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8 Facts & Secrets About Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Guests who spend time on a Disney vacation love to dedicate most of their days to visiting the four Walt Disney World theme parks. While each park is amazing in its own way, many guests adore Disney’s Animal Kingdom thanks to its amazing experiences and its important message. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a celebration of the beauty of nature and aims to teach guests about the importance of preserving and protecting the planet through entertaining experiences. Guests who spend time in the park can travel across the world and through time to enjoy thrilling and classic attractions, world class entertainment, and unique dining and shopping. With so many amazing things to experience while enjoying time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests might think that they know all there is to know about the park after spending lots of time there. However there are plenty of hidden details and secrets in the park which guests might never notice! Here are eight things that they won’t tell you about Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but we will!

8. Life Support

When guests enter into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they are taken aback by the beauty of the massive Tree of Life. The structure serves as the icon of the park and towers above everything around it. The huge Tree of Life features many different branches decked out with thousands of vibrant green leaves and the trunk is carved with hundreds of beautiful animals. While the tree might seem to be breathing with life, it actually is fake and was constructed with concrete and fiberglass. In order to create a structure that supported the massive tree, Imagineers had to get creative and ultimately decided on an oil rig as the central support which left plenty of room for the theater in the roots that is home to It’s Tough To Be A Bug.

7. A Familiar Face

One of the most beloved attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the Africa section of the park. Kilimanjaro Safaris invites guests into the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari through lush forests and the African savannah. Along the way guests can enjoy up close encounters with beautiful animals including cheetahs, rhinos, hippos, elephants, giraffes, lions, and zebras. Before boarding the attraction, guests wind their way through a lengthy queue which features an open air stretch underneath several televisions. Informational clips play on the televisions and sometimes guests might notice a familiar face. When the attraction opened, guests were accompanied on their journey by the reserve’s warden who was flying in a helicopter overhead. The warden can still be seen on the informational bits played on the televisions in the queue today.

6. Massive Hidden Mickey

While enjoying a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, guests at one point pass by an island covered in brightly colored flamingos. While guests might be enamored by the beauty of the birds, they should look past them to the shape of the island itself. The island is actually shaped like a Hidden Mickey and is one of the largest in Walt Disney World.

5. Kali’s Tiger

Guests who are looking to get soaking wet and cool off in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can head over to the Asia section of the park for a thrilling attraction. Kali River Rapids has guests board family style rafts and take off down the Chakranadi River. While the journey is serene at first, guests soon find themselves learning firsthand the devastations of illegal logging. During the first few minutes of the attraction, guests pass by a large rock formation that features several waterfalls. Those who look closely can enjoy the beauty of the area and the massive face of a tiger formed by the rocks.

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4. A Hidden Imagineer

Expedition Everest in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most thrilling attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Those brave enough to ride begin with a serene tea train tour but soon find themselves deep inside the Forbidden Mountain frantically trying to escape the clutches of the mysterious Yeti. With big thrills and an amazing storyline, Expedition Everest is very popular with guests. Just before entering into the loading area, guests pass through a room that features portraits of individuals who help expeditions heading to the base camp of Everest. Guests who look closely at one of the photos can spot Imagineer Frank Wells who was an avid mountaineer.

3. Dinosaur’s Plumbing

Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom aims to bring guests back to a time where everything was prehistoric. The main attraction of the land is Dinosaur which invites guests into the Dino Institute where they technology to travel back in time has been perfected. While guests are supposed to enjoy a serene tour of a quiet time in history, they find themselves dangerously close to a massive asteroid impact while trying to locate one particular dinosaur to bring to modern times. Before boarding Dinosaur, guests move through a loading area which features a set of stairs and industrial props. Guests who look up can spot a trio of brightly colored pipes which pay homage to the original sponsor of the attraction. A trio of red, yellow, and white pipes can be found with complicated chemical formulas on them. They represent ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise and honor McDonald’s who was Dinosaur’s original sponsor.

2. Pandora’s Impressive Numbers

If you’ve had a chance to visit Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora – The World of Avatar, chances are you were impressed with its sheer beauty! You were likely rushing to one of the two attractions held in this land known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. If you have a moment to stop and explore Pandora’s setting (the Valley of Mo’ara), you might want to look up at the unbelievable floating mountains. Get this – there are 22 floating mountains in total. Plus, look around at the lush landscape and be in awe of the 250 varieties of living plants that are integrated with Pandoran plants. Just amazing!

1. Hot Asphalt

All of Dinoland is supposed to feel like an old time highway and roadside stop that were developed after locals discovered fossils. Guests who walk around the land can notice that many areas of pavement look like old roadways made out of cracking and aging asphalt. While the asphalt might look real, it is actually fake since Imagineers knew that the hot Florida sun would cause many guests to be stuck to the ground. Instead, special techniques were used to achieve the look of asphalt without the real thing!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.