How ‘The One and Only Ivan’ Filmmakers Drew Inspiration From Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Confession, as a type away for MickeyBlog, my daughter (age 10) has been watching The One and Only Ivan which premiered on Disney+ this morning. It has been a flurry of emotion. She’s laughed, she’s cried but despite the emotional ups and downs she keeps talking about how amazing the film is. And for someone that loves the book – that’s saying a lot!
For Disney fans that have been touched by the book and now the film, did you know that the filmmakers actually drew some of their inspiration from the wild inhabitants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom them park in Walt Disney World.
For those unfamiliar The One and Only Ivan tells the story of a 400 pound silverback gorilla who was raised by humans for 27 years in a suburban shopping mall. Throughout Ivan’s story, there are many animal friends including Stella the elephant, Bob the dog and more! Ivan didn’t know what it was like to be part of a gorilla family until moving to Zoo Atlanta.
If some of the sights from the film look familiar- it’s not surprising. Animal Kingdom serves as the inspiration to the filmmakers, particularly the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail with its lush greenery which was used as a model for the recreation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Filmmakers also spent time studying Animal Kingdom’s population of western lowland gorillas. Watching family dynamics and observing how they forage for food, play with others and sleep, helped inform the film.
It’s also important to note that Disney’s work with Gorillas goes beyond the theme parks. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Disney Conservation Fund lends support to the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE.) This is the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned Grauer’s gorillas (a critically endangered species.) Because of GRACE rescued gorillas join an adoptive gorilla family and get to live together in natural forest enclosures. The animal care team members provide resources and share expertise with the staff at GRACE.
Don’t miss your chance to watch this heartwarming story on Disney+, and be sure to check out Disney’s free downloadable activity packet with all you need to know about the care and conservation of these wonderful animals. Also, if you aren’t already, be sure to follow @drmarkatdisney on Instagram or @DisneyASE on Facebook for the latest updates on Animal Kingdom’s incredible inhabitants.
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