It’s hard to believe that April is just around the corner! April is Earth Month and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating with some special limited-time activities and offerings. Learn more below.
Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Michelle Baurmann:
As we head into Earth Month, it’s a great time to reflect on our personal relationship with our beautiful planet and how we can all care for the world we share. Whether it’s reducing your own ecological footprint, planting a tree, creating a butterfly garden or learning more about wildlife and conservation, all of these efforts unite us as we do our part to protect nature’s treasures. And while Disney theme parks celebrate all living things every day, during the annual Earth Day Celebration there’s an added opportunity for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park guests to connect with the magic of nature through engaging activities designed to educate and inspire the whole family.
From April 18 to 24, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host limited-time experiences including unique Disney character appearances, fun learning opportunities, specialty merchandise, themed food and beverage, a new Wilderness Explorer activity and more. Here’s a look at what’s in store to spark your curiosity about wildlife and inspire your own conservation efforts:
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station shows how Disney Artists bring favorite characters to life by using animals for inspiration. For the Earth Day Celebration and the month of April, you can learn to draw characters – including Dumbo, Terk, Squirt, Shere Khan, Simba and Scar – whose real-life counterparts represent amazing stories of conservation work around the globe.
- Catch a glimpse of some special characters who will join other favorite Disney pals on Discovery River Character Cruises.
- Nosh around the park sampling Earth Day eats, including a selection of limited-time specialty cupcakes: the Creature Comfort’s Honey Bee Cupcake, the strawberry-flavored Flamingo Cupcake at Flame Tree Barbecue, or the Sea Turtle Graham Cracker Cupcake (plus the Crave the Wave cocktail!) at Restaurantosaurus Lounge. Be sure to dig in as the treats are only available for a limited time.
- Set out on a series of self-guided, nature-themed challenges and earn a special Wilderness Explorer limited-time Earth Day Nature badge.
- Hunt for an Earth Day 2021 limited-edition Te Fiti Moana trading pin. You can also support the Disney Conservation Fund by purchasing a cuddly plush inspired by species that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home; or check out Island Mercantile’s eco-friendly water bottles, tumblers and reusable bags that promote sustainability.
- Any time you visit the park, marvel at unique animals and meet the newest arrivals. Most recently, the park welcomed the birth of Ranger, and you can get a glimpse of the rambunctious five-month-old white rhino calf and his crash on your journey aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris. While on safari, also keep an eye out for two young Masai giraffe who were born a few months ago, and playful Nigerian dwarf goats that hang out at the warden’s outpost.
- Disney PhotoPass Service captures magical memories with special in-park Earth Day backgrounds and Magic Shots, including an all-new photo opportunity. In addition, Earth Day screen savers and Zoom backgrounds can be downloaded from the My Disney Experience PhotoPass gallery.
- Beginning April 2, you can watch as artisans transform 40 tons of sand into a detailed sculpture celebrating National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” an original series streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. The intricate sculpted masterpiece will be located on the Discovery Island Stage until April 30.
For more information on how Disney cares for animals and helps protect species in the wild, visit DisneyAnimals.com, check out “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+, streaming now, Disney Park Wild Sights, a short form video mini-series exclusive to the My Disney Experience app, or follow along on Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Instagram (@DrMarkAtDisney) and Facebook (@DisneyASE) pages. And look out for even more Earth Month excitement right here on Disney Parks Blog as we inspire action through education to protect the environment and care for the world around us.
RELATED ARTICLE: Top 11 Reasons Why I Love Animal Kingdom
by Cindy E. Nykamp
I’m strange. My favorite park is Animal Kingdom. It has been since my very first trip to Walt Disney World. This always comes as a bit of a shock to most people. They say they just don’t “get” Animal Kingdom. I often hear that most people consider Animal Kingdom to be the park they least want to visit. Some people don’t even bother to visit the park at all. I just don’t understand. While I love every Disney park, Animal Kingdom is so different and invokes such a unique feeling that it remains my favorite. Here are the top eleven reasons why I love Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
11 – The Anti-Theme Park
I think part of the problem of people not caring for Animal Kingdom is expectations. Animal Kingdom is just different. It’s not at all like a “normal” theme park, and that’s one of the reasons I love it. Some super fans of Disney often refer to Walt Disney World as a bubble. You enter, and you are in another world, free from our normal daily stresses. Animal Kingdom is a bubble within the bubble. It feels completely different than any of the other parks. It’s a retreat from the norm, and that can be very refreshing.
10 – They say it’s “Nahtazu,” but actually “Izazu,” — an Awesome One
Early Disney campaigns for Animal Kingdom wanted us to know that Animal Kingdom was, “Nahtazu!” (not a zoo). See this old clip: Early Animal Kingdom Ad. I’m not sure why Disney tried to distance themselves from being associated with zoos, because actually “Itzazu,” (it’s a zoo), and an awesome one! One of the reasons I love visiting Animal Kingdom is the animals. Animal Kingdom boasts more than 1,700 animals across 250 species. Warning: One visit to Animal Kingdom and all other zoos will pale in comparison. It’s just no fun to see elephants living on concrete pads. But to see a family herd of elephants enjoying roaming across acres of land, well, that I can enjoy.
9 – Lions, and Tigers, and Gorillas. Oh, My!
If you love animals, then Animal Kingdom is the place to be. The sheer size of Kilimanjaro Safaris is impressive. The Safaris, at roughly 110 acres, is almost the same size as the entire Magic Kingdom Park. That size allows guests a way to observe and interact with animals like never before. At the end of the Safaris, you’ll be treated to a Pride Rock type habitat with the lions. You may not see a lion every time, but when you do, it’s a real treat. Kilimanjaro Safari exits into Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail where you explore and interact with many, many more animals. Finally, Maharajah Jungle Trek specializes in animals found on the Asian continent, including many beautiful tigers. My favorite spot is visiting with the gorillas at the end of the trail. I could stay and watch the gorillas for hours (and I have).
8 – Learning Abounds
When you think of learning opportunities, many people jump to Epcot as the place to be. While Epcot is an obvious choice for physical science and cultural studies, Animal Kingdom is the place to be for all things biology and conservation. A field trip to Animal Kingdom is no joke. A great program to participate in is the Wilderness Explorers program. Children of all ages can become Wilderness Explorers by collecting over 30 badges by completing dozens of self-guided activities and missions. It’s a great way to include some learning in your day!
7 – It’s for the Birds
Bird lovers rejoice. Bird watching is first-rate at Animal Kingdom. Find birds at Up! A Great Bird Adventure, The Oasis Exhibits, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Discovery Island Trails, and Maharajah Jungle Trek.
6 – Best Water Ride to Get Completely Soaked
Warning, you WILL get wet. While Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom is probably considered the best water ride at Disney World, Kali River Rapids has to win the ‘Most Soaked’ award. During the scorching Orlando summers, this ride provides wonderful relief by getting you completely drenched. I’ll never understand people who wear rain ponchos on water rides. Do you?
5 – Great Anti-Theme Park Food
Animal Kingdom was built in 1998, so it’s the youngest of the parks. I believe when it comes to dining, that youth shows excellently. The food is refreshingly different. Yak & Yeti boast delicious Asian-inspired meals, while Tusker House in Africa adds an intriguing African flare to its courses. Satu’li Canteen in Pandora – The World of Avatar has fresh food with amazing flavors and combinations. Don’t fret though. There are plenty of standard Disney fare such as burgers, chicken, and fries for your picky eaters. For the more adventurous, there are a wide variety of different food items that you won’t find at the other parks. This is a bonus.
4 – Experience Jurassic Park without Being Eaten
I’ll never forget the first time I rode Dinosaur in Dino Land U.S.A. Never. The story is immersing; the ride amazing and realistic. Did I mention realistic? I remember thinking, “Didn’t you people ever watch Jurassic Park? Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to hang out with dinosaurs?”
Tip: While the height requirements allow young children to ride, parents may wish to wait for their little ones to ride. This ride is very intense. Many spots are in complete darkness, and it is very, very loud. If you ever want your children to ride other rides, you may want to delay this one. You know your child best, but we waited until we knew our children could handle the dark, loud noise and a scary situation. We HIGHLY recommend riding this once alone before bringing the kids!
3 – Pandora: The World of Avatar
The largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, Avatar, which was released in 2009. The land is an amazing spectacle of Disney Imagineering, creativity and story-telling. As you explore the vibrant terrain sprawling beneath mountains that appear to float in the sky, you’ll see waterfalls cascading down the mountainside into meandering streams and pools, and then you’ll discover two thrilling new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. There are so many amazing things to explore. Visiting Pandora an absolute must-do on your trip to Disney World.
2 – Best Entertainment on Disney Property
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, The Festival of the Lion King is temporarily suspended. It is set to return in summer 2021. Finding Nemo-The Musical is also suspended. Unfortunately, the cast of Finding Nemo are among the cast members who have been laid off. Disney retains the rights to call them back. We hope and expect at some point in the future when conditions permit they will be called back and the entertainment that is critical to making the parks magical will return. If you feel that the entertainment staff are a big part of making the magic happen, we encourage you to let Disney know how important the entertainers are to your experience.
The Festival of the Lion King is hands down the best Disney show, ever. This is not an opinion, this is a fact. :) The stage production, dancing, and singing inspired a Broadway show, but this one is good enough to be on Broadway. There is something about that show that makes me cry almost every time we see it. ‘Amazing’ is just one word that sums it up. A close second, and also in Animal Kingdom, is Finding Nemo-The Musical. The puppetry alone is well worth a look. Animal Kingdom also has a spectacular nighttime show, Rivers of Light: We Are One, that is not to be missed! These three shows alone are reason enough to come to Animal Kingdom!
1 – TWO of the Best Thrill Rides at Walt Disney World
Animal Kingdom boasts two of the best thrill rides on the property: Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage! Expedition Everest was a welcome addition to Animal Kingdom in 2006. While the park had Dinosaur and the Kilimanjaro Safari’s, the park was still missing a major E-ticket ride; a roller coaster. Expedition Everest is Disney storytelling at its finest. It’s not just a ride, it’s a totally immersive experience. From the moment you step into the queue, you are swept into the story of trekking through Everest to find the mysterious Yeti. Does he exist? The attention to detail is amazing. You may not even mind waiting in line because there is so much to see. The roller coaster ride is the best at Walt Disney World. Best. I love Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Space Mountain, but they can’t touch the experience that is Expedition Everest. Twists, turns, drops and the Yeti himself make a fantastic ride. If you are a thrill-seeking, roller coaster lover, then this is the first line you get into.
Avatar Flight of Passage can be found in the land of Pandora – The World of Avatar. Fight of Passage launches each guest on an exhilarating, wind-in-your-face experience on a winged mountain banshee over the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Guests will actually feel the banshee breathe beneath them as they soar through the forest and past floating mountains. This simulation type ride is thrilling, realistic and very intense. Guests sit on seats similar to a motorcycle that face an enormous projection screen similar to Soarin’. The projection is 3D so expect to wear 3D glasses. There are also numerous 4D effects and scents that add to the realism. Most guests will find it the most amazing simulator ride they’ve ever experienced. Guests are raving about this incredible attraction. This attraction alone is well worth a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
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