Secrets of Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom

Florida Guide > Animal Kingdom

You know, the way Disney is designed is pretty incredible, but some things are so subtle that you might even miss them. Take Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, for instance. I bet you have walked along the shores of Discovery River, with Everest in the distance, rising majestically above the trees, and thought, ‘wow, that is a pretty neat mountain range! ’ Well, next time you go, take a look at the shrine which is just beyond Everest, on the banks of the river. Thereare lots of details to be seen, gifts such as fruit and carved animals, there are even chalices, beads and incense burners to add to the authenticity.

But that’s not the best bit. Really – there is more! Now stand in front of the shrine, move back a bit so that your line-of-sight is directly in front of the Himalayas. Look carefully – the temple exactly silhouettes the peaks in the distance. Clever, eh?

And there’s more. I bet you think that the tallest peak is Everest. Well, it isn’t. It is actually the mountain to the right. When the Disney ‘Imagineers’ decided to recreate the Himalayan mountain range they decided to put Everest further back so that it would add to the illusion of majesty and make it seem further away. Of course, in reality, there is a range of mountains in front of Everest, so it is correct for it to be positioned thus. In fact, the tallest peak is the ‘Forbidden Mountain’ which is guarded by the Yeti, hence the Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. And if you look in the part of the shrine that matches the Forbidden Mountain (the tallest peak) then it has a Yeti inside it. Pretty cool, and it really adds to the magic.

It is fascinating to see how the ‘Imagineers’ tried to make the mountain as authentic as possible. The colouring of Mount Everest is different from the rest of the mountain range, because with its great height of 29, 000 ft the snow is often blown off the peaks by hurricane force winds, exposing sheets of bare rock.

But for me, as a roller coaster wimp, the best bit is the fantastic museum which the queue meanders its way through before reaching the train station. It is absolutely fascinating, and next time you are in the queue, do take a look at all the memorabilia which surrounds you. Even outside there are examples of authenticity as the Disney ‘Imagineers’ recreated the look of the walls in the Serka Zong village area, where villagers have dried out yak dung on the village walls, for later use as fuel in their homes.

However, it is really the huge Audio-Animatronic yeti which steals the show. I bet you didn’t know that the potential combined thrust of all of its hydraulic cylinders is over 259, 000 pounds of force. And that is more than the power of a 747-400 aircraft!

So next time you go to Expedition Everest, take a close look, and marvel at the skill of the Disney ‘Imagineers. ’
Rita Fraser

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