Monday, February 27, 2012

Flights of Wonder

I first went to Disney's Animal Kingdom the year it opened (1998 for those of you keeping track at home), and while Flights of Wonder was an original show there, I didn't see it until a decade later on a trip in 2008.  Since then I've seen it three or four times with a number of different actors, birds and handlers.   When I did finally see it, I found it more entertaining than I had originally expected.  To be more accurate, I expected nothing could be entertaining enough to sit through in July in the hottest park in Florida.  I'm still not sure I'd sit through it on a truly hot day, though there are fans, but I have been there on each of my last four trips that I was in that park. 

What makes the show interesting is the combination of education and entertainment.  That is always a hard balance to achieve, and I'm not sure that the entertainment portion of the show, featuring a lost tour guide who is afraid of birds overcoming his fears, is really all that exciting.  Some of the campy humor in which the script makes fun of the fact that is a theme park show and pokes fun at the expected outcomes at a Disney attraction (ending in a gift shop, etc.) is amusing.  However,  it's the birds that truly shine.  

Each show they present several dozen birds all doing behaviors that are natural to them.  It's not always the same combination of birds which means that it can be fun to go back.   I'm a particular fan of the little guy who sings "Camptown Races".  Every show I've seen they do bring out the Bald Eagle as a hopeful sign of the success of conservation efforts to up the population.

Just be warned! These birds do fly all over the theater.  There are handlers who come out to catch them as they fly over your head but it does feel like you're going to be dive bombed.

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