Endangered species alert!
In lieu of our traditional upbeat greeting, friends, we'd like to observe a moment of silence for the myriad changes recently announced by Disney Parks. While such change is inevitable, it's never easy, especially when it affects some of our more revered WDW traditions. Case in point: we were saddened to hear many of our favorite Disney's Hollywood Studios Citizen performers recently received a round of pink slips. Pizzerizzo (the subject of one of our more recent favorable loo reviews -- see it here) is rumored to be nearing the end of it's short run in the Muppet Courtyard (er, Grand Park -- sorry Mr. Chapek -- ed). Lastly, though it has been rumored for years, we were yet caught unprepared upon hearing Illuminations will be wrapping-up with a final performance next summer.
All of these announcements rocked our loo-centric world here at the home office (many personnel are still wearing black armbands) -- this was all tough news to bear. Yet, perhaps the most disturbing of all is the recent proclamation of the abrupt closure of Rafiki's Planet Watch this month. We've always enjoyed this out of the way excursion for many reasons: the chance to relax on a slow train ride away from Animal Kingdom's crowds and heat, the opportunity to watch skilled veterinarians care for exotic and endangered creatures and, of course, the opportunity to pet a pig.
Given the remote nature of Rafiki's Planet Watch and Conservation Station, the Department of Loo Imagineering would've been remiss had it not built a restroom for guests visiting the area. That train ride would seem twice as long with a full bladder, for sure.
We've held this review back for some time, saving it for a special occasion. With Rafiki's Planet Watch facing imminent extinction, it's high time we shared our review of its corresponding loo.
Animal Kingdom guests get to Rafiki's Planet Watch (henceforth known as RPW -- typing the whole name out is making our fingers feel all asante sana squash banana) by taking a leisurely ride on Africa's Wildlife Express Train. The train, which departs regularly from the rear of the park is, as far as we can tell, the only way non-cast members can reach this unique attraction.
RPW houses several attractions, including the petting zoo (affectionately called "Affection Section") and an exotic exploration trail called "Habitat Habit!". The beating heart of RPW, however, is Conservation Station: a colorful building which affords visitors the chance to encounter animals both on stage and while receiving treatment by skilled veterinarians.
We love Conservation Station's entrance, where a colorful collage of species stares down at us until we buy a souvenir stuffed animal:
Underfoot just outside of Conservation Station is this memorable stone mosaic. To think this piece may soon be forever consigned to the Annals of Animal Kingdom history breaks our loo-reviewing hearts!
Those seeking relief need not explore Conservation Station too deeply: the restroom entrance is found just inside the front doors. Let's take a look!
A mural of all manner of species marks the hallway leading to the loos: feathered friends, mild-mannered monkeys and meek marsupials ... and this guy (who even seems more excited about visiting the restrooms than we are) ...
... adorn the wall and point the way to sweet relief.
We were impressed to find Conservation Station, despite its remote location, included a companion loo (this in addition to the usual men's and women's varieties):
A teal sign smartly situated on a salmon wall hints at the colors to come once inside.
Peeking further down the hallway, we see the rest ... of the restrooms. Check out the colorful carpet underfoot!
Enough prelude ... let's look inside the men's loo.
For those who lament there isn't enough teal in the restrooms at Walt Disney World, we proudly present the RPW men's restroom!
Holy cow! Check out those colors! There's more blues here than can be found in the Mississippi Delta, folks. It's as if two people painted this loo (and the taller guy's favorite color was teal). If you love this color of blue, you'll be right at home here (and if you're allergic to blue, you'd best bring your EpiPen).
Taking a closer look at the walls, you can see the teal-dominated upper half is sharply juxtaposed to a color we can best describe as Band-Aid pink:
Between the colors, however, is a trim of cool tiles featuring exotic animals.
Let's check out some of these in more detail! Bagheera spends his spare time hanging out in the men's loo (who knew?).
A curious giraffe unnervingly watches restroom visitors, threatening urinal-users with performance anxiety:
An elephant never forgets ...
... to remind you to wash your hands.
And, speaking of hand-washing:
A double sink station sits near the restroom's entrance. The nondescript, tan counter top offsets white basins while a large vanity mirror hangs above.
Adjacent to the sinks are two urinals, each separated from nearby structures by thick stainless steel dividers:
Be sure to glance above each urinal for one of the more unique restroom features we've seen on-property...
... the Whiz Quiz!
Those relieving themselves whilst standing are afforded the opportunity to play a friendly round of Urinal Pursuit, filling up their brains with fun animal facts while simultaneously emptying their bladders!
Answers to questions posed above the urinals are found near the sinks, encouraging users to observe good hygiene.
On a side note, after reading these, I feel as though the Kilimanjaro rhinos should be kept father away from our ride vehicles.
Moving deeper into the men's loo, we find only two stalls: one standard, one ADA-compliant. Each is offset by more teal!
Inside the ADA-compliant stall, we see plenty of space for a user, several assistants, wheelchair(s). Though this restroom has but two stalls, this one is fit for a clash of hippos (Did you know a group of hippos is called a clash?).
Finally, let's take a glance at the Conservation Station's baby changing ... er .... station.
Though poorly lit, this station affords little ones with dirty nappies the chance to glance up and look at tiled animals overhead. Bonus, no stainless steel changing surface!
WDW LOO REVIEW RECAP OF ANIMAL KINGDOM'S RAFIKI'S PLANET WATCH LOO:
Capacity: Medium (two stalls -- one ADA-compliant, two urinals)
Cleanliness: A feat of animal self-grooming, this restroom was spotless!
Theming: Vibrant (albeit dated) colors and cute tiles abound, well-suited for Conservation Station.
Companion Loo: Yes
Access: Like the rest of Rafiki's Planet Watch, this restroom is waaaay out of the way; however, as is often the case on-property, this destination is well worth the journey.
WDW Loo Review Score: 3.5/5 Urinal Wafers
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE:
It appears the rumors of Rafiki's Planet Watch's demise are unfounded. Official WDW sources now state the closure of Animal Kingdom's most remote attraction will only be temporary: from mid-October 2018 to Spring 2019! Hurray! Of course, this begs the question: will the RPW loo see a refresh?
If only there were an awesome website you could frequent to find out!
Of course, you know we'll have photos of the post-update loo if things are changed! Please, be sure to check back frequently for the latest on the Conservation Station loo and the rest of the Disney Parks & Resorts restrooms!
Until next time, friends: bottoms down and thumbs up!
-- Loo Review Matt