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Beastly Kingdom: The Land That Could Have Been

In anticipation for the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I thought it appropriate to write about the space of land that it resides on, as well as what was and could have been done with it. All of this information has been gathered from stories I have been told by friends, articles I have read (linked at the end), and other knowledge I have gathered along the way while researching the park.


When Animal Kingdom was in its imagineering phase, it was established that not only would Animal Kingdom reflect the beauty of our natural world and encourage efforts to conserve it, but that the park would also be home to the fantastic beasts (excuse my reference) of our wildest dreams. This is how what is now referenced as “Beastly Kingdom” by fans and historians alike was born into plans. The land that would have been is also even to this day highly referenced in art and icons around the Animal Kingdom that we know today– The park logo even includes a dragon, as well as a dragon’s head is seen at the park entrance, and a section of the parking lot is named after the mythical unicorn.

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Source: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Beastly Kingdom would have had two sides to it: a light side, and a dark side. As one would imagine, the lighter side involved more family-friendly, lighthearted attractions– There was rumoured to have been plans for a unicorn attraction, as well as plans for Fantasia-themed areas and a griffin. The darker side would feature more fearsome creatures such as dragons, and would feature thrilling rides to match.

With how costly building an entirely new park is, there were some cuts and postponed projects along the way. Must to the dismay of the imagineers involved, Beastly Kingdom met the same fate. Initially being postponed until the park got on its feet, the land that Beastly Kingdom would rest upon was temporarily filled by Camp Minnie-Mickey, which served as a sort of place-holder and housed Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends, Festival of the Lion King, and many other meet and greet opportunities. This area was only supposed to exist for a year or so, until the plans for Beastly Kingdom could be finalized and brought into production. The land even featured a dragon fountain, hinting at the planned future of the area.

Dragon Rock Fountain (05-09)

Source: Main Street Gazette

However, the amount of time that the area would be occupied continued to expand, as there was no real need or financial means for Beastly Kingdom to be built– While Animal Kingdom was not necessarily a smash hit, it was not so much a failure as to justify spending the large sum of money that it would take to produce the new land.

Rumour has it that in the time that Camp Minnie-Mickey occupied the space, imagineers involved with Beastly Kingdom became increasingly frustrated. Their plans were continuously pushed back, and they were given less and less of a budget to work out. Some imagineers, according to rumour, left the company altogether and went to work for Universal Orlando on a new gate being opened on their land: Islands of Adventure. When Islands was opened in 1999, the similarity to the plans for Beastly Kingdom was clear– they had nearly been copy-pasted into the Lost Continent and “Merlinwood” areas of the park. Then-CEO Michael Eisner even noted the similarities between the plans and the new area on a research trip he took to the park when it first opened. Today, only fragments of this can be seen, as most of the area and attractions involved were re-themed and even removed completely to make way for the wildly successful The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade.

This was the final nail in the coffin for Beastly Kingdom. Disney would not finance and approve the area to be built as it would simply make them appear to be directly copying their competitor. Camp Minnie-Mickey became more or less permanent for 15 years, only eventually closing in 2014 to make way for the newly announced Pandora: The World of Avatar to break ground.

There is not much anyone can say about whether or not Beastly Kingdom will ever come to fruition. With the apparent pending success of Pandora, one can only speculate as to how long that land will continue to exist, or if Beastly Kingdom will eventually come to be in some other form. For now, we can only dream of what could have been, and look to the future of Disney’s Imagineering capabilities.

Sources and links to check out for more information:
http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20131017/14745/avatar-what-was-beastly-kingdom?page=1
http://www.disneyavenue.com/2016/02/what-if-disney-had-built-beastly-kingdom.html
http://wdwnt.com/blog/2016/02/disney-stuck-on-the-drawing-board-beastly-kingdom/
http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Camp_Minnie-Mickey
http://www.wdwradio.com/2017/04/wdw-radio-481-beastly-kingdom-walt-disney-world-never/

http://www.mainstgazette.com/2012/08/real-ancient-or-imagined.html

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Our Opinions on Disflix: A Collab with PixieDustandPlanes

Hello folks! Welcome to my blog if you are new. Today’s post is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction: I have a guest for the first time! Welcome my friend Victoria, or as some may know her, PixieDustandPlanes.

 

Since this is a hot-button/popular topic right now, I want to preface this entry by saying that I do not wish to start any drama, nor do I wish to belittle or insult anyone involved in this project. I know a few people involved (albeit not well) and do not want to be talking behind their backs or speak ill of perfectly wonderful people. But, I started this blog to have an outlet to discuss Disney-related topics and write about my opinions, and this fits that criteria.disflixlogo_small-e1489374622621

Some of you (well, probably most of you by now) have probably heard of something called DisFlix. While the exact details have yet to be released, so far what we know is that some social media personalities, dubbing themselves “Disney influencers” have started a $10/month subscription service to distribute their content. From what I know right now, that content includes live streams, videos, classes (can they hit me up with that college credit though?), exclusive merchandise (not to be shady, but I’m honestly unsure as to what that means in this context), and other exclusive content. This content is created by creators who already have existent instagram, twitter, youtube, or tumblr pages dedicated to all affairs Disney. Some of these creators are actually cast members.

Now, I am not one to put down my peers’ efforts, even the more adventurous ones. I admire the dedication that it takes to frequently upload content– I am an instagrammer myself, and have been fairly active for a few years. I’ve met some of my nearest and dearest friends due to the Disney social media community, but I have also seen some very ugly sides of people caused by how superior being social media “famous” can make them feel. I’ve seen grown people put down preteens for being “basic disneygrammers”, seen people openly make fun of how others choose to dress, edit their photos, and I’ve seen young adults attempt to become closer to popular social media figures and cast members in order to climb the social media ladder. I, myself, can admit to being less kind than I could have been in certain situations, or stressed over small things that meant nothing outside of the Disney bubble. All of this is to say, we do not need a reason for people to be uglier to one another under the guise of meaningless, social media popularity.

Disflix is something that I can easily see, and already see, becoming a frenzy of that sort. It is a popularity contest, however unintentionally, because it directly will add to the idea that some people’s content is worth paying for and some are not. This can lead to those who are less experienced being further belittled, or their content not being appreciated because they are not a part of this group. Let’s be honest. Elitist behaviour and conceptions lead to feeling bad about yourself if you are not a part of that select group. For example, my honest reaction to the announcement, after my initial “this is silly” thought, was “why was I not asked to do this?”. I even went and looked up some of these people to see who they were and how many followers they had. Some have less than me, some have more. I say this not to make myself seem better than those who have less people following them, but rather to demonstrate how it feels to see this happening as someone from within the Disney social media community/bubble. I began to wonder if it was because I was not friends with people as “popular” as them, if it was because I stay more low key, or anything along those lines. I wondered what was wrong with ME for not being asked to be involved with this project. I know I am not the only one, not by a long shot.

Now that we have that down, let’s talk about the legalities of this. Now, I am no lawyer. But, I do know that Disney Parks has established rules, and as the owners of private property, Disney can trespass you from all 27,000 acres of their land. One of these established rules is that you cannot film or record anything on their property that would be used for monetary profit. That is to say, if I were to film a movie on Disney property (some of you know this has happened before, but…. anyway) right this second, Disney has every right to escort me off property, revoke my annual pass (while keeping all my money) and make it illegal for me to drive through their gates. This filming is exactly what DisFlix implies, and this consequence is exactly what could very easily happen to every one of them. Further, some of these creators are cast members. This makes it especially sad to me because from what I know of them, they are very sweet, capable, passionate cast members. However, I do know that making a profit off of free admission benefits granted to cast can be a terminable offense in itself, and having that violation in addition to that from which anyone can be trespassed– It creates a perfect storm for losing their job. I sincerely hope that I am somehow wrong about this, that there is a loophole that I missed and these creators found in their 2 year path to this website, but I honestly do not see how there is one.

All of this is not to say that I think those involved with Disflix are completely unaware of these implications. But these implications are why I would never purchase their service. I can watch my favourites on YouTube, see lovely photos my friends take on Instagram, and continue to live my life and post my own content while not making a profit off of being a local, annual passholder, or cast member. If this works out, all the more power to them. I will never tell anyone not to work for money on their terms or how to spend their own money. However, for the reasons listed above and more, I cannot support or even positively promote this attempted brand. I do not think this is a good, or legal use of the supportive Disney community or the Disney name itself.

 

Now, with my piece being said, let’s see what Victoria has to say.

 

So I’m a guest blogger of sorts for my good friend’s blog today, visiting from my own blog, PixiedustandPlanes. Here to share my own opinions on today’s topic. Before I begin, I will state right off the bat that I won’t be name dropping or anything shady but simply stating facts and my opinion.

To begin with, when I first heard announcements of the project “Disflix”, I was very curious. It was announced as what the Disney community has been asking for and had been in the making for years now. Two days later, I received the email regarding what the project was. If you didn’t know, it is basically a combination of exclusive livestreams from the Disney Parks, videos from vloggers who are Disney fans, online classes where one can get vacation planning tips and such and where one can buy exclusive merchandise not easily available in the parks. My first thought was “okay this is kind of different. Combining everything all disney fans are doing now all in one place. That’s neat i guess.” So I go to join and then I see a price tag. “Early Bird Access $9.99”

 

Um Pause.

Okay I’m not ready to pay for a service that I’m not entirely sure how it works. Not to mention there are NUMEROUS disney outlets that provide many of these services for free. Since it’s “Disflix”, I assume there is a free trial. There is not.

 

Now let me address some concerns I have with Disflix. Again, no shadiness. Just stating my facts and opinions. Now to start my first concern when I saw that one could apply to be a Disflix host is that this will cause chaos. In the Disney community there are many many wonderful and kind people who simply want to share their love of disney and make friends who are like them in the community. Then there are those who are in it for the attention and let’s just say not very good reasons. But mostly the Disney community is full of amazing, special and talented people. But there are those who would take advantage of this service. There are some out there who simply want the follower count and want to be popular in the community, especially on instagram and youtube. This could easily become a popularity contest based on just the founding group. All are very beloved and popular in the community for their instagram and the content they share. I am almost certain this was not the intent of the project but this is how it comes off to as me. Also to call oneself a “Disney Influencer” seems to be…..I can’t think of any other word besides conceited. Calling yourself a Disney expert is one thing if you have the credentials but that term seems a bit extra.

Back to the services themselves. There is absolutely no reason in my opinion to pay for services that some of the founding members of this group were originally sharing for free prior to this. However the price tag just concerns me because that’s an early bird price meaning one is to assume that this isn’t the actual price and that it will go up shortly. Now I’m not saying the content isn’t worth paying for but myself personally would not pay for it. I will say this content seems to be more going for people planning future disney vacations,which again does not make much sense to me since Disney provides that service for free as well. Now if you wish to pay for it, feel free. It’s your money and you can choose to spend it however you choose. Now I don’t need to go into my legal concerns since my gracious host has pretty much explained my same notions on the matter.

Personally if the site was free or at least offered a free trial , there would still be the issue of vloggers, youtubers, instagrammers, etc possibly trying to climb the social media ladder but that’s nothing new in the community. We could all deal with that I’m sure. And I do like that they offer sponsorship programs for businesses who would like to form a relationship with the site.Otherwise I cannot in good conscience support it. I will never tell anyone they should not support anyone trying to venture into a disney themed project but this is just my opinions on it.

 

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Because it feels like this post needs it, here are Victoria and I (and our other friend, Ryan) last summer. (:

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Beauty and the Beast: Live Action Film Review

Hello, all!
I went to go see the new Beauty and the Beast film with my mother on opening day this past week. Let me just say, my expectations were not set very high.
I, in general, am not a fan of remakes. I think that when a movie is a classic, more can be done to harm it than can be done to improve it through another adaptation.
This film, however, is making me change my tune about that.
I love Emma Watson. I love Belle. I did think that she would be a good, refreshing, version of her. However, when I heard the soundtrack, I was a little apprehensive. I do not think Watson is a bad singer by any means, but my mind’s ear kept moving back to Paige O’Hara’s gorgeous, broadway-suited voice. The inevitable comparison worried me.

Then came the news of LeFou being gay. I would identify myself as bisexual (I am on a spectrum and therefore do not completely identify with that, but that’s a personal story for another day), and am so happy that LGBT characters will hopefully no longer be restricted to subtext after this, but the fact that LeFou literally translates to “the crazy” and LeFou is a bumbling sidekick in the animated film greatly worried me. I immediately hoped and prayed that his homosexuality would be completely unrelated to his downfalls– Although I have faith in Disney, I still was hesitant.

Finally, it is a simple fact that Beauty and the Beast (1992) is an absolute masterpiece. Though not without its downfalls and small plotholes, the tale is a Disney classic and a staple for dreamers everywhere. The score and visuals are absolutely stunning, a reflection of the extraordinary talent and little bits of themselves that all involved injected into it. I grew up with this movie. I remember running out of the room when the wolves came onscreen at only 4 years old, I remember meeting Belle at Disneyland while wearing a matching ballgown at 7. I remember dreaming of far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, and hoping that when my own prince arrived, he would perhaps not be in disguise. This film means a lot to me, as I know it does to millions of others. So when the live action version was announced, after I had less than loved Maleficent, I was troubled.

I do not think I have ever been so happy to be wrong about a movie. This film captured my heart in just the same way as the 1992 version. From the opening sequence, I was absolutely hooked. The visuals gave me permanent goosebumps and the music made me want to jump out of my seat and be in the musical number with the rest of the cast. Alan Menken’s moving score remains, filling me with nostalgia and evoking feelings of wonder, despair, and hope. With every sequence, line, and scene better than the last, I fell deeper and deeper in love with these characters through their new live action vessels and was filled with a greater need to be a part of the tale as old as time.

The backstory on the Beast and Belle’s family was a phenomenal addition. The meld of Broadway and animated versions was almost too much for my musical, fantasy-loving heart to bear. I am not exaggerating when I say that this film made me want to live in it.

My only complaint, and I mean only, was extremely minor. It lies in the ballroom scene. The visuals, while amazing and absolute eye candy, did not focus entirely on the couple in question. While the ballroom was amazing to see, I do wish that there was a little more heart in the scene, which could have been achieved through more focus on Belle and the Beast. My other complaint about this scene is Belle’s dress– I have been told that it is a more pale, pastel yellow in person, but on screen, it was a vibrant tone that made me cringe a little. It is a gorgeous gown, I just wish the lighting had better reflected that.

In short, I highly recommend this film to anyone who even kind of enjoyed the 1992 or Broadway versions. It made me laugh, cry and filled me with joy, and I hope that all live-action adaptations from here on out will be as well-executed as this one was.

  • Kiersten

Welcome!

(That title triggered “You’re  Welcome” to play in my head if that helps you get to know what kind of person I am.)

Hello, and welcome to this blog! My name is Kiersten, but some of you may be coming from my Instagram, where I go by missphotopass.
Here’s a little bit about me, since it’s pretty hard to introduce oneself on an Instagram page.

I’m originally from Canada and moved to Orlando in 2013. We moved for Disney. No, really. Well, also to escape the snow, but mostly for Walt Disney World. We visited so much throughout my life that it became the obvious choice to just live in our favourite place. I have since gone to college out of state, so coming back to Orlando is very special since it involves not only seeing my family and cats, but also my friends and the place I feel the most comfortable.

My favourite park is the Magic Kingdom, and that is where I spend most of my time, but I’m incredibly attached to all of them. I love Disneyland Resort but have not ventured beyond the American Disney Parks. It is my dream to go to all before I die.

My favourite characters are numerous and include Aurora, Tiana, Jack Skellington, Moana, and Peter Pan. But Chewbacca still gives the best hugs on property, hands down.

I am also very attached to Marvel, so I’ll be writing about them some on here as well. I’m very passionate about all things Disney, as well as the inner workings and history of everything. I love photography, and it’s been a passion and hobby of mine for a number of years, long before missphotopass and long before I immigrated.

I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts, opinions, experiences and news, and if you ever see me running around the World, always stop me to say hi! I loooove new friends.