Disney's Hollywood Studios
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Disney's Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day of 1998. The
park consists of seven themed areas: The Oasis, Discovery
Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch,
Asia, and Dinoland, USA.
Unlike other parks, Disney's Animal Kingdom focuses around
experiences with animals, both living and extinct.
The current attractions in Disney's Animal Kingdom are "it's
tough to be a bug," Festival of the Lion King, Character
Greeting Trails, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest
Exploration Trails, Habitat Habit!, Conservation Station,
Affection Section, Flights of Wonder, Kali River Rapids,
Maharajah Jungle Trek, Expedition Everest, Finding Nemo: The
Musical, Primeval Whirl, TriceraTop Spin, The Boneyard, and
Fun Facts: While approaching Disney's
Animal Kingdom you may see a very tall tree that is very
thin to the left of the park entrance. This is actually a
cell phone tower so you can make phone calls while in the
The idea of using live animals in a Disney park dates back
to 1955 when Disneyland first opened! Walt originally wanted
live animals to be used in The Jungle Cruise, but it never
became a reality. Luckily, no good idea ever dies at Walt
Disney Imagineering and 43 years later a park that revolves
around animals was born!
There was originally going to be an entire land in the park
known as Beastly Kingdom, which would focus on mythological
creatures like unicorns and dragons!
Touring Tips: Disney's Animal Kingdom is
designed to be a relaxing park so don't spend the whole day
rushing from one attraction to the next. There are several
hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered so go find
Animal Kingdom is my most favorite
Disney theme park in all of
Walt Disney World because I feel it does the best in
immersing you in the environment of the great jungles and
forests and the wilds of the world. There are few indoor
attractions at this park, and rightly so.
Animal Kingdom keeps you outside where the animals roam,
whether you're encountering wild African birds, charging
down some raging
Kali River rapids, dining at the
Yeti counter service spot, or even when meeting your
favorite Disney characters during their safari expedition,
you are kept among the real wilds of nature.
Though many enjoy Animal Kingdom for its thrilling
adventures on Everest or into the past through Dinosaur
(though that is my favorite attraction), I mostly enjoy
Animal Kingdom for the unique animal encounters you find
hidden throughout the park.
Animal Kingdom was at first advertised that it was "Nahtazu"
meaning it was not a zoo. And it's not! A lot of zoos keep
you in the mindset that you are viewing animals in fenced in
exhibits like some sort of exhibition of exotic animals.
At the Animal Kingdom, you can ride a jitney through the
rolling African Savannah and may have to stop to let a
family of rhinos cross your path. You can take a walk
through the Pangani forest and walk alongside some wild
African birds similar to walking with
Pigeons in New York City. At times it feels like
you're the one in the cage (for your own protection) as you
peek into the natural habitat the animals are placed in.
And the icing on the cake as with any Disney park is the
unspoken story that plays out as you tour the wilds of the
jungle you are visiting.
For example, the Majarajah
my favorite of the walk through attractions, you are
exploring the old ruins of the Majarajah's palace where the
wild Bengal tigers have taken up residence away from the
forests they were once hunted in. Throughout all the
attractions in Animal Kingdom, there are little details and
elements that tell you you are not in Florida, but in the
exotic country stated on the map.
During my last visit to AK, I was amazed when my friend, who
was born and grew up in India, read to me all the signs
Expedition Everest that were written in her native
language. Though the other parks are terrific in immersive,
story telling experiences, I feel Animal Kingdom is the one
park where you can easily forget you are in a theme park,
but in the wilds of the world the Imagineers have so
convincingly made real.
- Reuben G. from New Jersey
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