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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

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Disney's Animal Kingdom is the largest park within Walt Disney World Resort. With 6 unique lands to explore: Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand, many of the planet's most amazing animals, from elephants and tigers, to sea turtles and sharks, call Disney home.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

See also: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort

Disney's Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt's Dedication to Conservation

Disney's Animal Kingdom features more than 2,000 animals across 300 species, and 20 different species of trees creating one of the largest animal theme parks in the world. Reflecting Walt Disney's dedication to conservation, Animal Kingdom is home to some of the world's leading wildlife conservationists, animal care experts, & educators.

What you might not know is that Animal Kingdom is not a rescue center, but a rehabilitation center. The 94 acre theme park is certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and takes careful steps to protect all of its animals. When new animals arrive to the park, they are quarantined for 30-60 days to check their health and to let them acclimate to their new environment.

To help keep the animals healthy, Animal Kingdom serves only restaurant quality food as part of their animal's diets, which is not small feet. Every day, Animal Kingdom handles over 4.5 tons of food. And, to keep day-to-day tasks like feeding time running smoothly, all the animals at the park have been trained with sound.

But it's not just the animals at Animal Kingdom that benefit from the parks research. Animal Kingdom has conservation funds to send vets to other countries to help sick and injured animals, and aided over 800 sick or injured animals locally in 2012.

Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari Tour

During our visit to the park we took a ride in an open-air vehicle on a tour of the lush African savanna. The tour goes through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve reminiscent of Harambe, East Africa, where you can see animals like giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, and more exploring their natural habitat.

While the park can't promise you'll see any certain amount of animals they do invite you to bring your camera and a keen eye. Since we were visiting the park as part of our trip for the #ZootopiaEvent, I brought Nick Wilde with me.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

And though they can't guarantee the number of animals or types of animals you'll see, trust me when I say you'll see a lot. Just check out my photos from our Kilimanjaro Safari Tour.

VIP Backstage Tour at Animal Kingdom

Next, we embarked on the VIP Backstage Tour to go behind the scenes and learn more about Animal Kingdom and one of my favorite animals, the mighty elephant.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

While I can't share any photos with you from the backstage tour, I can share a few of the fun elephant facts we learned:

  • All the elephants at the park know their names, and line up in order before coming into the barn.
  • An elephant's trunk has more muscles than the human body. Scientists estimate there 40,000-100,000 muscles in an elephant trunk. There's too many to accurately count.
  • There's a trunk reach line in the barn, showing how far the elephants reach. The trainers stay behind the line so the elephants don't grab objects from the trainers hands.
  • All elephants use their tusks differently, which is why they wear down differently.
  • The youngest elephant at Animal Kingdom is 4 years old. The oldest is 32 years. The average elephant lives to 45 years, though some can live up to 65 years old.
  • To keep genes diverse, there is a ‘stud' book keeper who knows where every elephant came from.

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

Celebrating all living creatures, the iconic Tree of Life centerpiece is the symbol of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. The breathtaking artistry of a sculpted tree that wordlessly expresses the intricate balance of nature.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

Standing at an impressive 145 feet tall and 50 feet wide at its base, the Tree of Life is home to over 300 meticulously detailed animal carvings throughout its massive trunk, gnarling roots, and outstretched branches.

Inside the root system of the Tree of Life is where It’s Tough to be a Bug! is performed. This 8-minute, 3D movie and multimedia show stars Flik and Hopper from the Disney•Pixar film A Bug's Life—along with a supporting cast of insects and arachnids who provide a surprising glimpse into the animal kingdom.

The show is a really cute show you must see while at the park. But I will warn you, be prepared for a few surprises to shock your senses.

There is so much to do and see at the park. You can watch the park come alive with roaring, soaring magic into the night with their newest entertainment coming this summer, wander the beautiful lands throughout the park as you learn more about the different environments throughout the world, enjoy a fun-filled afternoon in Dinoland, and even relax as you watch the Festival of the Lion King, a musical show that tells the tale of Simba through song, dance and aerial acrobatics.

Check out more of our favorite Animal Kingdom photographs below, and book your trip to Walt Disney Resort's Animal Kingdom today!

You may even find a favorite friend or two wandering around the park!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reflects Walt’s Dedication to Conservation

About Zootopia

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.

But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” ia a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”).


Portions of this material and expenses for this trip have been provided by Walt Disney Studios.