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Walt Disney World - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

Thursday, April 25, 2013 | This article is listed in the sections Amusement parks and Magazine.

15 years of Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
A drive through Animal Kingdom
Exactly fifteen years ago at Walt Disney World, Orlando, one of the most ambitious theme parks opened: Animal Kingdom. On approximately 200 hectare completely waste ground, an entirely new concept was built which had, instead of regular rides, animals as main feature. The traditional story of nature educational films, that Walt Disney himself passionately produced, is thus being continued.

The Imaginer’s task of having drafted and eventually created such a park, which should allow the most natural meeting of humans and animals on this huge ground, has most likely been one of the biggest challenges for the company. The connection between a modern keeping of animals and a classic amusement park-mogul naturally didn’t just make friends: So it’s not quite surprising that various animal protection organizations and PETA tried to ban the project and started effective publicity campaigns. However, the success was rather moderate: Instead of a major demonstration, that should have taken place on the opening day, only two dozen protesters participated.

Successful breed of endangered species

Walt Disney World - Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Rafting in Animal Kingdom
Today, Animal Kingdom is recognized by the "World Association of Zoos and Aquariums", and therefore matches the international guidelines for keeping, breeding and research. The fact that since the opening in 1998 six elephant babies and eight white rhinos were born can easily be considered successful work. Nearly ten million guests per year find their way into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, by the way, the worldwide biggest park of the company. Of course Animal Kingdom not only owes this success to its animals, but also to its various shows and fun ride attractions.

In the seven different themes "Oasis", "Discovery Island", "Camp Minnie-Mickey", "Africa", "Rafki's Planet Watch", "Asia" and "DinoLand U.S.A." highlights like the roller coaster "Expedition Everest", which brought the park a high media exposure with its huge thematization, are to be found. Or the mighty "Tree of Life", an artificial tree that definitely deserves the title "masterpiece". With an investment sum of over 400 million US- Dollar, another theme area based on James Cameron's film "Avatar" and its nature philosophy is supposed to be built soon.

What started out as an expensive experiment in 1988 is an essential part of Walt Disney World today. Animal Kingdom is one of the seven most visited amusement parks on earth, and introduces visitors, thanks to a combination of the Disney typical edutainment, to the world of animals in the sense of animal politics a big step closer.

A trip through Animal Kingdom

© parkscout/YH

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