From the moment you pass through the turnstiles at Animal Kingdom, it’s clear that this is a different kind of park. There’s no expansive entryway with an icon like Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth announcing the park’s intent; instead, the foliage-draped Oasis is a lush maze of animal habitats linked by gently flowing waters and the sounds of chirping birds and splashing mammals.
It’s a unique mood-setter, preparing you for a park built around ecosensitive concepts and global conservation concerns. It is not—as any Animal Kingdom staffer will tell you—a zoo, but the park is far more focused on observing and learning about animals than it is on delivering thrill rides and character interactions.
Sure, you can ride a few great roller coasters here and get your picture taken with Tigger, but the whole Animal Kingdom experience is far more substantial than that, making it not only the newest of all the Disney kingdoms but also the one most worthy of repeat visits.
Although Animal Kingdom doesn’t host any annual events, it does offer one highly unique experience. The Backstage Safari ($70 per person) is a great behind-the-scenes tour that gives guests a peek at the day-to-day maintenance and care of the many animals that live in the park.
Also available is the Wild By Design tour ($60 per person) that provides insights about the Imagineering that went into the creation of Animal Kingdom.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition