I admit it…I used to strongly dislike Animal Kingdom; something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. But, things have changed, and I can now happily report that I am and Animal Kingdom Convert!
I used to see Animal Kingdom as sort of a glorified zoo. Sure it featured some carnival-style rides, and a couple of shows, but mostly it was just a lot of animals. Trails of animals, shows with animals, a petting zoo with animals, and more animals. The safari was pretty cool, and the Tree of Life is certainly beautiful, but that was about the extent of what I enjoyed about Animal Kingdom.
It just didn’t feel like Disney to me.
Then I started paying more attention.
Have you ever noticed the detail at Animal Kingdom. It is AMAZING!
This all started when construction on Expedition: Everest began. I’m not a rollercoaster person, (at all), but I was intrigued by what I was hearing about this new project. I mean, it was being covered by Travel Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, and probably more. I couldn’t help but wonder what the fuss was all about. My husband and I were planning a trip for that summer and was sort of looking forward to visiting Animal Kingdom just to see what was happening!
And from there my interest just kept growing. With the help of all the Everest shows that came out when they were building the attraction and my trusty Imagineers Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom I was able to learn a great deal about the park itself. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is truly fascinating. So much care and planning went into the Imagineering of the park, and into each specific country and habitat. Details, details, details. Kilimanjaro Safari is directly linked to Walt Disney himself, essentially it is the Jungle Cruise that never was. And the Wildlife Conservation Efforts are incredibly admirable. ,
On the surface Animal Kingdom does not appear to fit in with the other Disney Parks, (I mean, where are all the Princesses?), but once you look beyond the surface layer you are left with an appreciation for what it does have: beautiful designs, themeing that is unrivaled, and a unique flavor that is a refreshing break from it’s more traditional parks. What used to be a “half-day” park at best for my family has now become a favorite park, and I can’t wait to return!
Not to mention, Festival of the Lion King is arguable the most impressive production in all of the Walt Disney World Resort.
**This blog was originally published on April 19th for the Animal Kingdom 15th Anniversary**