Disney’s Animal Kingdom is located in Orlando, Florida and opened on Earth Day, April 22, 1998 as the 4th Disney Park in Buena Vista’s Walt Disney Resort. The park is a mixed experience between a theme park and a zoo combining animal interaction with several rides for everyone to enjoy. The park holds the title of the largest single Disney theme park in the world, covering more than 500 acres (200 ha), and is also the first Disney theme park to be themed entirely around animal conservation.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is divided into seven themed areas: Oasis, Discoveryland, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, DinoLand U.S.A. (in the near future the park will have a new Avatar themed area).The Africa and Asia sections have a large number live theatrical performances such as the Lion King and Nemo that are enjoyable productions for both children and adults. The Dinoland area is filled with amusement park rides and the Camp Disney area gives young kids a chance to meet their favorite characters. But the centerpiece of the park is the Tree of Life which towers over the park in a similar fashion to Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom. The tree is a truly amazing site. Countless animal reliefs are sculpted into the bark of the tree which you will notice upon focusing on the tree trunk.
The top rides in the park is Expedition Everest is a steel roller coaster themed around the Yeti hiding in Mount Everest (see picture). The roller coaster is listed in the 2011 book of Guinness World Records as the most expensive roller coaster in the world because its cost was reported to be US$100 million. The park also featured the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris tour through the park’s African animal exhibits and the Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King live musical shows.
The park is currently finishing the constructionof Pandora – The World of Avatar that is set to open May 27th 2017 and includes two upcoming attractions, the Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Avatar Flight of Passage is a breathtaking first-person journey over the incredible natural landscape of Pandora on the back of a banshee. These powerful winged creatures have a historic and deeply spiritual connection to the Na’vi. Flying on the back of a banshee represents an important rite of passage for the Na’vi, and now we, as welcomed visitors, have a chance to test ourselves in a similar way.
The park is fun and a must see but if it is crowded it will test your patience. Everest can have a queue for more than an hour on peak season. The tickets are a little pricey but the food is great (especially the Flame Tree BBQ) and at the end of the day you can see a parade in Disney tradition. The park is huge but fortunately you can use the free park hopper to see the park in one day.
All in all a great park that is good for kids and adults.
By Ana Alegria. Updated 7/04/2017
Location: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830, United States
Tickets from US$ 99 online (2017)
Opens all yearTop Rides
Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Primeval Whirl
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