On this day 10 years ago Walt Disney World’s fourth gate, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, officially opened to the public and a new era in theme parks was born. Animal Kingdom combined the animals of a zoo with the theming and lush landscaping Disney is known for and a high standard of care for animals to create a form of themed entertainment that has set the standard for all new theme parks since.
Congratulations to all the cast members who had a hand in making these first 10 years such a success. Here’s to the next 10 years and all the great stuff that is in store.
It’s taken most of the 10 years for Disney’s Animal Kingdom to grow into its role as a theme park. The addition of Expedition Everest and Finding Nemo The Musical have finally cemented the park as worthy of a full day for the time pressed traveler.
However, the park’s commitment to care for animals, both those on property and those that may be threatened around the world, was there from day one. Actually, the animal program was in place months before the theme park opened to the public. Today it’s one of the leaders in breeding for many species and have participated in animal welfare programs around the world. See the Disney Wildlife Fund website for more details.
Today also happens to be Earth Day (wikipedia), not just by coincidence either. I’ll be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this morning where the park will observe Earth Day and do a little celebration for its own milestone. Come say hi if you see me there.