The Animal Kingdom
is Walt Disney World’s newest theme park designed around a vast assortment of animals – but it’s so much more than a traditional zoo. It’s a beautiful 500-acre “themed” park made up of seven different attractions centered on live animals and extinct dinosaurs. With over 1,000 animals, along with exotic flora, streams and stunning architecture, the Animal Kingdom transports visitors to exotic locales brimming with excitement and thrills beyond the imagination. The majesty and mystery of nature and animals comes to life in the Animal Kingdom and leaves visitors with a renewed respect for our Earth and its’ inhabitants. The Entrance Plaza at the Animal Kingdom contains Guest Relations, ATMs, phones, strollers and lockers, and is also the site of the only full service restaurant in the park. Although very large (five times the size of the Magic Kingdom,) visitors ride through most of the Animal Kingdom’s seven different attractions. As you travel through it, you’ll encounter wildlife, experience thrill rides and exciting shows, and be awestruck by some of nature’s most fascinating creatures, as well as meeting some of Disney’s most lovable characters. So get ready to “take a drive on the wild side,” when you enter Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom Address and Phone Number
P.O. Box 10,000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions
Your journey through the Animal Kingdom begins with The Oasis and Discovery Island (formerly Safari Village,) at the hub of the park. From there, the other “lands” are reached by bridge and include DinoLand USA, Asia, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Camp Minnie-Mickey. Visitors enter through The Oasis, and are immediately transported to a tropical atmosphere of cool streams and waterfalls, lush foliage and macaws, anteaters, boars and iguanas. Beginning at Discovery Island, visitors enjoy “It’s Tough to be a Bug,” a 3-D show located beneath the magnificent 145-foot Tree of Life, which is the icon of the park. At 14 stories high, this impressive artificial tree is intricately carved with images of more than 325 animals. Live animals located on Discovery Island include lemurs, flamingos, otters, kangaroos, storks, cranes, and deer.
At DinoLand U.S.A., children can excavate fossils, play on slides, and ride Dinosaur, a thrill ride similar to Disneyland’s “Indiana Jones Adventure,” which takes you back in time in pursuit of the iguanodon. DinoLand has a “carnival-like” atmosphere and contains rides like the Primeval Whirl, the TriceraTop Spin and Dino-Rama. There is a Tarzan Rocks stage show and in-line skaters that dazzle audiences with their amazing fast-paced action. The King of the Jungle and friends also perform spectacular acrobatic feats.
On to “Africa,” in the Animal Kingdom, visitors have the chance to ride in open-air vehicles on the Kilimanjaro Safari, through an area made to look like an African Savannah, in which wild animals like elephants, giraffe, lions and zebras roam freely. Africa also features an exhibit of Silverback Gorillas and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, where you can watch animals like the hippo through a glass viewing area.
The “Asia” exhibit includes the Kali River Rapids, which is a white-water rafting ride along the Chakranadi River, with waterfalls and waves guaranteed to give you a thrilling experience. The Maharajah Jungle Trek walking tour takes you past the ruins of a temple where you’ll see Asian tigers and a special exhibit with Giant Fruit Bats. Expedition Everest, a roller coaster housed in a 200 foot tall “mountain,” is Asia’s newest attraction. The Flights of Wonder is filled with a cast of birds that entertain visitors with their natural and humorous behaviors.
Rounding out the other areas of the Animal Kingdom are Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which is accessible only by train, and contains a petting zoo and teaching exhibits, and Camp Minnie-Mickey, which is host to two live shows, “Pocahontas and her Forest Friends” and “Festival of the Lion King.” Also at Camp Minnie-Mickey you’ll find character greeting stations where you can take photos with your favorite Disney characters.
Animal Kingdom History
Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park opened on Earth Day, April 22, 1998. The underlying theme of the park is conservation and preservation, and is based on a quote by Walt Disney, “I have learned from the animal world, and what everyone will learn who studies it is, a renewed sense of kinship with the earth and all its inhabitants.” The Animal Kingdom park uses the made-up word “nahtazu,” (pronounced “not a zoo,”) frequently to emphasize that this park is much more than an ordinary zoo.
Animal Kingdom Park Map (click on map for larger view)