as an irreligious person, i think the "genesis gardens" idea is a really compelling use of famous literature from a secular angle as well.How Genesis Gardens Almost Came to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I was hoping to make contact with Josh Taylor, who wrote the original article from 2012 about Genesis Gardens (see https://www.wdwradio.com/2012/08/the-world-that-never-was-genesis-gardens/), but it appears he works for Disney now (and doesn’t use his previous email addresses.
Animal Kingdom was the fourth (and most recent) theme park designed for Walt Disney World. The chief imagineer who was responsible for Animal Kingdom is Joe Rohde, who recently retired from Disney Imagineering. Rohde was very focused on the entrance area of the park. He wanted something that would set the tone from the initial moment the guests are at the park. One of the entrance ways that was considered was “Genesis Gardens.” Ultimately , Disney chose “Oasis” (which is still the same today). The article writer says that this is because it was less “offensive” than “Genesis Gardens.” To me, “offensive” sounds rather negative; admittedly not all WDW park goers see the Book of Genesis as God’s Word, but that does not mean that they would necessarily be turned-off (or worse, avoid the park altogether) by such a name or theme.
Genesis Gardens would have had a large Noah’s Ark with animal displays inside of it (to show how animals were saved once and still need to be saved). Interestingly, that’s basically what Ark Encounter in Kentucky decided to do for their park. The land would also have helped to reveal the other lands that lay behind. Genesis Gardens would have been a very lush and tropical land like the Garden of Eden that is described in Genesis. The music for the land would have been songs from the band Genesis as well as their singer/drummer Phil Collins. Okay maybe I made-up that last point!
As it stands, Oasis is not all that exciting of an entrance land. The three times I have been to Animal Kingdom, I have basically walked right through it to get to the “wienie” (basically a park landmark that beckons guests to come to it) of the Tree of Life. Genesis Gardens will be used in my Bible World project as sort of a testament as to what Disney could have brought to Animal Kingdom.