Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the fourth park built at Walt Disney World Resort. The animal-themed amusement park opened on April 22, 1998 and sprawls across 500 acres, making this park the largest single animal-themed park in the world. The park is also home to more than 1,700 different animals and 250 different species, and also includes three table service restaurants, five quick-service eateries, and several gift shops.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is divided into seven separate areas. The first area, the Oasis, is the main entrance to the park. Guests will be greeted by ducks, wallabies, giant anteaters and other animals. As visitors walk deeper into the park, they will come to the second themed area, Discovery Island. Discovery Island is considered the “hub” of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and this is where visitors will be greeted by one of the unique features of the park, The Tree of Life. This visual icon is surrounded by various animal habitats, including kangaroos, lemurs and more. Additionally, two of the park’s major restaurants are located here.
Camp Minnie-Mickey, the third themed area, bases its decor off a rustic summer camp. Visitors can meet their favorite Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as watch a performance entitled Festival Of the Lion King, located in the area’s main theater. Initially, this area was slated to be Beastly Kingdom, a land that would have been themed after creatures of legend. Unfortunately, Disney was unable to complete the Beastly Kingdom, so Camp Minnie-Mickey was put here instead.
Then, travel to Africa, a section of the park that was themed after the fictional African village of Harambe. Visitors can see many African animal species up close and personal via the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride, or take a nature walk to see gorillas, hippos, birds and fish.
Directly connected to Africa is Rafiki’s Planet Watch. To travel here, simply hop on the Wildlife Express Train to visit the various areas within Rafiki’s Planet Watch, including Habitat Habit, Affection Section, and Conversation Station. Guests will learn about what steps are being taken to protect the endangered animals encountered here, what can be done to start and preserve animal habitats in your own area, and an up close and personal glimpse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s care facilities as well as a petting zoo.
Asia is the next themed area, which was the first expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and opened in 1999. Set in the fictional region of Anandapur, visitors can glimpse tigers, tapirs, fruit bats and more. Asia is also home to the park’s largest thrill attraction, Expedition Everest, a themed roller coaster ride through the Himalayas.
Finally, guests can visit DinoLand U.S.A., where the animals present here have some type of evolutionary link to dinosaurs, such as the American Crocodile. Walk along the Cretaceous Trail to discover exciting dinosaur fossils, or take a picture with Dino-Sue, Disney’s replica of the largest T-Rex ever discovered.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers plenty of fun, educational experiences and excitement to all guests who visit the park, and they work tirelessly to provide the highest quality of life for the animals within their care, so guests can enjoy the theme park for many years to come.