Celebrating 25 Years of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Celebrating 25 Years of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s hard to believe that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is 25 years old! And with it come so many memories of a park that is truly distinct among all other Disney theme parks worldwide. Join me on on this 25th birthday celebrating not only the park but Earth day. I visit each of the lands of the park and share some unique memories not only of my own experiences here professionally and with my family, but also stories from Cast Members who have shaped the the park and have played roles big and small. It’s a beautiful day in “Natazu”, come join us as we celebrate 25 years of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Here are images and videos that support today’s podcast:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Dedication Plaque:

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney's Animal Kingdom |  TouringPlans.com Blog


In the foreground is the parking lot. Note the number of buses and trailers. This became the construction headquarters for the development. On the left land has been cleared for what will become Camp Mickey-Minnie. The earlier Festival of the Lion King Structure is the brown building in the center and was open air. Photo by Steven L. Smith.


This photo captures the original sections built out for Dinoland. While land was cleared originally down center for a roller coaster style attraction in a dinosaur dig, nothing happened until after 9-11. Photo taken by Steven L. Smith.
Countdown to Extinction: Inside the Evolution of Animal Kingdom's  Time-Traveling DINOSAUR Dark Ride - Park Lore
Few images were released of the development of Disney’s Animal Kingdom prior to opening. This is one of them. Image by Disney.

Land Bridge to Discovery Island

Note the land bridge on the left of the Tree of Life. Photo by Steven L. Smith.
The centerpiece of the entire park. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Pizzafari: The great air conditioning respite. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
This wall in Tiffins was originally part of Pizzafari. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Photo by J. Jeff Kober
Here is a later photo with the land bridge nearly removed. Note the tent like structure originally for the Theater in the Wild. Photo by Steven L. Smith.

Beastly Kingdom, Camp Minnie-Mickey, and Pandora: World of Avatar.

Lions, Tigers, and Dragons - Oh My! Remnants of Disney's Scrapped Animal  Kingdom Expansion
Original ideas around Beastly Kingdom. Image by Disney.
Entrance to Camp Minnie-Mickey. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The creek is still part of Pandora: World of Avatar, but completely re-themed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Mother Willow, center of the Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends Show. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Pandora: World of Avatar under construction. Most don’t know that the show building for Flight of Passage also is interconnected with Na’vi River Journey. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Pandora: World of Avatar upon completion. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Please Share

Do you have a favorite memory of visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park? Please join our Disney Insights Facebook Page and share! We would love to hear from you.

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J. Jeff Kober

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