NEWS: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Announces Arrival of Healthy Baby White Rhino

There’s been another rhino birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park! Learn more below.


Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Scott Terrell:

It’s always a momentous occasion to share news of a successful animal birth at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, I would like to introduce you to an adorable baby white rhino, born to first-time mom Jao backstage at Disney’s Animal KingdomTheme Park. Mom and baby are doing great under the keepers’ watchful and joyful eyes. I am happy to report that the beautiful calf snuggled up to mom and began nursing right away.


While we give Jao and her baby boy ample time to bond, it will be a little while before we know the calf’s weight. Typically, white rhino calves can weigh as much as 140 pounds at birth. Did you know that the majestic rhinos are the world’s second-largest land animal?

Rhinoceros also have one of the longest gestation periods of any mammal – approximately 16 to 18 months. Our animal care team’s veterinarians, scientists and animal keepers kept a close eye on Jao throughout her pregnancy, conducting regular checkups and ultrasounds to ensure a safe birth.

Credit: Disney

Jao was paired with dad Dugan, the bull of the herd, through one of the Species Survival Plans, which are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species. This birth is a true milestone for this endangered species. And our herd continues to grow. This delivery marks the 12th rhino born at Disney, and the second rhino born in the last year. And even more hooves are on the horizon as another first-time mom, Lola, is expected to give birth this fall.

Credit: Disney

In the coming weeks, Jao and baby are expected to join the “crash” (a group of rhinos), in their habitat on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve where park guests can catch a glimpse of the herd while aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris.

RELATED ARTICLE: Top 10 Q & A about Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World

by Christy Caby

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest of the 4 major theme parks at Walt Disney World. It is an entirely unique park and has a lot to offer. Many guests wonder if this park is just another “zoo,” and it is definitely much more than that. Here is our top Q&A for newbies visiting Animal Kingdom:


10 – What are the typical park hours?

The usual opening time for the park each day is 9 AM. This park used to only be open during daylight hours. Now the park is offering longer hours so guests can enjoy the many nighttime experiences with the park typically closing at 8 PM. 

9 – Is there a nighttime fireworks show at the park?

No. Fireworks would be too disruptive for the animals that live in the park, so fireworks are not allowed there.  The park had a nighttime show called Rivers of Light: We Are One. However, it was announced that the show would not be returning.

8 – Are the animals roaming around the park?

Not really. There are some animals and wildlife that are in open exhibits so that you get an excellent view of them, but they aren’t completely roaming freely. There are natural birds and wildlife (like squirrels, etc.) that are roaming freely around the park, which is to be expected. There is a petting zoo area at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where guests can brush goats. There are also other shows and exhibits where you may get closer looks at some of the animals, like Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you take a safari ride through the savanna where some animals are free-roaming, but you do not leave your ride vehicle on this attraction for any reason.

7 – Are any special events at the park?

There aren’t regularly scheduled festivals at the park, but there are occasionally special events that occur. Earth Day, April 22nd, is typically a huge day for the park. Disney puts a lot of care into conservation efforts and does a lot of education about conservation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. April 22nd is also the anniversary date for when the park first opened, so there are typically special limited events around that time each year.


6 – Why are there no balloons available for sale?

This is to protect the animals that reside in the park. You will notice that you will not be allowed to bring any balloons into the park, nor are they available for purchase. If the balloons were to get away and land in animal areas, it could be very dangerous to the animals. You will also notice that plastic, disposable straws are not given with any beverages in the park. There are paper, biodegradable straws available to ensure that the dangerous plastic straws don’t make it into waterways or other animal exhibits that could cause them a lot of harm.

5 – What types of attractions are there besides animal encounters?

There are actually a couple of amazing shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo The Musical. These shows are based on their respective movies and are amazing Broadway-caliber shows. There is even a Bug’s Life show that is shown in 3D with other special effects in the theater. You will also find a few great rides at the park-like DINOSAUR, Expedition: Everest, Kali River Rapids, and TriceraTop Spin. Pandora – The World of Avatar, is an out-of-this-world experience that is not to be missed.  This park is definitely not just a “zoo” as some guests assume before they visit the park.

4 – Will I need a whole a day at the park?

You can always cut things out and make a visit shorter, but to experience everything, you will definitely at least need a full day, probably even two days. There are so many experiences, animal trails, attractions, and more that you would find it extremely difficult to fit everything in without a full day. This park is a lot of fun, so I definitely recommend that you plan in at least a full day so that you can enjoy everything that you want to and take in how beautiful the park is. Be sure you also extend your visit to the evening hours to see a whole new side of the park. It’s simply beautiful at night.

3 – What food options are available?

There are options to meet all of your tastes and budgets. There are quick-service locations, including an African market-style location. These are locations where you can order from the counter and find a place to enjoy a quick meal so you can get back to enjoying the day The Satu’li Canteen in Pandora is a top-notch quick-service restaurant with delicious food. There are also multiple table service locations where you can dine inside the restaurant and a server will tend your needs.  I highly recommend making reservations in advance for these table service locations as many of them are quite popular.  You can also bring in your own food if you wish to do so.  Your bag will be checked by the security staff as you enter the park.

Chocolate Waffle found at Tamu Tamu

2 – What transportation options are available at the park?

The only transportation options to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom are to take one of the Disney buses (or another shuttle from neighboring resorts) or to drive your car to the park. There currently isn’t any water or monorail transportation to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The parking lot is quite large, so we typically like to take one of the Disney buses to get there, and then we don’t have to worry about driving.

1 – Are alcoholic beverages allowed in the park?

Yes. Alcoholic beverages are served at most of the restaurants, as well as many walk upstands and locations. You are allowed to roam through the park with alcoholic beverages as long as you aren’t disruptive to other guests. You are not allowed to bring in your own alcoholic beverages. They must be purchased from Disney, and only consumed by individuals who are 21 or older. Disney is very strict on its alcohol policies and preserving the magic.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!
Back to top button