Disney's Animal Kingdom is a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It opened on April 22, 1998. It is the largest Disney theme park in the world, covering more than 500 acres. It is the first Disney theme park to be themed entirely around animal conservation, a philosophy once pioneered by none other than Walt Disney himself.
"Welcome to a kingdom of animals... real, ancient and imagined: a kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs and dragons; a kingdom of balance, harmony and survival; a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama, and learn."
- Michael Eisner, April 22, 1998
Attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom
The park is made up of seven themed lands.
Upon entering the park, guests must walk through this area to get into any of the other lands in the park. The Oasis consists of different paths leading to Discovery Island which walk guests past animal habitats such as giant anteaters, boars, Hyacinth Macaws, and others. The Rainforest Cafe is also located at the entrance of the Oasis.
The main land in the park, it is the home of the The Tree of Life. It is the center island in the park and has paths to all six of the other lands.
* It's Tough to be a Bug - At the roots of The Tree of Life see what life is like as a bug as Flik from A Bug's Life shows a 3-D Film about bugs and their daily lives.
This land is the home of two shows and four character greeting spots where Guests can see such characters as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and others.
* Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends - A children's show with live animals based on the film Pocahontas.
* Festival of the Lion King - A high-energy musical performance featuring songs and characters from the film The Lion King.
The Africa area features an exhibit of Silverback Gorillas
* Kilimanjaro Safaris - Climb aboard your open-sided safari vehicle for an exciting expedition for the entire family. Animals from Africa freely roam through acres of savanna, rivers and rocky hills. Look out for giraffes, hippos, elephants, rhinos, lions and poachers too!
* Pangani Forest Exploration Trail - Trek into the forest in search of gorillas! Along the way, enjoy a nature walk through a verdant African valley filled with Nile hippos, birds and fish. Enter an exotic bird aviary, an underwater hippo viewing area, a savanna overlook, and have an intimate up-close encounter with a magnificent troop of gorillas.
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Formerly Conservation Station and still accessible by train only, this area contains small animals, a petting zoo with domesticated goats, and exhibits teaching about conservation efforts. The veterinary hospital's viewing window allows guests to watch medical procedures conducted by the veterinary staff.
* Wildlife Express Train - Ride the rails on this rustic African train that travels the savanna for a behind-the-scenes journey through several animal housing and care areas of the park. In just over five minutes, your guided train ride transports you to the core of the park's conservation center. All aboard!
* Habitat Habit! - See endangered Cottontop Tamarin primates up close. Trek down this adventure trail and help your animal friends in ways that you never thought possible. It's fun to share your world and your own backyard with animals!
* Affection Section - Don't be shy! Enjoy this delightful animal encounter with goats, sheep, pigs, chicken, llamas and more. Watch for special guest appearances by some of the park's friendlier animals. This is a great way to help little ones begin to "open their eyes to the world around them.
* Conservation Station - At trail's end, the discovery has just begun as you visit the center of Disney efforts to promote wildlife conservation awareness. Inside, there is a whole herd of wild animal experiences, interactive games and fun-filled shows. See animals up close in this rare behind-the-scenes adventure!
The Expedition Everest 'mountain' which houses the roller-coaster attraction.
* Flights of Wonder - "Wing" on in to the Caravan Stage and join a trainee bird handler and a wayward tour guide who teach each other about the delicate state of nature. See birds such as vultures, hawks, colorful macaws, crowned crane and the American Bald Eagle up close. May your spirits fly sky-high
* Kali River Rapids - Raft down the turbulent waters of the Chakranadi River aboard a 12-passenger raft through an enchanting Asian rain forest. A blazing inferno rushes toward you! Escape down a rushing waterfall! Beware of gushing geysers! Get set to get wet!
* Maharajah Jungle Trek - Trek into the lush forests for an unparalleled adventure into the wilds of the mystical Anandapur Royal Forest of Southeast Asia. Have up-close encounters with Komodo dragons and tapirs and tigers. Make eye contact with stalking tigers. Wander among the ruins of an ancient palace inhabited by beautiful and exotic animals!
* Expedition Everest - In this runaway-train roller coaster, Himalayan trekkers board refurbished steam trains on their way to the base camp of Mount Everest, using a shortcut that passes through the "forbidden mountain" guarded by the legendary yeti.
* The Boneyard - Slip, slide, slither and slosh through a play maze filled with fun fossils. "Exploration. Excavation. Exultation." is the motto of the Dino Institute and nowhere is this truer than here. Would-be paleontologists young and old play amidst a world of dinosaur discoveries like a Triceratops, T-Rex and Wooly Mammoth. Frolic among the fossils!
* DINOSAUR (formerly Countdown to Extinction) - Whoosh back to primeval times for a wild ride of an expedition to complete your dangerous mission. The clock is ticking on your Time Rover and you have mere minutes to rescue a stray dinosaur. Beware the hungry clutches of one large meat-eating predator and the devastating power of an impending asteroid! It's fast. It's a blast! It's in the past!
* Animals located in Dinoland include an American Crocodile, Abdim's Storks, and Asian brown tortoises.
* Finding Nemo - The Musical - Set to debut in late 2006, the original musical stage show developed by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment tells the story of the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo with new songs by Avenue Q composer Bobby Lopez and puppets designed by Michael Curry.
* Dino-Sue - Visit Disney's oldest "cast" member, clocking in at 67 million years. Dino-Sue is a painstaking reproduction of the largest, most complete T-Rex ever found! The length of a four-story building, the mighty T-Rex is available to pose for pictures with you at the Dino institute. It's fossiliferous!
* Cretaceous Trail - Enjoy a lush, shady, relaxing and surprising walking tour amidst plant and animal survivors that have outlived the dinosaurs. Play with a Pachycephalosaurus, encounter living animal species that have survived since prehistoric times and discover fossil dig sites!
DinoLand also contains "Dino-Rama!", an area made to look like a tacky 1950s roadside attraction built on an old parking lot. Dino-Rama! has been criticized by Disney fans for containing only "off-the-shelf" attractions (whack-a-mole and other carnival games) similar to what other parks offer, and for charging guests money for each play.
* Primeval Whirl - Take a whirl into prehistory in one of these spinning time machines that are part of the zany fun fair of Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama! Thrill to the sudden dips, hairpin turns and tight curves of this rollicking coaster. Each colorful car spins independently so you never know how things will "turn" out! It's the best time you've had in ages.
* TriceraTop Spin - Take the family for a spin aboard this whirling, twirling, friendly flying dinosaur. Climb into one of these four-person dino vehicles and spin 'round, up and down. Expect a dino-sized surprise for kids rising from the giant tin top at the hub of it all. It's an experience that can't be "topped
* Fossil Fun Games - Erupting with fun, these dinosaur-themed games offer a good time for everyone. Whether you are wowed by the nostalgic past of a carnival or by the distant prehistoric past, these games are a total blast from the past!
* The park contains only one table-service restaurant, a Rainforest Cafe located just outside the main entrance (also accessible from inside the park). An Asian-themed table-service restaurant operated by Landry's Restaurants is scheduled to open in 2007.
* Disney's Animal Kingdom typically closes earlier than other parks in the Walt Disney World Resort, usually at 5 or 6 p.m. The animals are said to require a strict schedule to avoid stress, so even on nights when the park is open later, animals usually will be brought "off stage" around 5 p.m. Another notable difference from other Disney parks is that Animal Kingdom does not have a fireworks show in consideration of the animals.
* Conceptually, the park celebrates three types of animals real, extinct (dinosaurs, etc.) and mythical (dragons, unicorns, etc.). The area for mythical animals was to be called Beastly Kingdom and was planned for the site currently occupied by Camp Minnie-Mickey. Concept art for this area showed attractions including a dragon-themed roller coaster and a unicorn-themed hedge maze.  Plans for this area were scrapped when the park's development budget was reduced. The Imagineers who had been working on it were laid off and quickly hired by the Universal Orlando Resort to create the Dueling Dragons coasters for its Islands of Adventure theme park. Though Disney's Animal Kingdom opened without any attractions featuring mythical animals, the theme lives on in the park's logo (which contains a dragon) and its parking lot (which has a Unicorn section). Also, dragon sound effects and even an occasional fireball emanate from the trees near the footbridge leading to Camp Minnie-Mickey. The 2006 opening of Expedition Everest brought the mythical yeti to life in the park.
* Development costs for this park up to the time of its opening are estimated to have been US$800 million.
* After the park opened, Disney launched an advertising campaign using the fictional word "nahtazu" to describe Disney's Animal Kingdom. Pronounced "not a zoo," the word emphasized that the park was more than animal displays found in a typical city zoo. As of January 2006, Disney is no longer using the "nahtazu" phrase in park promotional material.