AK turns 10 on Tuesday
Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrates 10-year anniversary
For 10 years, we’ve been under the spell of Disney’s animal attraction.
Sentinel Staff Writer
April 20, 2008
It’s so obvious and so true: Animal is the middle name of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The attraction is king of the jungle when it comes to theming. Animals – real and merely realistic – are everywhere in the park: in the trees, in water, in air, in architecture, on uniforms, in stage shows, in conservation efforts. In honor of the park’s 10-year anniversary on Tuesday, here are 10 fun, sometimes furry facts you should know about Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
1 House warmers.
The very first inhabitants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom were four giraffes and three gorillas. \ 2 Big numbers.
The park reportedly cost nearly $800 MILLION
It covers 500 ACRES
5 times the size of Magic Kingdom.
More than 40,000 mature trees were planted before the opening.
3 It’s all about tree.
The internal structure of the park’s iconic Tree of Life is based on the design for an oil rig. The Tree is covered with images of 325 animals carved into its “bark,” and it has more than 100,000 leaves.
4 The price we pay.
On opening day, Disney World ticket prices went up. One-day, one-park admission rose to $44.52 (tax included) for adults, $36.04 for children age 3-9. Today’s prices: $75.62 and $63.90, respectively.
5 Paging Melissa Joan Hart.
Animal Kingdom was the first Disney World park to open after the company purchased the ABC television network. Early synergy: Segments for ABC comedy Sabrina the Teenage Witch were taped there.
6 Sasquatch, your safari is ready.
Early plans for the park touted an area known as Beastly Kingdom, set to feature mythical beasts such as griffins and fire-breathing dragons. For the most part, Disney has kept things in the realistic realm. Two exceptions would be the menacing yeti inside the Expedition Everest roller coaster and the Unicorn section of the parking lot.
7 Mild kingdom?
When the park opened, it had only one thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction. That attraction underwent a name change to Dinosaur in conjunction with Disney’s 2000 film of the same name. Now adventurous guests can turn to the Everest coaster, Primeval Whirl and Kali River Rapids for excitement.
8 By the mouthful.
The popular Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction mixes open-air vehicles and wildlife – zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions and more – over a 110-acre savannah. The grazing animals help with maintenance costs: That part of the park has never been mowed by machine (although it was almost needed after one particularly rainy season).
9 Name games.
The original announced name for the park was Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom, but the Wild was dropped two years before it even opened. Other names tested: Disney’s Wild World, Disney’s Animal Adventure, Disney’s Animal Encounter and Disney’s Wild Territorium.
10 When the whistle blows.
An audio cue signals animals that it’s time to come in for the night. Most birds stay in the park, but most mammals go to their shelters at the end of the day. If they want to stay out, they can.
Dewayne Bevil can be reached at 407-420-5477 or email@example.com.
WALT DISNEY CO.
Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel