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  • [Other] Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

    Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

    VERSION I: The earliest available (and grandest) iteration of DAK, now annotated:



    Notes:
    A. Masai River: In earlier iterations, when the Kilimanjaro truck reached its northernmost point, the view would have opened up to an incredible vista across a water control canal disguised as an African river to herds of African megafauna on the far bank.
    B. Savanna Overlooks: At one point Imagineers wanted to create overlooks (accessible from the Conservation Station) so guests could see the vast savanna without having to get on the Safari (in this map, I believe these are animal/caretaker entry points to the savanna, however.
    C. Gorilla Falls Trail was there at the beginning.
    D. Extended Discovery River Cruise, took an elongated turn into African waters… perhaps with live animal encounters.
    E. Tiger River Expeditions: Maybe the most ambitious theme park attraction ever conceived, this was the Jungle Cruise for real, involving Asian Elephants, tigers, bat-filled caves and a turbulent, thrilling rapids section. Perhaps a 20+ minute experience.
    F. Maharajah Jungle Trek was there as a way to view animals on foot.
    G. Flights of Wonder, or at least a similar theater, survived to opening day.
    H. Wildlife Express: The station is located between Africa and Asia and in this more interesting version the train passes through the “show scenes” of the Asian river safari on its way to Conservation Station.
    I. Conservation Station: The concept survived to opening day, but in a different exterior form.
    J. Great Falls: Separating Asia and Africa a large water feature spilled into Safari (Discovery) River. Guests would pass through a cave underneath the falls (see image H).
    K. Beastly Kingdomme Shop/Restaurant:
    L. Dragon’s Tower: Signature rollercoaster for the park.
    M. Quest for the Unicorn: Hedge maze experience.
    N. Fantasia Gardens: Gentle boat ride visiting creatures from Fantasia.
    O. Tree of Life & Gardens: Seem to have been there in the beginning.
    P. The Oasis/Genesis Gardens: Also there.
    Q. The Boneyard: Located in a pits, running through the center of Dinoland.
    R. Indoor/Outdoor Dinosaur Ride: Perhaps far more elaborate than Countdown to Extinction, as it did not have to conform to the IJA layout.
    S. Dino Restaurant
    T. Ice Age Expansion. Maybe a future flume ride with featuring woolly mammoths, giant sloths & sabretooth cats.
    U. Pagoo’s Adventure: Dark ride of the Kid’s Land. Possibly based on a cartoon Panda.
    V. Kid’s Land

    1. Amazing Animal Arcade
    2. Back to Nature Fast Food
    3. Big Picture Theater
    4. Animal Amphitheater
    5. Insects Expansion
    6. Birds Expansion
    7. Otter Pool

    VERSION II. Time passed and the design of DAK evolved. This version, still a magnificent full-day park, has seen some significant changes:

    Notes:
    A.No More River: Harambe Wildlife Reserve has been brought within the water control canal, eliminating the river and super-wide/distant vistas.
    B.Wildlife Express: The station has moved to Africa and no longer passes through the Asian River Safari, staying fully backstage.
    C.The Conservation Station has been moved north of the canal, setting up the long walk that we see today.
    D.The African Extension of the Safari(Discovery) River Cruise remains from Version 1.
    E.The Asian River Dock remains from Version 1
    F.Kid’s Land (featuring Pagoo) has been replaced with the generic Theater in the Wild.
    G.The Dinosaur Ride (Countdown to Extinction) is now a fully indoor ride, based on DL’s IJA.
    H.The Excavator: The center of Dinoland is now filled with a rollercoaster. Judging by the size of the real estate available, Excavator must have been a small/family coaster on the scale of Crush or Raging Spirits.
    I.The Boneyard now straddles the entrance to Dinoland.
    J.Bonus points to whoever can identify what is going on here.
    K.Beastly Kingdomme takes on a reversed layout from Version 1: Dragon’s Tower in the southwest, Quest for the Unicorn in the east, Fantasia Gardens in the north.
    L.The sea monster remains to terrify riders of Riverboats.
    M.Billy Goats Bridge, featuring 3 goats.
    N.Mother Goose Shop.
    O.Loch Ness Landing restaurant.


    VERSION III: Opening Day. Budgets have been slashed. The extensive Asian river safari is gone, soon to be substituted with a brief rapids ride. All of Beastly Kingdomme, the most-anticipated land of mythical animals , has been cut. In its place is Camp Minnie-Mickey, featuring meet & greets and two theater shows, one of which will prove to be very popular, cementing the indefinite postponement of Beastly Kingdomme. DAK opens as a half-day park (like MGM before it), but for a variety of reasons, DAK does not get the crowds that MGM did:
    http://www.nahtahzu.com/guideMapFront_9804.jpg


    VERSION IV: Present Day (11 years after opening). The park has seen a couple extraordinary additions (Jungle Trek, Everest) and couple of lackluster ones (Dinorama, Kali River). It’s lost a few out of its starting line-up (Discovery Riverboats, Cretaceous Trail), and a number of animal viewing areas are empty.


    To many of us, DAK will not feel complete until it sees the arrival of the fantasy animals – dragons, unicorns, etc. - that have were supposed to have been there since the beginning. When they do come, it will be a happy day.

    “Welcome to a kingdom of animals ... real, ancient and imagined: A kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs and dragons; A kingdom of balance, harmony and survival; A kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama … and learn."

    Thanks to Mark Taft for first finding the Version I map.
    Last edited by NeverNeverland; 09-28-2009, 12:54 PM. Reason: hotlinked image removed

  • #2
    Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

    Extremely impressive analysis!
    It brings sadness to many hearts that the original grand plan for Animal Kingdom was never realized.
    I look forward to finding out what 'J' was.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

      Fabulous posting up there. Kudos!
      DAK has always been my favorite WDW park since it opened. It's the closest WDW get to TDR's theming quality. I would love to see this park grow and prosper as it deserves.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

        Nicely put together

        The one thing I would say is that mythical animals are a major portion of the park in Everest
        www.jamboeveryone.com
        Celebrating Disney's Animal Kingdom

        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

          Originally posted by MJMcB View Post
          Nicely put together

          The one thing I would say is that mythical animals are a major portion of the park in Everest
          Everest represents ONE mythical animal... the Yeti! That is a far, far cry from the original plans to showcase a multitude of mythical animals in the Beastly kingdom section of the park.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

            Originally posted by Parisi View Post
            Everest represents ONE mythical animal... the Yeti! That is a far, far cry from the original plans to showcase a multitude of mythical animals in the Beastly kingdom section of the park.
            well, at least they have 1

            but I too hope for Beastly Kingdomme someday
            www.jamboeveryone.com
            Celebrating Disney's Animal Kingdom

            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

              Glad to help!
              Readers of this thread might be interested in my series on DAK development and execution. Three parts are on my blog now- and I'm working on part 4. Plus I Have several WDW trip reports with many details and photos on DAK as well.
              Part One is here: Insights and Sounds: Its' a Wonderful Kingdom
              Mark

              Disney parks and art, movies, music, more... Over 1, 500 Posts!
              www.InsightsandSounds.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                Wow, terrific post! It's so sad to see what amazing adventures could have been. They really dropped the ball on the Dinosaur ride...
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                  Very informative post, thank you. I hadn't known about Version I...I had thought Version II to be the original. I hope some day WDW gains leadership sufficiently visionary to understand the virtue of the earlier designs, especially the Asian boat cruise and Beastlie Kingdomme, and add them to the existing park. Also hope they demo Dinorama.
                  Down with the Hat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                    Originally posted by BoogaFrito View Post
                    They really dropped the ball on the Dinosaur ride...
                    To me, Dinosaur is the most frustrating attraction on the entire Disney roster, because no other attraction has everything in place to be a mega-hit (on the level of IJA/ToT/JTTCOTE) but just isn't there. Something is off.

                    Since opening day, the attraction has been a victim of extremely poor writing/setup/delivery. This is partially due to the fact that WDI (under Eisner's orders) tried to tie it in to Dinosaur The Movie and make the story center on the rescuing of a slightly anthropomorphic Iguanodon. Add to that a rushed, nonsensical and boring backstory/preshow, three C-level actors (Bill Nye, Felicia Rashad, and the excruciatingly smarmy Dr. Seeker), an irritating computer voice.

                    If WDI ever understood this, a relatively inexpensive revamp of the queue, pre-show and audio track could breathe new life into Countdown to Extinction (Dinosaur name must go) and make it the must-see attraction of WDW.

                    The formula should be similar to that of TDS's Tower of Terror:

                    1. The queue details set up a rich backstory, involving the characters (maybe a morally-dubious Director of the Dino Institute), animals and time-travel technology (which is incredibly passed off as "that's proprietary" in the current lame pre-show) that will be seen over the course of the pre-shows and ride.
                    2. Pre-show 1 (Carnotaurus Room): Guests are let in 30 at a time and subjected to a somewhat boring lecture/slide show on dinos & the institute. It is quickly interrupted because something has gone wrong. Hidden doors (always fun) slide open and guests are ushered into...
                    3. Pre-show 2 (Specimen Room): Here the story's catalyst unfolds. Like disappearing Shiriki or the Terravators, this room must feature a wowing and exhilirating special effect to get the adrenaline pumping. We are given our mission (maybe rescue a lost team before the asteroid hits).
                    4. The rest can unfold much like the attraction, but with a different narration centered on the story at hand, and a new computer voice (if a computer voice is necessary at all).

                    The ride itself is so fast and the dinosaurs appear immediately, so there is little build up, anticipation, or big reveal... it all happens rapidly and in quick succession. Therefore the pre-shows must be as integral and enjoyable as the final payoff: the four minute ride (equivalent of the big drop in TOT).

                    The attraction needs mystery/intrigue and interesting characters. Listening to cloying voices while bumping past dino robots in the dark is a waste of the $150,000,000 that supposedly went into this.
                    Last edited by RandySavage; 09-28-2009, 10:58 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                      You aren't supposed to make the vehicle go slow and have dinos pop out at you to scare you. The ride is very accuracte, at least in my eyes, as to what it'd be like riding in a jeep in that period: bumpy and intense. It's not like you can't see the dinos either. You aren't going 60 mph. :lol:

                      Don't get me wrong, I LOVE your ideas. I hope they involve more of the institute next time and maybe an actual Igaunadon AA outside of the ride... cause y'know... we did go there to find him.

                      I'm curious though... you've been on this ride right?

                      You can't deny it isn't INTENSE to say the very least.
                      Last edited by Imagineer Scott; 09-29-2009, 04:33 PM.

                      one hundred and one

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                        Originally posted by RandySavage View Post
                        Add to that a rushed, nonsensical and boring backstory/preshow, three C-level actors (Bill Nye, Felicia Rashad, and the excruciatingly smarmy Dr. Seeker), an irritating computer voice.
                        While I, too, hate the preshow/setup, I'd say Felicia Rashad is above C-level. (She did win a Tony award recently.) They certainly wasted her, though. She'd play well against type as your "morally dubious" Director of the Dino institute.

                        I think they should have made it more of an experience ride, with less "narrating everything about the attraction" as you ride. And I hate hate hate the day-glo blacklit dinosaurs. They did a fine job lighting the dinos in Universe of Energy without making it look straight out of Fantasyland!
                        .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                          I agree with both of the above posts... it's good that the ride portion is fast-paced and intense - but the thrill needs to be in the service of a better story/experience. And the narrating of everything as its happening has to go.

                          Conventional wisdom among theme park fans is that CTX/Dinosaur follows the exact same track layout as IJA. To be technical, there are a couple of deviations from the Indy layout, which I've illustrated here:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                            I rode on Dinosaur last year and the ride got stopped like in the curve to the exit, so as soon as we got off, we walked the track and the exit was right there! HAHA, never liked it anyways, boring ride.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                              Ha! my brother and I rode Dinosoure 6 times in a row while we waited for Expedition Everest to reopen. There was literaly no line, yet we still had to sit through that stupid pre-show!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                Originally posted by RandySavage View Post
                                Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                VERSION I: The earliest available (and grandest) iteration of DAK, now annotated:



                                Notes:
                                A. Masai River: In earlier iterations, when the Kilimanjaro truck reached its northernmost point, the view would have opened up to an incredible vista across a water control canal disguised as an African river to herds of African megafauna on the far bank.
                                B. Savanna Overlooks: At one point Imagineers wanted to create overlooks (accessible from the Conservation Station) so guests could see the vast savanna without having to get on the Safari (in this map, I believe these are animal/caretaker entry points to the savanna, however.
                                C. Gorilla Falls Trail was there at the beginning.
                                D. Extended Discovery River Cruise, took an elongated turn into African waters… perhaps with live animal encounters.
                                E. Tiger River Expeditions: Maybe the most ambitious theme park attraction ever conceived, this was the Jungle Cruise for real, involving Asian Elephants, tigers, bat-filled caves and a turbulent, thrilling rapids section. Perhaps a 20+ minute experience.
                                F. Maharajah Jungle Trek was there as a way to view animals on foot.
                                G. Flights of Wonder, or at least a similar theater, survived to opening day.
                                H. Wildlife Express: The station is located between Africa and Asia and in this more interesting version the train passes through the “show scenes” of the Asian river safari on its way to Conservation Station.
                                I. Conservation Station: The concept survived to opening day, but in a different exterior form.
                                J. Great Falls: Separating Asia and Africa a large water feature spilled into Safari (Discovery) River. Guests would pass through a cave underneath the falls (see image H).
                                K. Beastly Kingdomme Shop/Restaurant:
                                L. Dragon’s Tower: Signature rollercoaster for the park.
                                M. Quest for the Unicorn: Hedge maze experience.
                                N. Fantasia Gardens: Gentle boat ride visiting creatures from Fantasia.
                                O. Tree of Life & Gardens: Seem to have been there in the beginning.
                                P. The Oasis/Genesis Gardens: Also there.
                                Q. The Boneyard: Located in a pits, running through the center of Dinoland.
                                R. Indoor/Outdoor Dinosaur Ride: Perhaps far more elaborate than Countdown to Extinction, as it did not have to conform to the IJA layout.
                                S. Dino Restaurant
                                T. Ice Age Expansion. Maybe a future flume ride with featuring woolly mammoths, giant sloths & sabretooth cats.
                                U. Pagoo’s Adventure: Dark ride of the Kid’s Land. Possibly based on a cartoon Panda.
                                V. Kid’s Land

                                1. Amazing Animal Arcade
                                2. Back to Nature Fast Food
                                3. Big Picture Theater
                                4. Animal Amphitheater
                                5. Insects Expansion
                                6. Birds Expansion
                                7. Otter Pool

                                VERSION II. Time passed and the design of DAK evolved. This version, still a magnificent full-day park, has seen some significant changes:

                                Notes:
                                A.No More River: Harambe Wildlife Reserve has been brought within the water control canal, eliminating the river and super-wide/distant vistas.
                                B.Wildlife Express: The station has moved to Africa and no longer passes through the Asian River Safari, staying fully backstage.
                                C.The Conservation Station has been moved north of the canal, setting up the long walk that we see today.
                                D.The African Extension of the Safari(Discovery) River Cruise remains from Version 1.
                                E.The Asian River Dock remains from Version 1
                                F.Kid’s Land (featuring Pagoo) has been replaced with the generic Theater in the Wild.
                                G.The Dinosaur Ride (Countdown to Extinction) is now a fully indoor ride, based on DL’s IJA.
                                H.The Excavator: The center of Dinoland is now filled with a rollercoaster. Judging by the size of the real estate available, Excavator must have been a small/family coaster on the scale of Crush or Raging Spirits.
                                I.The Boneyard now straddles the entrance to Dinoland.
                                J.Bonus points to whoever can identify what is going on here.
                                K.Beastly Kingdomme takes on a reversed layout from Version 1: Dragon’s Tower in the southwest, Quest for the Unicorn in the east, Fantasia Gardens in the north.
                                L.The sea monster remains to terrify riders of Riverboats.
                                M.Billy Goats Bridge, featuring 3 goats.
                                N.Mother Goose Shop.
                                O.Loch Ness Landing restaurant.


                                VERSION III: Opening Day. Budgets have been slashed. The extensive Asian river safari is gone, soon to be substituted with a brief rapids ride. All of Beastly Kingdomme, the most-anticipated land of mythical animals , has been cut. In its place is Camp Minnie-Mickey, featuring meet & greets and two theater shows, one of which will prove to be very popular, cementing the indefinite postponement of Beastly Kingdomme. DAK opens as a half-day park (like MGM before it), but for a variety of reasons, DAK does not get the crowds that MGM did:
                                http://www.nahtahzu.com/guideMapFront_9804.jpg


                                VERSION IV: Present Day (11 years after opening). The park has seen a couple extraordinary additions (Jungle Trek, Everest) and couple of lackluster ones (Dinorama, Kali River). It’s lost a few out of its starting line-up (Discovery Riverboats, Cretaceous Trail), and a number of animal viewing areas are empty.


                                To many of us, DAK will not feel complete until it sees the arrival of the fantasy animals – dragons, unicorns, etc. - that have were supposed to have been there since the beginning. When they do come, it will be a happy day.

                                “Welcome to a kingdom of animals ... real, ancient and imagined: A kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs and dragons; A kingdom of balance, harmony and survival; A kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama … and learn."

                                Thanks to Mark Taft for first finding the Version I map.
                                I completely agree. I have little use for AK as it is now. IT'S JUST A ZOO. A BIG zoo, BUT A ZOO. Big deal! Great zoos are everywhere in these United States. When I go to Disney, I want to see fantasy. Thankfully in that regard, the Tree of Life is cool, and so is the Bug's Life theater underneath it. But the Yeti ride is a failure (I have yet to see the Yeti in that ride, after 6 tries), the silly dinosaur carnival is dumb as heck, Dinosaur! is underwhelming...all in all, AK is just an underdeveloped underwhelming park. I myself will skip it next time I visit WDW...which as it stands now won't be for some years yet. Not until enough good new attractions are built to lure me back.

                                Oh, well, there's always Disneyland...I have yet to visit Walt's original (too far away).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                  Originally posted by Magenta Panther View Post
                                  I completely agree. I have little use for AK as it is now. IT'S JUST A ZOO. A BIG zoo, BUT A ZOO. Big deal! Great zoos are everywhere in these United States. When I go to Disney, I want to see fantasy. Thankfully in that regard, the Tree of Life is cool, and so is the Bug's Life theater underneath it. But the Yeti ride is a failure (I have yet to see the Yeti in that ride, after 6 tries), the silly dinosaur carnival is dumb as heck, Dinosaur! is underwhelming...all in all, AK is just an underdeveloped underwhelming park. I myself will skip it next time I visit WDW...which as it stands now won't be for some years yet. Not until enough good new attractions are built to lure me back.

                                  Oh, well, there's always Disneyland...I have yet to visit Walt's original (too far away).
                                  See the Yeti .... sit at the back !
                                  Smile, you never know who's looking !

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                    It's a shame that AK is so unsatisfying for a lot of visitors. I've grown tired of thrill rides so it's the experience of "being there" that gives me the most entertainment at Disney parks. The details in AK are some of my favorite works of imagineering.

                                    The buildings around Harambe village are amazing. There are obvious things like the signs and power lines, but there are subtle touches that only come from that magic combination of research and creativity. The Tamu Tamu dining area is a small space that is not even visible from the main walking path. The wall inside has a rough line of exposed brick that suggests walls and stairs used to be there but were torn down long ago: Click here to see Flickr image

                                    It implies a history to the location. It adds a depth that you feel on a subconscious level.

                                    I love the way the shrine across the river from Everest mimics the peaks of the mountain, with a little Yeti inside, foreshadowing the events to come: Click here to see Flickr image

                                    Normally this kind of visual storytelling is contained within the ride and its immediate surroundings. With Everest, they have spread the details farther out into the park. Guests are beginning the story of the ride and they don't even know it yet. Again, it enriches the experience at a subconscious level. Genius.

                                    Of course there is the exquisite Tree of Life: Click here to see Flickr image

                                    It's a masterpiece. It works with the theme of the park perfectly. I'm the guy you have to walk around to get to your 3D movie because I'm standing there soaking up every detail instead of rushing past it.

                                    p.s. I know Dinoland is awful.
                                    I still hold out hope that section will be demolished some day and replaced with a proper set of themed attractions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                      At least they didn't axe all the details that went into DAK. As stated above, they give a park a new touch that can make you come back. It's a very, very nice and different atmosphere. I like to think of DAK as a total opposite of MK.

                                      I like Dinoland. The wild mouse is poor, but it is thrilling. I've had great experiences on that ride. The whole Dinoland has a very, very immersive theme. It can even be compared to the themeing of Africa. The problem is the carnie rides, but that can be overlooked since DINOSAUR is a few hundred feet away (my second favorite ride). As a whole, Dinoland isn't a disaster to me. And Rhode has even stated that C&H can be taken down within 72 hours.

                                      one hundred and one

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: Animal Kingdom: The Visual Evolution

                                        Wow, the original plans for Animal Kingdom were pretty grand indeed. It's sad that these ideas were never fully realized, as the park had amazing potential.

                                        While it opened as a half-day park, one of the best aspects of the park is the atmosphere. It does feel completely different from other Disney parks, and the animals add a very deep sense of immersion and realism. What it lacks in entertainment and attractions, it makes up for in attention to detail and theming. While the theme of the areas are set in modern times, the untamed and jungle-esque atmosphere really give it a wild feel in combination with the plethora of animals scattered throughout. However, only 2 of the "lands" in Animal Kingdom actually live up to the theme of the park; Africa and Asia. These two areas are spectacular and wonderfully detailed in their theming and atmosphere. The rest of the park simply doesn't compare at all (both in offerings and especially theming), which is a shame given how much space all the other lands take up.

                                        Camp Minnie-Mickey is a big waste of space and needs to be replaced with something actually worthy of that land. There is practically nothing in that corner of the park. Dinoland is underwhelming and not visually spectacular in the least. The theme is too contemporary for my taste, being themed to a small highway town and paleontological dig site. I would have preferred a detailed environment ala Jurassic Park with prehistoric flora and fauna to differentiate the area from the jungles of Asia or the savannah of Africa. At present, Dinoland feels far too bland visually. The incredibly tacky Dinorama simply make the issue even more prominent.
                                        Arabian Coast at nighttime ~

                                        Comment

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