/ Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

by Josh Taylor

A few months back, I wrote about Disney’s Animal Kingdom and its search to find what it was in its beginnings. I focused on the entrance plaza and land, which were themed to a biblical Noah’s Arc stork. This time around, we are going to talk about an area of the park that would change its image completely….seriously. Every park has their symbol, whether it is the castle for Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom parks, Spaceship Earth for Epcot, or the recent addition of the Sorcerer Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Tree of Life has been the park symbol since Animal Kingdom’s opening day, but before opening, several choices were on the table that did not include the park’s signature Tree of Life or even the It’s Tough To Be A Bug attraction.

The Animal Carousel was an extremely popular choice to be the centerpiece and symbol of the Animal Kingdom park. An innovative experience unlike any of the other carousels or tele-combat style attractions. Unlike a normal carousel, or even Dumbo the Flying Elephant, this animal inspired attraction would have three different attractions built into one. The first of which would be a Dumbo like attraction of several flying animals and insects. You’d be able to move your joystick up to fly birds and butterflies. The middle attraction was similar to that of a normal carousel, but instead of the usual horses, you’d have a mixture of land animals from around the world. The last and lowest of the attractions was to be a boat like carousel on the outside of the small island the attraction was placed on. These boat vehicles would be shaped like sea creatures such as various fish, dolphins and sharks.

Assuming that the “Animal Carousel” would stand where the current Tree of Life stands, Discovery Island would become much smaller in stature to make way for the lower boat carousel.  That would mean a much larger area of water separating the other lands from each other. This would also be the second time that an attraction became the centerpiece of the park; however, I would hate to see what this looked like in silhouette. Preferably,  I think this would have been a wonderful attraction to add to the current Oasis area as it is a great introductory attraction to the park, but doesn’t stand out as a centerpiece symbol, logo, etc…

The Tree of Life was decided upon over the popular carousel idea. The tree would inhabit hundreds of animal sculptures and would also house another attraction beneath it. The Tree of Life also lent itself to being a silhouette and a recognizable, not-so-complex, logo of the park. Some ideas of this carousel did get used in other parks. Disneyland’s California adventure did get King Triton’s Carousel which was themed to sea creatures and Tokyo DisneySea received the Menagerie Carousel which has two layers. Will we ever see something similar come to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Nothing has been discussed, but with rapid expansion happening or coming soon to several parks, especially with the Animal Kingdom receiving some new construction, thanks to James Cameron and Avatar, we could see something similar popping up.  Don’t give your hopes up, this is Disney and ideas are always dropped and new ones are picked up.

What are your thoughts on the Animal Carousel? Would you prefer it over the Tree of Life? Would you still like to see it at the Animal Kingdom or any Disney park? Leave your thoughts here and thanks as always for reading.



2 thoughts on “The World that Never Was: The Animal Kingom Animal Carousel”

  1. Samantha says:

    I would love to see Animal Kingdom build this.

  2. Angie Carreiro says:

    Now having the tree of life, I am very attached to it, so I wouldn’t ever be able to accept the carousel in its place, thougH I would love to see it added somewhere else in the park!