Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Top 10 Reason We Love Disney's Animal Kingdom #6; Best Cast Members Anywhere!

I think cast members are absolutely terrific. And I also think that the Animal Kingdom has the best cast members in all of the parks. There are so many good ones, its hard to remember them all so I won't even try to. In fact, I spent a whole other post about all the amazing cast members from our August 2012 trip, especially Katie from Festival of the Lion King.

First of all, cast members at the Animal Kingdom have a lot more interaction with the guests than at other parks. In those parks, the cast members help people with attractions and eateries and the like. But at the Animal Kingdom, there is a lot more one on one time. There are many cast members stationed along the various trails to teach people about the animals they are seeing. Most people don't know what a white-cheeked gibbon is or a naked mole rat. Those cast members are there to help you learn and care. Now, I know I'm biased. I spent years as a zoo docent, and these CMs are doing essentially what I did.

Many of them also have props. I have run across CMs in the Oasis with a spoonbill skull and a baribusa tusk. I have seen them holding a spider encased in glass. And one even at a table of poo at Rafiki's Planet Watch. In fact, out at Rafiki's you will often see them with live animals like rabbits and Egyptian tortoises. They will put on brief demonstrations at a little stage near the Affection Section. Other cast members help kids with the Discovery club where different stations are set up for kids to learn about animals and dinosaurs.

But it's not just animals these cast members talk about with the guests. It's culture too. Many of them, especially in Harambe, are from the continent that area was designed after. We encountered several who taught my kids the game, Mancala which originated in Africa. We since have gone out and purchased the game. We also ran into a CM from Indonesia near the bats, who talked to us about the giant centipedes exhibited there. He told us how they could often be found in his home in Jakarta. And here I thought finding little spiders in my house was bad.

by Safari Mike (Twitter: @JamboEveryone)

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