The Imagineering Field Guide Series- Animal Kingdom

The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World: An Imagineer’s-Eye Tour
By The Imagineers

The next book we are looking at in the Series-With-The-Longest-Title-Ever is the Animal Kingdom Imagineering Field Guide! Now, I know there are people out there that are not a fan of Animal Kingdom or at least they think this is strictly a half-day park.  I will even admit that I thought that way once; Animal Kingdom never appealed to me the way the other parks did, it always seemed to be lacking something.  All this has changed after reading this book!! Your eyes are opened to more of the magic that Animal Kingdom has to offer and you look at this park in a whole new light!

Just as in the last Field Guide (See my review on IFG-Hollywood Studios), this book has a history of Imagineering, descriptions of the WDI Disciplines used in the book, and a list of the Imagineering Lingo. The next section of the book is talking about animals in Disney history, Animal Kingdom and how the concept of the park came to be. After this comes the Lands parts.

Each section, just as in the last book, is color coated and goes over, in detail about the different features of each land. The sections are Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Plant Watch, Asia, and Dinoland U.S.A.

In the back of the book is the bibliography and the map of Animal Kingdom which is a great reference to use when you are trying to place what is being talked about in the book.

Now that we have gone over the basic description, lets talk about the AMAZING DETAILS that are explained within this book!! I honestly could not get enough of it!! If you want to find a reason to spend more time in Animal Kingdom or if you want to figure out how to appreciate it, this is the book for you!  From learning what exactly the Oasis part of the park is all about and how it related to Main Street, U.S.A. (Do you know what that portion is for, because I really didn’t!) to what is really used to make the asphalt in Dinoland U.S.A. (I will give you a hint, it’s not asphalt), this book has everything!

Since this book is a couple years old though, there are a couple chuckles us big Disney fans can get out of the book.  These are mainly centered around the yeti in Expedition Everest.  The book talks about the brilliance and complexity of having three solid bases for the attraction, one just to hold the Yeti.  It also talks about how real the Yeti movements are and their complexity and how great it is.  In fact, three pages are spent talking about the wonders of the Yeti.

(Have you seen the irony of this yet?  For those who may not know, the foundation the Yeti sits on has been cracked and the yeti himself no longer really is functional to the original standards because of this grave error.  Why not fix it you might ask? Well, the complexity of the having the tree solid bases poses a challenge to fix this one; you need to get through the first two to get to the yeti’s base, which would involve massive construction and a complete shut down of the attraction for quite some time.  So, for right now, the yeti sits, relatively immobile.)

What I learned from this book:

  • Details about the structure and purpose of each shop on Discovery Island
  • The theme for each room in Pizzafari and the Flame Tree Pavilions
  • How difficult it is to build an “Edible Set”
  • The stones in Harambe’s ground are from an old City Wall that came down after they gained their freedom (This blows my mind, a history trail is left throughout Harambe for the history that was made up by the Imagineers! Marking from events that did not really happen at all!)
  • How careful Disney was in picking the location and language for their towns in Africa and Asia
  • The cloths on the prayer tree in Asia have a directive for Park Maintenance saying they are not to be removed but are to become tattered and fall just as they do in Asia. Removing them invalidates the prayer.
  • The layers and difficulty of making the tread marks in the ground in Asia.
  • The whole back story to Dinoland U.S.A. and why exactly it is so cheezy! (I never really understood or appreciated this part of the park until I read the back story)

This is only scratching the surface of what I learned from this book!  There is so many details and back stories given about the park and its from these that you can really begin to appreciate the look and understand the design of Animal Kingdom.

I test anyone, buy this book and tell me you did not learn something from it or learn to appreciate the extreme detail in Animal Kingdom a little more.  I am telling you, I will never look at this park the same way again after reading this book.  It has taught me so much and has given me the appreciation for Animal Kingdom that I did not have. To purchase, check out the book on Amazon: The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World

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2 Responses to The Imagineering Field Guide Series- Animal Kingdom

  1. Jon Plsek says:

    These book are all really great—kind of like the story behind the design behind the story, and all in bite sized bits. Oddly enough, the Animal Kingdom guide is the only one I lack. Thanks for pushing me over!

  2. Mark says:

    I love this series! I have the books for each of the Florida parks.

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