Asia Archives

August 5, 2013

Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest Temple

Jack Spence is on a leave of absence until 2014. This is a reprint of a blog he wrote several years ago. This blog was accurate at the time of original publication.

This is a blog that almost didn't happen. I made an assumption (I know, a dumb thing to do), that what was obvious to me was obvious to everyone else. But when I would mention this upcoming fact to others, they had no idea what I was talking about. So I finally realized that I should share this interesting bit of Disney trivia with the world.

In the Animal Kingdom we find Expedition Everest sitting majestically on the shores of Discovery River. Across the river is a shrine built to pay homage to the mountains and the Yeti.

Everest Temple in Animal Kingdom

If you examine the shrine carefully, you can see all sorts of details. Offerings such and fruits and carved animals, incense burners, and chalices are all on hand.

Everest Temple in Animal Kingdom

But the real magic of this shrine is in its shape. (Okay, here comes the good part.) If you stand back and position your line-of-sight so that the shrine is situated directly in front of the Himalayans, the temple exactly silhouettes the peaks in the distance.

Everest Temple in Animal Kingdom

Cool, huh?

By the way" Did you know that the tallest peak in this recreation of the Himalayans is not actually Everest? Everest is the mountain on the right.

Everest Temple in Animal Kingdom

It was the Imagineers desire to create a mountain "range" and decided to put Everest further back to add to the illusion of distance and majesty. And in reality, there is another range of mountains in front of Everest. So it would be correct to see other peaks in the foreground.

February 26, 2012

Your Name in Thai at Animal Kingdom

It had been a few weeks since I last visited the Animal Kingdom, so when a friend suggested getting together for lunch, I proposed Flame Tree BBQ. After enjoying a chicken & rib combo and a pulled pork sandwich, we decided to ride Expedition Everest. As we entered Asia, I noticed a small stand near the entrance to this exotic land. Since this stand was new (at least new to me) I stopped and snapped a picture.

Thai Kiosk

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that both cast members were from Thailand and a sign on their kiosk said, "Get your name written in Thai."

Get Your Name Written in Thai

On a clipboard were sheets of paper displaying a Disney character and their name written in Thai. Additional space was available for the guest to write their own name and then an area where the cast member could translate it into their language. Here you can see what "Jack" looks like when sounded out in the Thai alphabet.

Stitch in Thai

Jack in Thai

The Thai alphabet has 44 consonants, 15 vowels, and 4 tone marks. The vowels combine to create at least 28 vowel sounds.

The cast members also had maps of Thailand and other information to share about their country. This spot would be a wonderful way for parents to introduce their children to another culture, but like most Disney attractions, adults can enjoy the experience as well.

I asked the cast members if this booth was temporary to handle the President's Day Weekend crowds, or was it a permanent fixture. They said that as far as they knew, they'd be around for a while. I sure hope so. I love the "little" things.

Check back on Monday for my regularly scheduled blog. This week I will cover the Japan Pavilion.

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