Florida Vacation ~ Discovery Island Pictures at Walt Disney World

Many flamingo birds seen on Discovery Island

Many flamingo birds seen on Discovery Island
Many flamingo birds seen on Discovery Island | Source

Photos of our experience on Discovery Island

Boats took one to and from Discovery Island
Boats took one to and from Discovery Island | Source
We were greeted by the sight of this gorgeous parrot
We were greeted by the sight of this gorgeous parrot | Source

Walt Disney World

The year was 1990 and my mother, niece and I had made plans to spend five days at Walt Disney World. We had reserved lodging at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort for the duration of the Disney portion of our vacation.

The Carribbean Beach Resort was located in the Aruba complex with other appropriately named lodgings such as Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. We also spotted Martinique, Old Port Royale (where dining facilities and shops were located) and the Custom House as we explored this very tropical resort area which had water features meandering through the grounds simulating a trip to actual islands.

One nice thing about staying at a Disney resort is not having to worry about driving or struggling to find available parking spaces or paying parking fees. They have buses that run frequently and on regular schedules and this is all at no additional cost.

Seven bus stops were located at the Caribbean Beach Resort in order to facilitate ease of transportation back and forth to the various sites at Walt Disney World. We found this to be an easy and friendly mode of traveling.

Naturally we saw and experienced much of the normal entertainment while at Walt Disney World...and believe me, there is much to do and see!


Walt Disney World's Discovery Island

Scavenger birds up in the trees with other waterfowl in the water below
Scavenger birds up in the trees with other waterfowl in the water below | Source
Source
Pelicans
Pelicans | Source

Discovery Island


One day we decided to take a break from the norm and see what Discovery Island had to offer. This proved to be a nice interlude for us from the frenetic activity that surrounds one at the other Disney theme parks.


One traveled to and from Discovery Island by boat.

The following photos will give one an idea of what was to be found on this eleven and a half acre zoological park called Discovery Island. Sadly, it no longer exists as the park was closed in 1999.


The animals have been relocated to Disney's Animal Kingdom and other zoos, and what transformation the island takes is yet to be determined as of the time of this writing.


On Discovery Island were thousands of different varieties of vegetation and plant-life.

Think small tropical paradise ...and it would be a good description of what we found.

Water elements on Discovery Island as well as the lake surrounding the perimeter of the island created a great habitat for many of the aquatic loving birds and animals.

We enjoyed getting to see not only the many flamingos but also trumpeter swans, pelicans, several varieties of cranes, different types of ducks, storks, monkeys, lemurs, capybaras, Galapagos tortoises and more.


Animals at Walt Disney World's Discovery Island

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ring-tailed lemur from MadagascarQueen of Bavaria Conures from north-eastern BrazilAlligators
Ring-tailed lemur from Madagascar
Ring-tailed lemur from Madagascar | Source
Queen of Bavaria Conures from north-eastern Brazil
Queen of Bavaria Conures from north-eastern Brazil | Source
Alligators
Alligators | Source

Once on Discovery Island one had a choice of many trails in which to meander and enjoy viewing the different animals most of which roamed freely as well as the beautiful tropical scenery which surrounded one.

Safely contained behind wires were some crocodiles, Ring-tailed lemurs from Madagascar and the Queen of Bavaria Conures which are an endangered species coming from North Eastern Brazil among others.

Numerous animals ( over 100 + species ) existed on Discovery Island besides the ones pictured or mentioned in this hub.

It was one of the most natural of zoo settings that we have ever gotten to enjoy.


Scarlet Ibis on Discovery Island

Scarlet Ibis
Scarlet Ibis | Source

The red bird pictured to the right is a Scarlet Ibis which originates in tropical South America.

A sign had the following information:

"The early explorers of the Caribbean Sea wrote about trees covered with blood when they saw flocks of scarlet ibis.

These birds are now protected over much of their range.

Our breeding colony of Scarlet Ibis is the largest in the United States."


Galapagos tortoises on Discovery Island

Galapagos tortoise
Galapagos tortoise | Source
Children viewing the large Galapagos tortoises
Children viewing the large Galapagos tortoises | Source
Galapagos tortoises on Discovery Island
Galapagos tortoises on Discovery Island | Source
Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Travel Guide)

We have several friends who have traveled to the Galapagos Islands. It is amazing from what we have learned! The birds and animals are not fearful of people because they do not view people as predators. People can get up really close to them and take photographs.

 

Galapagos Island Tortoises

Getting to see Galapagos tortoises on Discovery Island was a rare treat.

We will probably never get the chance to visit the Galapagos Islands which have been made into a National Park with the prime object of protecting these endangered tortoises. So we were thrilled to see five of these magnificent creatures on Discovery Island.

They were provided with a wonderful area in which to roam including sandy areas and also water. Shade was also provided. What we learned about them was informative and interesting.

Galapagos tortoises originally had from 12 to 15 subspecies and only 11 remain alive today.

Over 250,000 of them used to thrive in the Galapagos Islands but only about 15,000 are there today. They had few natural predators.

Pirates in the 17th century used to capture the tortoises and take them on board ship in order to have a ready supply of food. Since the tortoises could survive without food or water for up to one year, this was a living source of sustenance when needed by the people aboard the ships.

Other people also sought out the tortoises for oil and other purposes.

The Galapagos National Park was created in 1959.

In 1969 U.S. law made it illegal to import Galapagos tortoises or their eggs into the country. A year later the same rules were enacted impacting every other country.

Since 1971, in order to further protect this endangered species, tourists in the Galapagos National Park are now all accompanied by guides while on tours.

Other interesting statistics...

Galapagos tortoises live to be 100 to 150 years old and are not full grown until about age 40. Their prime reproductive years are from ages 60 to 90.


Birds on Discovery Island

Click thumbnail to view full-size
White cockatoo performing tricksThis parrot also did tricksWhite cockatooOwl
White cockatoo performing tricks
White cockatoo performing tricks | Source
This parrot also did tricks
This parrot also did tricks | Source
White cockatoo
White cockatoo | Source
Owl
Owl | Source

Bird Shows and Aviary

At regularly scheduled times parrots, cockatoos, and other birds were part of a show. Some of the birds talked and did tricks on cue. Others were displayed and we learned a bit more about them.

The white cockatoo pictured here was very friendly and posed while sitting on people's arms.

A walk through aviary united one in spirit with the free flying colorful birds that were in abundance.

It was wonderful seeing them flitting from one tree to another as they would do in the wild.


Discovery Island video

We were so happy to have gotten to enjoy this respite from the normal hustle and bustle at Walt Disney World for a short while. I am saddened to learn that it no longer exists.

Those of you who may have visited Florida's Discovery Island while on vacation may like seeing these photos as a reminder of good memories, and for those of you who missed it, you will have some idea of what it was like.

I'll leave you with some final pictures...


Additional photos of life as it used to be on Discovery Island

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notice the ducks...White peacockPatagonian cavie from South America.  Roamed the island freely.Scavengers drying their feathers on the beachOld shipwreck...Scenic views everywhere on the island
Notice the ducks...
Notice the ducks... | Source
White peacock
White peacock | Source
Source
Patagonian cavie from South America.  Roamed the island freely.
Patagonian cavie from South America. Roamed the island freely. | Source
Scavengers drying their feathers on the beach
Scavengers drying their feathers on the beach | Source
Old shipwreck...
Old shipwreck... | Source
Source
Scenic views everywhere on the island
Scenic views everywhere on the island | Source

More from Discovery Island...

A markerOrlando, Florida -
Orlando, FL, USA
[get directions]

Location of Walt Disney World and the location of Discovery Island

If you enjoyed this article, please take time to give it a star rating. Thank you!!!

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Discovery Island at Walt Disney World

© 2009 Peggy Woods

More by this Author


Comments are welcomed. 22 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi moonlake,

I also think it is sad that Discovery Island is no more. It was a nice break from all the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World. At least people will have some idea by looking at these photos and reading this hub about how it used to be. Thanks for your vote + share.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

How nice, and your photos are great. It's to bad Discovery Island is no longer there. Voted up and shared.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Sharon,

It is a shame that Discovery Island was not left as it once was. It was such a nice and more relaxing break from the rest of Disney World. Am sure that something will eventually be done with that island. Thanks for leaving a comment.


Sharon 5 years ago

It would be great if they could bring this back. It's a shame to see things decaying in Disney. River Country, and Discovery Island were both awesome. I'm sure they could put a resort on the island or something.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Bali Temples,

Happy that you enjoyed this look at the old Discovery Island at Walt Disney World. We were fortunate to be able to see it on our Florida Vacation years ago before it closed. Thanks for the comment.


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working