Five Wild Animal Kingdom Facts

by | Oct 28, 2020 | Animal Kingdom, WDW Blog

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Did you know these Animal Kingdom Facts?

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about Animal Kingdom that just puts it at the top of the list for coolest places on the planet. It truly feels like you’ve traveled to Africa and Asia. And just steps later, you’re back in sunny Florida.

Here are a few Animal Kingdom facts that bring the magic together.

1. Jane Goodall was on the team

Apes at Animal Kingdom facts

Jane Goodall studied apes as her life’s work. Photo by Laurie Sapp

Yes, THE Jane Goodall was on the team that decided how to best support the wild animals brought into the park.

You know her for her 60-year conservation and welfare work for animals, specifically studying chimpanzees. Or if you’ve watched George of the Jungle, you’ve heard George’s buddy “Ape” mention how “he knew Jane Goodall.”

Either way, she had a hand in helping Disney’s crew create a safe and thriving environment for these animals.

2. Millions of Plants

foliage inside the park Animal Kingdom Facts

Foliage was brought into Animal Kingdom to make it suitable for the animals. Photo by Laurie Sapp

To make a habitat that would work for the animals coming into the park, Imagineers had to make the land suitable. But how do you do that in the middle of Florida?

More than 4 million trees, plants, shrubs, vines, grasses, and ferns make up the landscaping at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These include over 3,000 species of plants gathered from all over the world!

The cow pasture here was transformed into a planted rainforest and a savannah environment.

The biggest challenge for park designers was to bring in plant life that could create this habitat for animals. So one team member actually traveled to places like Botswana and Tasmania to collect seeds, exotic flowers, and trees for the park.

3. Imagineers had to travel

That’s right, pack your bags team, we’re going on a trip!

The designers needed to make the park look authentic and figure out how to create artifacts and structures that would withstand rain, hurricanes, and high winds.

Guptas Gear at Animal Kingdom facts

Imagineers traveled all over in order to bring authenticity to areas of the park. Photo by Judd Helms

Creators went to parts of Asia and Africa not just to get inspiration for animals, but to collect or mimic props they found like ancient pots and the blueprints of marketplaces.

They also studied color palettes and architectural details to recreate throughout the lands.

4. Authentic builders helped

Harambe Views animal kingdom facts

Views of Harambe. Photo by Cliff Wang

Artists sent ideas to Indonesia, where woodcarvers made animal statues to be displayed throughout the park.

For example, ever notice the cute bird pointing his wing in certain directions in the park? You can thank Balinese crafters.

Also, the straw-like roofing on some of the buildings in Africa was put together by the hands of South African thatchers.

5. Over 2,000 Animals Live Here

Conservation station

Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom. Photo by Brett Svenson

This has to be our biggest Animal Kingdom fact: About 2,000 animals, representing 300 species, live at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

Much like a zoo or aquarium where your kids can see handlers get up close and personal with animals, the same goes for Animal Kingdom.

Hidden in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, there’s the Conservation Station. It’s an opportunity to see things like veterinarians at work on some of the animals at the petting zoo on property.

You can also watch experts prepare meals for animals or see what resident scientists are working on. It’s an amazing opportunity for kids to watch some “magic behind the scenes” but to also get inspired in their own lives to love animals and be curious.


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Written by Melissa Wrightson

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Melissa Sheketoff is a contributing writer for the WDW Magazine blog. She has worked in broadcast news for 10 years, most recently as a full-time on-air radio host in Connecticut. Her brother is a Cast Member, giving her even more of an excuse to spend all of her vacation (and sick time) at Disney. Melissa is also a DVC member, Silver Castaway Club Member and a runDisney participant. Check her out on Instagram.
Melissa Wrightson

Written by Melissa Wrightson

Melissa Sheketoff is a contributing writer for the WDW Magazine blog. She has worked in broadcast news for 10 years, most recently as a full-time on-air radio host in Connecticut. Her brother is a Cast Member, giving her even more of an excuse to spend all of her vacation (and sick time) at Disney. Melissa is also a DVC member, Silver Castaway Club Member and a runDisney participant. Check her out on Instagram.
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