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Unleash Your Inner Russell: Earn Adventure Badges at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pixar’s Pete Docter joined Disney’s Wilderness Explorers for some fun at Walt Disney World…

Firstly, this particular story from the official Disney Parks Blog made me smile. But that’s no surprise; Russell, the Wilderness Explorer, makes me happiest of all of Pixar’s characters.

Russell, Up, Pixar
Image: Pixar

“My name is Russell. I am a Wilderness Explorer in Tribe 54, Sweat Lodge 12, are you in any need of assistance today sir?”

Secondly, as a current Scouter (adult BSA leader) and one-time Cub and Boy Scout, Russell’s blend of enthusiasm, loyalty, and fierce integrity would put him in good stead in real-world scouting.

And, truthfully, the lack of cynicism in Russell’s character remains in short supply here in 2021.

Earn Adventure Badges

To that end, and perhaps celebrating that unabashed want to discover, Pete Docter explained to viewers that visitors to Walt Disney World can “follow in Russell’s footsteps” and earn “adventure badges.”

Pete Docter at Walt Disney World. Image: Disney Parks Blog.
Pete Docter at Walt Disney World. Image: Disney Parks Blog.

“It is a cool, self-guided experience that sends you out on fun, nature-themed challenges,” added Docter, who was filmed and photographed with the Wilderness Explorer troop. “Collect enough badges, and you’ll earn the right to echo the famous Wilderness Explorer call.”

Check out the full video below:

Disney Parks Blog’s Cayla Ward also reported:

  • The program in the film and in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was inspired by The Wilderness Explorers, a “real” organization in the film that was founded in 1912.
  • Wilderness Explorers have the motto to be a friend to all – “A Wilderness Explorer is a friend to all, be it plants or fish or tiny mole.”
  • Walt Disney Imagineers partnered closely with Pixar and Pixar artists to bring the film’s Wilderness Explorers organization to life through badges, artwork and overall look-and-feel of the program.
  • Cast members within Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment use the program to further the mission of Disney’s Animal Kingdom to bring awareness to conservation and protecting the planet.
  • The current Chief of the Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Pete Docter, an honor bestowed to him as the director of “Up.

Finally, I wonder if how the “Ellie Badge” might look on my official uniform. Theoretically, of course.