Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Weighs In On Tradition of Tossing Hairbands on Expedition Everest
If you’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World you’ll know that Expedition Everest, is one of the big headlining attractions it that park. It is immersive Disney storytelling at its best, making guests feel like you are on an adventure in the Himalayas where you may even have a chance encounter with a Yeti.
The ride starts with guests slowly scaling the heights of the towering Mount Everest where at the top you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Spaceship Earth and the Tower of Terror. However, your journey comes to an abrupt end when it looks like the track has been torn asunder and there’s a brief pause before guests plummet backwards into the depths of the mountain.
Anyone who has ever been to to the top of Everest at Animal Kingdom may have noticed that scattered to the right of the ride vehicles are countless numbers of hairbands. Somehow, over the years, a tradition unfolded where guests take a moment at the top of the coaster to throw their own hair ties before descending.
Recently Joe Rohde, former Walt Disney World Imagineer ,who played an integral role in the creation of all those amazing details you love at Animal Kingdom, weighed in on the hairband tradition via Instagram. Let’s check out his post below:
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Rohde starts the post by calling the tossing of hairbands “another example of ritual behavior.” He goes on to say that the tradition is weird and it does “violate the illusion” of the Himalayan scene Imagineers were trying to create. However, Rohde adds that oddly enough this ritual has parallels to an actual Mount Everest tradition. Those visiting the real mountain typically leave a rock at the top of the real Himalayan pass.
So does the hair scrunchie throwing on Expedition Everest subvert the fantasy of Expedition Everest. To some extent. However, Rohde also argues that this occurrence can also be looked at as an interesting interactive ceremony of sorts. Though he won’t condone the ritual (especially because some poor cast member is tasked with picking up all those hair ties) he said that it does interest him.
So next time you’re at Animal Kingdom, head to Asia and give Expedition Everest a go. When you climb to the top of the mountain, take a look at this odd ceremony playing out in real time. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to sacrifice your hairbands in the name of tradition!
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