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.
Since May 2017 the main themed area in the park is Pandora – The World of Avatar a new themed area inspired by James Cameron’s 2009 movie.
Spanning 12 acres and based upon the fictional exoplanetary moon, Pandora this is by far the best themed land we ever visited in any theme park in the World. As you can see by the toons of pictures we’ve taken this land features Pandora’s floating mountains, alien wildlife, and bioluminescent plants.
Even the best picture or video cannot begin to capture the beauty of this site. Disney imagineers created twenty species of Pandoran flora exclusively for the land so you can easy believe you’re inside the movie alongside with the Navi.
One day is short to visit Animal Kingdom and the main reason in our view is Avatar land. Not only because you’re immersed in this world and don’t want to leave but also because of the long lines for the two attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.
Avatar Flight of Passage is world class flying augmented reality simulator attraction, where guests learn to fly with a mountain Banshee. There are no words to discribe it. Simply outstanding ride.
In the attraction’s storyline, the humans and Na’vi are attempting to restore the banshee population to natural levels, after the mining tactics caused by the Resources Development Administration generations prior. Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) has reactivated the avatar program through the Pandora Conservation Initiative as a method of conducting research, and allows guests to link with an avatar to fly on an Ikran (known as a “Banshee” by humans) to partake in the Na’vi’s tribal coming-of-age tradition.
The other attraction at Avatar land is called Na’vi River Journey, a boat ride attraction through the Kapsavan River, showcasing the native fauna and flora of Pandora, including Audio-Animatronics and 3-D holograms.
Also there’s live music at Avatar land with a tribal ensenble worth mention.
As well as retail and dining outlets.
The top rides in the park is Expedition Everest is a steel roller coaster from Vekoma. Off course we didn’t came to Disney for its coasters. Yes, it has a few good ones like Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. But overall, Disney’s a family theme park. However, we were eager to ride this one for a number of reasons: it is Mount Everest themed and has a story about the Yeti protecting the Forbidden Mountain; it is very fast and (spolier alert) and runs backwards; it is the most expensive roller coaster in the world acording to Guimess Book of Records because its cost was reported to be US$100 million.
The park also featured the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris tour through the park’s African animal exhibits and the Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King live musical shows.
The park is fun and a must see but if it is crowded it will test your patience. Everest can have a queue for more than an hour on peak season. The tickets are a little pricey but the food is great (especially the Flame Tree BBQ) and at the end of the day you can see a parade in Disney tradition. The park is huge but fortunately you can use the free park hopper to see the park in one day.
All in all a great park that is good for kids and adults.
By Ana Rita Mendes and Carlos Canaes. Updated 28/12/2018
Location: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830, United States
Tickets from US$ 99 online (2017)
Opens all yearTop Rides
Expedition Everest, Flight of Passage, Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Primeval Whirl
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