Disney’s Animal Kingdom turns 20 this year!
This truly unique park opened on Earth Day 1998, April 22, 1998. A month later, I got married and spent part of my honeymoon at Disney World and we both enjoyed our day at this brand new park immensely. It was great then, but 20 years later…it’s so much better!
Pandora – The World of Avatar
The newly added Pandora, World of Avatar land is a must see even for non-Avatar fans. Just the visuals, pictures don’t do it justice, you have to see it in person for the full effect. Mountains suspended in the air, waterfalls descending into pools seemingly on the rainforest floor, the colorful plant life and at night it all takes on an incredible luminescent glow.
This area brings with it two new attractions, one of which is hands down the best attraction in all of the Orlando theme parks… according to me at least. Flight of Passage takes you on a Banshee ride! You fly…on a banshee! It is the best simulator I’ve ever experienced. It’s even worth the long lines. There is a height requirement of 44″ on this one, but the Na’Vi River Journey is family friendly. It’s a leisurely boat ride through the bioluminescent forest of Pandora.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark
Animal Kingdom has extended their hours and are open into the dark hours now adding a nighttime show, Rivers of Light which is also worth a look and don’t miss the projections on the Tree of Life after dark.
Of course, one of my favorite rollercoasters of all time is Expedition Everest, it wasn’t there in 1998, but I have since made up for that. Single rider line means no waits and the ability to ride it over and over and over again in quick succession.
Some of my favorite things at Animal Kingdom aren’t even the attractions though. There is just so much to see. The trails that take you into the animal habitats are wonderful. Pangani Trail brings you up close to gorillas and so much more. The Maharajah Jungle Trek bring you up close with Bengal Tigers. A walk around the Tree of Life just marveling at its carvings could take hours and there are hidden spots with animals dispersed around the tree. And of course, Kilimanjaro Safari is a classic and now available at night as well for a completely different experience.
This park has truly become a full day park!
And they are having a PARTY!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, 2018 with an expanded “Party for the Planet” celebration April 22-May 5, 2018.
So much going on!
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences to learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, or hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.
- Special photo opportunities,
- Kids can earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program.
- Six different Tiffins Talks,
- Themed-dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins full-service restaurant
- Limited-edition merchandise will also be available for purchase, with one piece being a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. (He will be available to sign prints on April 22, 2018 from 1-4 p.m. at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited).
- April 22 will mark the debut of a brand-new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” It’s a new adventure for Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show will be performed multiple times daily.
- A “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends will also premiere Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.