Hours – Let’s Talk Disney” with some amazing people in the Disney space every Thursday Night at 9pm EST. We hope that you (yes YOU) will join us next week as we go LIVE on Facebook! It’s a unique show where we highly value your input and your participation as we enjoy a little time of “escape” from life to enjoy a few moments of Disney wherever you are!
Well, on a recent show in our usual “Top 5” segment, we started a discussion all about what we would replace DinoLand with in Animal Kingdom and why. While we know nothing more than anyone else as far as the future of DinoLand and don’t intend to spread rumor, it was a fun conversation nonetheless and one that really helps you picture in your mind some of the things you’d love to see arrive in the parks.
This particular week our Top 5 was narrowed down to a Top 3 because we had a special guest on the show! In total, we got to journey through our imagination (you see what I did there) and pull out 12 total blue sky ideas to replace an iconic piece of the Animal Kingdom experience… for better or for worse!
At its core, it was an “Armchair Imagineering” session of blue sky thinking and one that was really enjoyable to be apart of. My list consisted of 3 things that have been on my mind for quite some time and included these items below and a few honorable mentions that the guys didn’t appreciate me adding in lol:
The Swiss Alps
So, I topped my list with the Swiss Alps for a variety of reasons that I explained far better in words (hopefully) than in writing. At the ideas core however, my mind went straight to the Matterhorn. Why??? You might ask… Well it’s quite simple. I wanted an updated Matterhorn attraction in Florida but didn’t want to touch the original in California because it is so perfectly well done and nostalgic in all the right ways.
If you’ve ridden it you totally understand what I mean. From the moment you walk up to the attraction it’s classic. You step through the turnstile, you traverse the narrow rows reminiscent of old school Disneyland and as you board that inline vehicle there’s something special about the sounds, the clicks of the loading area, and eventually the clack of the lift hill. It’s not the most thrilling coaster in the world, but it set this incredible standard and pushed the limit in so many amazing ways. A Bob Gurr Masterpiece at the very least! To this day it’s the only coaster I’ve ever been on that has a true water element to it.
Combine that experience with a land featuring a ski lodge style restaurant, casual fake snow off and on throughout the day to set the experience and an area surrounded by a woodsy feeling and you have a land that would be amazing in Animal Kingdom!
A border line resemblance of the welcoming forested area of Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure combined with a rocky forested feel the Alps tend to encompass at lower altitudes and an impressive land is bound to develop! It would be incredible! Just imagine the architecture and the shops! It would be like a World Showcase Pavilion in Animal Kingdom!
Indiana Jones Land
This idea was a little less adventurous and actually a bit more on the edge of reality as the concept has floated around the ever present rumor mill of Disney social media for years on end. An Indian Jones land, in my opinion, would fit surprisingly well in Animal Kingdom but you’ll have to watch the recording of our live show to see how much Jason disagreed with me on that (lol)!
Nonetheless, I had pictured in my mind a rebranding of Dinosaur to reflect an iteration of what Disneyland park has in The Indiana Jones Adventure! The track type is similar and while I’m sure it would take a hefty remodel, it would be a lot of fun to see something similar in Animal Kingdom. Can you imagine walking through the trees of DinoLand today and then stumbling upon a temple deep in the forest. You hear the foreboding, ominous, music as you approach to test your luck in a scene right out of the film. It would be the perfect placement!
As an added bonus we could add in a Jock Lindsey’s style counter service restaurant complete with a Skipper Canteen level of theming and it would be such a unique experience that so many of us would love.
To add an animal encounter in, I was thinking about a snakes exhibit, or something to transport you into the depth of creepy crawling creatures the franchise has become known for and largely synonymous with! The others in the group were quick to point out that it might terrify children and adults alike, but hey we’re blue sky thinking!
Last, but certainly not least, we have my grand idea for an Antarctica section of the park. Animal Kingdom, in my opinion, is missing a piece of the wildlife feel that addresses the areas of the world where it isn’t “Animal Kingdom Hot.” Could you imagine walking into a land done up in ice, a fake snow in the air, and even though it’s 90 degrees outside you can escape into a fake ice section with air temperatures cool enough for penguins and other cold weather wildlife. It would be the perfect escape from the heat and such an incredible sensory experience!
As an added bonus we could create a restaurant deep in an “ice cave” similar to what you find at T-Rex at Disney Springs (an incredible experience in it’s own regard) to dine in an environment duplicative of a place many of us will likely never get to experience. Glimmering fake ice (or real for that matter since we’re blue sky thinking) and while I have no idea what would be on the menu, it would be an incredible atmosphere nonetheless!
What Would You Add To Our List?
Now it’s your turn. Take to your favorite social media platform, find the post about this article, and tell me your idea for a land in Animal Kingdom that would fit perfectly. I want to hear your details and what YOU would want to see added to the park. If you don’t know where to leave your comment, why not start a Discussion in the Guide4WDW Community where we all try and interact and enjoy a little light hearted conversation!
Go Check Out the Show!
There are very few things I’ll shamelessly promote but this show is one of them! It’s a ton of fun and something that I highly recommend you come and enjoy with us at least once. The community that is building around this project is incredible and more fun than I ever imagined. There are some truly good people in this community and it’s something I will always promote heavily and encourage you to come and be apart of! If you can’t join us LIVE on Facebook Thursday at 9pm ET, the replay is always available. If you want to watch the show featuring this piece of content, tap that box below and it’ll take you right on over to Facebook or YouTube to view it! And since I did mention Disneyland quite a few times in today’s article, why not check out my Disneyland vs. Disney World comparison for more info on that park!
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All We Will Ask of You!
All we ask is that if you enjoyed the experience, be sure to come join us next week LIVE and invite a friend! That is the only way we grow this show and end up being able to bring you more new and unique content time and time again as we explore the Disney Parks and resorts! In time, we might even have some super unique plans laid out for prizes and unique opportunities to explore so much of what WDW has to offer!