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Vinylmation Around the Parks: Animal Kingdom Series Zebra

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In the last Around the Parks article, we took a closer look at the Animal Kingdom series of vinyls, specifically the giraffe. This time we look at another animal that can be found on the Savannah. The zebras have an interesting history when it comes to Animal Kingdom, one that’s constantly changing.

zebra
The Vinylmation itself emphasizes the zebra’s stripes, covering the design with black stripes over a white body. The stripes are a bit too thin compared to a real zebra’s however, and also seem to be the opposite of their actual coloring. Zebras are actually black with white stripes. However, the biggest difference from actual zebras is the small, innocent smile, because zebras can be some of the biggest jerks of the animal kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Zebra (1024x683)

Disney learned this lesson the hard way. When Killimanjaro Safaris opened, one of the featured animals on the Savannah were the zebras. They quickly gained a reputation for mean, stubborn, and ruthless behavior, antagonizing other animals and attacking the offspring of other species. The zebras were thus banished to pastures out of sight of visitors while plans were made for their re-introduction.

Animal Kingdom Zebra (683x1024)

Attempts were made, some more successful than others. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, a small, new herd of zebras joined the host of animals living outside guests’ rooms, coexisting peacefully with their fellow creatures. These zebra still live their today, delighting guests watching from their balconies or outdoor viewing areas.
Back at Animal Kingdom proper, zebra reintroduction proved a particularly difficult problem. When Kilimanjaro Safaris received a major renovation last year, much of its finale was eliminated for being incongruous with the rest of the ride experience. The freshly cleared part of the ride was rapidly transformed into a habitat just for the zebras, giving the ride a subdued but appropriate new finale.

Animal Kingdom Zebra Kilimanjaro Safaris (1024x683)

Unfortunately, these troublesome zebras took the lack of targets as a challenge, and promptly began attacking each other and harassing ride vehicles. They were removed again, and replaced with the peaceful addax antelope. Surprisingly, zebras just recently appeared on the Safari again, living in harmony with other animals. It seems that for the time being, Disney has found some of these animals that play well with others.
Animal Kingdom and Kilimanjaro Safaris are not the first places that zebras appeared at Disney Parks. Over at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise includes a brief Savannah scene with a host of faux animals, including zebras. A pride of lions is also consuming one of these stripey beasts.

Jungle Cruise Zebra

The Jungle Cruise captains use this as an opportunity to teach the first law of the jungle, “Don’t be a zebra.”  This might generate some sympathy for these animals. However, just remember the trouble zebras have caused. More than likely, any zebra being eaten by lions probably deserved it.
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