I’m taking over Tricia’s blog today while she has Returned to Disney, so let’s pop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park for a wild adventure on one of my favorite attractions in all of Walt Disney World Resort.

Expedition Everest

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

Expedition Everest—Legend of the Forbidden Mountain was added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2006, bringing a second weinie to the Park and giving thrill seekers a reason to visit. It also helped reinforce the Park’s claim that it is most definitely “NotAZoo.” After all, what zoo features a 199-foot tall mountain range, a 50-mph train, and a real Yeti?

Disney Parks weinies are the things that are symbolic of each park – Cinderella Castle, Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth are some others. The word is one of Walt’s own! He described those things/buildings/symbols as being as integral to a theme park as hot dogs (or as he called them, weinies).

Broken Tracks on Expedition Everest

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

This breathtaking piece of Himalayan mountain range is an impressive engineering and artistic masterpiece consisting of three separate, independently functioning structural systems that co-exist inside the mountain without interfering with each other. That’s quite an engineering feat! Not only that, but the mountain range containing the system is equally impressive in its natural, realistic appearance. The name Expedition Everest is a bit deceiving as this ride is more about the Forbidden Mountain and its guardian than it is about the tallest mountain on Earth. In fact, viewing the attraction from a distance, Guests may misread its forced perspective. The tallest peak is actually the Forbidden Mountain with Everest appearing shorter in the distance. This technique is used to capture the importance of the ride’s theme and to give a realistic sighting of how the mountain range would appear when viewed from a location nearer Forbidden Mountain than to Everest.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom was originally intended to encompass both real, living animals and mythical, imagined creatures. Well, Expedition Everest’s Yeti fits both categories! To the people of the mountainous regions of southwestern China, India, Nepal, and Tibet, the Yeti is more than legend. Since no live Yeti has been brought into captivity, Imagineers pulled from descriptions and stories passed from generation to generation of Asian populations in the shadow of the Himalayas and combined biological research to create an 18-foot-tall Audio-Animatronics (the largest ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering), very lifelike, believable being. Disney’s Yeti was inspired by aspects of various primates including gibbons, orangutans, and mandrill baboons, with its final facial structure being a combination of a langur skull and the sagittal crest of a gorilla. The creature is both mythical and real to the people of the southern Asia; however, the Yeti is not to be feared. He is the revered protector of the forest. When Disney’s Yeti chases Guests off the Forbidden Mountain, he’s really just doing his job!

Yeti

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

Today’s Takeaway:

Did you know?

  • The Himalayas are the world’s largest mountain system. The range includes the infamous Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, which peaks at 29,028 feet above sea level.
  • The majority of the continent of Asia is north of the equator.
  • Asia’s land area is about 30 percent of the Earth’s entire surface.

Visit “Let’s Travel Through Asia” on Squidoo for a very thorough unit study about the continent of Asia. You will cover geography, social studies, history, foreign language, and more, with skill levels ranging from elementary through high school.

For an additional activity, assemble Styrofoam craft cones of varying sizes and shapes into one scale model range of the earth’s seven tallest mountains.

SCHOOL SUBJECT: Geography, Social Science, History, Foreign Language

SKILL LEVEL: Elementary, Middle Grades, High School

©2014 Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, your Disney homeschool resource!

Jodi Whisenhunt is an award-winning freelance writer and Disney-devoted, veteran homeschooler who visits Walt Disney World as often as possible. Learn while you play at her Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, or add her book, MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort, to your home library today.