Hi everyone! I am so excited to share with you today some interesting facts I have learned about Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Animal Kingdom, which first opened its doors in 1998, is known for not only its beautiful animals and wildlife reserve, but its awesome rides, and the amazing overall ambiance of the entire park! Stepping into the Animal Kingdom is like stepping into a whole other level of Disney, it is very unique and different compared to the other three parks. You truly feel transported to different parts of the world when you are walking around the Animal Kingdom, which is incredible! Who would not want to travel to Asia for the price of a one-day admission into the park?! I know I would take that any day! Anyways, Animal Kingdom is full of exciting surprises so let’s jump right in!
1. The Tree of Life
This beautiful work of art at the center of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is 145 feet tall and 50 feet wide! It houses 325 animal carvings and has over 100,000 leaves that actually blow in the wind! Making it very “life” like-pun intended. The Tree of Life was based on the shape and structure of a Baobab Tree, you can see real Baobab Trees on the Kilimanjaro Safari! However, the base of the tree is actually an oil rig, meant to withstand Hurricane winds! This tree represents all creatures that inhabit the earth, from a tiny snail to an enormous Elephant! Every time you look at this beautiful tree you are bound to see an animal or detail you had not noticed before! It is truly spectacular.
2. The Most Expensive Coaster Ever Made
Expedition Everest cost more than $100,000,000 dollars, making it the most expensive roller coaster ever made! Everest also stands at whopping 199.5 feet tall, just shy of Federal Aviation Regulations that state it would require a red light beacon on the top.
3. Size of the Park
The Animal Kingdom is hands down the largest park, covering more than 500 acres! The Kilimanjaro Safari Savannah alone is bigger than the Magic Kingdom. With the Magic Kingdom being 107 acres and Kilimanjaro Safari being 110 acres! This also means that the Animal Kingdom is almost big enough to fit TWO Epcot’s in it!
4. Valley of Mo’ara
There are 22 floating mountains in the valley of Mo’ara, located in Animal Kingdoms newest themed area Pandora. The whole new planet peaks at over 120 feet from the Valley floor. The steel supporting these floating mountains is beautifully camouflaged by vines.
5. First Animal Birth
The first animal birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a Kudu, which is a Large African Antelope. There have now been 117 live births at the Animal Kingdom, the latest being a Giraffe!
6. Species of Animal at the Animal Kingdom
There are over 2,000 animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, representing over 300 different species! Some of which are highly endangered like the Sumatran Tigers and Western Lowland Gorillas. If you want to spot these animals be sure to take a walk on the animal trails and go for an adventure on Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.
You may have noticed when purchasing a beverage at the Animal Kingdom that you are never given a lid or straw. This is to ensure the safety of the animals. Don’t forget to donate to the Disney Conservation Fund while you are at the park as well, Disney matches dollar for dollar! Disney has already donated more $70 million dollars to reduce the decline of wildlife all over the world!
8. Living in “the wild”
One of the major premises behind the Animal Kingdom was to allow guests to learn more about the beautiful animals that inhabit our Earth. In doing that, Disney needed to make sure that the animals felt at home. If you have been on the Kilimanjaro Safari you see the amazing ecosystems Disney created to allow each animal to feel right at home. But what is keeping them in? Although it may not seem like there are any harsh security systems throughout the Safari and other animal encounter areas, there is something in each living space that is keeping the animals there, while still allowing them to feel at home. This could be a range of different water features or a camouflaged fence. However, at night the animals are transported to shelters, for even greater security measures.
9. Dedication Plaque
Ever wonder why the plaque at the park entrance states, “Welcome to a Kingdom of Animals…real, ancient, and imagined”? This is because, at the beginning stages of planning this amazing park, there was to be an area called “The Beastly Kingdom.” This area would be filled with fictional creatures, such as Dragons. Although that never came to be, we did receive Pandora in its place. This planet encompasses you in a whole world of imagination and fictional creatures, such as Navi, Banshee, Woodsprites, and so much more.
10. Hidden Mickey
This one is for all of you Hidden Mickey explorers, myself included. Ever wonder where the biggest Hidden Mickey in the Animal Kingdom is? You’ll find it on Safari! When in the Flamingo ecosystem, you’ll see Mickey shaped around the island. The Hidden Mickey picture above you can spot in Pandora at the Animal Kingdom. If you want some more tips I recommend picking up a Hidden Mickey guide for a trip, like this one from Amazon.
I am sad this post is coming to an end, I could talk about the Animal Kingdom all day! I hope you learned something new about this enchanting park from reading this post, and I hope it fills your heart with as much joy as it did mine. Remember, it’s a jungle out there, go wild!
My passion for the Disney Parks has been growing strong since ever since I can remember. Being a Florida native, Disney has always been right around the corner, and I take pride in the fact that I know the parks inside and out! I love sharing my insight on all things Disney related, in hopes of helping others have the most magical vacation ever.