This is Part 4 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom was fourth park built at the Walt Disney World Resort, and it opened on April 22, 1998. The theme is conservation, and the park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which means they have met or exceeded the standards in education, conservation, and research. The park consists of seven themed areas, with all but one connected to Discovery Island, which contains The Tree of Life, a sculpted 14-story artificial tree that serves as the centerpiece and icon of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 9.8 million guests, ranking it the fourth-most visited amusement park in the United States and seventh-most visited in the world. Here is a quick overview of the Park, including the rides, shows, dining and attractions.
The Oasis is the park’s main entrance. Along with providing various guest services, the Oasis features a number of animal habitats.
Attractions: The Oasis Exhibits
Dining: Rainforest Café
Shopping: Garden Gate Gifts, The Outpost Shop
Discovery Island is located roughly at the center of the park, in the middle of the Discovery River waterway. This is the “central hub” of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, connecting the other sections of the park, with the exception of Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes through this section of the Park each afternoon, and you can meet Russell and Dub from Disney’s Up.
Attractions: It’s Tough to be a Bug, Discovery Island Trails
Dining: Safari Coffee, Flame Tree Barbecue, Beastly Kiosk, Pizzafari
Shopping: Creature Comforts, Disney Outfitters, Island Mercantile
Camp Minnie-Mickey is themed as a rustic summer camp where you can meet and greet many Disney characters.
Attractions: Festival of the Lion King, Greeting Trails
Dining: Campfire Treats, Camp Kiosk
Set in the fictional east African village of Harambe, this area contains a number of animal exhibits, shops and restaurants. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes along the edge of this section of the Park each afternoon.
Attractions: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Dining: Dawa Bar, Tusker House Restaurant, Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, Harambe Fruit Market, Tamu Tamu Refreshments
Shopping: Mombasa Marketplace
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 related to animal conservation.
Attractions: Wildlife Express Train, Habitat Habit!, Conservation Station, Affection Station
Shopping: Out of the Wild
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 place, the kingdom of Anandapur. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes along the edge of this section of the Park each afternoon.
Attractions: Flight of Wonder, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everst – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Dining: Mr. Kamal’s, Upcountry, Yak & Yeti Restaurant, Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes, Amandapur Ice Cream Truck
Shopping: Mandala Gifts, Serka Zong Bazaar
DinoLand U.S.A. is inspired by the Guests general curiosity about dinosaurs. There are no parades in this section of the Park, but there are opportunities to greet characters.
Attractions: The Boneyard, Fossil Fun Games, Finding Nemo – The Musical, Primeval Whirl, TricerTop Spin, DINOSAUR
Dining: Restaurantosaurus, Trilo-Bites, Dino-Bite Snacks, Dino Diner
Shopping: Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, Dino Institute Shop
Parking and Transportation
To get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can take a bus or drive your own car.
Buses: to all Walt Disney World Resort hotels
Parking: available at the front entrance