Some people just don’t get it. They never have, they never will. Why do I have such a fascination with Disney? And why don’t I have the same appreciation for other theme parks? One day we had some family friends over for dinner, they had just returned from EPCOT after a 20 year hiatus, and said nothing had changed. They rode the same five rides as last time. Then there’s the friend that loves Disney, and will go to 4 parks in a day, only for one signature ride at each and be done. I guess it’s them that I don’t understand.
Yes the theme parks have awesome rides for the motion part of it, but rather it’s the details that keep you riding again and again. Every time I go to the park, I discover a new detail. Sometimes it’s something I went specifically to see because someone else mentioned it. Sometimes it’s something that I think only I have seen, and it’s just happened.
Everyone who is a true Disney fan knows to look for hidden Mickey’s. Most everyone knows about the plates on the table in Haunted Mansion – you do now if you didn’t. So I thought it was interesting that the last time I rode it, the plates had been moved to traditional table settings, and were not in the hidden Mickey.
Monday April 22nd 2013 was Earth Day, and this signifies the anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This year was a milestone 15th Anniversary, and they threw a party. Quite by chance, I found out about a group of Disney fans that were meeting for the weekend WDWCelebrations . I had never heard of them, but they looked like they had an amazing agenda planned, for a very low price. So I registered and off I went to Disney, by myself.
We arrived at the park at 7am, 2 hours before opening. New thing #1 they were using the new Mickey turnstiles for passholders and resort guests. #2, right before opening the person in charge of the cast members letting us in went down the line and told the cast members to check their zippers! Even the cast members said that was a first. #3, the group that I was with knew a cast member, and we all started chanting Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. The cast member in front of me (I was first in line) said that Mikey couldn’t do anything to get us in early, but Ron could. So we all started chanting Ron, Ron, Ron. He came out with a microphone and said that chanting his name wouldn’t get us in early, but money would.
Many people have already blogged about the ceremony and merchandise so I shall skip forward a few hours. As we were enjoying our Earth Day cupcakes, the leaders of our group mentioned that some of the answers to the upcoming scavenger hunt were within view. I tucked this info away for later, same as when they leaned over a bridge to look at something.
I discovered several new things this day. The main thing being that there is nothing in Animal Kingdom that is there without reason and that so much has gone into the design of the park to make it authentic to the areas that they represent, albeit some of this tongue and cheek.
Looking for something different to drink? Try the Jamba Juice. I found out that the walk up refreshment stands have some pretty unusual food and drinks.
Scavenger Hunts are an excellent means to learn about the park. Again, look it up, you can probably find several. But for a teaser, here are a few of the things that I searched for.
Dina Sore’s phone number, the number of painted fish in a pavilion, the country that bricks were made from, survey markers, information that could only be found on a menu, or on a tiny scrap of paper plastered to a pole. I discovered that bulletin boards had a lot of fun information posted. I also discovered that if there is a small path that looks like you shouldn’t go on it, it’s ok as long as there isn’t a barricade. Often times these paths lead to little known gems. The queue lines have a lot of stuff, check out Kali River Rapids, you can exit the line just before the ride if you want. Having never been on the ride, I couldn’t believe how much detail that I missed.
So what keeps me returning to Disney? It’s the attention and care to the little details. Enjoy the rides. But the next time you are standing in line take a look around.
PS -Did you know that you can get free baked samples at Big Top Souvenirs in Magic Kingdom?
We hope you enjoyed this update and as always, Have a Magical Day!