It’s Over My Head – Part Four – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Jack Spence Masthead

Yesterday I discussed the ceilings and other details found above our heads at the Magic Kingdom. Today I’ll finish this series with the Animal Kingdom.

The first ceilings of any note guests encounter here can be found inside Island Mercantile.

Island Mercantile

Within this collection of shops the Imagineers used their sense of humor to great applause. First we find stylized elephants holding up rafters. Then there are the insects with propellers. Other animals have been morphed into hand tools. And finally a map of the world is created out of various creatures.

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Island Mercantile

Down the road at Pizzafari we find an abundance of creatures crawling along the ceilings.

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

At Creature Comforts, the dome and center light fixture are especially intriguing.

Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

At Tusker House in Africa, the market place is shaded by cloth woven by the town folk of Harambe. The main eating area features a skylight ceiling with African art adorning the upper walls.

Tusker House

Tusker House

Tusker House

At the adjacent Dawa Bar, the town folk have used long thin logs to support the mud structure that provides shade to weary travelers.

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

Across the street, Ziwani Traders sports a corrugated aluminum roof. Beneath its rafters, merchants stock camping gear and other provisions needed for a two-week safari.

Ziwani Traders

Ziwani Traders

Ziwani Traders

As guests leave Africa and enter Asia, they discover the Yak & Yeti Restaurant.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant

As first impressions are important, the lobby ceiling of this local establishment features intricately carved tiles and support beams. But further into the building, more humble materials like straw and bamboo are used overhead.

Yak & Yeti Ceiling

Yak & Yeti Ceiling

Yak & Yeti Ceiling

Take a look up as you enter the Maharaja Jungle Trek. The ceiling here is covered in old newspapers, and excellent insulator against cold.

Maharaja Jungle Trek

Newspapers

As you enter the bat enclosure further along the trail, scary-looking bat kites stare down from above.

Bat House

Bat Kite

One of my favorite ceilings in the Maharaja Jungle Trek is one that isn’t there. As you enter the temple section of the walk, look up at the ruins. You can see that a dome once covered this area, but the ravages of time have brought the stones down.

Decaying Temple

Decaying Temple

The queue for Kali River Rapids offers numerous overhead delights. But the most beautiful of these is the Painted Pavilion which depicts a number of the Jataka Tales. These are the stories that tell of the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form.

Kali River Rapids

Painted Pavilion

Painted Pavilion

Over at Expedition: Everest, the queue meanders through an office, temple, shop, and museum. Along this path guests can see many overhead details such as photographs, wood carvings, bells, supplies, and strands of light bulbs.

Expedition: Everest

Expedition: Everest

Expedition: Everest

Expedition: Everest

Expedition: Everest

Expedition: Everest

One of the landmarks of Dinoland U.S.A. is a large, yellow, cartoonish dinosaur.

Yellow Dinosaur

Now I know that reptiles (and dinosaurs) don’t have nipples. But I have to wonder, what were the Imagineers thinking when they placed the canned lights on this creature’s belly.

Dinosaur Lights

The rafters of Chester & Hester’s souvenir shop have more junk suspended from above than any other shop at WDW. Dinosaurs in every shape, size, and color can be found here. In addition, a model train travels a figure eight as it weaves its way round the jumble.

Chester & Hester's

Chester & Hester's

Chester & Hester's

Out on the porch of this shop, signs in the spirit of Burma-Shave can be found suspended from the eaves. In case you can’t read the message, it says:

When in Florida
Be sure to
Visit
Epcot

Chester & Hester's

Guests entering the Dino Institute are greeted by the skeletal remains of a prehistoric beast staring down from above.

Dino Institute

Dino Institute

But if you look beyond this frightening fellow, you see the path a mighty comet traveled as it zeroed in on earth 65 million years ago.

Dino Institute

Time travel is a delicate business and requires untold amounts of electronics and other high-tech gizmos. As guests ready themselves to board Time Rovers, they are surrounded by overhead conduit and cables which can be seen traveling in every direction.

Electronics and other high-tech gizmos

But there are three conduits of special interest. They are colored red, yellow, and white. Stenciled on them are the chemical formulas for catsup, mustard, and mayonnaise. This detail is a hold-over from the days when McDonalds sponsored this attraction.

Catsup, Mustard, and Mayonnaise

As you exit the Animal Kingdom, be sure to walk through Rainforest Café. Here, the ceiling is covered in a dense jungle growth.

Rainforest Café

Rainforest Café

Of course, the best ceiling of all was not created by man, but can be found in nature.

Nature's Ceiling

Remember, details are everywhere. You just have to take the time to find them. Look up.

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10 Replies to “It’s Over My Head – Part Four – Disney’s Animal Kingdom”

  1. I love reading you these types of posts, especially the trash can one you did along with the benches, ceilings and lamps! Super ideas! I think another type of these posts you could do is fencing/barriers. Looking back at your post about the lamps there was fencing behind/in front of them and it made me think that it’d be pretty cool and interesting to add to this cool series!

  2. Hi Jack!

    On our last trip, I made a point of paying attention to the Disney details, but I honestly never saw the Dino nipples! I bet you won’t see a Photopass photographer anywhere near them!!
    Wow- I must have at least 25 pictures of the tigers (sleeping)on the Jungle Trek but no dino nips!
    Thank you Jack…can’t wait to go back!

    Karen

  3. Hi Jack,

    You’ve given me yet another reason for another trip – as if I need a reason :). I can’t believe all the details I’ve missed.

    Thanks for another wonderful blog series.

    What do you have in store for us next?

    Wendy

  4. Great series, Jack! I enjoyed all 4 installments. I never noticed those bat kites before at Maharajah or I probably really would not have wanted to visit the bats. Keep up the good work.

  5. This is another argument about why the animal kingdom is a full day park! You have to take the time a see all the beautiful details of all the que’s, buildins,and shops! Stop and smell the roses and look at everything!

  6. Jack,
    This was an absolutely great series! I wonder how many people have missed all of the wonders above them?
    This series will now make me look up more often.
    Dave.

  7. Dinosaur nipples!! That is hilarious, I had to read that twice just to make sure what I was reading. Does make you scratch your head and wonder if that was a little joke on the part of the imagineers. Can’t say I’ve ever noticed that, but now I’m never going to be able to look at the dino and see anything else!
    Thanks for pointing that out. Always a great blog….dinosaur nipples, I’m still laughing.

  8. Jack,

    This has been a wonderful series, and the last photo was a very fitting way to end it. The imagineers have done a wonderful job allowing nature to be a part of the theming at AK.

    Thanks so much for all you do.

    Wendy

  9. hey Jack
    great finish to another great blog series. Animal Kingdom certainly has many different styles when it comes to the ceilings and each is unique to its surroundings. My favorite here would have to be in Expitditon Everest. The feeling a subtleness is perfect. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.