Discover Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando

February 8, 2010

The Animal Kingdom at Disney World is a sprawling 500 acre theme park consisting of more than 1,700 animals from 250 species.

It is the largest animal-themed park in the world. The Animal Kingdom, one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resorts, is dedicated to nature and conservation. Its focus on animals creates an inviting environment where guests can explore exotic lands and discover fantastic animals.

The Disney Animal Kingdom in Orlando is divided into 7 areas:

Oasis: The Oasis area is the park’s main entrance and is where many of the guest services take place. It features a number of animal habitats, as well as a Rainforest Café. The main paths of Oasis take guests onto Discovery Island.

Disney Animal Kingdom Logo Orlando Florida

Discovery Island: This area is the central hub for Animal Kingdom as it is located roughly in the center of the park. It connects to almost all of the other sections of the park, excluding Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Discovery Island is home to The Tree of Life, the park’s visual icon, which is surrounded by animal exhibits showcasing kangaroos, lemurs and other exotic creatures. One of the park’s most popular attractions – It’s Tough to be a Bug! – a 4D film featuring characters from A Bug’s Life is also located on Discovery Island. Eating options at Discovery Island include Flame Tree BBQ and Pizzafari. Gift Shops include the Beastly Bazaar, Creature Comforts, Disney Outfitters and Island Mercantile.

Camp Minnie-Mickey: Themed as a rustic summer camp, guests can meet Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie and Goofy on the meet and greet trails at this area of the park, as well as take in the live stage show Festival of the Lion King. There are no restaurants at this area of the park, but snacks are available at Chip ‘n Dales Cookie Cabin.

Africa: Animal Kingdom immerses guests in African culture in this section of the park, set in the fictional east African Village of Harambe. This area features many African animals in natural habitats, including an exhibit of Silverback Gorillas. The Kilimanjaro Safaris are a popular attraction in Africa as guests to climb aboard an open-air safari vehicle for an expedition to see a variety of animals roam freely through landscape so authentic visitors truly believe they are in Africa. Giraffes, hippos, elephants and lions can all be seen on this adventure. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail allows visitors to trek, at their own pace, through a forest in search of gorillas, mole rats, okapi, meercats, Nile hippos, birds and more. Dining options include Kusafiri Coffee Shop, Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Tusker House Restaurant. The Mombasa Marketplace gift shop is located in Africa.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch: This section of Disney Animal Kingdom focuses on the environment, conservation and animal well-being. The attractions at Rafiki’s Planet Watch offer a behind-the-scenes look at the operation of Animal Kingdom and the care of the animals found here. Visitors to this area of the park will want to board the Wildlife Express Train for a short trip to Planet Watch, which consists of three sections. The first is Habitat Habit!, which features cotton-top tamarins and teaches visitors how to share the world with animals and efforts to protect endangered species. Affection Section, an informative petting zoo spotlighting goats, sheep and other domesticated animals is next. Conservation Station rounds out Planet Watch, with exhibits pertaining to animal training, feeding, and of course, conservation of animals.

Asia: Asia is home to Disney’s mythical village Anandapur, complete with crumbling ruins of from ancient time. This area of the Animal Kingdom is home to several exciting attractions, including Expedition Everest, a high speed roller coaster with climbs, twists and backwards movement. The Kali River Rapids is a white water raft ride set along the fictional Chakranadi River through a rainforest. The Maharajah Jungle Trek leads guests through the ruins of India and features animals like tigers, bats and komodo dragons. Flights of Wonder is a live exotic bird show where one of Anandapur’s researches showcases natural bird behaviors, habitat loss and conservation efforts and of course, a few surprises. Dining options in Asia include Yak & Yeti (a full service restaurant) and Yak & Yeti Local Cafes.

DinoLand U.S.A.: This section of Animal Kingdom is inspired by the fascinating creatures that roamed the earth 65 million years ago – the Dinosaurs. It features the Dino Institute, which is home to the thrill ride DINOSAUR, and Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama, a magical midway featuring the Primeval Whirl ride, TriceraTop Spin and carnival games and gift shops. Finding Nemo – The Musical is performed at the “Theater in the Wild” and the Boneyard, a children’s area with a multi-level playground complete with fossils and recreated dinosaurs. Restaurantosaurus is the only dining option at Dinoland U.S.A.

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade is a 15-minute afternoon parade that loops through Animal Kingdom. Rafiki leads the celebration with Disney characters like Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy following in safari jeeps. A troupe of 8-foot tall party animals really gets the party started with sing-a-longs and dancing.

Animal Kingdom generally closes around 5pm-6pm. Please plan accordingly.

Disney World Tickets and Disney Vacation Packages are on sale now.

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