Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back and Wishing Forward: Hurricanes and Relish


We continue today with our year end series of posts looking back at our top stories of 2012 and looking forward to what we wish will happen in 2013 at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Today, our resident food critic and contributing writer Brooke takes a more personal look at things...

Looking Back at 2012:  My top story of 2012 is a personal one.  My family and I visited WDW in August during which Hurricane Isaac hit.  The morning the storm hit, we were waiting for a bus from the Boardwark to go to DAK for the day.  A cast member, whom I lovingly will refer to as "Buzzkill Bob", was trying his best to deter us from visiting the Animal Kingdom on this day.  In fact, he became a little annoyed with us for sticking to our plan, since we had reservations for lunch at the Yak & Yeti and were not going to pass up the chance to eat there.  Well, it turned out to be the best day ever!  We had the park basically to ourselves, received a lot of one on one attention from cast members who were great to chat about our love of the Animal Kingdom with, and enjoyed a great meal, albeit a very wet one, at the Yak & Yeti.

the author trekking through a hurricane
So my tip to anyone visiting during rain, be it a tropical storm or a hurricane, go to the Animal Kingdom!  Put on your poncho and enjoy the park.  Everything was open and the animals loved the temperature drop the rain brought.  They were the most active I have ever seen them.

 A Wish for 2013:  As for my wish for 2013 -- I really would love it if the Flame Tree Barbecue would bring back the Onion Relish they originally put on their sandwiches.  It was delicious and is truly missed.


By Brooke, contributing writer to Jambo Everyone
Twitter: @Brookie1248

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Back and Wishing Forward; Avatar and Dragons

Today we begin our year end series of postings where we look back at our favorite moment of 2012 and offer our wish for 2013 at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  The famous Safari Mike kicks us off, sending in this communiqué from somewhere high up in the Himalayas.   (We can only imagine what wildlife he will find there!!)

Looking Back at 2012: I think the biggest story of 2012 has to be the on again, off again, on again and off again story of Avatarland. Since the deal with James Cameron was announced last September, it has been a lightning rod of controversy. For months,we got zero information. As the spring turned to summer, there were rumblings that Avatarland would never happen. We heard Cameron was too difficult, the backlash from the Disney community was too great, the imagineers had no interest in the franchise. 
image copyright Disney
Then, just when we were sure it was a dead project, we got leaked plans apparently showing a Soarin' type ride system (a consistent rumor for the project from the get-go) combined with a long boat ride. These were supposed to be linked to Avatarland which now seemed to be back in business. But then, Disney buys Lucasfilms. All of a sudden the Avatarland is dead rumblings return. Iger wants more Star Wars in the parks, that is a Disney property now and Avatar is not.  Avatar 2 would be released the same year as Star Wars 7, a direct rival for the new Disney family franchise.  And then, yet again the tide turns as Disney releases a photo of Joe Rohde, James Cameron and others discussing a model of Avatarland. So now, it seems the project might move forward after all.  Or maybe not.  Disney did announce Hyperion Wharf, Flamingo Crossing and other projects that died on the vine.  I imagine by the end of 2013 though we will know for sure which way the pendulum ultimately swings.




 A Wish for 2013: So then, what is my wish for next year? Well, that actually starts in Fantasyland. You see I want that dragon that appeared during the media event for a one time only appearance. An appearance that the general public was not permitted to. I want it at Animal Kingdom every night. Apparently, we can't have fireworks at the park but I think that the place does need a night capping event. It is the only park that does not go out with a bang like Wishes, Illuminations or Fantasmic, and I think a night ending flight of the dragon would fit the bill. People would stay to see it (and eat dinner and shop while waiting). All of a sudden the logo and dragon headed ticket booth would make a lot of sense. And we would have another mythical creature in the park besides the yeti.


to contact Safari Mike use Twitter: @JamboEveryone

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Word for 2013, Avatar


The coming of the New Year is a time to not only look back at 2012, but also to look forward to what may come in 2013.  And at the Animal Kingdom, gazing into the promise of the new year can mean only one word...Avatar.

Since the first train left the station at the village of Serka Zong and journeyed toward the Forbidden Mountain, little else has changed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  The opening of Expedition Everest in 2006 was the last major addition to the park.  Since than, all the other parks have seen major attractions added, plussed, or re-imagined, while the Animal Kingdom has remained stagnant.  But it appears all of that is soon to change.

image copyright Disney

As we have been talking about for months, Disney is in the process of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Avatarland project, which promises to be one of largest expansions in the history of the Florida parks.  The next year will most likely be dominated by talk and construction of this new land, as little else is in the works for DAK.

A year ago, we could have said the same exact thing about 2012, but instead what we got was another lost year in terms of DAK expansion.  It seems, however, that 2013 will be different, well..sort of.  While Avatarland will likely not open during the calendar year of 2013, what we will get is hope.  Hope that Disney is finally investing into making the Animal Kingdom bigger and better.

image copyright Disney
Hopefully, 2013 will also give us a better idea of what Avatarland will be like when completed.  We have already seen some plans, but those were vague and we all know that everything can change especially since shovels haven’t even hit the ground yet.  Will this be a fun and fantasy-filled extension of the park’s conservation theme?  Or will it be just the beginning of a Disney’s Hollywood Studios-style slippery slope towards thematic mishmash?  

I know many a fan of the Animal Kingdom, a few of whom work for this website, hold out hope for a cancellation of Avatar in favor of something else, something more fitting of the park’s current theme.  But that seems out of the question now.  Avatar will happen.  We just need to keep our fingers crossed that it will be an expansion more like the new Fantasyland or Cars Land, and less like the kind of Camp Minnie-Mickey style expansion it appears to be replacing.

A Special Message from the Cheetah Conservation Fund

We invite you to take a look at this special video message from the Cheetah Conservation Fund and their Founder and Director Dr. Laurie Marker.


I have always loved cheetahs, don't ask me why.  Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by these animals.  So let's do whatever we can to help!  (And how cool are the cats in this video??)

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is one of our conservation partners, and we are proud to be able to help them in any way we possibly can.  Please visit our Conservation Page and follow the link directly to their donations page.

New Films Added to Rafiki's Planet Watch

According to the Disney Parks Blog, there are some new films now showing at Rafiki's Planet Watch.  The post describes them as "stories about our conservation efforts and how we’re connecting families with animals and nature".  Here is an example of one of the films.  Enjoy!
 

 It is nice to see some time and effort bring put into this often missed corner of DAK. It is also nice to see Disney patting itself on the back a bit for there conservation work.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Dining Review and Safari Mike Checks In

With a quick break in the holiday action before the next one come around, we have some new content today on Jambo Everyone today for you.


First up is a new dining review added to our DAK Dining and Drinking Guide.  Our own food critic, Brooke, brings us her views on Sanaa, the Inidan inspired restaurant located in Kidani Village.  With amazing views of the Kidani Savannah, Sanaa offers some of the best atmosphere in all of WDW.  Throw in good food and terrific bar and you have a fabulous place.


Also, Safari Mike sends us a dispatch from his travels.  Today he tells us about the Eland, the world's largest antelope.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Heri Za Krismas!


It is Christmas, the time of the year Scrooge’s nephew Fred called “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave”.


So with Charles Dickens’ beautiful words in mind, I ask you on Christmas Eve, like those charity collectors knocking on Mr. Scrooge’s door, to help us help our Conservation Partners.  These folks are working tirelessly to save our planet’s precious and endangered creatures and they need our help to continue their work.


So if you want to get something last minute for that person who has everything, or if you just want to make a donation in keeping with the season, please visit our Conservation Page.  From there you can go directly to the donation pages of our friends working to save a few endangered species.

 
So from all of us at Jambo Everyone to all of you, our fellow Animal Kingdom lovers, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Christmas season.  And to all of those working with our conservation partners, we thank you and wish you continued success in your work for the coming year.  Heri Za Krismas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-up; Christmas Week 2012


It’s Christmas Time in the Jungle:  It is Christmas, and nothing can beat Christmas at Walt Disney World, and the Animal Kingdom is ready! Extended hours to handle the huge crowds means the park will be open until 9pm for the entire Christmas Week.  Also, there will also be Morning Extra Magic Hours on Christmas Day and every morning from Dec 28 through January 1, which means the park opens to resort guests at 7am.

Let me say this, I understand many people coming to Disney World for Christmas come specifically to clamor to get in to the Magic Kingdom for Christmas morning.  But if you are not one of those, the Animal Kingdom is a terrific option.  The park is open early, and while everyone else crams in to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot you will likely not see those same huge crowds at the Animal Kingdom.


Also, holiday decorations are up and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade is in full swing.  Check out the parade every day at 3:45pm.  It’s terrific and fun holiday parade.

Park Hours: Since this is such a busy time, with lots of changes in the schedule, we have extended our Park Hours calendar to include the entire Christmas week straight through the end of 2012.  Here are the park hours...

Wednesday: Dec 19 9am - 8pm  (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Dec 20 9am - 7pm
Friday: Dec 21 9am - 8pm
Saturday: Dec 22 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Dec 23 8am - 8pm
Monday: Dec 24 8am - 9pm
Tuesday: Dec 25 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Wednesday: Dec 26 8am - 9pm
Thursday: Dec 27 8am - 9pm
Friday: Dec 28 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Saturday: Dec 29 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Sunday: Dec 30 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Monday: Dec 31 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Tuesday: Jan 1 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
No Closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!  And Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide #4; Something for the Outdoors


As the holiday gets closer and closer, we continue our Holiday Gift Guide, our way to help you find the perfect gift for the animal lover on your list.  All of these items are offered by our Conservation Partners, and purchasing the items in this guide helps these organizations continue the work they do.  Today, we take a look at a few items for those outdoorsy kinda folks on your list
Whenever I am outside for any length of time, I always have a hat on.  My pale skin suffers, especially during long days at Walt Disney World, so I love a good hat.  So, how about this great military style cap from the Cheetah Conservation Fund?  This one works on many levels.  It has a cool look plus it has the fantastic CCF logo.

A good vest is also perfect for the outdoors.  It works great in cold layering situations, so everyone from hikers to boaters would appreciate it.  The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund offers this gorgeous green fleece vest.  It comes in Men’s and Women’s sizes and run a very reasonable $50.

Finally, if you have a serious outdoors friend, and I mean serious, Save the Rhino has a High Visibility vest available.  If you know a cyclist, runner, hiker, or even someone who likes to take long walks with their dog, this is the perfect gift.  It keeps you safe and has that great logo you will be proud to wear.

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Reviews for Kali River Rapids and It's Tough to be a Bug

We are getting closer and closer to having reviews for each attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom posted in our Attractions Guide.  Today we have new reviews up for two e-ticket rides; Kali River Rapids and It's Tough to be a Bug.


Don't forget to go to our Attractions Guide to peruse through the rest of our reviews.  And feel free to comment here on any of them.

The Jambo Everyone Holiday Gift Guide #3; Something for the Little Ones


Today we continue our Holiday Gift Guide, our way to help you find the perfect gift for the animal lover on your list.  All of these items are offered by our Conservation Partners, and purchasing the items in this guide helps these organizations continue the work they do.  Today, let us turn our attention to a couple of items for the little animal lovers on your list.

 
If you just happen to know a child who loves animals, specifically rhinos, these cuddly toys offered by Save the Rhino make a perfect gift or even a stocking stuffer.  They are available in white or black and they are only about $10.

Speaking of terrific plush toys, this one pictured above is from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.  “Armstrong the Gorilla” is cute as could be, and we all know the struggles gorillas face in the wild.  These are only $10 each and the kids in my family would be just as thrilled to know their gift helped save these animals as they would be with the doll itself.

Finally, how about something for the little ones.  Would you like to see your infant be a baby “conservation warrior”?  Well, this onesy offered by the Cheetah Conservation Fund will allow your munchkin to spread the word about helping to save the planet fastest land mammal.  And how cute can you be???

So, please do what you can to help our wildlife and by getting a few great holiday gifts while also helping them is great idea.  If you want to learn more about our Conservation Partners and they work they do, head to the Jambo Everyone Conservation Effort.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grevy's Zebra Trust and AZA Partners Win Conservation Award

Keeping you up to date on the progress of our Conservation Partners.  We encourage our readers to do everything they can to help these organizations.  Click here to donate to the Grevy's Zebra Trust

27 Associatiosn of Zoos and Aquariums institutions and Grevy's Zebra Trust were awarded Top Honors for the 2012 AZA International Conservation Award

In acknowledgement of a remarkable conservation partnership and in celebration of the collaborative Grevy’s zebra conservation successes in recent years, 27 AZA institutions and the Grevy’s Zebra Trust were awarded Top Honors for the 2012 AZA International Conservation Award on 13 September 2012 at the AZA Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
These institutions included: Brevard Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Chicago Zoological Society, Cleveland Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Denver Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund & Rapid Relief Fund, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Jackson Zoo, Jacksonville Zoo, Living Desert, Los Angeles Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Phoenix Zoo, Reid Park Zoo (Zoo Teens Program), Riverbanks Zoo, Sacramento Zoo, Safari West,Saint Louis Zoo, San Diego Global, Sea World & Busch Gardens, Sedgwick County Zoo, Toronto Zoo, Utah’s Hogle Zoo, and White Oak Conservation Center.

Without this institutional support, the ongoing Grevy’s zebra conservation programs in Kenya and Ethiopia simply would not be possible. By collaborating together, we are able to accomplish so much more for Grevy’s zebra than any one of our institutions could accomplish alone, and this collective partnership is deeply appreciated.
This award demonstrates the commitment of AZA institutions to in-situ conservation. GZT’s positive experience of AZA support was highlighted during the Conservation Innovation Forum “Are Zoos Doing Enough?” convened by the Wildlife Conservation Network in October.

Safari Mike: Banteng

New on Jambo Everyone today is a dispatch from the world travels of Safari Mike as he tell us about the Banteng, a wild cattle found in Asia.


If you haven't perused through the archives of Safari Mike's dispatches, we invite you to do so.  Seeing the animals at DAK is one thing, but knowing their background, history, and often their plight, makes the experience that much better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Review of the Yak and Yeti

New to Jambo Everyone today is our full review of the Yak and Yeti sit-down restaurant.  The review is by Brooke, our resident foodie and can be found on our DAK Dining Guide.


"...the food is awesome.  In my opinion this is the best sit down restaurant in the Animal Kingdom.  The menu encompasses many tastes from the Orient."

We are getting closer and closer to having each and every dining facility at DAK covered in our Guide.  So keep checking back for more reviews.  If you have any questions on any eatery not yet covered, feel free to leave us a comment or send an email.

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-up; December 12


Avatar Moving Forward: The big news this week is about the Avatar expansion coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Late last week Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said the project is on course, according to this article by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel.

image copyright Disney
It was only a matter of time before Disney was forced to make some sort of confirmation regarding Avatar's progress.  Between rumors of its demise, and the purchase of the Star Wars franchise, speculation that Avatar would disappear the same way the Hyperion Wharf project did was running rampant on the internet.  But Staggs put the lid on those rumors, saying  "We're not in construction yet. We're still in development. And we're still honing exactly what we're going to do. But it's going to be big."

We have written quite a bit on this subject over the last few months, and there really isn't much "news" here.  I guess the most noteworthy part of this is that after over a year since the announcement Disney still has not begun construction.

It’s Christmas Time in the Jungle:  Holiday decorations are up and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade is in full swing.  Check out the parade every day at 3:45pm.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Dec 12 9am - 5pm  (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Dec 13 9am - 5pm
Friday: Dec 14 9am - 8pm
Saturday: Dec 15 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Dec 16 9am - 7pm
Monday: Dec 17 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Dec 18 9am - 7pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
No Closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Helps Rescue Animals from Hurricane Sandy and Other Disasters


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 5, 2012—The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) recently provided $250,000 to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), whose animal rescue team was among the first to help save hundreds of animals after Hurricane Sandy.

image copyright Disney
In addition to providing immediate supplies to help equip a disaster response trailer, the DWCF grant will also help IFAW to plan for the future by providing resources for future response efforts, as well as training sessions for disaster preparedness globally.

According to rescue team members, families affected by the storm were concerned about the welfare of the pets they had to leave behind and were relieved to know that organizations like IFAW were working to ensure that their animals would be safe.

image copyright Disney
Funding for this DWCF grant was provided by Disney Friends for Change, which contributed the proceeds from the iTunes downloads of various songs including “Rise” and “Send it On.” Guests at Disney Parks and Resorts also help support the DWCF through contributions made at various parks and resorts and even while sailing with Disney Cruise Line.   These contributions as well as the proceeds from various programs, tours and merchandise are all directed to the DWCF annual conservation grants program to help engage people and protect wildlife around the world. Disney matches guest contributions and covers all administrative costs.

This year the DWCF celebrated a $20 million milestone of giving through its various programs to support the study of wildlife, the protection of habitats and the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems around the world.

image copyright Disney
The DWCF has supported IFAW’s efforts for more than 10 years, including the rescue of 20,000 endangered penguins from an oil spill in South Africa in 2000, and support for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are the critics wrong about Primeval Whirl?

Well, according to Safari Mike they very well might be.  Primeval Whirl has long been the target of Disney World's critics, but according to the new review posted today it simply does not deserve all the negativity.


For those who have never been on Primeval Whirl, Safari Mike gives you a full rundown of what to expect from this "Wild Mouse" style coaster in his brand new full review.  While it is not the best attraction in DAK, it is by no means something to be skipped without at least giving it a shot.

If you are looking for info on all of the attractions offered at Disney's Animal Kingdom, click here to peruse the Jambo Everyone Attractions Guide.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Jambo Everyone Holiday Gift Guide #2; T-Shirts For Everyone!!

Okay, let me admit to something right off the bat.  I am a t-shirt junkie.  Sounds weird, I know, but I pretty much buy t-shirts from everywhere I travel and then some.  I have dozens and dozens, much to the chagrin of my wife.  So when it comes to suggesting some ideas for the holiday gift guide it was only natural for me to do an entire post on t-shirts you can get to help conservation efforts.  I think I might buy a few myself!


First up we have this fantastic tee pictured above offered by the Save the Rhino organization.  It is available blue and black, as well as the pictured khaki which is my personal favorite.  They also have kids shirts in dark green and beige.  They go for 15 British Pounds, which is only about $25.


The Cheetah Conservation Fund offers literally dozens of great gift ideas, including an entire range of shirts for everyone on your list.  The item pictured above is a stunning women’s cut tee available in a range of colors.  Personally, I like this black one the best as it really seems to enhance the emotional connection to the eyes of the cheetah.


For men, the CCF has a really nice organic shirt featuring the organizations logo.  The shirt is made in the USA from 100% organically grown cotton.  It also features on the back a stunning photo of a cheetah doing what it does best, sprinting!  Both shirts mentioned here from the CCF sell for less than $30.


Finally, we have this beautiful shirt offered by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.  It is only available in army green, but I can not imagine a color that works better.  It sports a cool newsprint design in the shape of the african continent and sells for $24.  I admit this might be a bit of a “guy” kind of shirt, but I love it!

Let’s be honest, how great would you or your loved ones look wearing any of these around Disney’s Animal Kingdom?  They are all gorgeous shirts and the proceeds go towards helping these organizations do their work saving our wildlife.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Jambo Everyone Holiday Gift Guide #1; Adopt a Gorilla


Yes, it is that time of the year again, the time to spread some holiday cheer to your loved ones.  Now I know for some folks the holidays are made stressful by the process of shopping for gifts.  But we here at Jambo Everyone have some great gift ideas for the animal lovers on your list.  Over the next few days we will point out some great items sold by conservation organizations which helps to fund their good work.

And if you are someone who thinks the holiday season has become too commercial and that the real spirit of the season has been lost under a pile of marketing campaigns, we have some great gift ideas that will not only make your loved ones smile but will also warm your heart because you are doing something to help save endangered species.

First on our list is the adoption programs offered by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.  There literally is something for everyone here and they make truly special gifts for animal lovers.  You can choose to adopt a infant gorilla, orphan, mom and infant pair, adult silverback or even a patrol of anti-poachers, the people on the front lines of the fight to save these magnificent creatures!


You can spend anywhere from $40 and each package comes with a variety of different items including adoption certificates, window stickers and the like.  But what is even cooler is that the adoption packages keep you informed on the work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, so all year long your loved ones are reminded of how special your gift really is!

So follow this link directly to the adoption page on the Dina Fossey Gorilla Fund website.  Or, you can explore more about any of our conservation partners by going to our Conservation Effort.

by Dave McBride @davemcb1897

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking for Dragons in Disney World


Dragons are cool. Real cool. They are easily the most interesting of all mythical animals. Even cooler than the Yeti, and yes, I consider the Yeti a mythical critter. Dragons are, well, from everywhere. For some reason, a giant monstrous lizards/dragons reside in myths across the world, China, Europe, South America.



And the dragon was meant to be an integral part of Disney's Animal Kingdom. As most know, in the area where Camp Minnie Mickey sits, there was to be the Beastly Kingdom (or Beastlie Kingdomme). This land was meant to have a lot of cool attractions, the greatest of which was the Dragon Tower. The attraction was to be amazing and extremely immersive. The ride would be held within a crumbling black castle tower. The queue would begin in the courtyard where the ruins would be accompanied by medieval music. You then would work your way through the abandoned castle filled with broken weapons and artifacts. Faint whispers could be heard here, and this is where the Disney magic begins.

You see the Dragon's Tower was to be filled with bats. Gigantic, intelligent bats that wanted you to help them battle the dragon that has taken control of their home. You would encounter a group animatronic bats drawing up battle plans for the big showdown. When you arrived on the scene, you would have been recruited. That is, you would have boarded melted cauldrons that were, in fact, your coaster car. The bats would fly you through the castle to do battle. The dragon, on his heap of gold and gems, would breathe fire and the battle itself would head outside into a magical forest until you and the bats eventually become victorious.

Ultimately, there was no money for Dragon Tower and the rest of the Beastly Kingdom. Instead, Disney wanted to build Dinoland and Countdown to Extinction. It was cheaper since the main attraction was essentially a clone of the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland and Disney had in production a dinosaur animated feature for synergy. So, the Animal Kingdom never got its dragon.

Or did it. There is, of course, a dragon in the logo walking alongside an elephant and a triceratops. There is also a dragon head over one of the ticket booths. But, there was once a dragon in the park itself. When the park first opened, there was a little ride called the Discovery River Boats which plied the rivers around Discovery Island. On this boat trip, you would come across Dragon cave. Within the cave lived the Dragon king. As the boats passed the cave's mouth, one would hear growls and see blasts of flame. The dragon himself could not be seen, but he was there. That is, until the boat ride closed a little over a year after the park opened. Now there is only a rock sculpture visible from the Camp Minnie Mickey bridge that looks like a dragon's head.

So now, we are getting dragons. Not in the Animal Kingdom where they belong, but in new Fantasyland. Disney has launched a website dedicated to the sightings of the massive flying creature and someday soon, we will find out what all the hype is about. What is this dragon they are talking about? A new attraction? a new show? A new feature to the fireworks?

Is Beastly Kingdom truly dead? Probably. Is Avatarland dead? No one seems to know. But it is fun to speculate that the dragon born in fantasyland will then make its way to the Animal Kingdom for a show there. Or maybe, since they seem to say the dragon in fantasyland is good,  there will be an evil counterpart at the Animal Kingdom that will be a part of a revitalized Beastly Kingdom that replaces Avatarland. After all, why build Avatarland when you own Star Wars? Why fly around on those strange animals from Pandora, when you can battle the real deal in myths - the evil dragon.

by Safari Mike
Twitter: @JamboEveryone