32 Fantastic Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets You MUST Discover

Walt Disney World Secrets and Facts: Animal Kingdom Edition

You may think you know all the Animal Kingdom secrets but, there are quite a few hidden facts you should remember for your next Walt Disney World vacation!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day on April 22, 1998. That special day has led many exciting memories of the animal inhabitant theme park.

Animal Kingdom is located in the Orlando area and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and has more than 1700 animals on property.

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Timon (left) and Rafiki (right) sail down Discovery River as part of the holiday celebrations happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)
Timon (left) and Rafiki (right) sail down Discovery River as part of the holiday celebrations happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

Animal Kingdom Lands and Sections

  • Oasis
  • Discovery Island
  • Pandora – World of Avatar
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Asia
  • Dinoland U.S.A

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great park to take your time, get lost, and discover so many different creatures of this world. There are so many unique hidden gems and facts that you’d love learning about as you walk through each highly themed area.

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1. Beastly Kingdom

As you approach Animal Kingdom you may notice in the parking lot that there are not just animal sections, but you also have a dinosaur and a unicorn section.

Disney Animal Kingdom SOLO. #DisneyTips #DisneyWorld #AnimalKingdom #DisneyPlanning #SoloTravel #DisneySolo

The reason why you may see a unicorn section or a dinosaur section is because the park was supposed to be called Beastly Kingdom.

Oasis Area – Animal Kingdom Entrance

There are no rides located in the Oasis area of Animal Kingdom, which is at the beginning of the park. This is done to show what little human impact has on the environment.

Animal Kingdom Map

Animal Kingdom Map PDF
Animal Kingdom Map PDF Screenshot from Disney Website

3. Divine Animal Kingdom (Moving Tree)

While you’re in the Oasis section of Animal Kingdom look for Divine. She is majestically draped in foliage and is definitely something you should see at the start of your Disney day.

Divine Plant Lady at Disney Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets

4. Recycle…Reuse…

All the benches and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are made of recycled milk jugs.

Discovery Island – Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

5. The Original Discovery Island

The Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom is named after the original 11.5-acre Discovery Island attraction that was located on Bay Lake near the Magic Kingdom Theme Park.

6. A Tree Filled with Life

The Tree of Life (the large tree that welcomes you in Animal Kingdom) is 145 feet tall, with 325 reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Animal Kingdom Secrets Tree of Life with Animals Carved inside of it

7. More than Just a Tree

The Tree of Life houses a one-of-a-kind 4-D attraction. This attraction is call It’s Tough to Be A Bug and it’s hidden deep inside the roots of the Tree of Life.

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DinoLand U.S.A. – Animal Kingdom

DINOSAUR Entrance with Dinosaur in the garden at Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets

8. Boneyard Secrets

Discover Boneyard secrets by lifting the lid on the second crate in the play area. You should be able to hear something scary going on inside the crate.

9. Big Footprints to Fill

Step on the giant footprints on the ground inside DinoLand U.S.A. You should hear a growl and other sounds around in the Boneyard.

Animal Kingdom Dinoland USA Entrance

10. Milder Ride with Dinosaurs

Countdown to Extinction is not the same ride it was when it originally opened.

Today’s version is much milder than it originally was prior to 2000. The attraction was renamed Dinosaur! to go with the movie release of the same name in the year 2000.

11. Find a Live Dinosaur

Search DinoLand U.S.A. and find the life American crocodile sits next to the dig site and Dino Bites.

12. Learn the Secrets of the Paleontologist at Restaurantosaurus

Inside a Restaurantosaurus just before you enter the Hip Joint section of the restaurant, go through the bookshelf. You’ll see many funny titled books that the paleontologists enjoy such as, Dino’s in Love and Captain Cretaceous.

Restaurantosaurus Animal Kingdom
Restaurantosaurus Animal Kingdom

13. Encounter the Tyrannosaurus Rex

Don’t forget to check out the 40-foot long, 20-foot high Tyrannosaurus Rex as you make your way to Dinosaur!

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14. Scientific Demarcation Point

When you enter the Dino Institute (inside Dinosaur!) Look for the dark layer next to you. This dark area is the K-T boundary which is the time between the age of dinosaurs and the age of mammals.

Animal Kingdom Dinosaur Ride with Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton

15. A Parking Lot Inside Animal Kingdom

Around the game area of DinoLand U.S.A. you can see some of the white parking space lines. Letting you know that this area was previously a parking lot in the storyline following Chester and Hester, the DinoLand mascots.

Asia – Animal Kingdom Secrets

Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest
Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest

16. Prayer Flags in Asia

Look at the many colorful flags throughout Asia. These are called prayer flags and are found in Tibetan culture.

17. Five Main Colors

In Asian culture the five color flags are shown in one order: yellow, green, red, white, and blue, signifying earth, water, fire, cloud, and sky.

Expedition Everest Entrance at Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets

18. Expedition Everest Secret to Wealth

Notice all of the firewood on the roofs of the Expedition Everest attraction. Wood is sacred in the Mount Everest area.

This means the more wood you have on the top of your roof, the more wealthy you are.

19. Lots of Red Throughout Expedition Everest

Inside Expedition Everest you will notice lots of red coloring throughout the building. Red is thought to be a color of protection. It is also thought to keeps evil spirits away.

Expedition Everest Queue Line at Animal Kingdom Secrets with Yeti Sanctuary
Expedition Everest

20. Honor the Yeti

Check out the red mark on the forehead of the Yeti’s statue. It’s a symbol of honor and respect.

21. A Classic Steam Train

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets
Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Note the old tea company steam train. Look carefully to see real steam coming from the train through the tracks below, right when the train takes off.

22. Don’t Forget the Shrine

The shrine next to the telescope in Asia is an outline of the mountain range across the lake. You can see the shrine right before you head towards Expedition Everest.

Animal Kingdom Secrets Asia Shrine
Animal Kingdom Asia Shrine

23. Kali River Rapids

Kali is the Hindu goddess of “time end of the transformation that comes with death.” A violent interpretation of Mother Nature, which is why Kali River Rapids is an intense water-raft attraction.

Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids
Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids

 24. Royalty in Asia

Try to find the picture of the Royal Couple of Anandapur. You can see this in the shops around the Asian section of the park. This picture indicates how wealthy a shop owner is.

The bigger the picture, the wealthier the owner.

25. Boat Tours in Animal Kingdom

On the walk to Africa from Asia, you’ll notice a boat dock on the waterway to the left, right across from Flights of Wonder.

Animal Kingdom Character Cavalcade on water

Believe it or not, there was once a boat tour that you could take from one area of Animal Kingdom to the other when park originally opened.

Africa – Animal Kingdom Secrets

Africa Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets Harambe Village #DisneyTips #AnimalKingdom #DisneySecrets
Africa Section of Animal Kingdom

26. Harambe Village

Harambe Village in the Africa section of the park is where you you’ll find lots of music, wildlife, and even more hidden gems.

Harambe is Swahili for “let us all pull together.”

27. African Phone Booths

You will notice a phone booth near the restrooms across from Tusker House. This indicates the time period in which British ruled parts of east Africa.

28. Kenya’s Independence – Harambe Village

Around Harambe Village, look for signs with the year 1961.  This is the year the Republic of Kenya became an independent country.

Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets Harambe Village with Bike Wheels everywhere

29. Kilimanjaro Safaris

The jeeps used for the Safari operate on liquid propane. This keeps the emissions low around the wildlife.

Animal Kingdom African Safari with Momma and baby giraffe
Animal Kingdom African Safari

30. Hidden Wildlife Dividers

On Kilimanjaro Safari you cannot see the hidden barriers between you and the animals, because of human-made boundaries.

These boundaries help you feel as if you’re right in the middle of a safari, while protecting both you and the animals.

Pandora: World of Avatar – Animal Kingdom Secrets

Flight of Passage Queue Giant Avatar at Disney Animal Kingdom

31. In the Steps of the Navi People

Check out the large footprints on the ground in front of the Na’vi River Journey.

Shaman on Avatar Ride at Disney Animal Kingdom Secrets

32. Predatory Bats

Right before you enter the Avatar Flight of Passage caves, look towards your left to see sleeping stingbats.

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What to Know Before You Go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Once you’re ready to make that trip to Animal Kingdom, you should know a few key things.

Expedition Everest Temple View Animal Kingdom Hidden Secrets

What is the best thing to do at Animal Kingdom?

Avatar Flight of Passage is an absolute must do!

There are no words to describe this majestic Disney ride that is perfect from your first step in the queue until your exit of the attraction.

Flight of Passage Queue

What rides should your FastPass at Animal Kingdom?

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Dinosaur
  • Expedition Everest
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris

How much is a day pass at Animal Kingdom?

A one-day REGULAR season Animal Kingdom ticket starts at $109* (prices do fluctuate based on the season).

Final Thoughts

There you have it!

Those are some of the best secrets for you to uncover on your Animal Kingdom trip. Let me know which Animal Kingdom secret surprised you the most in the comment section below.

If you’d like to read more Walt Disney World secrets, then purchase this amazing book The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom by Susan Veness.

Animal Kingdom Secrets in Africa at Disney #disneysecrets #disneyplanning
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Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!


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(Original Article Date: March 31, 2019/Updated June 26, 2021)

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