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Disney's Animal Kingdom July 00 Updates - DAK - WDW - - Virtual Tour - Kilimanjaro Safaris - Countdown to Extinction - Maharajah Jungle Trek - Kali River Rapids - Beastly Kingdom

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Animal Kingdom Virtual Tour Updates!

Our Disney's Animal Kingdom
Updates

Update Details at Disney's Animal Kingdom!
directly to entrance


Updates

October 2001 - A new parade!


"Mickey's Jammin' Jungle" is the new parade at DAK, one of the four WDW parades that celebrate "100 Years of Magic". Disney characters dressed in Safari gear highlight the parade (not to be confused with "March of the ARTimals").

August 2001 - Beastly Kingdom Rumoured Again??


From the Orlando Business Journal August 17,2001: ...That's why word that something big is planned in 2004 for Animal Kingdom has brought back beastly rumors.
Walt Disney World's president, Al Weiss, told cast members the Disney team is designing an "E-ticket" attraction and a new "land" -- similar to the Asia and Africa continents already represented -- for Animal Kingdom that would open in three years.
The comments were confirmed by Paul Pressler, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in an interview with Laughingplace.com.
Click here to go to the Beastly Kingdom page

April 2001 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Opens


Animal Kingdom Lodge (called the Safari Hotel pre-opening) has opened with its own 33 acre Savannah and animals. Several good restaurants are part of the 1293 room, 74 acre complex: Jiko-The Cooking Place/Cape Town wine room and lounge, and Boma-Flavors of Africa family restaurant (Buffet), as well as the Mara quick service eatery and Victoria Falls coffee/bar. Some of the premium rooms have balconies overlooking the savannah.

July 2000 - Dinosaur! Safari Hotel


Rode the new Dinosaur ride that replaced Countdown to Extinction in DinoLand USA in June. There is new signage (pictures will be uploade within the next month) on the entrance gates and the building, however the ride hasn't changed once you enter. The pre-shows are the same, and the ride cars are still marked CTX. The ride hasn't changed and is still enjoyable and bouncy. Didn't have to use the FastPass - queues were only 10 minutes.
Used FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris. The regular queue was about 45 minutes, and the FastPass booking was an hour away, so we went to Tusker House Restaurant and had a good snack. The rotisserie chicken and the baked goods are recommended. Went back to the Safaris queue and only waited 5 minutes before boarding. For mid-day, we had quite a few animals out.
Walked around Camp Minnie-Mickey but couldn't see any signs of the new Beastly Kingdom. You can see the new Safari Hotel, on the west side of DAK, if you ride the WDW Transportation buses.

August 1999 - Radio Disney closes; Tarzan Rocks! Ride Reservation System


Discovery River will again be a 'cruise-free' zone. August 21st will be the last sailings of the Radio Disney River Cruise. The river ride, that started off as Discovery River Boat Ride, closed at the end of last summer and re-opened as last winter, closed again and re-opened in March as the River Cruise.
It has never been worth queuing for, and unfortunately the lines have often been over half an hour. Guests have constantly complained about its lack of 'attraction value'. We'll see if there is another resurrection...

Here's a review of "Tarzan Rocks" - highly complementary - from Jessy
"Tarzan Rocks" was different from any other Disney show that I have seen. The music was great and fun to jam to. (Phil is the best) The acrobats were awesome. The stage crew did a great job with the theater because it looked wonderful. The casting director has a great eye b/c Tarzan looked incredible...so much that I kept wishing I was Jane. lol Well they all just did a great job...Congrats!

Jessy
p.s. until Tarzan and I meet again..."You'll be in my heart"

Disney has implemented a Ride Reservation System for several popular attractions in DAK. It currently includes DinoLand's Countdown to Exctinction, Africa's Kilimanjaro Safaris and Asia's Kali River Rapids (and Rock n Roller in Disney-MGM Studios). You insert your admission ticket into the queue machine. It prints out a ride ticket with a 'reservation' time window. There's a queue for people with reservations (typically 15 - 30 minutes), and another queue for people who don't and are waiting to see if any space opens up. Also see DAK News Clips 99
Disney's looking at using this system in more of its attractions. Email me with your experiences.

July 1999 - No ARTimals March

Andrew and Kelly visited WDW in mid-June. Their report follows and we expected to have new photos of Asia, Maharajah and Kali on this site however they've been lost in the mail.
After their visit, Andrew reported: March of the ARTimals is gone. Now the parade has been split up and the good floats are used as photo ops in Safari Village, such as the bees, spider, and frogs. I think they call it Meet the ARTimals. Some of the costumed characters do walk-arounds, and the floats have been 'named', such as the Follies Bee-Gere on the hive float. Good thing they ditched it - it really sucked, plus it jammed the paths which were not designed for a parade.
Lots of blue walls up around the park, in Asia, Kilimanjaro queue, Tarzan Rocks!, and more. I noticed the new FOLK queue system and what I thought were new floats. There is a small new shop in one of the seating areas of McDonalds in Dinoland, and the outside fountain area is now gardens. In Asia, there is a HUGE new Caravan stage under construction. Rode the Radio Disney Cruise which sucked as much as ever! I can't believe they painted the boats bright colors after spending so much time making them look old and rusted to begin with!!
Wait times in DAK were decent. About 30min for Kali (but the queue theming is just so darn good that its worth the wait!). And we walked on the Safari (in the rain, though). You know they don't stop it in even really heavy rain! Great safari though - even the Lion was up and walking! We waited 20min for FOLK, none for BUG, and 10 for CTX - not bad at all. But it was a rainy day and late in the afternoon.

June 1999 - Tarzan Rocks at DAK.

Thanks to Safaris driver Kim for helping to identify more animals in our Kilimanjaro Safaris photos.
"Journey to the Jungle Book" closed in early April at the Theatre in the Wild in DinoLand to make way for “Tarzan Rocks” which will debut in July. Tarzan Rocks will include a rock band and other performers on stage, in the aisles and overhead. The show will include songs from Disney’s animated feature, Tarzan, which debuts in theaters June 18th.

April 1999 - DAK U.S. Tour; DAK Magazine; Radio Disney Boats


Disney has released a new magazine, Disney's Animal Kingdom magazine, "for families who love animals". Lots of photos and articles about animals of all kinds. There are only a few articles about WDW Animal Kingdom. It's on most newsstands. Details of the first issue are at DAK Magazine Info.

Dates and Cities have been announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom Adventure Outpost Tour: Miami 4-17/18, Dallas 4-24/25, Houston 5-1/2, Washington 5-8/9, Philadelphia 5-15/16, New York 5-22/23, Chicago 5-29/30, Boston 6-5/6, Hartford 6-12/13, Cleveland 6-19/20, Detroit 6-26/27 and Atlanta 7-10/11 to promote DAK. Shows are 11am to 5pm (American Express Cardholders can enter at 10am on Saturdays). First come, first served. No admission charge; no tickets. More details in DAK News Mar 99+.

The Discovery River boats are back! In late March, Radio Disney River Cruise debuts on the Discovery River. A 15 minute animal fact and music filled boat ride that boards and docks in Safari Village and Asia. The radio hosts are Radio Disney disc jockeys “Just plain Mark” and “Zippy” who claim to be broadcasting from the top of the Tree of Life.

March 1999 - Asia Opens, Kali Pics, Dinoland Coaster?

Asia officially opened March 18! See DAK News Clips 99.
Thanks to Marianne and Trent, we have some pics of their Cast preview ride at Kali River Rapids. They're on our Asia page.

We've moved It's Tough to Be A Bug to its own page, and have added a new page DAK Frequently Asked Questions with comments on touring plans, prices, disabled access, transportation, etc.

Another new page has been added, Beastly Kingdom with rumors, plans and construction progress on this next DAK land. Several drawings from original concepts for this fantasy area have been added.

There are rumors that DinoLand will add a roller coaster. It was originally planned for a wooden coaster, but there may only be space for a steel coaster. I expect that some of these rumors (including Beastly Kingdom, above) are being leaked to combat the publicity that Universal's new Islands of Adventure is generating.

We're getting ready for the first anniversary of this site with several changes. Yes, it's been a year since DAK soft opened and since we first visited.

February 1999 - Maharajah re-opens, Kali for CMs, Beastly Kingdom?


Construction has started to the west of the Oasis. A large berm has been built behind Rainforest Cafe. Is Beastly Kingdom coming or is this just a berm? With Asia opening, has work started on the next Land in DAK? The original concept for Beastly Kingdom was Dragons/Knights themed, and included a stand-up roller coaster - Dare the Dragon - and the Quest for the Unicorn maze attraction. Attraction construction may start by summer.

Kali River Rapids opened for Cast Member previews on Feb 10-14. Initial reports are mixed; some have expected more 'thrills'. Everyone agrees that you will get wet - the elephants at the end of the ride ensure it. There are 'Dry Storage' bins in the center of the raft for your change of clothing.
Here's one ride review, from 'KidGenie':
How many of you have been on Congo River Rapids at Busch Gardens or many other simular attractions? When, Kali River Rapids is just about the same thing. It has some neat effects, and is fun, just as Congo and other simular attractions.
Will you get wet? Yes. Will you get as wet as you do on the other attractions..... You might, but chances are you won't, but rest assured, you will get wet. Overall I give the attraction a C+ or B-. It did not exceed my expectations, but it didn't disappoint me either.
Basically your board a round, twelve passenger raft, everyone faces each other, with the backs of the twelves seats facing outward. You go up a lift, and as you do you find yourself in a thick fog. Toward the top of the lift, you notice right smack dab in the middle of the rafts course is a water geyers erupting with great intensity. Just as your about to hit it, it dies down, but then you feel it kick back up as the raft passes over it. A kewl feeling and as the completes it journey over it, it is free to shoot back up and the guest on that half the raft become the first to get wet.
You then quickly make your way through the lush tropical jungle and to the burnt out remains of a logging companies work site. Just as your about to be engulfed in flames, your raft shoots down a moderately size flume. This is the best part of the ride. As the raft spashes down, the people on the front end of the forward motion (a true crap shoot all depending on how the rafts twists) will become the recipients of a major soaking. During one of my three trips, the raft got a good bounce just before it hit the flume and was rotating as it dropped down the flume.
At this point, your about half way through your journey, but the rest of the journey is a fairly smooth voyage back with no real splash oppurtunities, aside from the guest controlled water shooting elephants just before you re-enter the station.
I felt the execution of the attraction was excellent up until the flume drop. After the drop...... blah. They really need to do something to spice up the second half of the journey. Until then I can only give the attraction a C+, perhaps a B-. But on a summer day, this attraction is going to be a major hit:)

Maharajah Jungle Trek re-opened Feb 1, and Cast Member preview rides on Kali River Rapids were Feb 10-14. There is a rumor that Mr Eisner rode Kali and asked for some changes. I don't know if they were major or minor. They are not expected to affect Asia's March 18th grand opening.
Annual Passholders have been invited to a Sneak Preview of Asia on March 6 and 7 at 8-10:30am.
If you're visiting DAK, check for preview opening times for Maharajah and Kali. Maharajah has been open quite regularly, and Kali has occasionally allowed the public into its Sneak Previews.
A third DAK News page with recent press clips has been added.
In response to many requests for pricing, a new WDW Admission Pricing page has been added.

January 1999

Now that the holidays are over and the crowds are back to normal, the Kilianjaro Night Safaris are no longer in operation. We may see them again in the summer peak season.
Asia's Maharajah Jungle Trek previews have ended (Jan 9th). The planned re-opening is approx March 1st, anticipating the March 18th "grand opening". However there is a chance that it may re-open sooner (Feb).
The Discovery River Taxis (AKA Boats) have again stopped. They may have been used during the holiday season to give the crowds an extra 'attraction'.
All ticket media is now accepted at DAK, including those hopper passes that you've been hoarding from previous years.
Rumours are again circulating that since Asia is almost completed, work has started on Beastly Kingdom, the dragon-themed area behind Camp Minnie-Mickey (the middle left area in the map below). Original plans for this land included a roller coaster...
New photos from a Jan 24th visit - Safari, Pangani, FOLK, and others will be up on this site early February.

December 1998 - Asia Opens! Night Safaris

If you're at DAK over Christmas/New Year, check out the Kilimanjaro Night Safari! Apparently they're doing a trial of night safaris between 6 and 8 pm starting on December 20. Check it out, and please send us a report on your experiences.

Much of Asia is open for a "sneak peek" preview to the public on Friday December 18, 1998. Initial reports are that the Maharajah Jungle Trek is open a couple of hours a day (initially 10am to noon) to climatize the animals. The tigers are quite visible, as are the giant bats. The white water rapids ride, now Kali River Ride is not running yet; possibly early 1999.
If you'd like to see photos from the opening days of Maharajah Jungle Trek, check out Martin's Maharajah photos.

Andrew was at DAK over the US Thanksgiving weekend, and reported that the Asia area seems to be getting ready for an early 1999 opening. The currently open public areas have been reduced as additional kiosks are being built on the access path. Photos are on the Asia Page.
He noted that the Discovery River Taxis were closed (again), and that there have been more changes to the ending of Countdown to Extinction: "the lasers are gone from the time travel return scene; instead there are disorienting strobes and a different impression of the ending.
Queues for attractions weren't too bad - about 20 minutes for Kilimanjaro Safari after lunch, although the Lion King show is still attracting huge crowds."

November 1998 - Another Name Change

The boats on Discovery River have re-appeared. Now they're called Discovery River Taxis. The anamatronic dinosaur has been relocated out of the river, and the blast of fire from the cave is back. We're not sure what happened to the 'critters' - Andrew will report back shortly. There is an intention to have the queues less than 45 minutes. Also, with the shorter park hours (DAK closes at 6pm), the lineups for Kilimanjaro Safaris have been reported to be up to 3 hours in the early afternoon.

Disney's quietly replaced Tiger Rapids Run with "white water rapids ride" in their Asia descriptions. This is probably only temporary until the Imagineers come up with a suitably more Asian title.
It's also possible that the "Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail" fallout is examining the 'truth in advertising' and realized that you probably don't see real tigers on the rapids ride.

October 1998 - Missing Boats

The Discovery River Boats are gone! Despite all the efforts, including having cast members tell potential riders that the Boats are only a one-way transportation around Safari Village Island, and not an adventure ride, line-ups for Discover River Boats stayed very long, and guests kept complaining that it wasn't worth the hour+ wait. So the decision was made to close it down until the concepts and execution could be re-thought. It's not an adventure ride like Jungle Cruise; it's more like the Liberty Belle Riverboat.

Feedback from recent guests is that the lineups for the Kilimanjaro Safaris is not bad at mid-day, with a good variety of animals visible.

Another website visitor passed along this tip:
The Secrets of the Animal Kingdom TV show has debuted! Check this link on Disney.com: Click here to go to animalsecrets.com for details of this half-hour weekly series, and a TV station listing if you're in the USA (our local Buffalo station is running it Saturdays at 7am).

Preliminary descriptions of the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Tiger Rapids Run are now on the updated Asia Section.

August 1998

Another name change - this time Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is now Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Why rename? Probably because there are a lot more animals than Gorillas on the trail, and the Gorillas aren't always visible.

The guidebook says "Pangani means 'place of enchantment', and here you'll discover the ever-active naked mole rats, explore amazing African birds in our Avian Research Center, watch as hippos swim underwater and help our research students study the behaviors of a troop of gorillas!"

It's worth visiting - be sure to talk with the cast members - although if the Gorilla family is in the observation area it gets to be quite a crowd.

Andrew writes of his August DAK visit:
Arrived at 3 something. Park was busy, but emptying. March of the ARTimals was starting, some floats have been altered -only to show the new name.
New signage is in place. Very large colorful signs have been placed at the entrance paths to Africa, Mickey-Minnie, and Dinoland. they are elevated above buildings, trees, etc, and are very visible. Many other signs have been added regarding entrances/exits and stroller parking. New water misting fans added in Harambe in the seating area behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and in a few other locations. They are so powerful that the entire path around it was soaked - good idea though.

Went to Gorillla Falls. The change took place overnight without notice about a week ago. Cast came in the next day and the whole area signage was changed. Even crates with Gorilla Falls stamped on them were painted over. The reason is due to the fact that the gorillas are not always out, and there is much more than gorillas to see. Guests complained that Gorilla Falls had no gorillas - so they made the rather expensive change. A few t-shirts with the old name remain. Oh yeah, the new name is Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, which means "place of enchantment" in Swahilhi or something.

That path to Asia has been finished. Instead of the former construction walls, there is now a stage, seating, and a really cool ice cream truck. Many more landscaping and decorating touches have been adadded.
Looking at the map, it appears that the river boats are now round trip from both launches. Lines are still...ridiculously long.

mike & roy
Opening Day Discussion: Michael & Roy at Harambe

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