Sunday, May 27, 2007



That's the traditional southeastern African greeting that I'll be using to welcome guests into the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Today was DAKlimation, the Disney Animal Kingdom orientation day. My fellow DAKers and I walked nearly 2.5 miles around the park today in our business casual best, learning about Asia, Afr
ica, Dinoland, Camp Minnie Mickey, Discovery Island, Rafiki's Planet Watch, and the Oasis. Most of the folks in my orientation group were with the Safari, so it was really fun to get to know some of the dudes and ladies I'll be working with over the next year.

Hearing about DAK was re
ally exciting. From the moment we walked in, we were learning about the interesting messages of conservation and preservation that all of the different areas of the park stress. Dinoland, while it contains some really cool stuff, is also centered around the concept that "Extinction is forever." Hey, learning can be fun - and though I'm not exactly mourning the loss of 50' carnivores, there is something to be learned from that idea. Once an animal is gone, it's gone forever.

Asia was one of the coolest places to visit; you c
an really see the care that went into creating a dynamic landscape that is representative of many different places in the big, green continent (sorry, my concept of world geography is shaped by the RISK board). We welcome guests there with "Namaste," and I had a real connection with my trainer when I pointed out that the phrase is all over the first few seasons of LOST. She and I went back and forth, showing off ringtones and silly Lost knowledge with each other. She called me her soulmate! Haha! But I digress. The point of this paragraph was to point out that Asia's theme is "Habitat Destruction," and that it's not all warm and fuzzy animals over at DAK. Many of the rides and even the look of this section of the park stress destruction of formerly preserved land. Sad, but neat to see how it's trying to raise awareness!

Already, I can recommend Rafiki's Planet Watch, because it's filled with cool learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. Turns out that Disney does a whole lot to aid in the preservation of different species through education, and I'm excited to help people learn about how they can be proactive! I'll turn into a conservationist yet. Walt himself was actually a pioneer in the preservation movement with his True-Life Adventures series of nature films in the 1940s.

I could go o
n and on about DAK, and I probably will in the future, but I want to share one last highlight from the past couple days. A few friends and I took a trip to the Cast Connection stores, where we had the opportunity to buy severely discounted merchandise that has been discontinued, overstocked, or otherwise deemed unfit for guest purchase. I got a great pair of sunglasses for $1, and a friend of mine found a 75% silk shirt for $7! Not bad! If you come to visit, I'll take you inside and you can get a peek.

Tomorrow, Monday, I officially begin training for the Kilimanjaro Safari. I don't know what training specifically entails yet, but I do know that before next week, I'll be filled with exotic animal knowledge AND have the ability to drive a pretty intense truck. We got our costumes today, too - so I'll leave you with a little preview of exactly what THAT looks like:

More to come this week. I'm working
something around 45 hours between tomorrow and Friday, so forgive me if the updates are shorter or farther between.

Until then, have a wild time, Viva Gaia, Namaste, and, of course, Jambo!

Dig ya later!