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History of Animal Kingdom

Updated: 09 July 2013 03:30:14 AM

Walt Disney’s unwavering commitment to animal conservation inspired Disney’s newest theme park.

Opened on Earth Day in 1998, Animal Kingdom is the largest of Walt Disney World’s parks, covers over 500 acres, and is home to more than 1700 individual animals and over 250 animal species.

It was built to educate and entertain guests while imparting the message of the importance of conservation, animal care and research.

Both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredit Animal Kingdom.

Just like the other Disney theme parks, Animal Kingdom is home to rides, attractions and shows to keep its guests entertained and thrilled throughout their visit to the park.

Six Different Themed Lands

Currently there are six different themed lands in Animal Kingdom – Discovery Island, Dinoland U.S.A, Africa, Asia, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and Camp Minnie-Mickey.

There are two walking trails, three thrilling rides, two live shows, multiple movies, a playground and even a safari to explore at Animal Kingdom.

The Tree of Life

The icon of the park, The Tree of Life in Discovery Island, stands 14 stories high and 50 feet wide at its base.

The 100,000 plus fabric leaves were placed by hand to ensure a realistic look, and almost 350 animal forms were carved into the trunk.

This tree is home to a 3-D film, “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!” Opened in 1999, the Asia expansion added a jungle trek and a water ride, and even sent guests to the top of Kilimanjaro with the roller coaster Expedition Everest.

Avatar Themed Land

Currently there is construction on an Avatar themed land, in conjunction with James Cameron, which will open in 2015.

The film’s emphasis of living in harmony with nature closely reflects the overriding philosophy of Animal Kingdom.

Be sure to plan your visit carefully as there is a lot of ground to cover and animals to see at this Disney park.

By Marie Ospina

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