On April 22, 1998 Disney unleashed its newest theme park on the world in the form of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
At a cost of nearly $1 Billion to complete, Animal Kingdom was an expensive theme park. Animal Kingdom’s 500 acres are home to some 1700 animals representing 250 different species throughout the park. A ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari will give you a chance to see many of them as they take you through the African Savannah (though the jeeps you ride in will rarely slow down long enough to allow you a good picture.
As the Parks perennial Icon, the Tree of Life is truly a work of art in the best Disney tradition. At 145ft, this 14 story artificial tree has the images of more than 300 animals hand carved into its’ trunk. The base of the Tree of Life is home to the 3D film It’s Tough to be a Bug.
A good portion of Animal Kingdom’s growth came with the opening of Asia in 1999. The Maharaja Jungle Trek is a walking tour that features bats, komodo dragons, deer and birds. The ‘bat cage’ is creepy, and if you have an aversion to bats you’ll find this part of the walking tour uncomfortable. The second notable attraction in Asia is Kali River Rapids. This is a water ride that teaches you the evils of deforestation and guarantees you will be very wet at the end.
The newest Animal Kingdom attraction to grace the landscape in Asia is the incredible Expedition Everest. Opened on April 7, 2006 – the attraction features a two way track system that takes guests forward, then backward when attacked by the mythical yeti that guards the “forbidden mountain”. While technically a roller coaster, it’s a roller coaster of the Big Thunder Mountain variety – which means it is family friendly.
There is a host of other family attractions all based on environmental or conservation themes and you can easily spend a day or two at this park. However, be aware. During the Summer season Animal Kingdom gets very hot, you will need to take plenty of water and avoid wandering in the sun.