Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disney's Animal Kingdom 10th anniversary - Remembering the Grand Opening : It was the good old days...



Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of this wonderful park - one of my favorite - Disney's Animal Kingdom. I was invited for the Grand Opening, and was there for the dedication. I remember it very well, specially as it was organised not in the park, but on the parking lot!...probably to protect animals from the noise of the ceremony.

After Michael Eisner dedication speech a big show-ceremony happened with dancers and singers - picture above - but if i remember it so well, it's also because of a good laugh i had with another friend, journalist and invited like me at this opening.

Here is why: at that time, just some weeks before, Tim Burton's Mars Attacks was released, and in the movie there is a sequence where all officials are waiting for the arrival of the martians on a kind of...parking lot in the desert! Then, the U.S government representative is doing a welcome speech, after what the martians begin to kill everybody with their laser gun! So, to come back to Animal Kingdom dedication, there we were, all of the guests, on Animal Kingdom parking lot, and suddenly i began to think about this movie sequence and tell my friend: "Hmmm, didn't this ceremony remember you the arrival of the martians in Mars Attack?". As he immediately saw what i was talking about - the "parking lot" location coincidence - we had a big laugh as we imagined the martians ready to shoot everybody as soon as Eisner would have finished his speech! God, it was really funny...



Anyway, the dedication went fine, and then everybody rush to discover this beautiful park. I remember how i was stunned right from the entrance by the vegetation theming.
Then we went to Africa for the Kilimandjaro Safari ride, just like Roy Disney did.



And, talking about Roy, i found back these pictures. Released for the opening, it's typical corporate pictures, but when you think about what was going to happen some years later between the two men, the apparent harmony between them looks really funny.



Don't they look like the best pals in the world! Ah, it was the good old days!



I'm not trying to have fun out of Eisner and Roy, as i have respect for them - specially for Roy - but, frankly, i think these pictures are hilarious...

However, on this last picture shoot at the end of the opening show, the eagle flying above their heads looks like an omen for what will happen between them some years later. And if you look at their face they seems to have a strange feeling about it...



Come back soon for the beginning of a new article series in tribute to this great park!

All photos: copyright Disney

3 comments:

Charles Windsor said...

Can't wait for you AK series!

Tangaroa said...

Oh man, those pictures of Eisner and Roy are hilarious. Considering the rifts of later years they're even stranger. I'm looking forward to your DAK art - I think that far less renderings were released for this park than for any other Florida park. I think I've probably seen more concept art for Disney's America than I have for DAK. Aside from Beastly Kingdom - and we've all seen those three or four renderings in all the books - and the Excavator coaster I don't know of anything else that was planned for the park but not built.

Craig Wheeler said...

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. I too would love to see more concept art from AK.