Asia

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Asia
AnimalKingdomAsia.jpg
The Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom is home to the Township of Anandapur, as well as the Forbidden Mountain. Photo by Rhys A.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Theme Southeast Asia Village
Opening date 1999
Number of Attractions Four

Asia is a land located in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

History

Conception

Although not read for opening day, an Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom had been on the drawing board since the genesis of the project [1]. To research the region, Imagineers visited: India, Singapore, Bhutan, Bali, Java and Nepal [1]. By the summer of 1997, Imagineers were already hard at work constructing Asia’s safari ride[1].. Although initially viewed as a water based alternative to the Kilimanjaro Safaris, the attraction eventually evolved into a white-water rafting thrill ride called "Tiger River Run". The attraction continued to be tinkered with, eventually opening as Kali River Rapids [2].

History Since Opening Day

The Asia section of the park finally opened to guests in 1999 [3]. On the land’s opening day it featured three attractions: the bird show Flights of Wonders, the Maharajah Jungle Trek walking trail, and the Kali River Rapids[3]. Also present was the short-lived Discovery River Boats dock [4]. Following the closure of the boats on August 21, 1999, the dock was briefly turned into the Upcountry Landing Bar [5], before being permanently used as a character meet and greet location [6].

The first major expansion to Asia came on April 7, 2006, when Expedition Everest opened [7]. The new attraction takes guests on a high speed adventure through the Forbidden Mountain, where they come face to face with the mythical yeti. Besides adding a new attraction to Asia, the Expedition Everest expansion also allowed guests to visit the mountainside village of Serka Zong (which translates to "fortress of the chasm") [8]. Opening with Expedition Everest on April 7, 2006 was Serka Zong Bazaar, a gift shop [9].

In 2007, the Yak and Yeti restaurant opened to guests [10]. Built in the former location of the two quick service restaurants- Sunaulo Toren Fries and Chakranadi Chicken Shop, the Yak and Yeti was Animal Kingdom's first table service restaurant [10].

On December 14, 2015, Thirsty River Bar and Snacks opened in the former location of Expedition Everest's FastPass distribution location [11]. The new quick service stand sells a variety of food, and also contains a bar [12]. In 2016, two of Asia's quick service stands underwent renovations [13]. At this time, "Bradley Falls" was renamed "Caravan Road", and "Maharajah Pretzel" was renamed "Chakranadi" [13].

On December 31, 2017, Flights of Wonder closed to guests. The attraction will be replaced by a new titled UP! A Great Bird Adventure based on the Disne-Pixar film UP [14].

UP! A Great Bird Adveneture opened to guests on April 22, 2018 [15]

Backstory

A map of Anandapur. Photo by Jeremy Thompson

According to the land's backstory, Anandapur was founded ages ago by Anata, a wise ruler who knew the importance of living in harmony with animals [16]. In 1544 however, King Bhima Disampati decreed that the forest near Anandapur was to be home to a royal hunting preserve [16] . In order to make hunting easier, King Disampati built a lodge and enclosed much of the area, in an attempt to trap his prey. Ironically, King Disampati was killed by a tiger, and his successors (remembering Anata's teachings) transformed the enclosure into a nature preserve [16].

For many years, Anandapur (and much of Southeast Asia) was under British colonial rule. In 1948 however, Anandapur was granted their independence and the forest preserve was given to the people [17].

With the addition of Expedition Everest in 2006, Disney expanded Asia to include the village of Serka Zong. According to the attraction's backstory, Serka Zong was originally a thriving tea plantation, equipped with steam trains used to transport crops to Anandapur [18]. For unknown reasons however, the plantation was shut down and the trains ceased to run [18]. Due to rumors that the mythical yeti was responsible for the plantation's demise, a number of yeti shrines were constructed in order to appease the creature[18].

Many years later, Norbu and Bob came to the area and repurposed the plantation buildings and trains for use in their new business, "Himalayan Escapes- Tours and Expeditions[18]. This expedition service sets the stage for guest's adventure on Expedition Everest.

Attractions

Maharajah Jungle Trek- This walking trail takes guests through the ruins of an ancient palace. Here, guests encounter giant fruit bats, Komodo dragons and even tigers.

Kali River Rapids- This raft ride takes guests down the Chakranadi River in true whitewater fashion. The Kali River Rapids also shows guests the danger of illegal logging and habitat destruction.

Expedition Everest- This high speed roller coaster takes guests on a frantic journey through the Forbidden Mountain as they search for the mythical Yeti.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure- This outdoor show features various exotic birds performing tricks. Besides the wildlife, A UP! A Great Bird Adventure features Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his friend Dug the dog from the Disney-Pixar movie UP!. UP! A Great Bird Adventure replaced Flights of Wonder which had operated since Disney's Animal Kingdom opened.

Former Attractions

Flights of Wonder- In this show, guests could see various tricks performed by exotic birds. Flights of Wonder operated from April 22, 1998 until December 31, 2017.

Discovery River Boats- This slow moving boat attraction allowed guests to preview other parts of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Discovery River Boats were known as the Discovery River Taxi from November through December 1998 and the Radio Disney River Cruise from March through August 1999, when the attraction permanently closed.

Restaurants

The Yak and Yeti can be found in Asia. Photo by HarshLight

Yak and Yeti- This table service restaurant features a Pan-Asian menu.

Yak and Yeti Local Foods Café- This counter service restaurant offers guests a variety of Pan-Asian entrees.

Mr. Kamals- This quick service stand originally sold burgers; however it now features an entirely vegetarian menu. Located on the pathway between Asia and Africa.

Caravan Road- Located across from Mr. Kamals, Caravan Road is a quick service stand. The dining location was previously known as Bradley Falls.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company- This Joffery's stand specializes in pastries, coffee and (obviously) tea.

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck- This quick service stand offers guests frozen drinks and ice cream.

Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks- Located near Expedition Everest, this dining location serves as a quick service stand and a full bar.

Former Restaurants

Upcountry Landing Bar- This short-lived bar sold various spirits while giving guests a great view of the Tree of Life [19] [6]

Chakranadi Chicken Shop- This counter service restaurant opened in 2000 [20] and closed for good on June 4, 2006 to make way for the Yak and Yeti [21].

Sunaulo Toren Fries- Located next to Chakranadi Chicken Shop, Sunaulo Toren Fries closed in 2006 and was replaced by the Yak and Yeti.

Shopping

Mandala Gifts- This stand sells authentic Asian crafts and souvenirs.

Serka Zong Bazaar- This shop sells Expedition Everest and other Animal Kingdom merchandise.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • Anandapur means "place of delight" in Sanskrit [16].
  • A portrait of the Royal Couple of Anandapur can be found in each shop within the township [16]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Malmberg, Melody. The Making of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. New York: Hyperion, 1998. Print.
  2. http://www.parkeology.com/2010/04/run-tiger-run.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/dak/disneys-animal-kingdom-guidemap-1999-march-05.jpg
  4. http://waltdatedworld.com/id55.htm
  5. http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/dak/disneys-animal-kingdom-guidemap-1999-november-04.jpg
  6. 6.0 6.1 https://web.archive.org/web/20040603180109/http://www.wdwblues.com/ak/no.boats.html
  7. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/expedition-everest/news/07apr2006-expedition-everest-opening-day-press-release.htm
  8. http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/04/expedition_everest_legend_of_t_2.html
  9. https://d23.com/a-to-z/serka-zong-bazaar/
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://www.wdwradio.com/2013/09/disney-twenty-something-yak-yeti-restaurant/
  11. http://www.wdwmagic.com/dining/thirsty-river-bar-and-trek-snacks/news/14dec2015-photos---thirsty-river-bar-and-trek-snacks-now-open-near-expedition-everest-at-disneys-animal-kingdom.htm
  12. http://www.wdwmagic.com/dining/thirsty-river-bar-and-trek-snacks/news/14dec2015-photos---thirsty-river-bar-and-trek-snacks-now-open-near-expedition-everest-at-disneys-animal-kingdom.htm
  13. 13.0 13.1 http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/animal-kingdom/news/21jan2016-photos---new-names-and-looks-for-snack-kiosks-at-disneys-animal-kingdom.htm M
  14. https://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/adventurers-meet-up!-a-great-bird-adventure/news/02feb2018-new-bird-show-at-disneys-animal-kingdom-to-be-called-adventurers-meet-up!-a-great-bird-adventure.htm
  15. https://www.google.com/search?q=up+a+great+bird+adventure&oq=UP!+A+Gr&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0j69i60j0l3.3980j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/10/does_this_couple_look_familiar_1.html
  17. http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2009/10/maharajah_jungle_trek_1.html
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/04/expedition_everest_legend_of_t.html
  19. http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/dak/disneys-animal-kingdom-guidemap-1999-november-04.jpg
  20. The restaurant first appears on Animal Kingdom maps in early 2000 http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/dak/disneys-animal-kingdom-guidemap-2000-march-04.jpg
  21. http://blog.touringplans.com/2006/06/01/chakranadi-chicken-shop-to-close-june-4th-making-way-for-asia/