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Disney's Animal Kingdom®

Disney_Animal_kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Encounter exotic animals and exciting adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, the largest animal theme park in the world. Home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species, the park reflects Walt Disney’s dedication to conservation and is committed to animal care, education and research. Explore 7 enthralling lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A. areas.

Set off on an adventure into the wilds of Disney where you’ll experience incredible shows, exciting attractions and creatures both real and imaginary.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998 at Walt Disney World and, despite Disney’s best marketing attempts to make you think otherwise, it still comes across as glorified  zoo with some rides thrown in.   At this point, you either love it or you do not – there does notseem to be many middle ground opinions.   Most of the park is still outdoors – which lends to the hot and cranky factor of the average guests.  Disney has placed a number of large electric fans throughout the park which does help somewhat.  Also, if you want a quick cool-off there is a pull shower located in Harambe Village in the Africa section of the park.  Guests who love the live entertainment at Epcot will find many similar and interactive opportunities at the Animal Kingdom…if you know where to look.

A girl hugs a goat at Affection Section petting zooThere is no doubt that it is an animal lover’s paradise affording up-close opportunities to observe a fascinating  variety of animals.  The highlight of the animal experiences is the Kilamanjaro Safaris attraction which is a truck safari through various animal enclosures.  This ride is Disney at its best.  The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the Maharajah Jungle Trek are the two most zoo-like aspects of this park.  The settings and the animals are impressive and worth a look, even if you live near a good zoo.  However, The Pangani Forest Exploration, in which you get to see live gorillas, doesn’t compare to the primate exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, where you can sit down and watch a family of primates enjoying their family life through a one-way mirror, a fascinating experience. There are no primate families to see at The Pangani Forest and there is nowhere to sit down. “Flights of Wonder” is an often over-looked gem of a show featuring a variety of birds, including macaws, hawks, and others.  Anyone taking absences from school and is being expected to write some sort of report should seriously consider this performance.   Rafiki’s Planet Watch (formerly the Conservation Station) is another educational stop at this park and includes an petting zoo area called “The Affection Section” and sometimes provides an opportunity to see veterinarians checking various animals.  Take time to read the signs on the bathroom walls in this area. Periodically throughout the day, you may see a “Cast Member” (Disney employee) out and about with a small animal .  Take a moment to stop and visit with the handler.  If you get really lucky, you may witness a medical procedure on an animal there as well.

 

The Animal Kingdom is not without its opportunities for excitement.  The Kali River Rapids are a fun – but too short – raft ride that guarantees your getting wet.  Tip: don’t rest your feet on the floor, water sometimes rushes in from the bottom; there is a bar in the center area for you to rest them on.    The park’s newest ride, “Expedition Everest” is a roller coaster ride through the home of the Yeti, and includes an up close encounter with one of these mythical beasts, including a section where you go backwards on the coaster.   Dinosaur is a fun but bumpy (and sometimes dark) ride though the ancient past, offering guests the rare chance to be devoured by a carnivorous dinosaur.  Primeval Whirl is a mad-mouse type ride that is more fun if the ride car is not quite evenly balanced.Each Disney park offers a 3-D movie experience and the Animal Kingdom’s “It’s Tough to Be A Bug” has the most cohesive storyline of any of the movies.  It is a lot of fun and offers a variety of experiences for the senses.  Be warned that some small children find the giant bugs a little overwhelming.Speaking of small children, there is a lot for them to do at this park – with the exception of some of the thrill rides, most attractions do not have a height or age requirement.  The Boneyard play area is a favorite.  Donald Duck – rarely seen at WDW – has his own character dining experience here.  The Camp Minnie-Mickey area offers some great character meet & greet opportunities.  Dinoland U.S.A. includes “Triceratop Spin” which is similar to the classic Disney Dumbo ride.

 

The place where the Animal Kingdom really shines is in its wonderful live entertainment.   “Finding Nemo – the Musical” is the newest show in all of Disney World and is impressing young and old alike with its amazing giant puppets.  “Festival of the Lion King” is a long-time favorite with all the wonder of Broadway meets Cirque du Soleil.  Pocohontas and Her Forest Friends doesn’t generate a lot of excitement.   There are lots of smaller Street Performance type acts that should not be missed.  “G-Force” is an impressive trampoline act.   There are various percussion or musical groups, and the amazing “DiVine” is a real treat.   Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade has fun and festive floats and and music.

Backstage Safari

A gorilla on the ground looking at another gorilla sitting in a treeA fascinating 3-hour look at how Disney Cast Members tend to the 1,500-plus inhabitants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. 

Wild About Wildlife?

Set out on an eye-opening tour of the facilities where the animals are cared for, and experience an exhilarating safari.

 

A colorful parrot entertains Guests

Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is a lushly landscaped oasis that’s home to more than 1,500 animals representing 250 species. Learn about the unique challenges involved in helping them thrive as you:

  • Visit the Animal Nutrition Center and see how over 3 tons of food are prepared and distributed each day.
  • Go behind the scenes and explore a backstage animal-housing area.
  • Tour the state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, where you may even witness animals being treated.
  • Stop by the Animal Programs Administration building and learn how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation and animal well-being.

In the midst of your tour, enjoy some light refreshments and collect a memorable keepsake.

A portion of the tour proceeds is donated to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Close-up of a gorillaEmbark on an Animal Adventure

Next, take off on an animal expedition through a lush African savanna during an exciting Kilimanjaro Safaris® outing.

Board a rugged open-sided vehicle for your trek through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, and be on the lookout for giraffes, lions and rhinos while you traverse across a 100-acre savanna in the Africa area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

And since the animals have minds of their own, each Kilimanjaro Safaris tour is an experience all its own!

Close-up of a baboonKnow Before You Go

View important information including Guest restrictions, recommended attire and cancellation policies.

  • Animal viewing is extremely limited, as the majority of the tour takes place in facilities behind the scenes. While there may be opportunities for animal interaction, it is not guaranteed. You will, however, see animals on the Kilimanjaro Safaris portion of the tour, which lasts about 30 minutes.
  • Please keep in mind that Backstage Safari is an outdoor tour, so be sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately, including wearing comfortable shoes. Since it can get extremely hot during the summer months, you may want to bring your own water.
  • No cameras, video equipment or cell phones may be used while backstage. Photography is allowed and encouraged in non-backstage areas.
  • Guests must be 16 years of age or older and have a valid photo ID.
  • Please check in at the Main Entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park near the far left turnstile 15 minutes prior to the start of your tour. You will forfeit the entire price of your tour if you no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation.
  • Tour itinerary, content, duration and availability are subject to change without notice.

Expedition Everest Challenge

Asian statues and towering Forbidden Mountain at night in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme parkRace through Disney’s Animal Kingdom park on a unique course filled with obstacles, clues and wild scenery!

Calling All Thrill-Seekers!

From the scavenger hunt and 5k obstacle race to the lively Post-Race Party, an evening of excitement awaits!

Expedition Everest Challenge beckons thrill-seekers to embark on a course that’s sure to test your body, mind and spirit. At the end of it all, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a special celebration.

Wild Africa Trek

A teenaged girl wearing a safety-harness vest crosses a rope bridge on Wild Africa TrekA privately guided VIP expedition offering close encounters with exotic African wildlife in their native habitat. 

Save $50 with a Special Summer Offer

This Summer, get more roars for your buck—chomp $50 off the price of your adventure when you book a Wild Africa Trek for 11:45 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:15 PM, 2:30 PM or 3:15 PM! Offer valid April 28 through October 26, 2013.

A cheetah poised on a boulder in Safi River Valley at Animal Kingdom theme parkA Thrilling Safari Adventure

Roam with wild animals on this 3-hour safari trek through the Safi River Valley at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

The Journey 
See yawning hippos and hissing crocodiles just 10 feet below as you make your way across a shaky rope bridge, secured to an overhead track with a safety harness. Ride in a rugged safari vehicle over an open savanna teeming with native African creatures, from towering giraffes to powerful rhinos.

On your journey, your knowledgeable guide will share little-known insights on the majestic animals on view as well as the general operation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

Candid Photo Ops 
A professional photographer will also be taking pictures throughout, so feel free to relax and spend some quality time, up close and personal with the animals of the Harambe Reserve. At the end of your expedition, you’ll receive your CD loaded with memories.

And as if your trek weren’t memorable enough, you’ll receive a complimentary souvenir as well!

Two stainless-steel food carriers holding different kinds of breakfast foodsIndulge In Gourmet Eats

Work up a decadent appetite during your trek and indulge in some first-class, African-inspired snacks.

Sample Menu

Morning

  • Air-dried beef and prosciutto
  • Smoked salmon roulade with dill
  • Fig cake with Boursin cheese
  • Brie cheese and apricot
  • Berry yogurt and dried cranberries
  • Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger

Afternoon

  • Chicken curry salad
  • Sun-dried tomato hummus and mini pita
  • Marinated tandoori shrimp
  • Smoked salmon roulade with dill
  • Air-dried beef and prosciutto
  • Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger

Please note: Menu items are subject to change without notice.

Close-up of 2 rhinos grazing on dried grassThings to Know Before You Go

View important information including physical requirements, recommended attire and amenities provided.

  • WARNING: For your safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure; heart, back or neck problems; motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not participate.
  • Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult (18 years of age or older).
  • Participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall.
  • Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating.
  • You must have physical stamina, comfort with heights, and the surefootedness to negotiate small hills, foliage and unsteady rope bridges on this tour. Guests seeking a less strenuous or wheelchair-accessible trek should contact Wild Africa Trek operations at 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for alternative programs.
  • Recommended attire includes shorts or pants and a comfortable shirt. Closed-toe shoes with a back strap or hiking boots are required. No flip-flops will be allowed. Skirts or dresses are not recommended.
  • Complimentary lockers for your belongings will be provided. You will also receive a safety vest and wireless headset so that you can hear your guide at all times. Cameras are allowed as long as they can be securely fastened to the vest.
  • Please arrive on time and allow approximately 10 minutes for the walk from the turnstiles at the front of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park to the Harambe area check-in location.
  • Excursion occurs rain or shine, with the exception of severe weather or lightning.
  • Tour itinerary, content, duration and availability are subject to change without notice.
  • You will forfeit the entire price of your tour if you no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation.

Wild by Design

Forest meets the river’s edge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parkDelve into the intricate planning and design behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom park on this 3-hour walking tour.
The Disney Is in the Details

Transforming 500 acres of Florida wetlands into the world’s largest animal-themed park was no small task. Every single detail of this jungle paradise was carefully thought out, each habitat painstakingly re-created for an authentic, natural look and feel.

Discover how Disney Imagineers transport you to faraway lands inhabited by magnificent animals through the use of native art and architecture, indigenous flora, genuine historical artifacts and a dash of Disney storytelling. Your guide will provide real-time insights on everything you see—including hidden Mickeys—through an electronic headset.

On your tour, you’ll:

• Travel to Asia and the fictional kingdom of Anandapur, where you’ll see elaborate hand-painted murals that took 120 artists over 5 months to complete.

• Watch Disney storytelling at work in the themed areas of DinoLand U.S.A. and the village of Serka Zong, including Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures and the Expedition Everest™ attraction.

• Walk the Africa area’s Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, where you may be lucky enough to glimpse gorillas at play as well as hippos, okapi and meerkats.

• Visit Discovery Island, where you’ll enjoy a delicious continental breakfast at Pizzafari restaurant midway through your tour.

Each Guest will also receive a special Wild by Design keepsake!

Even if you’ve visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom park before, you’ll see it in a whole new light once you learn how much thought went into its creation—and how much effort goes into its upkeep.

A tangle of baskets, wire containers and woven boxes tied togetherMeet the Animal Keepers

Gain insight on the animal residents of the park from the people who know them best.

Our dedicated and experienced animal handlers will tell you all about the training, feeding and care of their charges, as well as amusing animal anecdotes.

You’ll also learn about Disney’s commitment to wildlife conservation efforts via programs like the Species Survival Plan and get in-depth answers to any burning questions you may have.

Go Backstage
The Wild by Design tour focuses on the onstage areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. If you’re interested in seeing the backstage facilities that provide exceptional care for the animals at the park, check out the Backstage Safari tour.

Close-up of a statue of a red elephant’s head at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parkKnow Before You Go

View important information including experience details, Guest restrictions and transportation policies.

• Any personal transportation costs incurred to get to the location on time to begin the tour are the Guest’s own responsibility.

• Guests must be 14 years of age or older to participate. Children 14 to 15 years of age must be accompanied by a paying adult (18 years of age or older).

• Tour itinerary, content, duration and availability are subject to change without notice.

• Please check in near the far left turnstile at the Main Entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park 15 minutes prior to the start of your tour.

You will forfeit the entire price of your tour if you no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation.

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