|Posted by Moviefan12 on June 19, 2013 at 8:00 AM|
Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney World. Today, I am taking a look at the 1998 ABC special that aired as a part of The Wonderful World of Disney. Animal Kingdom: The First Adventure. Now this review is going to work a wee bit differently. A bit like my One Year Anniversary review of the Disneyland opening day special. Instead of the usual categories, this will be broken down into Intro, Host, Segments, Signs of The Time & My Final Thoughts. Now, this is the only image that I could find for this review but this special is still very good. You recall how I said in my cross over with richb that I had wanted the Sabrina episode to show more of Animal Kingdom. This is what I wanted. With that out of the way, let's begin.
This special opens with Eisner as most Wonder World of Disney's did back in the day. And look, I may have a lot of severe disagreements with Eisner but doing these intros proved that he understood the importance of the company having a public face. Eisner went on to talk about how Disney has had a long history with animals as clips of various Disney animals and the True Life adventure films are played. And then Eisner goes on to talk about Animal Kingdom's goal is to bring people closer together with animals. Which brings me to my next point, out of all the Disney specials, I've watched thus far, this one felt the most educational and almost PSA like. Mind you, that's not a bad thing and it's understandable considering the park, they were in.
I like Drew Carey, always have as Whose Line is one of my favorite shows but to be honest, he was hit or miss. Some of his jokes were great but when they were bad, they were real bad. Thankfully, Drew never overstayed his welcome as he was mostly there to introduce the segment and give a little background on the park such as talking about what it took the Imagineers to build the Tree of Life or how they actually went to Africa to do research on what their Africa should look like. Now Drew, did get his own segment. Drew's Fun Safari Ride. In which we saw him on Kilimanjaro Safaris with a guide, Hetta. Now this was great because Drew was making jokes at the animal's expense and they were actually funny. For the most part, Drew was good but he did have his moments when he fell flat. Thankfully, they weren't many however.
This special actually opens with a performance of Circle of Life with the cast of The Lion King from Broadway on the Tree of Life. Our first segment took us to the fictional African village of Harambe with Jane Seymour and her family as they meet up with a guide to take them through the village and see the animals and the "locals" including the "mayor". I don't remember that from when I went but ah well, anyways, Jane, her husband and their three boys got a private ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Lucky, anyways this was cute especially seeing her young children that were about may 3 to 5 as they saw the animals and their eyes were so wide. It reminded me of when I took my nephew on this ride. He loved it. Anyways our next segment took us to Dino Land with Tia, Tamara, and Tahj Mowry. Now remember how I said that this special felt a little educational. Well, that where this comes in as they give out the scientific facts on dinosaurs and not just that but also, the way it was shot felt like a segment from Bill Nye The Science Guy. It almost felt as though a different director took over. Not to say, this wasn't entertaining but it just felt as though, it didn't fit in with the rest of the special, the way it was shot. After this our next segment, featured comedian Paul Rodríguez showing us It's Tough To Be A Bug and of course, they had to throw in the cliched joke of swatting a bug on your neck. Paul, then went on to explain why bugs are important to society and then we saw him enter the theater in Tree of Life and watch the show. Yeah, that's kinda boring. The next segment is one that got me really excited as it featured world rewound Primatologist, Jane Goodall. I don't know why this made me so excited as I know so very little about her but I think part of it came from her giving the park her seal of approval and having someone that actually studies animals for a living and had lived among them, added a sense of authenticity to the special. Having her presence there in my opinion was a great touch. Our final segment featured Will Frielde and Danielle Fishel from Boy Meets World went to Gorilla Falls and showed us, the gorillas and then the Conservation Station. Which looks cool for young kids and Will also showed us Flights of Wonder. And the special ends the same, it started with a reprise of Circle of Life. All in all, I highly enjoyed this special. It was very well put together special that highlighted what the park is.
Signs of The Time
Now there weren't too many things that dated this but there were two things that did. The first one being the special's usage of TGIF stars. Having these stars, it's abundantly clear, that if even you didn't know when it was shot, it came out in the '90s. The only other big sign of the time was that the ride now known as Dinosaur was referred to as Countdown To Extinction. Which personally, that name makes more sense for the ride as you are sent back to this time period and trying to outrun it. The only reason, the name was changed to Dinosaur was to cross promote the film of the same name. Honestly, there is nothing directly from the film in the ride. Sure, they added the dinosaurs that were featured in the film but the only connection it has to the film is Aladar standing outside the attraction. And honestly, how many people remember this film?
So, it doesn't make sense to use it. Ah, well.
My Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed this special. It was very informative about the animals and the park and it showed off what the park had, going by when it first opened. I'd say, check this one out. Join me tomorrow as I continue our look at opening celebrations with a look at EPCOT Center: The Opening Celebration.