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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attraction to Be Replaced: Here’s What to Know

The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney Parks

September 2023 was a big month for the Disney Park community but an even bigger day for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. At Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club celebrated Disney100 with a huge fan event, as Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro dropped some bombshell news about the future of the parks.

There was a ton of news from DinoLand USA, to new lands and new characters… but we need to talk about Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life.

Goodbye “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!”

The iconic and gorgeous Tree of Life has proudly marked the heart of Disney’s Animal Kingdom since the park opened in 1998. The visually stunning artificial tree stands at an impressive 145 feet and is decorated with intricate carvings of diverse wildlife. There are around 325 animal carvings! The Tree of Life is not just a static sculpture, though, it also hosts an attraction known as “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!

animal kingdom's tree of life walt disney world disney park disconvery island it's tough to be a bug replaced with zootopia show disney imagineers tree of life theater

Credit: Michael Gray/Flickr

Related: EPCOT’s Test Track Is Being Reimagined: Here’s What to Know

But, as shared in September 2023, Disney Imagineers plan to uproot the Discovery Island landmark and revamp it from the ground up.

As mentioned, inside the trunk of the tree, guests can experience a 3D film that explores the world of insects through the eyes of different bug characters from the Disney/Pixar film A Bug’s Life (1998) while also experiencing 4D physical elements connected to onscreen events. Think bugs crawling past your feet, a stinger to the back, and certain smells. Yeah… not really the most appealing, but it’s a classic attraction nonetheless.

Zooptopia-themed Attraction on the Way

Enjoy the nostalgia while you can because Walt Disney Imagineering is gutting Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life and officially exterminating the A Bug’s Life indoor theater show….and replacing it with a Zootopia-themed one! That’s right, Flik and Atta are moving out to make way for Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, and the rest of the city of Zootopia in the near future.

D23 reported that “Imagineers are currently finalizing the concept, and more details will be coming in the future.”

Related: Magic Kingdom’s First-Ever Lounge Is on the Way: Here’s What to Know

When Will Construction Begin?

Just like other D23 news, such as Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge, Disney has not given a timeframe for the Tree of Life’s “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” demolition. As always, we will continue to keep readers updated as we learn more about the future of the classic Tree of Life attraction, including information on opening dates.

More About Zootopia

The 2016 hit film Zootopia stars voice actors Ginnifer Goodwin as the ambitious bunny cop, Judy Hopps, and Jason Bateman as the sly con-fox with a heart of gold, Nick Wilde. The Academy Award-winning film follows Judy’s struggle to be taken seriously as she teams up with Nick. They rush to solve a case that ultimately uncovers a conspiracy that threatens peace in Zootopia.

While many fans are devastated to see “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!” go, there is a general consensus that certain elements of the show were scary for young children in attendance. Those grasshoppers still give me chills.

animal kingdom's tree of life walt disney world disney park disconvery island it's tough to be a bug replaced with zootopia show disney imagineers tree of life theater

Credit: Ken Lund /Flickr

It’s nice to see some Zootopia love in Walt Disney World on the heels of Tokyo Disney’s exciting announcement of an entire Zootopia-themed land coming to the Japanese park. While the details about the new Tree of Life theater show are still under wraps, you can get more info about the plans for Tokyo’s Zootopia offerings here!

Disney Dining will gladly keep you updated with emerging information on the revamp of Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life!

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!