Source info from: Wikipedia.org
This was the original logo for the park,
the current one is missing the dragon.
Shortly after the park opened, Disney advertised the park using the fictional word "nahtazu". Pronounced "not a zoo," the word emphasized that the park was more than animal displays found in a typical city zoo. Disney stopped using the phrase in January 2006.
In 2008, the park hosted approximately 9.54 million guests, ranking it the fifth-most visited amusement park in the United States and eight-most visited in the world.
Welcome to a kingdom of animals... real, ancient and imagined: a kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs and dragons; a kingdom of balance, harmony and survival; a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama, and learn.
—Michael Eisner, April 22, 1998
The park is made up of seven themed areas. However, the original plans called for another area called "Beastly Kingdom".
The Oasis is the park's main entrance. Along with providing various guest services, the Oasis features a number of animal habitats. Guests can encounter muntjacs, spoonbills, ducks, wallabies and giant anteaters, among others. The main paths lead deeper into the park, and onto Discovery Island.
A Rainforest Cafe is also located at the entrance of the Oasis, although technically it is outside the park boundaries. Guests may dine at the restaurant without entering Disney's Animal Kingdom, while guests entering the restaurant from within the theme park are actually exiting the park and must present their admission tickets to return to the park.
Discovery Island is located roughly at the center of the park, in the middle of the Discovery River waterway. It was originally called Safari Village, as Discovery Island was the name for the small zoological park located in Walt Disney World's Bay Lake. After that facility closed in 1999, Safari Village was renamed Discovery Island.
Discovery Island is the "central hub" of Disney's Animal Kingdom. It connects to almost all of the other sections of the park, except Rafiki's Planet Watch. The Tree of Life, the park's visual icon, is located here, and is surrounded by animal enclosures showcasing kangaroos, black crowned cranes, lemurs and others. Discovery Island is also home to the park's largest gift shops and two of its major restaurants, each with a different design theme, such as décor based on nocturnal animals, insects and so forth. The island's other major draw is It's Tough to be a Bug!, a comical 4-D film featuring appearances by Flik and Hopper from Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life.
Camp Minnie-Mickey is themed as a rustic summer camp. Here guests can meet the Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and others. Located in the area's main theater is Festival of the Lion King, a live stage show featuring acrobatics and musical performances inspired by The Lion King.
Set in the fictional east African village of Harambe, this area contains a number of animal exhibits. According to Disney legend, Harambe was once part of a Dutch colony, but a peaceful revolution made Harambe self-governing in 1963. Today, Harambe is the starting point for tourists and students who want to observe Africa's animals in their natural habitats.
The Africa area features an exhibit of Silverback Gorillas
The Africa area features an exhibit
of Silverback Gorillas
Rafiki's Planet Watch
The one section of the park not connected to Discovery Island, Rafiki's Planet Watch is instead connected to Africa. Guests board the Wildlife Express Train for the short trip to and from Planet Watch, which consists of three distinct areas. Guests first encounter Habitat Habit!, where they can see cottontop tamarins and learn about the efforts to protect these endangered primates in their natural homes. Along the way, guests can also learn how to provide animal habitats in and around their own homes.
Conservation Station showcases the various conservation efforts supported by the Walt Disney Company. It also gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Disney's Animal Kingdom's animal care facilities, including a veterinary examination room complete with a two-way communications system so the veterinary staff can answer guest questions. Outside, Affection Section is a petting zoo featuring goats, sheep and other domesticated animals.
Asia was the first expansion area added to Disney's Animal Kingdom, first opening in 1999. Like Africa, the section's attractions are part of a fictional village, Anandapur. Much like Harambe, Disney legend states that Anandapur is now a center of animal research and tourism. At the Caravan Stage, these two "worlds" meet in Flights of Wonder, a live bird show where one of Anandapur's bird researchers educates a tour guide with a fear of birds about natural bird behaviors and the effects of habitat loss and conservation efforts on bird species, such as the Black Crowned Crane and American Bald Eagle.
The mountains of Expedition: Everest.
DinoLand U.S.A. is inspired by the public's general curiosity about dinosaurs. The fictitious Dino Institute and it surrounding facilities attract those with a scientific interest in the long-extinct animals, while Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama recalls the many roadside attractions that were once scattered throughout the United States. Like the other sections of Disney's Animal Kingdom, there are animals on display. These particular animals, such as the American Crocodile and Asian brown tortoise, have evolutionary links to the age of the dinosaurs. Other plant and animal species that have survived since the dinosaur era can be found along the Cretaceous Trail. At the edge of DinoLand U.S.A. is the "Theater in the Wild," which hosts Finding Nemo - The Musical, a live-action musical stage show based on the story of the Disney/Pixar feature film.
The Dino Institute is the home of DINOSAUR, a thrill ride featuring a trip through time to the Late Cretaceous Period. Just outside the Institute is "Dino-Sue", a casting of a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that is the most complete yet found. At the nearby Boneyard, children enjoy a multi-leveled playground area complete with a mammoth fossil to be uncovered.
Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, on the other hand, is about dinosaurs as fun. The TriceraTop Spin is a colorful ride for families, while Primeval Whirl is a spinning roller coaster for thrill-seekers. Throughout the area are carnival games and gift shops, as well as chances to meet Disney characters.
Animal Kingdom's original logo which
includes a dragon at the center.
The original design for Animal Kingdom included a section called the Beastly Kingdom (possibly spelled in Old English as "Beastly Kingdomme"). It was a land devoted to creatures of legend and mythology. Due to budget constraints, Beastly Kingdom never came to fruition and Camp Minnie-Mickey was built as a temporary tenant of the Beastly Kingdom land.
Beastly Kingdom was to have featured mythical animals such as unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters. The land would feature realms of both good and evil creatures. The evil side would be dominated by Dragon Tower, a ruined castle home to a greedy fire-breathing dragon who horded a fabulous treasure in the tower chamber. The castle would also be inhabited by bats who planned to rob the dragon of his riches. They would enlist the guests' help in their scheme and whisk them off on a thrilling roller coaster ride through the castle ruins. The climax of the ride would be an encounter with the evil dragon himself, resulting in a nearly-barbecued train of guests.
The good side of this land would be home to Quest of the Unicorn, an adventure which sent guests through a maze of medieval mythological creatures to seek the hidden grotto where the unicorn lived. Finally, the Fantasia Gardens attraction would be a musical boat ride through animal scenes from Disney's animated classic, Fantasia. The ride would feature both the crocodiles and hippos from " Dance of the Hours" and the Pegasus, fauns, and centaurs from Beethoven's "Pastoral."
Remnants of this planned area were visible when the park opened or are still visible today:
As Expedition Everest features the mythological yeti, a creature that may or may not exist, the park now features at least one attraction based on each type of animal (living, extinct and legendary). As to Beastly Kingdom's future, Joe Rohde said in 2000: "We had a vision and now it's become a place holder. We have all kinds of ideas and not all of them fit with the theme of Beastly Kingdom. I'm not even convinced there will be a Beastly Kingdom.".
Restaurants and shops
The park contains three table service restaurants:
Tusker House hosts "Donald's Safari Breakfast," a character-dining event where guests enjoy a breakfast buffet while meeting Donald Duck and other Disney characters.
There are five quick-service restaurants located throughout the park:
As with other Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney's Animal Kingdom has other locations and carts that offer snacks and beverages.
Much concern was brought to the animals' well-being when the park originally opened. The park typically closes earlier than other parks in the Walt Disney World Resort. The animals are said to require a strict schedule to avoid stress, so even on nights when the park is open later, animals usually will be brought "off stage" an hour or two before the park officially closes for the day. Another notable difference from other Disney parks is that Animal Kingdom does not have a fireworks show in consideration to the animals.
As a zoological park, Disney's Animal Kingdom is engaged in research and conservation efforts involving its animal species. Since the park's opening in 1998, the resident elephant herd has produced four calves, with births in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008. In 2008 alone, the park's giraffe herd produced four newborns, raising the total number of giraffe births since opening to eleven.
In 1999, one of the park's white rhinos gave birth to a female calf named Nande. In 2006, Nande and Hasani, another of the park's rhinos, were transferred to Uganda's Ziwa animal sanctuary, in the first attempt to re-introduce white rhinos to the country. Due to civil strife, the white rhinoceros had become extinct in the area. In June 2009, Nande gave birth to a male calf, the first such birth in Uganda in over 25 years.
Even in planning stages, various Florida based animal rights groups and PETA didn't like the idea of Disney creating a theme park where animals were held in captivity. The groups protested, and PETA tried to convince travel agents not to book trips to the park. A few weeks before the park opened, a number of animals died due to accidents. The United States Department of Agriculture viewed most of the cases and found no violations of animal-welfare regulations. On opening day, the Orange County Sheriff's office sent about 150 deputies in fear that there may be a large protest, but only two dozen protesters showed up. The protest lasted two hours, and there were no arrests.
One year after the park opened, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida complained that a New Year's Eve fireworks show could upset the animals. A USDA inspector came to the park to find no problems with launching low-noise fireworks half a mile away.