So, you’ve visited Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Maybe more than once. You know all of the lands, you have the route to your favorite animal memorized, and you know the best rides and attractions and how to beat the lines. But how well do you really know Animal Kingdom? We bet at least one of these will stump you!
1. How big is Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom?
Animal Kingdom is the biggest of any Disney theme park, anywhere. At over 500 acres, this is one big park – make sure you pack your comfortable walking shoes! Even Kilimanjaro Safaris alone is large enough to fit all of Magic Kingdom inside it. The park contains thousands of animals representing hundreds of species, so they sure need all that space!
2. How did Imagineers ensure the animals would come out and play?
Imagineers think of everything! To make sure animals could be seen from the safari trucks at Kilimanjaro Safaris, instead of hiding out of sight of guests, they hid food and water in strategic spots to coax the animals out into view. Just think – behind that tree stump or rock could very well be a salt lick or feeder! And for the lions, Imagineers took things one step further – those rocks you see the lions lounging on are heated in winter and cooled in summer, to make them attractive for the lions to lay on, giving guests a great photo op.
3. Why is there a dragon on Animal Kingdom’s logo?
All of the other creatures on Animal Kingdom’s logo make an appearance in the park – what about the dragon? Well, initially, there were plans for an area within Animal Kingdom that was to be called “Beastly Kingdom”. It would celebrate mythical creatures such as dragons, unicorns and mermaids. Sadly, this area of the park was never built. But you can see remnants of it in the fictitious creatures on Animal Kingdom’s parking lot signs and logo.
4. What is the nickname for Expedition Everest’s Yeti?
That’s right, the Yeti featured in the attraction Expedition Everest has a nickname! It’s “Disco Yeti”, and there’s a fun story behind it. The beloved Yeti was the most ambitious animatronic figure in Walt Disney World when it was built: 20 feet tall, and able to move horizontally and vertically with a full range of motion. But just a few months after the attraction opened, there were some technical problems with the animatronics, and since then, the Yeti has been operating in “B Mode”, which means strobe lights now make it seem like he’s moving. Thus, Disco Yeti was born!
5. How tall is Expedition Everest?
While we’re on the subject of Expedition Everest, let’s talk about its height, which is one of the most impressive things about it. The ride is tied with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for the tallest ride in Walt Disney World, at 199 feet tall. This makes Expedition Everest the tallest artificial mountain not only in WDW, but in the entire world! Imagineers stopped at 199 feet because if the ride were even a foot taller, it would require a flashing light on it, to comply with the Federal Aviation Authority.
6. How many animals can you see on the Tree of Life?
The iconic Tree of Life is, in many ways, the star of the Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, in no small part because of the magnificent animal carvings covering it. There are apparently (we’ve never counted them ourselves) over 300 creatures – both living and extinct – represented on the tree! Artisans from all over the globe worked together for a year and a half to create this masterpiece.
7. What keeps the animals in at Kilimanjaro Safaris?
There aren’t any visible barriers at Kilimanjaro Safaris, so how exactly does Walt Disney World keep all of those animals inside the reserve and away from guests (and animals they’d love to eat for dinner)? Well, even though you can’t see them, there are plenty of hidden barriers at work, like moats, camouflaged fences and water features that keep the animals in their specific areas while not disrupting the natural look of the savannah.
8. Who is the Animal Kingdom’s most famous “resident”?
Well, it’s not actually an animal at all. The most famous resident at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is Dino-Sue, located just before the entrance to Dinosaur. She’s a replica of the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found (the actual skeleton is also named Dino-Sue, and can be viewed at Chicago’s Field Museum). Dino-Sue represents one of the most important fossil finds of the last century, and has helped scientists learn a lot about this species of dinosaur. Go, Dino-Sue!!
9. What is not permitted at Animal Kingdom that is allowed in all other parks?
When you’re visiting Animal Kingdom, you won’t find any straws or balloons, and you won’t be permitted to bring these items into the park either. It’s for the safety of the animals, which is always the top priority at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. So if you just have to have that giant Mickey balloon from Magic Kingdom, make sure you leave it in your resort when you’re heading to AK!
10. Where can you find James Cameron’s autograph in Animal Kingdom?
The next time you ride Avatar Flight of Passage, keep your eyes open for a set of three red handprints in the lower corridor. You’ll also see a set of initials beside each handprint. You’re looking at the handprints and initials of not only James Cameron, the director of Avatar, but also of Jon Landau (Avatar’s producer) and Joe Rohde (the lead Imagineer for not only Pandora – World of Avatar, but Animal Kingdom itself).