Visit Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom
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Where the Wild Things Are
If you are indeed planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom should not be missed. The Kilimanjaro Safari alone is reason enough to go to Animal Kingdom, as it's a fun and exciting attraction with many "twists" and "turns." While on "Expedition Everest", you'll be able to see a Yeti, larger than life while riding along in a swift moving roller coaster! Another great attraction there is the Affection Section petting zoo. The walkways alone are bursting with wildlife, especially birds that are as colorful as they are plentiful.
The Legend of Beastly Kingdom
Originally, the main focus of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is to showcase the following: Animals that are alive today, animals that are now extinct such as dinosaurs and animals that existed only in legend and fantasy. Originally, the park was going to have a separate section dedicated to the creatures of legend. Beastly Kingdom was going to include unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters divided into three sub-sections: DragonTower, Quest of the Unicorn, and FantasiaGardens. Sadly, BeastlyKingdom failed to reach full fruition, but remnants of the fabled park can be seen: The parking lot has a section named unicorn, a silhouette of a dragon appears in the Animal Kingdom logo, and there is a dragon-shaped stone fountain near Camp Minnie-Mickey.
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The Many Attractions of Animal Kingdom
- Oasis-At the very forefront of Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, the Oasis is the park’s main entrance and features a variety of habitats. The main paths lead deep into the park towards Discovery Island. Just as soon as visitors enter the park, visitors will be able to see ducks, wallabies, spoonbills, muntjacs and giant anteaters among others. Also located right at the main entrance is the Rainforest Café where visitors can dine and get a great view of the park at the same time.
- Discovery Island-At the very center of the park (or “central hub”), visitor will find DiscoveryIsland located at the middle of the Discovery River Waterway. Once called “SafariVillage,” due to the fact that Walt Disney World had already their small zoological park that was located in Walt Disney World’s BayLake, it’s name changed once the small park closed down in 1999. Here, visitors will find the iconic “Tree of Life” which has upon it carved animals gracing its base. Here, animal enclosures surround the area featuring kangaroos, black crowned cranes, lemurs and many more animals. The largest gift shops in the park can be find here and features two dine-in restaurants. Also here, visitors can watch the 4-D film, “It’s Tough Being a Bug!” starring Flik and Hopper from the Disney/Pixar film, A Bug’s Life.
- Camp Minnie-Mickey-Camp Minnie-Mickey is a rustic camp theme area of the park. Here, visitors will meet popular Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and several others. Playing in the area’s main theater is Festival of the Lion King, which is a live stage show that features acrobats and actors whose performances are inspired by the movie, The Lion King.
- Africa-Home to Africa’s main attraction, the Kilimanjaro Safaris, visitors climb aboard a safari vehicle and journey through the park’s jungle and see the many African animals who roam freely. Such animals include African elephants, giraffes, hippos and even lions (definitely bring a camera). Adjacent to the Kilimanjaro Safari area, is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail where guests hike into the forest while keeping an eye out for gorillas. In addition to this, guests will discover that the African valley is teeming with hippos, birds and fish.
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch-As the only section that is not connected to DiscoveryIsland, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is instead connected to Africa park itself. Here, guests can board the Wildlife Express Train that brings them to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch. While aboard the train, guests will learn about cotton-top tamarins at “Habitat Habitat” and learn about the efforts animal conservationists are making to ensure their survival, while at “Conservation Station,” guests will learn of the efforts the Walt Disney Company towards animal conservation. “Affection Section,” features a petting zoo consisting goats, sheep, and several other domestic animals.
- Asia-As one of my favorite sections of Animal Kingdom, Asia features the Maharajah Jungle Trek which leads guests through Asian forests and ruins teeming with such indigenous animals as the Komodo dragon, fruit bats and tigers. The Kali River Rapids is another attraction where guests will brave the rapids through the fictional Chakranadi River and through the rainforest and down a waterfall! (Be ready to get wet). Behind the village of Anandapur is the Forbidden Mountain which plays host to Expedition Everest (the first photo on this article) where guest will ride a thrilling roller coaster through the Himalayas.
- DinoLand U.S.A.-Unlike the rest of Animal Kingdom where you can see live animals in nearly their natural habitats running freely, at DinoLand U.S.A. you won’t see (unfortunately) live dinosaurs running about. But what visitors will see are the dinosaur’s ancestors from millions of years ago, such as the American Crocodile and Asian brown tortoise and so hold evolutionary ties to the dinosaurs. While on the Cretaceous Trail, guest will learn of the many different species of plants and other animals as well. The “Theater of the Wild,” visitors will be treated to a live-action musical based on the popular Disney/Pixar film, Finding Nemo.
Thanks for visiting!
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