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Visit Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom

Updated on August 19, 2009

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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!

So Close, Yet So Far Away...(Hub 25/30)

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    • profile image

      Cristiano 4 years ago

      I hope the park will be open real soon as I have a almost 8 month old dobreman who needs to run in an enclosed, safe enviroment. My yard does not have an adequate fence yet and as my service dog to be ( he is being trained and recieving his 1st vest this August) he needs down time. I do not have much money but I am willing to help you with this park. It isn't just Hudson residents that will use this park but all the surrounding towns. I am disabled and have some free time and I believe I can be of service to you. Please ley me know. I have a couple of ideas that would help improve the park. Thank you for taking the time to read this and getting back to me. I hope to hear from you soon.Sincerely;Debbie B,

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks guys for reading and commenting on my hub! I really do appreciate it.

      @yensid: Thank you for that! Sadly, I can't take all the credit for all of the pics that you see here, however, 7 are in fact my own...Did you do the safari? I really hope you did :D

      @Mih36: Thank you! Yeah, I really enjoyed AK a lot. I'm still planning to go back soon if and when I do have kids, hahaha!

      @kelvin sewlall: Thank you kelvin! Like I said, I can't wholly all of the credit for them!

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      kelvin sewlall 7 years ago

      these picture r so beatiful

    • Mih36 profile image

      Mih36 7 years ago from New York

      Wow these pictures amazing and so much great info about Walt Disney Animal Kindom. Also show what kind of animals you will see there and their habitat. Thanks for sharing!

    • yensid profile image

      yensid 7 years ago

      Great hub & fabulous pictures. I do wish they had built the Beastly Kingdom, but AK is still one of my favorite ways to spend a morning while at WDW.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks optimus grimlock. I sure do hope that you jump on the opportunity as you won't be disappointed. I highly recommend the safari ride/tour if you do go. You'll find a couple of "surprises" along the way ;)

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 7 years ago

      My family was thinking of goin here since we have passes. Great hub you've definatly got me convienced

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks for the comment, figment. I sure do hope you get the opportunity to go someday :D

    • figment profile image

      Karli Duran 7 years ago from Texas

      I just loved this hub. I've never been to WDW.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Just hearing that you want to go brings a smile on my face. I sure do hope that you get the chance. It really is amazing. The Safari is awesome and so is the train ride. Please let me know if and when you go...And don't forget your camera :D

      Thanks, Maita!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      Hi Dohn, it is awesome, I dont have enough resources to go there, but next year I will try to. Maybe when my children will be here I can go there too, as usual you have a great writing style and showing us the beauty of this animal kingdom,

      Thanks always, Maita

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I liken Walt Disney World to Christmas...You enjoy as a kid, but somewhere between that and parenthood, it's not as rewarding for you until you become a parent and enjoy vicariously through your own children. Thaks, TFT. I hope you get the opportunity to go back!

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      Great Post Great Pictures, I was there in June and loved it. I would like to stay at the hotel thats in the park next time.

      My Son really liked the giraffes.

      Thanks Dohn121

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ha! Thank you, Squiggles. I sure do hope that you get the chance to go, as it's a fun time. I'm sure you'll love the petting zoo (not an Evil Petting Zoo, mind you) as the animals are very friendly and not to mention there's lots of food for you to enjoy! I don't like to eat, so that's why I look like this :(

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      SquigglesMcBeeBee 8 years ago

      you made me want to go dere. gweat hub! (but your Jack Skellington avatar is scaring me ;)

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hey, beccas90. I really had a great time there too and especially enjoyed the safari. Were it the only attraction, I would probably still go! Epcot was probably my favorite but Animal Kingdom is second. Thank you for sharing that with me and for reading this hub!

    • beccas90 profile image

      beccas90 8 years ago from New York

      Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney Theme Park. WE went there again this year with three sons and they agreed it was their favorite as well. First time we've agreed on something for a long time. Your photos are great - as usual.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I think that would be a wonderful idea, Peggy, and I would like to do the same for you. Disney World is certainly one of the must-see places in this world. Unfortunately when I was there, I didn't get the chance to visit Discovery Island (maybe that's reason enough to go back, hehe). You're right about the expansion of the park. The seem to grow and add more attraction annually to make reasons for you to make a return trip.

      Thank you for visiting me, Peggy. I appreciate it.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is wonderful to read especially because I did a hub on the original Discovery Island that is now closed. Looks like they took those original plans and with a larger space added much more to the mix. Great hub! Thanks for commenting on my Magic Kingdom hub. Disney World is such a great place!

      Planning on doing one on Epcot and you have already done a great one. When I finish mine...would like to link them together with your permission.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ha! I suggest you go before and after the stork arrives, that way, you'll get to enjoy it without having to wonder where your kids are at all times and getting to do all the things you and your husband want to do! But whatever you do, go to Epcot at night with all of the fireworks. It's the perfect way to end the evening and the lagoon is magic!

      Thanks, Crazdwriter!

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      Crazdwriter 8 years ago

      Darn you dohn. now I want to go even more! :( No money to go but I hope one day I'll get to visit. I am a big kid and that is one place I have to visit before I have kids lol. or after when they are old enough to enjoy it themselves.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you, Carla. I hope you get the chance to visit Animal Kingdom someday soon! You'll love it.

    • Carla Soho profile image

      Carla Soho 8 years ago

      Beautiful place! I'd really like to visit it...I hope in future!!! Thanks for showing this!

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you! I appreciate your coming by, viviknows.

    • viviknows profile image

      viviknows 8 years ago

      Awesome pictures! Thank you for sharing.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      That's great to hear that you are a zoology major, Natalie. I think you're the first I've met! Please do make an effort to go as you won't regret OR forget it! Thank you for your response :)

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      Natalie Marie 8 years ago

      I love these pictures! As a zoology major in college and an avid animal lover, I definitely hope to make a visit someday. I am so glad to hear that conservation is part of the learning experience.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, DMB. I appreciate your response! I'm glad I was able to share this with you.

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      download movies blog 8 years ago

      very cool,i love it.i did not know about it before reading this hub

      thanks for this cool hub

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you lisa42. I appreciate your response--comments like yours makes me want to publish more hubs!

    • lisa42 profile image

      lisa42 8 years ago from Sacramento

      Very good info and I really love the way you've laid out this hub. Makes me want to learn to create more attractive hubs myself.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      It could be worse...The monkeys could have wings, like the ones from The Wizard of Oz :D

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      Thanx for warning me about the monkeys. :)

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ultimate Hubber-The Kali River Rapids should NOT be missed! Granted, you'll get wet, but it's worth it and the Kilimanjaro Safari is next. Watch out for monkeys as they will try to steal your hat and anything else that isn't nailed down!

      Lgali-Thank you, I had more pictures but wanted to keep it somewhat of a short hub. The best time to go would be between October and March...Maybe April would be okay too (we went in April). If you can afford it, I recommend buying a Speed Pass as it will cut down on wait time. Enjoy!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      that is very informative hub nice pictures. what is the best time to go there?

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      This will be my favorite place in the Wald Disney world and I will like to visit World Animal Kingdom the most.(quite sure of this)

      Pictures are nothing less than great!

      That tree is great. Kind of sums things up in a great way.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you, shah kamal. I appreciate your response. I hope you get the opportunity to go soon!

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      shah kamal 8 years ago

      the pictuers are very nice and i feel going there.

      http:// fashion-worldnews.blogspot.com

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Yeah, me too! My entire family got soaked but it was worth it because the temperature had reached about 96 degrees that day. We're planning to go back in 2010. I can't wait. Thank you, Shalini.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Another great hub Dohn - brings back so many memories! The Tree of Life is awesome! I loved seeing the live animals in Animal Kingdom because they were so well maintained and seemed so happy.We did the Kali River Rapids last and went back soaking wet!

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks, HPWriter. You should definitely go as soon as you get the chance! You won't ever forget it.

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      hubpageswriter 8 years ago

      Awesome pictures! I feel like going to Disney World..

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you again, SEM Pro! I figure that if this "writing thing" doesn't work out, I could perhaps become a photographer...Weddings are very popular and lucrative! I'd be honored to come along! I pack light by the way :D

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 8 years ago from North America

      Exceptionally beautiful once again dohn!!! Your hubs are becoming the place to check before even thinking about the next vacation :) Of course, next one I plan, you may get an invite as the photographer!

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thanks again, andromida. You'll have a great time at Animal Kingdom as well. They're known to sometimes jump on top of the safari vehicle looking for snacks!

      Great seeing, you Captain! Maybe your next port of call will be Florida! Thanks for the comment.

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      badcompany99 8 years ago

      Woooo those pics were just amazing and put a smile on my face on a wet day in Belfast !

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      This is great hub and looks like going to be my favorite since its related to animal kingdom.Dohn, I really love monkeys, when I see them I feel like they are my close ones and also get very excited when I see them doing monkey things.

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You definitely should. In some ways, I wish that I was a kid when I went, in others (I drank REAL German beer in Germany in World Showcase Epcot) I didn't! The Kilimanjaro Safari is reason enough to go to Animal Kingdom. The monkeys there run around freely...You only live once!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I have never had the opportunity to go to Disney World, but I have been to Disneyland many, many times considering I have been a life long Southern California resident. The LA County Zoo and the San Diego Zoo are great alternatives for those of us on the west coast who have not been able to see the animal kingdom at Disney World. I would love to see it one day though!

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Please do. You won't regret it. And bring a camera! I forgot mine at the resort:(

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      cosette 8 years ago

      wow, who knew? i wanna go now...

    • dohn121 profile image
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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great to hear, RedElf! You'll have a wonderful time, I'm sure. One of the things I regret not doing is not eating at the Rainforest Cafe. We had other plans that night with some friends and so had to take a "rain" check, LOL. Thank you for being #1!

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      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Great hub, dohn. Now I really have to save up! I've never been there but now it's on my "must go" list ;)