More and more of us are looking for special things to do that bring some magic to our days as we face very strange days. That’s why we’re so excited to share with you that Disney is working hard to bring magic into your days with at-home educational content, such as the Imagineering in a Box, learning how to draw the true original Mickey Mouse, and learning about the amazing animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Catch all the details below!
Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Thomas Smith:
We’ve brought you some amazing ways you and your family can learn from our talented Imagineers through their “Imagineering in a Box” lessons.
Today, we wanted to share more family-friendly content that will have you enjoying the magic of Disney from the comfort of your home. Today’s content is brought to you by The Disney Channel and the amazing team of animal scientists from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, we have a dedicated animal care team tending to the thousands of animals who roam our savannah.
We’re excited to share an educational and informative look at some of the majestic animals in our care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From a behind-the-scenes look at the hippopotamus, to fun facts about beautiful creatures like the magnificent meerkat, check out Disney Animals on DisneyNOW for videos that are sure to delight and inspire.
To learn more about the many species we are working to protect, visit DisneyAnimals.com. With so many families at home together right now, we look forward to sharing more stories and insights about our animals and amazing Cast who are caring for them. Keep an eye out for more #bettertogether learning opportunities soon.
Editor’s Note: The parks will reopen, so we will continue to offer articles for planning purposes. Please enjoy this related planning article for your next trip to Walt Disney World!
RELATED ARTICLE: The Top 11 Best Photo Spots in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
by Arielle Tuan
Not only is Animal Kingdom my favorite park; it’s also my favorite place to take Disney vacation photos. Every land is detailed and picturesque, and while there may not be a castle in the background, you can get some really unique shots at this park! Also, for the Instagrammers out there, there are lots of walls that will definitely make a great background for your social media feed. With the lush greenery, the floating mountains of Pandora, the wild animals, and more, there are many photo spots to choose from in Animal Kingdom. Below are a few of my favorite locations!
11 – The Tree of Life
I’ve been to Animal Kingdom more times than I count, and I still can’t get enough of the Tree of Life- the amazing icon of the park. Even when I worked there every day for six months, I still stopped and stared every time I walked through Discovery Island, trying to identify the animals carved into the tree’s trunk and limbs. Though the tree isn’t real (I’ll never forget all the guests that kept asking me this question), it is still an incredible feat of Imagineering; the tree is 145 feet tall, contains 325 carvings of animal species, and features over 100,000 bright green “leaves”.
Taking a picture in front of the Tree of Life is a must during a trip to Animal Kingdom. Despite being the centerpiece of the park, it makes a great background, whether you’re standing right in front, or standing along one of the winding trails that are situated around the Tree of Life. You can also take a picture facing the back of the tree while walking in between Asia and Africa. The tree is also beautiful at night; colorful projections are shown on the tree during the Tree of Life Awakenings shows, and well into the evening hours.
PhotoPass photographers can usually be found all around the Tree of Life and on the path leading up to the tree from the Oasis. They can take photos with your own phone or camera for free, so make sure you get a shot!
10 – Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama
While this may be my least favorite area in Animal Kingdom, DinoLand U.S.A. does have some cute photo spots in the sideshow carnival-themed section. There are dinosaur cardboard cutouts to pose by and funky billboards advertising the land’s “roadside attractions.” Plus, the theming of the midway games provide a fun atmosphere where you can act a little silly for the camera. At dusk, the area and games are lit with twinkle lights, and it becomes my favorite time of day to snap photos.
9 – The Valley of Mo’ara at Pandora: World of Avatar
Animal Kingdom’s newest land is full of incredible photo opportunities. There are, of course, the floating mountains to pose under (if you can stop gaping at them long enough)! Then, there are all the amazing plant and animal species, both real and imagined, both native to Earth and native to Pandora. There are waterfalls and drums, and PhotoPass Photographers taking “magic shots” of guests pointing to a flying banshee off the in the distance.
The land comes alive at night with bioluminescence. It can be quite hard to take pictures in the dark, but with the right settings, the mysterious glow of Pandora makes a perfect backdrop. I think on my last trip, I spent a good half hour just wandering around taking photos of this land. So, if you’ve got some time after experience Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, definitely soak in the details and get those amazing shots!
8 – The “Moss Wall”
Located in Pandora: World of Avatar, this wall quickly rose to the top of Instagram fame. Pandora is full of beautiful photo ops, but if it’s walls you’re into, check out the Moss Wall over by Satu’li Canteen and the drink stand Pongu Pongu. Make sure you find the one with the pretty blue and purple flowers on it for the “official” Moss Wall- you’ll find that all the walls look very similar.
Whenever I’m near this wall, it always seems crowded, so you may have to wait a bit for your turn. You can get a cool photo or selfie by the wall, and then order a colorful Night Blossom and take a picture of the drink with the wall as a backdrop. Make sure you use the Moss Wall hashtag!
7 – Overlooking Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest is a great coaster, and a great location to take pictures. However, my favorite place to take a photo with Expedition Everest in the background is across the way in Asia, near the Siamang exhibit. There will be a rusty black telescope marking the spot against a fence. It’s far enough away that you can fit the whole coaster in the background, along with the lake and the Rivers of Light stadium. With the prayer flags, crumbling temples, and props surrounding the area, it will almost feel as though you’re in a real Nepali town.
This is also a beautiful spot at night. In the evening, Everest is lit up, and the Rivers of Light stadium is covered with hanging string lights. These reflect beautifully on the water and make for an incredible photo!
6 – The Village of Anandapur
As you get further into Animal Kingdom’s version of Asia, you’ll enter the fictional village of Anandapur. The whole area, inspired by the real beauty and wildlife of Asia, has dozens of amazing photo opportunities. Where else can you get photos with colorful signs, murals, and ancient shrines, without actually leaving the continent?
If you go through the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which is a self-guided animal walking tour, you’ll pass replicas of ancient palace ruins- not to mention Komodo dragons, tigers, bats, and over fifty species of birds! Every detail on this trail is amazing, and it’s impossible not to want to stop and capture them all with a camera. Another favorite spot of mine is the giant claw located outside the Yak and Yeti restaurant. Not a lot of guests know about the giant claw, but it looks extremely authentic with the silk streamers fluttering around it.
Keep your eyes and cameras out while exploring Asia!
5 – Harambe Market Wall
While in Africa, make sure you check out this super cute Instagram wall near Zuri’s Sweet Shop. It’s colorful, covered with fun props, and even has a bike that you can lean on while taking your photo. My favorite thing about this wall is the quote- “It does not matter who you are or where you are from. We are the children of the world.” How beautiful and inspiring is that? As far as Disney Instagram walls go, this one is really fun!
4 – Fichwa Fellow Wall
No list of Animal Kingdom photo spots would be complete without mentioning this Instagram wall. Located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom, to the left of the entrance to Harambe Market, is the Fichwa Fellow wall. This is a fun wall with a drawing of Mickey Mouse on it, which looks like it was hand-painted by a local living in the village. Fichwa, which is scrawled on the wall, means “hidden” in Swahili. This technically makes the Fichwa Fellow wall a hidden Mickey! This is definitely a photo spot that requires no filter.
3 – You Are Most Beautiful Wall
That’s right, Animal Kingdom’s Africa has not one, not two, but three famous Instagram walls! I never even knew this wall existed until I started talking to Disney bloggers on social media. This wall, which spells out the phrase “You are most beautiful,” is also located in the Harambe Market. It’s in the back left corner, near a Cast Member entrance. I can’t wait to seek out this wall and get a picture on my next trip- who wouldn’t want to pose near a wall that’s so positive and meant to shower you in self-confidence? Go Animal Kingdom!
2 – Adventurers Outpost
It seems odd, but there are not a lot of places in Disney to get a picture with Mickey and Minnie Mouse together. Luckily, the Adventurers Outpost in Discovery Island, Animal Kingdom is one of these places. (It’s actually the only place on property you can meet them together!). It’s a great spot to not only meet but get a photo with Mickey and Minnie in their safari outfits. I’m not usually a big fan of character meet and greets, but I love this location. The characters always make me feel welcome, and it’s nice to get some good photos in the air-conditioning.
1 – Kilimanjaro Safaris
You’ll definitely want to hang on to your camera as you ride along on this bumpy safari, but the picture opportunities are so worth it! Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the only ways to see wild animals like lions, rhinos, elephants, and giraffes roaming “freely,” which earns this attraction the number one spot to take photos in Animal Kingdom. I advise going first thing in the morning, or late in the day as the sun is setting- that’s when the animals are bound to be most visible and active. You may even be lucky enough to have the safari driver stop for a moment, and then you can snap a selfie while out on the savannah!
Of course, you don’t want to spend the whole attraction looking through a lens, but if you can, definitely have your camera ready for those once in a lifetime pictures! No matter how times I ride, I love taking pictures of the elephants as they bathe in the pools and the giraffes as they nibble from the trees. Every safari is unique, so there’s no telling what kind of amazing pictures you’ll be able to get!
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