Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom is an animal theme park
Animal Theme Park
An Animal Theme Park, also known as a Zoological Theme Park, is a combination of a theme park and a zoological park, mainly for entertainment, amusement, and commercial purposes. Many animal theme parks blend classic theme park elements, such as themed entertainment and amusement rides, with...

 located at the Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort , is the world's most-visited entertaimental resort. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida ; approximately southwest of Orlando, Florida, United States, the resort covers an area of and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels Walt...

. The fourth park built at the resort, it opened on April 22, 1998, and it is the largest single Disney theme park in the world, covering more than 500 acres (202 ha). It is also the first Disney theme park to be themed entirely around animal conservation
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

, a philosophy once pioneered by Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 himself. Disney's Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Association of Zoos and Aquariums
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded in 1924 and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and public aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.The AZA headquarters is located in Silver...

, meaning they have met or exceeded the standards in Education, Conservation and Research.

The park consists of seven themed areas, with all but one connected to Discovery Island, which contains The Tree of Life, a sculpted 14-story (145-foot-tall [145 feet (44.2 m)]), 50 feet (15.2 m) artificial tree that serves as the centerpiece and icon of Disney's Animal Kingdom. A new area based on the 2009 film Avatar and its planned sequels is set to begin construction by 2013. In 2010, the park hosted approximately 9.7 million guests, ranking it the fourth-most visited amusement park in the United States and seventh-most visited in the world.


Themed areas

The park is made up of seven themed areas. However, the original plans called for another area called "Beastly Kingdom".. Construction on an Avatar-themed area will begin by 2013.


The Oasis is the park's main entrance. Along with providing various guest services, the Oasis features a number of animal habitats. Guests can encounter muntjac
Muntjac, also known as Barking Deer and Mastreani Deer, are small deer of the genus Muntiacus. Muntjac are the oldest known deer, appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland....

s, spoonbill
Spoonbills are a group of large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the Ibises.All have large, flat, spatulate bills and feed by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly opened bill from side to side...

s, duck
Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the Anatidae family of birds, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the Anatidae family; they do not represent a monophyletic group but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered...

s, wallabies
A wallaby is any of about thirty species of macropod . It is an informal designation generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been given some other name.-Overview:...

 and giant anteater
Giant Anteater
The Giant Anteater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, is the largest species of anteater. It is the only species in the genus Myrmecophaga. It is found in Central and South America from Honduras to northern Argentina...

s, among others. The main paths lead deeper into the park, and onto Discovery Island.

A Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe is a themed restaurant chain owned by Landry's Restaurants, Inc. of Houston, Texas. It was founded by entrepreneur Steven Schussler. The first location opened in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on February 3, 1994. In 1997, the chain consisted of only six restaurants,...

 is also located at the entrance of the Oasis, although technically it is outside the park boundaries. Guests may dine at the restaurant without entering Disney's Animal Kingdom, while guests entering the restaurant from within the theme park are actually exiting the park and must present their admission tickets to return to the park.

Discovery Island

Discovery Island is located roughly at the center of the park, in the middle of the Discovery River waterway. It was originally called Safari Village, as Discovery Island was the name for the small zoological park located in Walt Disney World's Bay Lake. After that facility closed in 1999, Safari Village was renamed Discovery Island.
This is the "central hub" of Disney's Animal Kingdom, connecting almost all of the other sections of the park, except Rafiki's Planet Watch. The Tree of Life, the park's visual icon, is located here, surrounded by animal enclosures showcasing kangaroo
A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae . In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, Red Kangaroo, Antilopine Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Western Grey Kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country...

s, black crowned cranes
Black Crowned Crane
The Black Crowned Crane is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It was once called also Kaffir Crane.It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although in nests in somewhat wetter habitats. There are two subspecies: B. p. pavonina in the west and the more numerous B. p...

, lemurs and others. The park's largest gift shops and two of its major restaurants are on Discovery Island, each with a different design theme, such as décor based on nocturnal animals, insects and so forth. The island's other major draw is It's Tough to be a Bug!
It's Tough to Be a Bug!
It's Tough to Be a Bug! is a 9-minute long 3-D film based on the Disney·Pixar film, A Bug's Life. The film, created by Rhythm and Hues Studios, is the main component of a theme park attraction at several Walt Disney theme parks...

, a comical 4-D film
4-D film
4-D film is a marketing term that describes an entertainment presentation system combining a 3-D film with physical effects in the theatre, which occur in synchronization with the film...

 featuring appearances by Flik and Hopper from Disney·Pixar's A Bug's Life
A Bug's Life
A Bug's Life is a 1998 American computer animated adventure comedy film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States on November 25, 1998. A Bug's Life was the second Disney·Pixar feature film after Toy Story, and the third American computer-animated film after Toy...


Camp Minnie-Mickey

Camp Minnie-Mickey is themed as a rustic summer camp. Here guests can meet the Disney characters
Costumed character
right|200px|thumb|Millie, once costumed character mascot of the [[Brampton, Ontario|City of Brampton]] in [[Ontario]], [[Canada]], is now the [[Brampton Arts Council]]'s representative.A costumed character wears a costume that covers the performer's face...

 such as Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

, Minnie Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Minerva "Minnie" Mouse is an animated character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. The comic strip story "The Gleam" by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson first gave her full name as Minerva Mouse. Minnie has since been a recurring alias for her. Minnie is currently voiced by actress Russi...

, Goofy
Goofy is a cartoon character created in 1932 at Walt Disney Productions. Goofy is a tall, anthropomorphic dog, and typically wears a turtle neck and vest, with pants, shoes, white gloves, and a tall hat originally designed as a rumpled fedora. Goofy is a close friend of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck...

 and others. Located in the area's main theatre is Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King, an original interpretation of the Disney animated film The Lion King, is a live stage musical performed in Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida and in Adventureland at Hong Kong Disneyland...

, a live stage show featuring acrobatics and musical performances inspired by The Lion King
The Lion King
The Lion King is a 1994 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series...


Camp Minnie-Mickey was built on the spot where the Beastly Kingdom was planned to be.


Set in the fictional east Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n village of Harambe, this area contains a number of animal exhibits. According to Disney legend, Harambe was once part of a Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 colony, but a peaceful revolution made Harambe self-governing in 1963. Today, Harambe is the starting point for tourists and students who want to observe Africa's animals in their natural habitats.

The village is the namesake of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve, the fictional home of Africa's main attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It simulates an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa.-Story:...

. Guests climb aboard an open-sided safari vehicle for an expedition to see numerous African animals freely roam through acres of savanna, rivers and rocky hills, including reticulated giraffes, hippos
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

, African elephants and lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s. On the adjacent Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a walkway next to Kilimanjaro Safaris in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, from which you can see African animals. It is about three-eighths of a mile in length...

, visitors trek into the forest in search of gorilla
Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

s. Along the way, the guest goes on a nature walk through a verdant African valley filled with Nile hippos
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

, birds and fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...


Rafiki's Planet Watch

The one section of the park not connected to Discovery Island, Rafiki's Planet Watch is instead connected to Africa. Guests board the Wildlife Express Train
Wildlife Express Train
The Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch is a transport ride that takes guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom from Harambe, Africa to Rafiki's Planet Watch. On the ride, guests get the chance to see a little of the Animal Kingdom backlot, including animal holding buildings for rhinos and...

 for the short trip to and from Planet Watch, which consists of three distinct areas. Guests first encounter Habitat Habit!, where they can see cottontop tamarin
Cottontop Tamarin
The cotton-top tamarin , also known as the Pinché tamarin, is a small New World monkey weighing less than 1 lb...

s and learn about the efforts to protect these endangered primates in their natural homes. Along the way, guests can also learn how to provide animal habitats in and around their own homes.

Conservation Station showcases the various conservation efforts supported by the Walt Disney Company. It also gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Disney's Animal Kingdom's animal care facilities, including a veterinary examination room complete with a two-way communications system so the veterinary staff can answer guest questions. Outside, Affection Section
Affection Section
Affection Section is an attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom located in Rafiki's Planet Watch it contains various animals likes cattle, donkey, llama, pig, sheep and goats. All the animals in the petting zoo are domesticated. There is a show which has a Gopher Tortoise and a Corn Snake....

is a petting zoo featuring goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

s, sheep and other domesticated animals.


Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 was the first expansion area added to Disney's Animal Kingdom, first opening in 1999. Like Africa, the section's attractions are part of a fictional place, the kingdom of Anandapur (which means "Place of many delights"). Anandapur comprises two villages: the riverside village of Anandapur and Serka Zong, which is in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Portraits of Anandapur's royal family, the Maharajah and his wife, can be found in most of the businesses within the two villages, and a map of the kingdom, featuring both villages and their location relative to the mountains and river can be found on the wall of the Disney Vacation Club kiosk located there. Much like Harambe, Disney legend states that Anandapur is now a center of animal research and tourism. At the Caravan Stage, these two "worlds" meet in Flights of Wonder, a live bird show where one of Anandapur's bird researchers educates a tour guide with a fear of birds
-Symptoms:Ornithophobia can cause the following symptoms: breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, or a full-blown anxiety attack.-In popular...

 about natural bird behaviors and the effects of habitat loss and conservation efforts on bird species, such as the Black Crowned Crane
Black Crowned Crane
The Black Crowned Crane is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It was once called also Kaffir Crane.It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although in nests in somewhat wetter habitats. There are two subspecies: B. p. pavonina in the west and the more numerous B. p...

 and American Bald Eagle.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek
Maharajah Jungle Trek
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a themed wildlife trail attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is in the Asia themed land, the Kingdom of Anandapur...

 leads guests through the forests and ruins outside the village, which are home to a number of animal species, such as Komodo dragon
Komodo dragon
The Komodo dragon , also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. A member of the monitor lizard family , it is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of in rare cases...

s, fruit bat
Fruit Bat
Fruit Bat can refer to:* Megabats, a species of bat which eats fruit* Les "Fruitbat" Carter, guitarist of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine* Fruit Bats , an American band...

s, tapir
A Tapir is a large browsing mammal, similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout. Tapirs inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. There are four species of Tapirs: the Brazilian Tapir, the Malayan Tapir, Baird's Tapir and the Mountain...

s, and tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

s. Nearby, Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids is an attraction at the Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, in the "Asia" area. It is themed as a rafting expedition along the Chakranadi River, courtesy of "Kali Rapids Expeditions"...

 is a river rapids ride along the fictional Chakranadi River through a rainforest, past an illegal logging operation and down a waterfall. Looming in the distance behind Anandapur is the Forbidden Mountain, the home of Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a roller coaster attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, near Orlando...

, a roller coaster
Roller coaster
The roller coaster is a popular amusement ride developed for amusement parks and modern theme parks. LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented the first coasters on January 20, 1885...

 ride through the Himalayas.

DinoLand U.S.A.

DinoLand U.S.A. is inspired by the public's general curiosity about dinosaurs. The fictitious Dino Institute and its surrounding facilities attract those with a scientific interest in the long-extinct animals, while Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama recalls the many roadside attraction
Roadside attraction
A roadside attraction is a feature along the side of a road, that is frequently advertised with billboards to attract tourists. In general, these are places one might stop on the way to somewhere else, rather than being a final or primary destination in and of themselves. The modern...

s that were once scattered throughout the United States. Like the other sections of Disney's Animal Kingdom, there are animals on display.

These particular animals, such as the American Crocodile
American Crocodile
The American crocodile is a species of crocodilian found in the Neotropics. It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas. Populations occur from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also lives...

 and Asian brown tortoise
Manouria emys
Asian forest tortoise , also known as Asian brown tortoise, is a species of tortoise found in India , Bangladesh, Burma , Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia .-Description:...

, have evolutionary links to the age of the dinosaurs. Other plant and animal species that have survived since the dinosaur era can be found along the Cretaceous Trail. At the edge of DinoLand U.S.A. is the "Theater in the Wild," which hosts Finding Nemo - The Musical, a live-action musical stage show based on the story of the Disney·Pixar feature film
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is a 2003 American comi-drama animated film written by Andrew Stanton, directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich and produced by Pixar. It tells the story of the overly protective clownfish Marlin who, along with a regal tang called Dory , searches for his abducted son Nemo...


The Dino Institute is the home of DINOSAUR, a thrill ride featuring a trip through time to the Late Cretaceous Period. Just outside the Institute is "Dino-Sue", a casting of a Tyrannosaurus rex
Tyrannosaurus meaning "tyrant," and sauros meaning "lizard") is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex , commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other...

fossil that is the most complete yet found
Sue (dinosaur)
"Sue" is the nickname given to FMNH PR 2081, which is the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found. It was discovered in the summer of 1990 by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and was named after her...

. At the nearby Boneyard, children enjoy a multi-leveled playground area complete with a mammoth
Woolly mammoth
The woolly mammoth , also called the tundra mammoth, is a species of mammoth. This animal is known from bones and frozen carcasses from northern North America and northern Eurasia with the best preserved carcasses in Siberia...

 fossil to be uncovered.

Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, on the other hand, is about dinosaurs as fun. The TriceraTop Spin
TriceraTop Spin
TriceraTop Spin is an attraction at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is a dinosaur version of Dumbo, at the Magic Kingdom.-Attraction facts:* Grand opening: November 1, 2001* Location: DinoLand U.S.A....

 is a colorful ride for families, while Primeval Whirl
Primeval Whirl
Primeval Whirl is an attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. The ride is an "off the shelf" spinning roller coaster purchased from Reverchon Industries. The ride is part of Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, which is itself part of Dinoland USA. It is a roller coaster in...

 is a spinning roller coaster
Spinning roller coaster
A spinning roller coaster is a roller coaster with cars that rotate on a vertical axis.- Virginia Reel :The first spinning roller coaster was the Virginia Reel, first built in 1908 by Henry Riehl. Instead of trains, the ride had "tubs" with seats built around the perimeter facing inward...

 for thrill-seekers. Throughout the area are carnival game
Carnival game
A carnival game is a game of chance or skill that can be seen at a traveling carnival, charity fund raiser, amusement park, or on a state and county fair midway....

s and gift shops, as well as chances to meet Disney characters.

The area was formerly sponsored by McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

, until 2009 when the contract ran out.

Expansion plans

In September 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans to partner with filmmaker James Cameron
James Cameron
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian-American film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, environmentalist and inventor...

, his Lightstorm Entertainment
Lightstorm Entertainment
Lightstorm Entertainment is an American film production company. The company was founded by Canadian filmmaker James Cameron and film producer Larry Kasanoff in 1990 and is best known for producing the films Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic and Cameron's latest film Avatar...

 production company and Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 to develop attractions based on Cameron's Avatar film franchise exclusively for Disney theme parks. The first installation is planned for Disney's Animal Kingdom in the form of an Avatar-based section of the park.

While no specifics were announced, the new area was described as being several acres in size and costing an estimated $400 million to build, a scale similar to the upcoming "Cars Land
Cars Land
Cars Land is a new themed land at Disney California Adventure Park that is currently under construction. This land will be built as part of the $1.1 billion expansion plan for Disney California Adventure Park on the former Timon Parking Lot behind the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and A Bug's...

" at Disney California Adventure Park in California. Components from the upcoming second and third films in the Avatar series will be featured, along with completely new designs not seen in any of the films. Construction on the new area is expected to begin by 2013.

Beastly Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom focuses on three broad classifications of animals: those that exist today; those that did exist, but are now extinct (i.e., dinosaurs); and those that exist in legend and mythology. In the original design for the park, the animals of legend were to have their own section.

The original design for Animal Kingdom included a section called the Beastly Kingdom (possibly spelled as "Beastly Kingdomme"). It was a land devoted to creatures of legend and mythology. Due to budget constraints, Beastly Kingdom never came to fruition and Camp Minnie-Mickey was built as a temporary tenant of the Beastly Kingdom land.

Beastly Kingdom was to have featured mythical animals such as unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters. The land would feature realms of both good and evil creatures. The evil side would be dominated by Dragon Tower, a ruined castle home to a greedy fire-breathing dragon who horded a fabulous treasure in the tower chamber. The castle would also be inhabited by bats who planned to rob the dragon of his riches. They would enlist the guests' help in their scheme and whisk them off on a thrilling roller coaster ride through the castle ruins. The climax of the ride would be an encounter with the evil dragon himself, resulting in a nearly-barbecued train of guests.

The good side of this land would be home to Quest of the Unicorn, an adventure which sent guests through a maze of medieval mythological creatures to seek the hidden grotto where the unicorn lived. Finally, the Fantasia Gardens attraction would be a musical boat ride through animal scenes from Disney's animated classic, Fantasia
Fantasia (film)
Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by Walt Disney Productions. The third feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are...

. The ride would feature both the crocodiles and hippos from " Dance of the Hours" and the Pegasus, fauns, and centaurs from Beethoven's "Pastoral."

Remnants of this planned area were visible when the park opened or are still visible today:
  • The parking lot contains a section named "Unicorn."
  • The silhouette of a dragon appears in the Animal Kingdom logo.
  • There is a dragon-shaped stone fountain near Camp Minnie-Mickey.
  • A detailed dragonhead statue sits atop one of the ticket booths at the park's entrance. (The other two booths are topped by an elephant head and a triceratops head)
  • Blasts of fire would be spewed from a cave at the edge of the water, in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Burnt suits of armor were just outside the cave entrance, and when boats passed this scene in the now-closed Discovery River Boats attraction, guests were told by the boat's captain that the fire was created by a fire-breathing dragon inside the cave. This scene was visible from Discovery River Boats attraction and the Camp Minnie-Mickey bridge for several years.
  • One of the McDonald's
    McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

     Animal Kingdom-themed Happy Meal
    Happy Meal
    A "Happy Meal" is a meal specifically marketed at children, sold at the fast-food chain McDonald's since June 1979. A toy is typically included with the food, both of which are usually contained in a small box or paper bag with the McDonald's logo....

     toys was a winged purple dragon.

As Expedition Everest features the mythological yeti, a creature that may or may not exist, the park now features at least one attraction based on each type of animal (living, extinct and legendary). As to Beastly Kingdom's future, Walt Disney Imagineer
Walt Disney Imagineering
Walt Disney Imagineering is the design and development arm of the Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide...

 Joe Rohde
Joe Rohde
Joseph "Joe" Rohde is a veteran executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, the division of The Walt Disney Company that designs and builds Disney's theme parks and resort hotels. Rohde's formal title is Executive Designer and Vice President, Creative....

 said in 2000: "We had a vision and now it's become a place holder. We have all kinds of ideas and not all of them fit with the theme of Beastly Kingdom. I'm not even convinced there will be a Beastly Kingdom.".

Restaurants and shops

The park contains three table service restaurants:
  • Rainforest Cafe
    Rainforest Cafe
    Rainforest Cafe is a themed restaurant chain owned by Landry's Restaurants, Inc. of Houston, Texas. It was founded by entrepreneur Steven Schussler. The first location opened in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on February 3, 1994. In 1997, the chain consisted of only six restaurants,...

    , located just outside the main entrance (also accessible from inside the park);
  • Yak & Yeti, an Asian-themed restaurant located in the park's Asia section (operated by Landry's Restaurants
    Landry's Restaurants
    -External links:*...

    ) that opened on November 14, 2007; and
  • Tusker House, located in Africa and one of the park's original quick-service restaurants, was converted into a buffet restaurant and re-opened on November 17, 2007.

Tusker House hosts "Donald's Safari Breakfast" and "Donald's Dining Safari Lunch," a character-dining event where guests enjoy a buffet while meeting Donald Duck
Donald Duck
Donald Fauntleroy Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions and licensed by The Walt Disney Company. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie. Donald is most...

 and other Disney characters.

There are five quick-service restaurants located throughout the park:
  • Flame Tree Barbecue
    Barbecue or barbeque , used chiefly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia is a method and apparatus for cooking meat, poultry and occasionally fish with the heat and hot smoke of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of...

    , on Discovery Island near DinoLand USA;
  • Pizzafari, also on Discovery Island, near Camp Minnie-Mickey;
  • Restaurantosaurus, in DinoLand USA;
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments, in Africa; and,
  • Yak & Yeti Local Foods Café, located next to the larger Yak & Yeti table-service facility.

As with other Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney's Animal Kingdom has other locations and carts that offer snacks and beverages.


Much concern was brought to the animals' well-being when the park originally opened. The park typically closes earlier than other parks in the Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort , is the world's most-visited entertaimental resort. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida ; approximately southwest of Orlando, Florida, United States, the resort covers an area of and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels Walt...

. The animals are said to require a strict schedule to avoid stress, so even on nights when the park is open later, animals usually will be brought "off stage" an hour or two before the park officially closes for the day. Another notable difference from other Disney parks is that Animal Kingdom does not have a fireworks show in consideration to the animals.

Conservation efforts

As a zoological park, Disney's Animal Kingdom is engaged in research and conservation efforts involving its animal species. Since the park's opening in 1998, the resident elephant herd has produced five calves, with births in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. In 2008 alone, the park's giraffe herd produced four newborns, raising the total number of giraffe births since opening to eleven.

In 1999, one of the park's white rhinos
White Rhinoceros
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species...

 gave birth to a female calf named Nande. In 2006, Nande and Hasani, another of the park's rhinos, were transferred to Uganda's
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 Ziwa animal sanctuary, in the first attempt to re-introduce white rhinos to the country. Due to civil strife, the white rhinoceros had become extinct in the area. In June 2009, Nande gave birth to a male calf, the first such birth in Uganda in over 25 years. In January 2010, the success of the Rhino breeding program was highlighted with the news that eight white rhinos have been born at Animal Kingdom since the parks opening, the newest calf having been born to another Animal Kingdom born mother.


Even in planning stages, various Florida based animal rights groups and PETA
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

 did not like the idea of Disney creating a theme park where animals were held in captivity. The groups protested, and PETA tried to convince travel agents not to book trips to the park. A few weeks before the park opened, a number of animals died due to accidents. The United States Department of Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 viewed most of the cases and found no violations of animal-welfare regulations. On opening day, the Orange County Sheriff's office sent about 150 deputies in fear that there may be a large protest, but only two dozen protesters showed up. The protest lasted two hours, and there were no arrests.

One year after the park opened, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida complained that a New Year's Eve fireworks show could upset the animals. A USDA inspector came to the park and found no problems with launching low-noise fireworks half a mile away.

See also

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom attraction and entertainment history
  • The Kingdom Keepers
    The Kingdom Keepers
    The Kingdom Keepers is a series of novels for young readers, written by Ridley Pearson and published by Disney Hyperion. The first novel, Disney After Dark, was published in 2006, and the second, Disney at Dawn, was released on August 26, 2008, and the third, Disney In Shadow was released on...

    the second book of this fiction series is set in the Animal Kingdom.

External links

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