Guest-Favorite Experience Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

disney's animal kingdom entrance
Credit: Becky Burkett

A Guest-favorite experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has returned, thrilling fans who look forward to the experience as a welcome break from the busyness of the animal-themed park at Disney World.

RELATED: One Experience at Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland, U. S. A. is Totally Extinct, Gone Forever

disney's animal kingdom entrance

Credit: Becky Burkett

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998, it offered Guests a seemingly endless buffet of animal exhibits, shows, live entertainment, and unique attractions with even more unique stories surrounding the attractions. While some who heard about Disney’s newest theme park wondered if it were merely a zoo with Mickey heads adorning every animal enclosure, it was clear after just one visit to the new Disney World theme park that Animal Kingdom was so much more than just a zoo.

The park opened with many of the attractions still in operation today, including DINOSAUR, Festival of the Lion King, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Oasis Exhibits, the Pocahontas Meet-and-Greet, the Wildlife Express Train and Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and more.

Behind the Scenes of Kilimanjaro Safari at the Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney Parks

RELATED: Huge Brawl Narrowly Averted in Line for Popular Animal Kingdom Attraction

Other attractions came later. Kali River Rapids and the Maharajah Jungle Trek were added in 1999, and TriceraTop Spin was added in 2002. The park’s flagship attraction, Expedition Everest, was added in April 2006, followed by the Finding Nemo musical in 2007. When Pandora: The World of Avatar was added as an expansion to the park in 2017, it brought with it Na’vi River Journey and Avatar: Flight of Passage.

Animal Kingdom offers something for everyone, and among those offerings enjoyed by Guests of all ages is Dinoland, U. S. A. Dinosaurs and the prehistoric era serve as focal points of the themed land that features attractions like DINOSAUR, TriceraTop Spin, and the fan-favorite Dino playground called The Boneyard.

dinoland usa at disney's animal kingdom

Credit: Disney Parks

The story behind Dinoland U. S. A. is where all the prehistoric fun begins:

DinoLand U.S.A. originally started as a small highway town where an amateur fossil hunter found some dinosaur bones in 1947. After contacting some scientist friends, they gathered their money together to purchase the site. Since then, scientists, volunteers, and grad students have been living there trying to find answers about dinosaurs. The Dino Institute was founded and opened the site as a “fossil discover park.” An old fishing lodge on the property became the Restaurantosaurus. Meanwhile, the Dino Institute and their partners at a research facility called Chrono-Tech discovered how to warp vehicles through time and thus started doing time tours.

Chester and Hester, two locals, were determined to make a quick buck and converted their gas station into a fossil souvenir shop. Not to be outdone by the Dino Institute, they turned their parking lot into a small amusement park called “Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama,” featuring their own version of DINOSAUR named Primeval Whirl. They also added TriceraTop Spin and the midway games.

disney world's animal kingdom boneyard with dinosaur bones and fossils

Credit: Disney Parks

Of all the fun at Dinoland, however, one of the attractions with the most draw is The Boneyard. The imaginative playground resembles a dig site. Kids age 10 and under are invited to put their best paleontological skills to work while Mom and Dad give their sometimes-weary feet a rest. The exciting dig site at Dinoland closed in May for refurbishment, and initially, some Guests worried it wouldn’t return.

But Disney World promised its return, and this week is the week! The Boneyard has officially reopened to junior paleontologists and their parents. For more about the fun at Disney World’s only dig site, click here!

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!