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Animal Kingdom Expansion Sparks Disney World Divide: ‘Get Over It!

Animal Kingdom Expansion
Credit: Disney

Much has been said about the upcoming expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. However, the inclusion of the Tropical Americas region comes with one or two caveats.

family on animal kingdom discovery island trails

Credit: Disney

As exciting as it might be to see Indiana Jones and new exhibits and experiences inspired by tropical jungles and rainforests, it comes at the expense of some of the park’s most recognizable features, primarily Dinoland USA. As is tradition, whenever something happens to a beloved or nostalgic feature, the fanbase gets riled up, and flame wars ensue.

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Many Disney buffs, and even characters from beloved attractions, feel that the frequent use of IP and the deconstruction and decomposition of Disney’s dinosaurs stray too far away from what Animal Kingdom represents and conflict with the park’s original design and intent. A recent post on r/WaltDisneyWorld had fans jumping into the debate with what they genuinely think of the upcoming update.

Expanding Animal Kingdom: Guests Have Their Say

Moana crosses her arms in front of Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

Credit: Disney

Big things are coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the Tropical Americas are just one addition to Disney World’s lush tribute to wildlife and conservation. Along with an Indiana Jones attraction and the aforementioned tropical hideaway, the park will also receive new experiences inspired by Zootopia (2016) taking over the Tree of Life.

Related: Immerse Yourself In Disney’s World of Avatar

If you know anything about Disney’s very vocal fanbase, you know that they can be reluctant to accept change, and u/Altruistic-Poet-1993 opened the floor to a debate with the following statement about the expansion.

“I personally have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, Dino Land needs to go, and on the other, I would love more original ideas instead of just IP. What do you think?”

Ask a loaded question, and you’ll get loads of answers. As with many hot topics on the subreddit, the comments came flooding in quickly.

Animal Kingdom Mickey and Minnie

Credit: Disney

Down in the comments, u/seanofkelley writes a pretty natural response to expanding the cultural horizons of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The user shares,

“I think a South American land makes a ton of sense thematically with the rest of AK. I think an animal-focused Encanto boat ride could be really awesome. I like the idea of a Coco carousel a lot. I think they can make an Indiana Jones attraction work. The thing I’ll miss the most is the boneyard. Not too late to retheme that as a new play area or add a new play area somewhere nearby. I hope they have lots of real animals incorporated as well. Also- hopefully the restaurants will slap.”

As understandable and valid as the user’s points might be, many fans are highly against Disney straying too far away from the decades-old theme park.

Dinosaur stands over Guests on DINOSAUR at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Just underneath, u/SuperRob shares a response to the argument that Disney focuses too much on its IP and animated characters rather than on the animals the park displays.

“At this point, I’m really just over people who would prefer no expansion at all to expansion that “dilutes the theme” or “is just milking Disney IP.” Disney has far too many ideas and plans that they’ve killed that I’m happy for them to move forward with anything at this point.”

“For the Animal Kingdom expansion in particular, Dinosaur was getting very long in the tooth (you can barely see the pre-show video any more, the projector is so dim), we never really hang out in Dinoland at all except to go to Dinosaur, so if that whole area gets an upgrade, I’m all for it.”

While it’s certainly true that the tremendous and terrifying Dinosaur attraction has been showing its age for longer than most care to admit, fans are still defensive about seeing this iconic feature of Animal Kingdom go extinct. Given the reaction some of these older fixtures have had in recent years, it’s time that many learned when to throw in the towel.

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u/Current-Promotion-31 offers perhaps the most logical statement on the thread when they write,

“Focus needs to be on anything that justifies keeping the park open later than it is. Tree of Life in the dark with projections is amazing but squandered for 75% of the year. Same with the Avatar area in the dark. The Zootopia land is obvious and already exists, that needs to make it there at some point. But to me, everything at AK needs to be focused on keeping the park open later.”

The Reality

Animal Kingdom Kids with Rafiki

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

One key factor that many Disney fans consistently forget is that the Disney parks were designed to be in a constant state of evolution. To quote Rafiki, “Change is good.” The sooner fans accept that, the better.

Related: It’s Official: Animal Kingdom Needs a ‘Lion King’ Land

As important as things like the dinosaurs and rides associated with the closing areas were to Animal Kingdom’s original identity, there’s always room for improvement. Hopefully, Disney will dazzle us when the tropical jungles weave their way into the new area.

What are your thoughts on the new expansion? 

This post Animal Kingdom Expansion Sparks Disney World Divide: ‘Get Over It! appeared first on Inside the Magic.

About Zach Gass

Zach Gass is a writer from East Tennessee with a passion for all things under the Disney name. From Disney history to the careers of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, Zach tries to keep his finger on the pulse of the mouse. While he would certainly love to see the parks around the globe, his home park will always be the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. When he's not rubbing elbows with Mickey, Zach enjoys reading fantasy novels, retro video games, theatre, puppetry, and the films of Tim Burton.

One comment

  1. Dinoland needs to go, I felt it always looked cheap and out of place.I love the Dinosaur ride but it can easily be reimagined. But the park needs to be focused on the main thing in the name “Animals”! Unfortunately it needs to close earlier so they can rest without constant noise and lights. It should always put them first…we’re incredibly fortunate to be able to have such a safari to visit on our trip to Disney and everything else should respect that.

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