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Rafiki’s Planet Watch - Reopening Summer 2019

Discussion in 'Disney's Animal Kingdom' started by ChristopherSE, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. ChristopherSE

    ChristopherSE V.I.P.

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  2. LintemuthStudios

    LintemuthStudios Veteran Member

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    Uh-oh. Here comes Zootopia!
     
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  3. Imagineer83

    Imagineer83 Rookie

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    I am wondering how Disney is managing this. When I worked there on the college program back in 2002 it was my understanding the area was required for the parks zoological accreditation. Most of the cast there were very passionate about their roles and specifically wanted to work in that location. I hope they can all be located in another spot in the park that lets their passion continue to shine.

    Lots of people are speculating the area is closing for a new land. If this is the case I wonder what will become of all the back stage animal care areas there. All of the back of house animal care areas on display there were real and not just for show. Easy things to move but why would you? There is so much other free land around that park that could be utilized.

    I get it wasn't a super popular place and a little awkward to get to. It also requires a lot of staff between the train, conservation station and animal keepers to run. I wonder if it is just closing to the public and will continue to operate behind the scenes to cut costs for staffing. Very disappointing if this is the case.

    Even though I worked there I am not going to miss it a bunch. It is dated feeling and needs some major TLC. Just seems like an odd choice to close it completely when you really think about what the area means and has from an infrastructure stand point.
     
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  4. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    I think we’re gonna see this area off limits to guests for many years. I half expect some sort of announcement about something replacing it at D23 Expo next year, however.

    Probably for about 2023. :lol:
     
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  5. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    If it wasn't for the removal of live entertainment all around the property I might agree. But it's clear this is budget cuts for budget cuts, not in prep for a new project.

    They could easily still run all the back stage facilities but not run the train/staff the guest areas.
     
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  6. ChristopherSE

    ChristopherSE V.I.P.

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    I expect the facilities themselves to stay as there are (likely indefinitely, as they're out of the way) and the train to remain SBNO for a year or so, then get demolished to use the expansion pad on the other side of it, behind Harambe, Kali River Rapids, etc.

    I think it's a mix of budget cuts and future planning.
     
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  7. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    On the flip side, any new project wouldn’t open for probably 4-5 years still so I wouldn’t completely rule it out.

    It does leave you feeling pessimistic about the probability of a replacement though.
     
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  8. Suprachica79

    Suprachica79 Rookie

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    Didn't they just announce that this was going seasonal?
     
  9. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Yeah, 20K went "seasonal" and a "refurb" but never reopened. Maybe they decided to tell the truth.
     
  10. Suprachica79

    Suprachica79 Rookie

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  11. darkridelover

    darkridelover Premium Member

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    And just like that it was everyone's favorite thing to do at Disney World.
     
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  12. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    That was the problem, too popular so no one wanted to go......
     
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  13. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Not a part of the park that I cared for, though the train ride was kind of realistic & interesting. And it was isolated, maybe too much. But the little ones seemed to enjoy it. And it's always troubling when anything gets cut, and not replaced. That's the bad part, no replacement....WDW rallying cry: "Protect the Bonuses"!!!
     
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  14. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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    Just visited one last time to pay my respects and get some video before it goes away. I expect this to not be replaced with anything, but if they did, it would be added to the unused Asia plot behind Kali, which does happen to butt up against some of this area.

    I was not expecting to find some land clearing and survey markers though.

     
  15. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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  16. shiekra38

    shiekra38 Veteran Member

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    We're slashing budgets left and right, get yourself down to Animal Kingdom before these deals are gone!
     
  17. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    Won't be surprised if they do some cheap Zootopia overlay of the area.
     
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  18. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Good to hear it’s coming back.
     
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  19. SpyderDan

    SpyderDan Veteran Member

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    I enjoy the train ride for what it is and guests always seem to like the glimpse at the backstage areas. I don't know, seems like a waste to just close it. And I get that Rafiki might seem dated but is Zootopia really that popular? Seems like it came and went fairly quickly and was forgettable.
     
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  20. Alicia

    Alicia Premium Member

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    Having just visited again I was shocked by the lack of Rafiki himself. There’s the sign before going on the train, a statue when you disembark, and two wooden flats on your walk in. Other than the meet and greet, there’s no other signs of Rafiki at all.

    They could rename it literally anything, and it would take only a couple hours to retheme away from Rafiki. There’s absolutely no mention of him inside the Conservation Station.

    I think they have an opportunity to bring in all sorts of different meet and greets here to help boost its popularity. They even did a test with Thumper meeting for Bambi’s anniversary recently, and that brought in new visitors.

    Personally, I’m a fan of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, so replacing Rafiki with them would be fine by me. Currently they really only appear in the Move It Shake it party at MK.
     
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