20th Anniversary fun announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It seems like just last week we were celebrating the 10th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in reality another 10 years has come and gone and the park has spread its wings a bit as it prepares to enter its third decade. Walt Disney World’s 4th gate will mark its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22.

Debuting on April 22nd will be a brand-new show, “UP! A Great Bird Adventure” featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show will be performed multiple times daily.

At 500 acres, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a lot of animal encounters, family friendly activities, food, and other adventures to explore. For the anniversary year, they’ll also expand the Party for the Planet celebration to run from April 22 through May 5.

Over the two-week “Party for the Planet” celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary. It’s home to fun educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues. During the 20th anniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences with experts where guests can learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

Guests can also commemorate their visits to the theme park with special photo opportunities. They can step into an oversized picture frame celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary. Other photo frames support Disney’s “Reverse the Decline,” an initiative created to help protect 10 threatened animal species. One recent success of the program was the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just for kids is the chance to earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. The badge is one of many that youngsters can earn by completing fun activities throughout the park.

Party for the Planet will also include six different Tiffins Talks – themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins, the theme park’s signature, full-service restaurant.

The 20th anniversary fun also includes a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. He will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited.

On Memorial Day Disney will also celebrate the one-year anniversary of Pandora – The World of Avatar. In the new land, travelers are transported to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster film, AVATAR, the epic land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi Shaman of Songs and soar on the back of a banshee.

Finally, a “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends will also premiere Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.

We can’t wait to join Disney’s Animal Kingdom in celebrating its 20th Anniversary. With the addition of Pandora – The World of Avatar, Disney’s most beautiful park got even better and we have a lot to celebrate.

Previously: Baby Hippo joins Disney’s Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safaris

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2 thoughts on “20th Anniversary fun announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  1. Mark

    Extremely disappointing that your list does not include a return of the parade. It was the best parade at Disney World. Looking forward to the new bird show.

  2. Disney Mike

    What I can’t really wrap my head around is that it’s now been 20 years since a new theme park has opened at WDW. From 1971 to 1998, a new park opened regularly about once a decade (11 years between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot’s opening, seven years between Epcot and the Disney-MGM Studios, and nine years between MGM and Animal Kingdom). When all that was happening, it seemed like it was the “normal” way for Disney to expand.

    Now, we’re seeing major overhauls at the existing theme parks, but no new parks on the horizon. I’m glad to see some new things coming to the existing parks, but I sure wish Disney would think about a 5th gate. Ideally, they’d buy back all the rights to the Marvel characters from Universal and build a giant Marvel-themed park…


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