Monday, March 24, 2014

Blue Sky Australia

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G'day. When Blue Sky left off a while ago, one subject was expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Avatar section is under construction which means at least some element of Beastly Kingdom is under way. Additionally, a new continent is getting pushed aside.

The addition of Australia is a no-brainer for the title of Most Likely to Proceed. It's interesting to note Australia could also be a country pavilion at Epcot, but they'll be too busy over there working the Blue Sky Greece project. In looking at the old rumors, the AK Australia project is nearly everyone's pick although I saw one other blogger who thought Disney should counter Sea World with their own Antarctica.  Blue Sky thoughts on that project are in a prior article. So, what might one see or want to see when Disney finally goes Down Under?  Let's take a walk towards Uluru (or Ayers Rock as newcomers call it) looming in the distance as a backdrop and look around.

Uluru or Ayers Rock from 

What connections does Disney already have to Australia?  There was the animated feature "The Rescuers Down Under."  While a step up from "The Rescuers" which was produced at a low point in Disney's history, the sequel faced criticism for its location. Effectively, the film was plopped down in Australia but could have been just about anywhere.  Perhaps that's why "Finding Nemo" had Australia so heavily integrated into its plot. Fortunately, the upcoming "Finding Dory" may reignite interest in an Australian addition to the Animal Kingdom.

One might expect Nemo and Dory to be seen at the new continent. But, one would also hope that Nigel the Pelican would be there especially because he is voiced by Geoffrey "Captain Barbossa" Rush. Please, forgive the spelling of his first name.  There was also Jake the Hopping Mouse from "The Rescuers Down Under."  Even though he's not well known, he'd make a good host.

Pic courtesy of 
Pic courtesy of

But, what other exceedingly popular Disney star has an Australian connection?  That would be a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal of action.  Perry the Platypus is one charismatic monotreme.  Having an animated platypus gets around a serious animal welfare issue. Platypuses... platypi... platypodes... the plural of platypus do not do well in captivity.  They're also camera shy.

Photo courtesy of

What about the other real animals? Oh, sure there are all the marsupials. That's a given. It wouldn't be Australia without them, so kangaroos and wallabies for everybody.  Emus are impressive as well.  The frilled lizard is a show off. Florida supports native alligators, so it's not too difficult to envision a group of crocs.

For entertainment, why not move "Finding Nemo the Musical" to its rightful place in Australia from its current location in... Dinoland?!?  Actually, this may be accomplished by building Australia in the land adjacent to Dinoland and redefining the border. That's happened before. The Matterhorn Bobsleds "moved" from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland in California.

"Nemo and Friends" in Epcot's Futureworld already has a brief ride on the East Australia Current.  Disneyland redid their subs for Nemo (at least for a while). Merge the ideas into a sub simulator in the spirit of Star Tours. Have it hosted by Peach and call it Sea Star Tours.

Don't forget about The Great Barrier Reef. Warming waters have been bleaching large parts of it. Who could raise awareness of this issue by sending guests on an exploration?  Secret Agent P. That's who. His unassuming alter ego, Perry the Platypus, had everyone fooled. Right? Image 

Australia has a rich history of exploration on which to draw. Tasmanian is named for Abel Tasman.  It must have been quite an adventure. That could serve as the basis of another attraction.

If guests are hungry, they could get a authentic meal at a franchise of Outback Steakhouse except it's not even close to Australian. It was started in Tampa.  It's doubtful that guests would like to chow down on bush tucker either if it included kangaroo. Even emu is probably pushing it. Australians are known for beef and lamb dishes.  That would add somewhere other than Epcot's Morocco to get lamb at least until Greece is done.  A quick service location can serve up the popular Australian meat pie or the infamous Vegemite sandwich (Scratch that. Vegemite is now owned by a US firm. Why?!?). Just wash down that meat pie with a Fosters... what? They're owned by SABMiller.  Crickey!  Fortunately, there are genuine Australian beers. Strong beers. Plus, Australia has a substantial wine industry. picture 

Shoppers can pick up Indigenous Australian crafts (apparently the term "Aboriginal" is out of favor) at the market. Maybe they'll have recordings of the native music that's been playing throughout our Blue Sky walkabout. Pick up a didgeridoo or a banjo.  You can learn all the words to "Waltzing Matilda" or sing along to Australia's most famous band, AC/DC. Okay, that last one was just wishful thinking.

Pic courtesy of

Then again, wasn't all of this?

- Jeff C. 

Please feel free to ask any questions!

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