The Adventure Begins at Animal Kingdom - Each morning, 15 minutes before the schedule opening time, you can go through the turn styles and head to the Tree of Life area. Soon, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy arrive to welcome you to the park! Soon Mickey appears and gets on the truck and you can follow them into Harambe as the Adventure Begins in the Animal Kingdom!
In January 1990, Imagineering Concept Designer Joe Rohde met with Michael Eisner about a proposal for a new animal park. His concept was simple: a traditional theme park, an Epcot style pavilion, and a nontraditional zoo.
The Tree of Life, an impressive icon, stands tall in the distance as you emerge from the entrance, called the Oasis. Then think of the park as a bicycle wheel, the Tree of Life is the hub and the various lands stretch out like spokes.
Animal Kingdom opened with the Oasis, Safari Village (renamed Discovery Island), Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Conservation Station (renamed Rafiki's Planet Watch), Dinoland USA and a small portion of Asia. Before the park's first birthday, a larger portion of Asia opened to complete the circle.
Some say Animal Kingdom is only a half day park and not worth the price of admission. I disagree, yet there is a fair group of visitors that feel that way. I tend to think those are the folks who run from attraction to attraction, with the sole purpose of checking off what they have done and to hurry and get to what is left. By doing so, you'll miss much of what Animal Kingdom is about.
"Disney's Animal Kingdom won't be for everyone. The difference will largely be in one's expectations. Come expecting "rides" and you're bound to be disappointed. That's why Disney is advertising it as "a different kind of theme park". If you come expecting to learn a bit about animals, to view them in as natural a situation as any zoo in the world, to experience a themed environment as convincing as Main Street or Hollywood Boulevard, and to be awed by the many fantastic details from the walkway design to the Tree of Life, you'll love it!" (ZaZu)
The exquisite detail that Disney is known for shines through in Disney's Animal Kingdom where landscaping and attention to details dominate the 500 acre park.
On the southwestern edge of the Walt Disney World Resort, Imagineers have created a nature rich and protective environment for exotic animals. Most of the barriers between the animals and you are natural looking or invisible.
The park is beautiful with wondrous vegetation, a broadway class show (Festival of the Lion King), a 20 minute journey into an African savannah (Kilimanjaro Safaris), time travel back to the Cretaceous Period (Dinosaur), and lots of exotic birds and animals to discover.