Florida Guide > Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom.......a history.
Animal Kingdom is the 4th Disney park in Florida and some would say the least succesful; more of that later.
The beginnings of the park stretch right back to Walt Disneys childhood for he was raised on a farm and grew up with a love and respect for animals.
When the Jungle Cruise was in the planning Walt was desperate to include live animals in this attraction; however, he was persuaded that this was not practical.
Walt had been dead for a long time when the idea for a 4th park was mooted and Walt' s desire to include animals was remembered. And thus Animal Kingdom started on its long journey to fruition. The land needed for this ambitious project was 5 times more than The Magic Kingdom but since Walt had had the forethought to purchase a huge tract of land right from the get go this was no problem.
What they did not want was an old fashioned zoo so the safari was knitted into their plans which is as close to the genuine thing as is possible. In all this park covers 500 acres. This allows you to see the animals in as near natural conditions as possible with no cages and seemingly no fences (though we know there must be good barriers)
There were some rides among the attractions but maybe not as many as the thrill hungry public expected. Budgetry concerns meant that a whole area was shelved and the imagineers departed to Universal where a very similar idea appeared at their Islands of Adventure. The attraction I am referring to to can be seen at Islands of Adventure and is called The Lost Continent.
And thus Animal Kingdom opened its gates in 1998 to a rather mixed reception. Another of the perceived problems is that to save the animals from trauma there is no dramatic closing show at this park.
The centerpiece of the park is the awesome Tree of Life This is a 145 foot tall, 50 foot wide tree that has over 300 animals sculpted into the bark. This is the home of the 3d show which is called A Bugs Life.
In recent times Disney have added Everest and the wonderful Lion King show to the attractions which has gone a long way to fleshing the park out.
For me, Animal Kingdom is my second favourite park in the Orlando area and I have always enjoyed a day out there. Yes, you do miss a closing show but actually after a full day of rides and shows and walking round this large park I am quite happy to get back to the peace and relaxation of the villa.
This park is currently 8th on the list of the most visited attractions.
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