Welcome to the second post in the Imagineering Awesome series on Mouse on the Mind! You can access all of the posts by clicking on the link at right.
The Rainforest Cafe really does nothing for me. Its soooo blah. Heck, there is already one in Downtown Disney (which has a pretty cool volcano), so why do there have to be two? There is even one in New Jersey for goodness sake. I am surrounded by Rainforest Cafes!
So I want to get rid of the one at the Animal Kingdom. A friend of mine, Trader Bailey on twitter had a tremendous idea: Replace it with the Spirit of Adventure!
I want Disney to put, up at the front of the park, a replica of Charles Muntz’s famed dirigible from the Pixar classic, Up. It probably can’t be an exact replica, the darn thing was supposed to be over 550 feet long. But it needs to be big, a show stopper before the show even begins. And to be honest, the Spirit of Adventure is the truest symbol of the Park. Epcot is the park of innovation, Magic Kingdom is the park of fantasy, and Animal Kingdom is the park of adventure. It’s perfect.
I don’t want an attraction though. Besides, Disney wouldn’t allow that. An attraction before the gates? Yeah, right. Instead, Animal Kingdom needs more food options, and I have a feeling a lot of guests would love to eat in Mr. Muntz’s blimp.
To start with, you would enter through the hangar bay, which would act as the check-in desk and waiting room. Dining rooms would include the dining room from the movie itself, with objects obtained from around the world. The owner of the blimp traveled all over the globe collecting all sorts of fun objects, not unlike the Adventurer’s Club, I suppose.
The cockpit would be another dining room option. Here, I envision windows surrounding the guests. But these wouldn’t be any ordinary windows: they would be digital screens showing you the jungle. Talking dogs would occasionally be seen walking around “outside.” From one window, perhaps, Paradise Falls can be seen in the distance. Maybe even a quick glance of a house floating by, tied to hundreds of balloons.
And the theming wouldn’t be kept within the confines of the blimp. I would set it back a bit so you had to walk through the jungle a little. In the bushes, you would hear the call of Kevin and her chicks. Perhaps, the voices of the dogs in the distant. All set up to immerse you in the setting of my favorite Pixar movie.
Of course, the coolest room to eat in would be the Hall of Skeletons. Who wouldn’t want to dine amongst the bones? The best part is that the creatures displayed are extinct, thought to be extinct or animals that are from imagination, like the snipe. Sounds familiar no? “Animals that are real, ancient and imagined” is a quote directly from the Park’s dedication. Again, this movie fits the theme of the Park itself so well.
As a restaurant, it will need to serve food, not salty chain restaurant nonsense. Paradise Falls is located in South America, so lets have a menu with those kinds of flavors. A mixture of Peruvian, Colombian and Brazilian cuisines, which is not readily available at the Mouse. So here, with Paradise Falls in the background you would dine on a menu influenced by the Amazon.
Tell me this wouldn’t be a great place to eat? Its got everything. Different cuisine? Check. Fun theme? Heck, yeah. Disney related? Sure thing. Appropriate to the Park and location? Of course. I am biased as Up is one of my favorite films from Disney but I think its under utilized. Yes, the Wilderness Explorers is a terrific game but I want more of these characters.
So what do you think? Would you make an ADR to eat in Paradise Falls? Let us know in the comments. And if you loved Mike’s idea, let him know!