Friday, January 18, 2013

Patch Quest!

Earlier this year, I was listening to an episode of WDW Today about predictions for 2013, and I made four predictions on their Facebook group.

One of them was the idea that there would be some sort of "wander the park and interact with things" type of project like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom or Agent P's World Showcase Adventure in Epcot coming to Animal Kingdom.

Looks like that prediction is coming true with "Wilderness Explorers".

Inspired by the scouting organization that Russell was part of in the movie "Up", there will now be a scavenger-hunt type of event available at Animal Kingdom to earn Wilderness Explorer "patches". A brief summary of the program can be found at the Disney Parks Blog:

Although there's no official date for an opening, you can get an idea of what it is like from this video of Game Testing:

I'm really excited about this, as I think it will be not only a great learning opportunity, but also provide an all-ages activity to help you get more out of a visit to Animal Kingdom!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Best Thing that Avatar Will Do for Animal Kingdom

While I was down in Florida, there was a press conference that suggests that, even with creative differences, the Avatar project is moving forward.

When the project's location in Camp Minnie-Mickey was first announced, my only concern was for Festival of the Lion King, a stage show located back in that area. This high-quality, high-energy show in the round is a great example of Disney stagecraft at its finest. With familiar songs, acrobatics, and great performances from the cast, it was a wonderful way to introduce our daughter to the idea of a stage show.

What it doesn't do, however, is fit in with an Avatar-themed land.

Thankfully, it looks like although its days are numbered in its current location (with an ambiguous "will be closing in early 2013"), it sounds like the show will go on, but in a new location.

According to The Disney Blog (, a new location for the show will be opening behind Tusker House in the African section of the park.

To me, this is probably the best news to come out of the whole Avatar deal. Being the only attraction in the Camp Minnie-Mickey "Land" meant that it was always an out-of-the-way bit of entertainment. Putting it in Africa is great from a theme sense (after all, The Lion King is set in Africa!), and it puts it more accessible for people to visit without major backtracking.

Because of its new location being more in the middle of traffic flows, I would expect that the theater would need to be larger. This would also be a chance to do any tweaks desired for the show. There may be some possibility that the Finding Nemo reserved seating lunch package at Tusker House might become become reserved seating for Lion King. My guess is that we'll also see new restrooms back by the theater area, as the added traffic would significantly impact the already crowded facilities across from Tusker House.

I cannot state emphatically enough how much I am thrilled with this announcement. This is a great decision for the show and for the park as a whole. Kudos to Imagineering for finding a way to keep a quality show and improve its location in one swoop.