Kali River Rapids: Exploring The Queue (Part 2)
I start making my way into the jungle and see the ancient temple in the distance. As I look closer I realize much of the area is a bamboo jungle.
There are lanterns that mark the pathway and I look down at the brick and rock flooring.
As I round the bend in the trail, I am on the other side of the rocks and the bamboo has given way to more lush landscaping. Small openings appear and I see parts of the Chakranadi River through the growth.
I see old religious ruins along the trail.
I stop as I stare at the Tiger Temple, nestled deep in the forest.
I am amazed at how authentic the Imagineers have created this area. There are over 4,000 props in Tiger Temple and the adjoining buildings.
The Imagineers traveled to many of the countries in Southeast Asia and brought back ideas and artifacts for the Kali River Rapids queue.
In front of the temple, I marvel at the area and a wall that is covered in ribbons. Each ribbon represents a prayer left by a passing traveler. There are eleven bells hanging from the rafters and each bell represents answered prayers. The Anandapur people believe that if a ribbon is removed, the prayer is nullified.
I noticed a few items that referenced Buddhism and Hinduism, but Imagineer Brian Dixon said, “It was the Imagineers intention to honor animals in the Tiger Temple rather than a deity.”
I stop to examine the mahogany panel that had seven animals carved into the wood. I wondered what the significance was?
The next turn brought me face to face with a large statue of a tiger. Cast member Mark, tells me that many tigers are at the entrance to shrines because they are considered a guardian idol, as they keep evil spirits from entering. Hmmmm..Looks like a big cat to me….
The beauty of the queue now allows me to look out onto a grassy knoll. There are numerous statues that look decayed and old around a landslide.
I notice scattered cages and several religious artifacts that are used for ceremonies or religious celebrations.
There is a peddler’s bike next to the temple. Cast member Joan, tells me that he has come to sell the priests and merchants the produce of his farm.
Cast member Joan also tells me about the King Cobras. They are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells, and rivers and the Chakranadi River.
There are religious offerings all around.
As I move to the next room in the queue, I see several guests looking up. As my eyes move to the walls and ceiling I see stories painted in beautiful colors and I overhear a dad tell their kids these are about the “Jataka Tales”. The dad continues his story about the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. The tales date back to 3,000 BC.
I step back so other guests can pass and notice the “The Fearless Lion and the Brave Elephant” painting. Cast member Brock, is next to the Painted Pavilion. Brock tells me, “The story is about a group of traders that are being tortured by huge beasts. The lion and elephant hear their cries, come to their aid, and kill the attackers. In return, the grateful merchants vow to honor the lion and elephant for all eternity.
As I exit the Tiger Temple, I see the sign for Mr. Panika’s Shop. It looks like Mr. Panika will be trying to make some quick cash by selling me something and then he will ship it anywhere. There is a movie poster on the wall for “Majboor”, a real, Indian-Hindi film that premiered in 1974.
Look close and you may see a “Hidden Mickey” within the PANS.
I look around the shop and see that there are hundreds of items for sale. Up in the rafters, on the walls and the floor, he has everything you could want. His business must be doing well, based on the invoices and paperwork all over his desk, since he only deals in cash.
Mr Panika has tried to use his best English to have more customers, but he needs to work on his English. “Looking is free, please you kom in our store and special prices for tourists.” The sign above his desk reads “Antiks Made to Order.”
Birds are a popular pet in many parts of Asia and countless local shopping districts feature bird markets. Next to Mr. Panika’s Shop is Disney’s version of a bird market, minus the actual animals due to humane reasons. An aviary sits opposite the bird market on the other side of the queue.
After leaving the shop we finally find ourselves in the Kali Rapids Expeditions office. An outdated slide projector displays faded pictures of our upcoming journey while the prerecorded voice of founder Manisha Gurung describes how her business came into existence.
I see brochures for nearby attractions on the wall, music amps and on the shelf and old Kodak film for sale. No technology has arrived in this area of Anandapur yet. I wonder where the Imagineers got the old desk and the old typewriter, telephone, and answering machine.
There is an image on the wall of the Royal Couple of Anandapur, that I have seen at other locations in the Asia area. I am told that it is customary to honor them in this manner
To my left is a Raft Position Board.
The guides can keep track of the expeditions and their locations. I look over the names and a few catch my eye:
Bali Bumper Car – On reserve for Ohio tour group – Bali is an Indonesian Island and home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority in an otherwise Muslim country.
Himalayan Hummer – Rafting on Sector 2 with Himalayan – The Himalayas are a mountain range located immediately north of the Indian subcontinent and are sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Rajah Run Around – Seat Repaired – Rajah is an Indian term for a monarch.
I chuckled, as I read the listing for Manaslu Slammer.
Manaslu Slammer – Due back yesterday! – Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world
On the wall to my right are paddles, signed by previous and current raft guides. Cast member Ben is standing to my left in the queue and I ask him about the paddles. He said “The one paddle was signed by many of the Imagineers who traveled to Southeast Asia and help design the attraction.”
Imagineers have added a touch of reality as I hear the buzz of chain saws in the distance. The local logging companies are all in search of tropical hardwood and many areas are being ravaged and burned by illegal logging
In the last room I see the tea is brewing for the tour groups awaiting departure.
I look up and see two paintings overhead that show the rapids we will be running.
A message from the shortwave radio shouts an audio message with a warning for tour company owner Manisha Gurung. The radio message warns her that illegal logging is taking place along the Chakranadi River and all rafting should cease until this problem can be addressed.
It appears that no one cares about the message and the guides continue to launch rafts into dangerous waters.
The queue for Kali River Rapids is one of my favorites and the Imagineers have done an amazing sob of storytelling and immersion.
Next time take advantage of Extra Magic Hours days, and enjoy the queue at your leisure. When you reach the boarding area jump into a raft or tell the cast member you’re not riding. It’s as easy as that.
Enjoy the ride! You are going to get WET!
All photos are property of Dr. Howie DiBlasi, unless otherwise noted.
About the author:
Dr. Howie DiBlasi is a retired educator, business owner, author and an Ed Tech consultant. He is a life long Disney fan that began in 1959. He has been blogging about Disney, travel and technology for the past 8 years.
and @mydisneyclass https://twitter.com/mydisneyclass
His website HERE www.mydisneyclass.com
He is also the host of the My Disney Class Podcast, found HERE: mydisneyclass.libsyn.com