Endangered white rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Posted Monday, October 26, 2020 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park just welcomed a baby white rhinoceros to the family, boosting efforts to save the magnificent and endangered species. After a 16-month pregnancy, the male calf weighing approximately 150 pounds was born to mom Kendi, who was the first rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom back in 1999. This birth marks the 11th white rhino calf born at Walt Disney World Resort.

Read more from PR Newswire.

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Monday, October 26, 2020 12:38 PM

When I was a safari driver at Kilimanjaro Safaris, seeing the newborn animals make their way out onto the ride was one of the most fun parts of the job. Despite the extremely repetitive nature of the job, seeing those baby and teenage animals interacting with the adults was something I never, ever tired of.

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Monday, October 26, 2020 12:57 PM
Jeff's avatar

You were a Safari driver? I think that's one of the few front-line jobs that I would enjoy. It might be repetitive, but I think it would be worth it for those times when a giraffe is blocking you.

As a long time supporter of the AZA and its role in conservation efforts, I applaud Disney for brining 11 more of these animals into the world. That's extraordinary. I'll never understand why people believe that finding joy and entertainment in seeing animals is incompatible with preserving the population of species that humans are systematically killing off.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, October 26, 2020 2:02 PM

Yep! It was my first job at Disney from May 2008-October 2010. Even after I got a promotion and moved on to Epcot (and then Studios and then back to Animal Kingdom for Dinoland), I was still able to stay certified and would pick up shifts on my days off once a month or so all the way until I left the company in 2014. It absolutely wears on you when you do it 5 days a week, especially in the summer months. But once I was working in a different position, picking up a 4 or 6 hour shift on my day off was something I'd look forward to more than actually having the day off.

There was a group of about a dozen old guys in their 60s and 70s that were retired and did it part time two days a week to, as they always said, get out of the house and away from their wives. PIus they were able to get the free park admission for themselves and passes for family. I've long thought that when retirement comes, I would love to come full circle and do it again.

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Monday, October 26, 2020 5:15 PM

Kilimanjaro is one of our favorite rides and we try to not miss it. However, more than once I’ve felt sorry for the driver and decided that what looks like a fun job is probably not. It usually involved a guest who preferred to stand, his entire family, a camera, and a language barrier.

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Monday, October 26, 2020 5:30 PM
Jeff's avatar

By the way, the new doc series on Disney+ about Animal Kingdom is really solid. It follows the formula (more or less) of the Secrets of The Zoo that they did in Columbus (only sadly without Dr. Priya 😍).


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, October 26, 2020 5:46 PM

RCMAC said:

Kilimanjaro is one of our favorite rides and we try to not miss it. However, more than once I’ve felt sorry for the driver and decided that what looks like a fun job is probably not. It usually involved a guest who preferred to stand, his entire family, a camera, and a language barrier.

There were plenty of less than fun trips around the ride path for sure. Or when you were stuck working stroller parking on New Year's Eve. But when you had a good group of guests onboard that stayed seated and didn't shout over you or try to call out to the animals, it was very rewarding to be a part of creating what was a vacation highlight for many people.

After my time at Kilimanjaro Safaris I was a Main Entrance Coordinator at Epcot for three years. This is where I saw the absolute worst in humanity. Picking up a half day shift at Kilimanjaro Safaris every 4-6 weeks during this time was great for three reasons. 1) Overtime. 2) Not in charge for a day. 3) It reminded me that there were in fact fun and positive guest interactions to be had, and there were times during the Epcot years where that was important to remember. And it was such a fun, exciting, and rewarding job to do when you didn't have to do it every single day.

Last edited by BrettV, Monday, October 26, 2020 5:47 PM
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Monday, October 26, 2020 8:32 PM
99er's avatar

After being with Disney for almost 10 years I finally road Kilimanjaro Safaris last year. It was neat! Definitely something I will do on my trips to Animal Kingdom from now on.


-Chris

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Monday, October 26, 2020 9:24 PM

We here in Columbus just love Secrets of the Zoo, showcasing the work done at the zoo and the Wilds. I think a new season is about to arrive if it hasn’t already.
And we happen to think Dr. Priya is a rock star.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 2:21 AM

At my park, I actually work with two co-workers who were KS drivers for their college program years ago. Shared some good stories....

This might have changed, but as they describe, there were these "pucks" imbedded in the ride path that triggered the vehicle spiels that you had to dial in and ride over just right for it to work. Apparently it was stressful to hit the puck just right.

The broken down bridge section didn't work more often than it worked.

Years ago, there was the ending scene with the elephant. One day the elephants head popped off and hydraulic fluid sprayed all over a group of guests.

Animals charging and/or blocking the trucks was/is a regular occurrence from what I gather.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging, Tuesday, October 27, 2020 2:33 AM
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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 8:33 AM

Maybe I’m confused.
Was there ever a time when Kilimanjaro Safari included animatronics? I thought the subject was always live animals whose heads can not fly off.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 8:47 AM

I vaguely remember there being a story line of trying to rescue a baby elephant from poachers. I think at the end of the trip there was an animatronic baby elephant.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 9:13 AM

There was a dead elephant during the cast member previews of the park but I think that scene was pulled out pretty quickly because it was disturbing to people.

You think driving the safari was repetitive? At least you had live animals to look at.

-Former Jungle Cruise Skipper

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 9:47 AM

Hanging n' Banging said:

At my park, I actually work with two co-workers who were KS drivers for their college program years ago. Shared some good stories....

This might have changed, but as they describe, there were these "pucks" imbedded in the ride path that triggered the vehicle spiels that you had to dial in and ride over just right for it to work. Apparently it was stressful to hit the puck just right.

The broken down bridge section didn't work more often than it worked.

Years ago, there was the ending scene with the elephant. One day the elephants head popped off and hydraulic fluid sprayed all over a group of guests.

Animals charging and/or blocking the trucks was/is a regular occurrence from what I gather.

All very true. And certain trucks were more sensitive to hit those pucks that other. If you didn't get it just right, that section of audio for the "Warden Wilson" storyline wouldn't hit.

There was only one animatronic, which was the "Little Red" elephant in the back of the truck at the end of the poachers scene. I believe it was 2012 when that went away and they altered the ending to just be another animal habitat, which was originally the zebra area. I remember getting to go back and get the training update and actually had a shift the first morning the zebras were in that new area.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 10:02 AM

wahoo skipper said:

-Former Jungle Cruise Skipper

This whole conversation reminds me of this Al Yankovic classic:


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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 11:43 AM

I was working at Kilimanjaro Safaris when that song came out. We had some former skippers on our team, and it was a big deal.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 12:06 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar


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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 12:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

I think the elephant poacher story was still here when I moved in 2013 because I swear that my kid had seen it. It was probably removed shortly thereafter, and that's fine, because real animals tell all the stories you need. The collapsing bridge has been non-functional for years.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 2:17 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

150lb baby? That's pretty big! Only the second biggest baby behind a Cowboys fan.

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