I thought I’d write a letter to my now-beloved home, Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Dear Animal Kingdom,
I used to not enjoy you as much as I do now. You were so hot on our family vacations. Sticky. Animal-y. All of which is fine, but I didn’t think you were “Disney” enough for me. I liked you, but didn’t love you. I used to meet characters, see a show or two, and then leave. The end.
I’m so sorry, Animal Kingdom. I’m so thoroughly sorry that I did not appreciate you then as much as I do now.
You started off being my “home” park in a work sense, but now I can’t help but truly feel at home when I step foot in your wild haven. The soundtrack to your different “lands”–Discovery Island, Asia, Africa, and the inside of Africa’s eatery Tusker House–have become the soundtrack of my daily adventures. The melodies get stuck in my head throughout my work and play days, but I am doing everything but complaining about it.
Asia, you are chock-full of beautiful scenery. The flags waving against a looming forbidden mountain (Expedition Everest) catch the sun’s light in such a pretty way–it’s a rainbow amongst a blended Asian environment, a rainbow against crumbling walls painted with intricate murals. Asia, you are also home to my favorite jungle V.I.P’s, Baloo and King Louie. I love those “kool kats” more than I can describe.
Africa, I love you and your eclectic Harambe, a village with charm and sincerity. A “hidden”, familiar fellow watches over your Harambe market, a sprawling little quick service area filled to the brim with inspirational words of encouragement. Africa, you are a place to head on safari, to board a truck and discover African wildlife. You are a place to purchase the sweetest treats from Zuri’s sweet shop–I recently devoured an elephant-shaped sugar cookie from Zuri’s and was just as happy as can be. You are the perfect host to the Festival of the Lion King, one of the most gorgeous shows on Disney property. In short, Africa, thank you for being awesome.
There are so many other elements that come together to make you, Animal Kingdom, the perfect home for my work and play days. I love the characters that find their home with you, the relaxed atmosphere you boast, the macaws that fly noisily around the Tree of Life every once in awhile, the pesky squirrels that tend to crawl in guests’ strollers, the treats and food you serve, even your gift shops. I just love you, and I want to say I am so, so, so sorry for not giving you a fighting chance before my college program. You deserve the most praise and beyond, so I hope this letter is significant.
Thank you, Animal Kingdom, for being my home away from home.
Kaila, your Animal Kingdom convert