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Disney’s Animal Kingdom mini-update

Had two relatively brief trips to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this last week. The park appears to be in a stable mode right now. A few small changes here and there, like the meet and great that replaced the smoking zone, but over all the park has settled into a good rhythm.

It still needs more attractions (rides, shows, and/or parades) to help extend it into a full day park (with a 6pm closing on a Saturday, even Disney doesn’t expect guests to stick around). Much has been planned, but as far as I know, nothing is green lit for construction right now.

Labor cutbacks have taken the shine off some of the parks previously polished edges. There is more trash on the ground, fewer costumed cast members around in stores, and more management types out in the park (which is a good thing if you ask me).

I did not see new park Vice President Kevin Lansberry, but I did get a chance to explore the park and the stores. So here’s a quick update below the cut:

click to view larger image.

My son reached 44 inches in height (with shoes), so it was time to hit Expedition Everest. He had so much fun on Wednesday we came back and rode it twice on Saturday. One of the best features of Everest is the view the climb affords you. EPCOT and Downtown Disney to one side and backstage to the other. In the back right are tan buildings which house the animal care program and the animal feed warehouse and kitchen. The middle area in this photo with the trailers is where they staged the build for Everest and is currently slated to become a new land ‘Australia’ if only they find the money to green light the project.


When Australia is built they’ll move these jumpers over to that land. But for now don’t forget to take the somewhat hidden trail around the Tree of Life to get a close view of the Kangaroos. I think that Joey has just about overstayed his welcome in mom’s pouch.


I always try to sneak in a ride on Kilimanjaro Safari if I’m in the park. A good time to do that is right after the parade starts. This trip we spotted a Hippo getting out of the water. Such a rare sight, even the driver was surprised.

As I’ve mentioned before it’s a great time to be a Disney t-shirt collector. Here are three new ones from DAK. I’m putting the first Pac-Man inspired one on my shopping list.




It’s also a good time to be a Disney fan it you want to shop green. Here are three souvenirs you can buy that are made from recycled products.



While these are indeed cool and classy looking, you’ll pay a bit for the privilege of saving the environment. $26 for the smallest size.




Those last ones are made from recycled plastic shopping bags in Columbia. Some of the profits go to saving the Tamarin Monkey habitat. We have two at home we use for quick shopping trips or carrying bags to the beach.

6 thoughts on “Disney’s Animal Kingdom mini-update”

  1. Hi John,
    I worked in Animal Kingdom from October 2008 until April 2009. I’m from the international program and already came back to my country.
    Anyway, I am a Disney fan and really like to read what is going over at the parks, just wish you put the date of when you are posting so I know if its a recent post or not.
    Great blog and great pics!

  2. Just as a note about Animal Kingdom’s operating hours: It’s my understanding that the main reason they close earlier than the other parks is because the animals have to all go into their overnight shelters at a certain time every day (likely sometime around when the park normally closes, ie. 5-6 pm). And “Animal Kingdom” isn’t much without the animals!

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