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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Animal Kingdom Lands and Sections
- Discovery Island
- Pandora – World of Avatar
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- 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.
But first, don’t forget to grab your FREE Walt Disney World itinerary here.
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.
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
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.
All the benches and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are made of recycled milk jugs.
Discovery Island – Animal Kingdom
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
29. Kilimanjaro Safaris
The jeeps used for the Safari operate on liquid propane. This keeps the emissions low around the wildlife.
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
31. In the Steps of the Navi People
Check out the large footprints on the ground in front of the Na’vi River Journey.
32. Predatory Bats
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.
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.
What rides should your FastPass at Animal Kingdom?
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- 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).
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.
Ready to make that trip to Disney? Read More Tips Below:
- Magic Kingdom Hidden Secrets
- 7 Best Rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that You MUST-DO!
- Hollywood Studios Hidden Secrets
- Best Animal Kingdom Snacks
Now go out and have fun!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!
(Original Article Date: March 31, 2019/Updated June 26, 2021)