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’90s Time Capsule Unearthed at Animal Kingdom

animal kingdom tree life floppy disks

What do floppy disks and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have in common?

The ’90s, of course! It’s been a busy year already for the Walt Disney World Resort, and this week, the Florida Disney Resort is celebrating yet another milestone.

Opened on Earth Day, 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and as part of the festivities, some ’90s Disney history has been discovered!

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, opened back on April 22, 1998. The Park covers more than 500 acres and holds approximately 250 species represented by over 1,000 animals! During its construction, more than 4 million trees, plants, shrubs, and grasses from every continent on Earth — except Antarctica — were planted.

The beautiful Disney Park is driven by its conservation initiatives through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Park’s AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquarium) accreditation. Since 1995, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund has devoted more than $6 million to conservation efforts around the world and has supported more than 230 projects.

The 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort theme park is now in full swing, with new merchandise, food options, and a brand-new character meet and greet with Moana.

In a press release, the Walt Disney Company noted the milestone anniversary of Animal Kingdom, writing:

2023 marks a special milestone as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park celebrates its 25th anniversary. With the return of entertainment such as “Festival of the Lion King” and ”Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!,” there has never been a better time to explore this one-of-a-kind park.

It is the place to encounter wild animals, take in high-speed thrills and even journey to a world beyond belief, Pandora – The World of Avatar. Make plans now to visit this special place that celebrates the magic of nature.

moana character

Disney

A rather exciting piece of history was unearthed as part of Animal Kingdom’s momentous anniversary, hidden in the Walt Disney World Resort theme park for 25 years.

On Earth Day, 1998, the opening day Cast Members buried a time capsule to be opened in 2023. For those who were lucky enough to be there that opening week (like us!), those who love the uniqueness of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or those who are fans of the ’90s, you’re in for a treat when you see what was inside!

An inscription on the time capsule’s plaque reads, “The original cast of Disney’s Animal Kingdom takes pride in our contributions to this park. In this capsule, to be unearthed April 22, 2023, are mementos of the creation and opening of a New Species of Theme Park.”

time capsule disney's animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

So, what did they discover in this holder of Disney history?

Well, not surprisingly, the time capsule contained some ’90s technology that we sure hope current Cast Members at Disney World can still access.

Inside, there were three brightly colored VHS tapes featuring orientation videos for different opening duties such as Conservation, Animals, and Park construction.

There were also some floppy disks – truly a throwback to a different decade. One of the labels reads that it is from May 1996! Each contains old files and photos from the opening team of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, photos that we can’t wait to hopefully see.

floppy disks time capsule disney's animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

Disney Parks has released some exciting new merchandise to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but it’s the old merchandise that brings back the nostalgia of how Disney World used to be.

In the time capsule was some opening day merchandise with animals, animal print, and the year 1998 printed all over it. The Disney merchandise included a key chain, button, magnets, mugs, and a license plate with the Park’s previous marketing, “A New Species of Theme Park.”

There was also a sweet Mickey Mouse t-shirt, featuring Mickey in his Safari gear surrounded by the signatures of everyone in the opening Cast Member team.

park pamphlet map disney's animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

With all the new technology we have today, including the My Disney Experience app, online ticket purchasing, and more, it’s hard to remember a time when physical maps and tickets were a necessity at the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks. In the time capsule were pristine paper tickets with characters like Simba, Timon, Pumba, and Rafiki from Disney’s The Lion King (1994), a relatively new movie in 1998.

There were also opening day Park pamphlets, a guidebook for “Guests With Disabilities,” and a map marking the “Grand Opening.”

A fun little addition was the inclusion of a toothbrush used by Gina the silverback gorilla, who has lived at the Park since its 1998 opening. It’s always interesting to learn more about the animals at Kilimanjaro Safaris and the other animal encounters in the Park.

gorilla gina toothbrush time capsule

Credit: Disney

With exciting attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur, as well as new rides Avatar: Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey in Pandora, we love heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park on a Disney vacation.

We hope the wonders of its animal encounters, the beauty of its design, and the incredible theming of its lands remain way past another 25 years!

The time capsule video was shared on the Disney Parks TikTok, and you can check out the full video here:

Soooo who’s gonna help us access those floppy things? 💾 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #AnimalKingdom #EarthDay #TimeCapsule

@disneyparks

Soooo who’s gonna help us access those floppy things? 💾 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #AnimalKingdom #EarthDay #TimeCapsule

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at @bear.hug.book