What Happens To the Animals When Disney’s Animal Kingdom Undergoes a Transformation?

By now, it’s no secret that Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is preparing for another transformation. The Walt Disney Imagineers have set their sights on the Disney Park’s most infamous section, Dinoland U.S.A. Soon enough, the entire themed land will have been dismantled and turned into something new. Primeval Whirl has already been dismantled and removed from the official Walt Disney World website, signaling the end of a prehistoric era.

Photo Credit: Disney

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From Kilimanjaro Safari to Expedition Everest – The Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Animal Kingdom has a lot of unique attractions to offer Guests. Much of Animal Kingdom’s entertainment comes from its residents, the exotic animals themselves.

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is home to over 300 species, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. All in all, Animal Kingdom is reportedly home to nearly 2,000 animals.

lion animal kingdom

Credit: Jon Holt

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So what happens to nearly 2,000 animals whenever there’s heavy construction? If you’ve ever wondered about this question, you’re not alone.

According to the Director of Animal and Science Operations for The Walt Disney Company, Dr. Scott Terrell, no decisions are made without consulting his team: “my animal and science team is involved from day one, with the Imagineers, with the entertainment team… We’re just automatically at the table.”

Giraffes at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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He continues, saying that the mindset when expanding Animal Kingdom is always “animals first.”

During Animal Kingdom’s latest expansion to include Pandora: The World of Avatar, Dr. Scott Terrell explained that some animals were moved due to vibrations from the construction:

I actually have scientists on my team that study sound levels and light levels and even, when we were building Pandora The World of Avatar, we studied seismic activity during the construction and actually moved animals away from the construction for certain periods of time to make sure they were able to thrive through that period.


Credit: Disney

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So there you have it! During heavy construction, some animals are temporarily relocated for their benefit. It’s probable that this is what’ll happen once the construction on Dinoland U.S.A. begins, but we will know for sure then!

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.