Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kilimanjaro Safari's new ending (pics)

Zebras are coming to Kilimanjaro Safari, and the old storyline about poachers is on the way out. In fact, that part is gone already.

This past week, trucks running the safari started a new standard operating guide of live spiel only. There were no overhead announcements from warden Wilson Mutua, and no one called us "Simba 1". There was no storyline about Big Red (dead) or Little Red (rescued). There was no trace of the poachers' campsite, nor the trucks at the end with Little Red. The smashed gates are still there, though, when we "leave" the reserve.

In the queue, the video no longer plays with Wilson Mutua and Dr. Catherine Jobson. It's a static image now.

Once on the ride, the driver gives us a "straight" spiel with no fake storyline. In many ways, this is refreshing. There was always something cloying and more than a little fake about the storyline if you've seen the ride before.

The fake termite mounds have recently been repainted a deeper red.

Our guide mentioned leaving the reserve since we saw so many animals, and we traveled at a leisurely pace (not fast any more) around the bends and through the spurting geysers. The trees to the left side had lush new grass, presumably the home of the zebras soon. The former campsite and poacher trucks were gone, replaced by fencing.

It was a bit anticlimatic. Perhaps there will be more changes once the zebras are in place.

Here are some of the t-shirts for sale last week.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.