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Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Stay Open Later Than Ever Before Thanks to Unprecedented Extension

Tree of Life Awakenings
Credit: Disney

Between all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Animal Kingdom is easily the most unique.

This nature-dedicated Disney park offers everything from exciting attractions to educational experiences, character meet-and-greets, and live animal sightings.

Animal Kingdom Park operates both like a vast theme park and like a giant zoo. In fact, Animal Kingdom is the most-visited zoo in the world according to the Guinness World Record.

Make No Mistake, There’s Nothing Like Animal Kingdom Park

animal kingdom dinoland usa fossil fun games walt disney imagineering disney park dinosaur bones guests worried about dinosaur ride attraction

Credit: Josh Hallett/ Flickr

READ MORE: Most Underrated Disney’s Animal Kingdom Restaurant? You Decide!

It’s also one of the most beautiful Disney parks in the world, with all its greenery, foliage, and animals. Not to mention Pandora – The World of Avatar, which is otherworldly and ethereal in a way that other Disney Parks simply can’t compare to, especially at night.

Once the sun goes down, Pandora – The World of Avatar can truly shine. In James Cameron’s Avatar series, the bioluminescence of the alien flora and fauna is a big part of what makes the films so visually stunning. Walt Disney Imagineering has taken this bioluminescence and built it right into the Disney park. The only trouble is that guests rarely get to see it!

Not only is Pandora at night a must-see experience, but some of the animal activity heightens as the sun goes down toward the theme park’s closing time. That being said, Animal Kingdom almost always closes before guests see any of it…until now.

Pandora’s Bioluminescence Isn’t the Only Experience Guests Are Missing Out On…

pandora the world of avatar, animal kingdom, na'vi river journey

Credit: Joel, Flickr

READ MORE: Disney World Announces Extended Hours at All But One Theme Park in July

Extended Evening Hours are nothing new for Walt Disney World, with several resort hotels participating in this practice.

For guests staying at specific Disney World resort hotels, Extended Evening Hours gives visitors an extra two hours to enjoy the theme parks. This has been in place for theme parks such as EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, with Hollywood Studios recently joining the club.

Pandora - The World of Avatar

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Are BACK at This Walt Disney World Park

Still, Animal Kingdom has been purposefully left in the dark (pun totally intended). It’s no secret that Animal Kingdom closes earlier than any Disney park, with most nights ending at 7 p.m. Frequent visitors and Florida residents will know that in the summer, the sun often sets later than 7 p.m., meaning that guests visiting Animal Kingdom almost never get to see the theme park after dark.

But it seems that this may be changing soon.

A Historical Change Is Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

baby zebra

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Adorable New Addition

According to Walt Disney World’s official website, Animal Kingdom will begin holding Extended Evening Hours starting on November 8, giving guests an extra two hours in the theme park.

That’s an extra two hours to experience a beloved ride such as Expedition Everest or Kali River Rapids in the dark. Guests may be able to travel the outdoor trails, such as Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail or Maharajah Jungle Trek, without the unrelenting sunshine bearing down on them.

While Disney has yet to make an official announcement regarding Animal Kingdom’s Extended Evening Hours, we can expect one in the coming months. After all, this will be a historical change for the theme park!

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.