LP Lotion: Joe Rohde on Animal Kingdom's Birthday
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Another thought was to create a gigantic cave grotto entrance like the creation of the world but the amount of concrete needed made this idea impractical. But there was something used in that idea -- the idea of creating a transitional period where people could slow down as they enter.
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So while the cave grotto was not fully realized it gave birth to The Oasis which guests encounter just after the turnstiles at Animal Kingdom.
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Initial rendering of the Tree of Life. Looking at the sketch you'll notice the design is for a structure much smaller than even Tarzan's Treehouse. Joe Rohde talked about evaluating concept sketches and looking at the height of adults in the image and then the various other elements within the sketch to determine their eventual size. At this time the tree wasn't planned for the center of the park.
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Eventually they determined the Tree of Life was the symbol they wanted for Disney's Animal Kingdom so they began to increase its size. A thought was to create a semi geodesic dome which would have leaves stuck to it. It was to feature a restaurant on the bottom floor. Very late in the development of this design one of the engineers explained that the steel and the branches were substantial enough to hold anything. They would no longer need the geodesic dome.
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