How Well Do You Know Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

As with anything Disney related, Animal Kingdom is full of fun facts and trivia. It would be impossible to know everything there is to know about this park, but here are some interesting tidbits of information that you can add to your storage of Disney knowledge, and it may even add to the enjoyment of your next visit!

Walt Disney World opened Animal Kingdom on Earth Day, April 22, in 1998, and it is the largest Disney theme park in the world covering about 500 acres. Within those 500 acres resides more than just a theme park with rides and attractions, but a place that blends the beauty of the natural world with the magic of Disney. The driving force behind the park is animal conservation, and Disney researches and learns about new ways to better conserve animals and their habitat, which is also the world we inhabit!

Have you ever noticed the different animals on the Animal Kingdom sign? There’s an elephant that represents the animals in our world today, a triceratops that represents the animals that once existed in our world, and there’s also a dragon! Ever wondered why that dragon is there? In the original plans for Animal Kingdom there was to be a section called Beastly Kingdom, which would be devoted to creatures of another world, of mythology. However Beastly Kingdom never came to fruition and Camp Minnie-Mickey was built instead, which will soon become the land dedicated to Avatar, or Pandora.

Disney certainly is contributing to the conservation of animals at Animal Kingdom. There are approximately 250 different species at Animal Kingdom, and it takes 2,000 pounds of vegetation every day to feed them. Since Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, eight white rhinos have been born. The white rhino is an endangered species, with only 11,000 left in the world. They also celebrated the birth of a black rhino at the park, adding to the devastatingly low count of only 250 left in the world. The park also has also allowed scientists to do important research. Thanks to Animal Kingdom scientists discovered two vocalizations made by elephants that had never been recorded previously. Animal Kingdom is also home to the largest group of Nile hippos and African elephants in North America. There is so much important work and research happening at this amazing theme park!

The park isn’t just a place about education, but also a place for guests to have fun. The popular thrill ride at Animal Kingdom, Dinosaur, was originally called Countdown to Extinction. The attraction remained much the same despite the new name, but it was changed to tie the Disney film Dinosaur to the attraction. The incredibly terrifying Carnotaurus in Dinosaur is a bit of a creation on the part of Disney Imagineers. The carnataurus at Anima Kingdom is larger with a few other differences and enhancements, so he is known as a sub-species which Imagineers call “Carnotaurs robustus Floridana’, which means ‘stout meat bull from Florida’, and that is a pretty apt description!

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Another popular thrill ride at Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest, which is one of the most expensive roller coasters in the world. It is reported that this attraction cost about $100 million to construct. The queue is basically a Yeti museum and features approximately 8,000 artifacts brought back from Nepal. The Yeti that resides in Everest is the largest and most complex Audio-animatronic every built by Disney Imagineers. Unfortunately the Yeti was only in full operation for the first few months that it opened in 2006. The concrete base that the Yeti is on was damaged and cannot be fixed without some major disassembling of the attraction. It is said this will happen eventually, though no time has been specified.

The Tree of Life is an awe-inspiring symbol of all that Animal Kingdom represents. It’s size and beauty stops guests in their tracks as they admire the tree from afar and up close, and of course get a photo or two! The tree is 145 feet tall, with 325 different animals from reptiles, mammals, and birds carved into it. While artists were sculpting the animals, they only had about 6-10 hours to finish each carving before the plaster became to hard to work with. There was also a great deal of thought put into where each animal would be positioned in the tree and the roots. As you walk along the Discovery Island Trails and the queue leading to It’s Tough to Be a Bug, take note of the animals. The tree tells an evolutionary story, beginning at the roots with dinosaurs and prehistoric sea life, and as the roots grow into the tree and branches, the animals become birds and bugs and the carvings become more complex and varied in species. On your next visit, take the time to examine the story and the progression of nature that the Tree of Life tells us!

There is so much to know and discover about Animal Kingdom, and that’s part of what makes this park so wonderful! What are some of your favorite things about Animal Kingdom?

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.