Disney’s Animal Kingdom Friday Fun Facts

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Do you think you know all there is to know about Disney’s Animal Kingdom? We have some fun facts about Disney’s “wildest” park.

  • Originally the park was named “Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom” The park was originally announced to have “wild” in the title but was shortened to the simpler “Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” Since it opened other attractions have gotten name changes as well. DINOSAUR was known as “Countdown to Extinction.” Discovery Island was the “Safari Village.” Rafiki’s Planet used to be called “Conservation Station” and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail was changed to “Pagani Forest Trail” before it was changed back to the original name in 2016.
  • In preparation for creating Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a core team of seven Walt Disney Imagineers, led by Creative Portfolio Executive Joe Rohde, crisscrossed the globe in search of the essential look of life in the wild. The team traveled more than 500,000 miles . . . a distance equal to circling the globe 20 times.
  • Ten artists and three Imagineers worked full-time for 18 months to create the 325 animal carvings on The Tree of Life. Sculptors had between six and 10 hours to create the finished image before the plaster hardened.
  • The Tree of Life is topped with more than 103,000 transparent, five-shades-of-green leaves that actually blow in the wind.
  • More than 4 million trees, plants, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, grasses and ground-coverings from every continent on Earth — except Antarctica — were planted.
  • The iconic floating mountains in the Valley of Mo’ara – there are 22 – peak at about 130 feet above the valley floor.
  • A team of more than 60 artisans from the U.S., Peru, France, Portugal, Japan and Ireland contributed to creating the art-scape of the floating mountains on Pandora – The World of Avatar.
  • When creating Expedition Everest, Disney Imagineers went to great lengths to create an attraction rich in storytelling, authenticity and detail – even traveling to Nepal to research the region’s architecture and culture. Expedition Everest, towering at nearly 200 feet high and occupying a 6.2-acre site, takes guests on a race thru the Himalayan mountains on a speeding train. It is one of 18 mountain attractions created by Walt Disney Imagineering at Disney theme parks worldwide.
  • The rutted road on Kilimanjaro Safaris is part of the landscape design. The Walt Disney Imagineering design team matched concrete with the surrounding soil, then rolled tires through it, and tossed stones, dirt and twigs into it to create an appropriately bumpy experience duplicating a remote African road.
Photo Courtesy Disney
  • The Animal Nutrition Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom provides the highest quality of animal nutrition as part of the veterinary services preventive health care program. The Animal Nutrition team prepares more than 1,500 individual or group diets daily and delivers more than 10,000 pounds of food to the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge daily.
  • Walt Disney’s love of animals began when he was four years old and his family moved from his Chicago birthplace to a 45-acre farm in Marceline, Mo. There he helped take care of farm animals, and learned to draw pictures of his animal friends.
  • The first birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a kudu, a large African antelope.
  • Nearly 40 Guam kingfisher chicks have hatched at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, significantly raising the world population of these birds. Currently, there are 145 of these birds in the world.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to one of the leading zoo hospitals in North America, with an emphasis on advanced imaging, digital radiology, ultrasound, and endoscopy. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of only two animal hospitals in U.S. zoos with computed tomography (CT) scanners on the premises. This has increased the team’s ability to quickly diagnose and treat animals at the hospital.
  • Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed more than $70 million to 600 nonprofit organizations working with communities to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world.

Source: Disney