Animal Kingdom

General Fun Facts

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  1. Opening Day
    1. On open day, 22 April 1998, the parking lot was closed just 20 minutes after the park opened!
    2. The Orange County Sheriff's Office sent almost 150 deputies to the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom to prepare for a big animal rights demonstration that never took place. Instead, at most two dozen people showed up to protest, claiming Disney has mistreated animals at the park. The USDA cleared Disney of any wrong doing. The protest lasted about two hours. There were no arrests.
      REPORTED: Orlando Sentinel 24 APR 98
    3. At 2:30 pm opening day, a banner-towing airplane hired by Team Toad -- a group of Mr. Toad fans -- circled the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom protesting the rumored removal of Mr. Toad from Fantasyland..
    4. There were around 2,500 cast members employed at Animal Kingdom for opening day.
  2. From the sky above Animal Kingdom (or using the Animal Kingdom map), Animal Kingdom appears to be in the shape of Africa.
    REPORTED: Pixxie 06 JUL 00
  3. In a 1953 magazine article,"What I've Learned from Animals," Walt Disney himself wrote, "Some of the most facinating people I have ever met are animals... The more human they are the funnier they seem to us, and the better we understand them."
  4. Disney's Animal Kingdom was first proposed in 1989.
  5. In the Walt Disney World book, "Since the World Began," there is a section on Disney's Animal Kingdom. There are several photos of conceptual art for upcoming attractions. While plans historically change, there is a roller coaster pictured near a dinosaur dig area (the dinosaur dig looks like a playground) and it does not look inverted. Also, there is a boat ride pictured that seems to have been inspired by the Pastoral sequence of Fantasia (with fauns and pegasus). Also pictured is a hedge maze called "Quest for the Unicorn."
    UPDATE: Dan Alexander 08 OCT 96
  6. Disney's Animal Kingdom cost an estimated $800 million..
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom is the fifth major theme park that Disney has built in the United States.
  8. The park's restaurants seat more than 2,200 diners.
  9. There are no cup lids or paper straws anywhere in the park because of the danger to the animals.
    CONFIRMED: Melanie Emmons 25 SEP 98
  10. The original name for Animal Kingdom was Wild Animal Kingdom, it was changed so that it did not sound close to Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
    REPORTED: anon 06 OCT 97
  11. The park is five times the size of the Magic Kingdom making it the largest Disney Theme Park in the world. It is a 580 acre park including many species of wildlife, including Africian plains animals.
    REPORTED: Joseph Weeks 16 SEP 95
    CONFIRMED: Darren Palmer 12 DEC 95
    CONFIRMED: Dana Short 13 DEC 95
    CONFIRMED: Ian M. Vance 26 AUG 96
    CONFIRMED: TR Shaw 27 DEC 96
  12. Unlike Bush Gardens and Sea World, Animal Kingdom is photo real
  13. Joe Rohde was the executive Imagineer for Animal Kingdom. Hired by Disney in 1980. Some of his paintings can be found in the park. He also was executive Imagineer for the Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island.
  14. Melody Malmberg wrote "The Making of Disney's Animal Kingdom" and is the wife of Joe Rohde
  15. Todd Crawford is the associate brand manager for Animal Kingdom
  16. Paul Comstock is the principal landscape Imagineer for Animal Kingdom
  17. David Brickey is the principal interior Imagineer for Animal Kingdom
  18. Rick Barongi, formally head of the San Diego Zoo, is the director of animal project development for Animal Kingdom
  19. Dr. Peregrine Wolff is the park's director of veterinary services.
  20. Joseph Rindler oversees the food preparation for the animals.
  21. The famous Swiss painter Rolf Knie has been designing 30 fantasy-animals for daily parade for Disney's Animal Kingdom to debut during the park's great opening on April 22. Michael Eisner likes Knie's paintings very much and intends to build a studio inside Disney World for the painter.
    REPORTED: Markus Schoch 17 APR 98
  22. You will almost never hear an off-stage Animal Kingdom cast member of any sort call the park by it's name. Cast members tend to call it DAK, which is of course an abreviation for Disney's Animal Kindgom. All DAK cast members have to go to an orientation program before they start work (this is true in all the parks, but DAK is the only park that has a name for theirs). Other's are called welcome day and things like that called DAKlimation. Also...Cast members really aren't supposed to just say "Animal Kingdom" to guests. It is always supposed to be preceded by "Disney's".
    REPORTED: anon 18 JUL 99
  23. I was perusing your very interesting site, and in the Animal Kingdom section, saw that cast members refer to the park as DAK. An interesting aside, that acronym also has another meaning, also pertaining to Africa in a way. Somewhere in 1942, I believe, the combined forces of the 21st Panzer division and the 90th Light division and their ancillerie units were combined into one large command, the Deutches Afrika Korps, or DAK. Indeed Rommels Army in Africa was also DAK. Amusing coincidence.
    REPORTED: Michael J Tahirak 14 JUN 04
  24. Cast members from all areas of the Animal Kingdom (aside from Rafiki's Planet Watch) are encouraged to develope "characters" for themselves called "niches". If you ask a cast member how they came to live in their surroundings, most will play with you. Some will tell you fantastical stories about how they got to their "home". Cast members in Africa, Asia, and Discovery Island are supposed to be villagers who live and work in their areas. Cast members in Camp Minnie-Mickey are supposed to be camp counselors. And members in Dinoland are supposed to be various students and workers that have come to study with the Dino Institute. Harambe CMs from the states tell tales of being lost at sea and washing up on the coastal town, or crashing in an airplane. Most will point to a second story window and tell you that is their room. Dinoland CMs also tend to go a little wild with their stories. Everyone should try this.
    REPORTED: anon 18 JUL 99
  25. Cast members at Disney's Animal Kingdom don't neccessarily clockout at Wardrobe. Animal Kingdom has what is called "Castzooming" which means they can take their costumes home. Clocking in and out occurs at stations close to their work locations.
    CONFIRMED: anon 17 SEP 99 DeVine
  26. DeVine is a very interesting walk around character. In some ways it is like the walking trash can or the living statues. It is usually found in the Animal Kingdom but can be found anywhere in the Magic Kingdom
  27. Nine Walt Disney Imagineering landscape architects, Paul Comstockm, Bill Evans and ?, created the botanical environment of the Animal Kingdom.
  28. Unlike the traditional Disney parks where the landscaping complements themed buildings, at Disney's Animal Kingdom the landscaping, in many areas, is the stage and set. Trees are as characters into the landscape, taking into consideration size, shade and accent. If the ideal plant could not be used, Disney uses stand ins, like the live oak for the acacia, to play the part.
  29. Disney keeps a large cast of plant characters at hand at the Walt Disney World Tree Farm.
  30. The first tree planted in December of 1995 was an Acacia xanthophlosa
  31. There are over 4,000 varieties of trees and plants in Disney's Animal Kingdom. 16,000 of the trees were grown in Florida at the Walt Disney World Tree Farm including 850 species of trees (40 species of palm trees alone). In addition to the home-grown plants, Disney visited 37 states and 20 countries, such as Madagascar, Botswana, South Africa, Bali, Thailand, Tasmania, Nepal and the People's Republic of China, to get other flora for Animal Kingdom. Disney's Animal Kingdom has plants from every continent on Earth except Antarctica.
    CONFIRMED: Jason Dixon 24 MAR 00
  32. The first tree planted at the site in December 1995 was an authentic Acacia xanthophlosa, grown from a seed that Disney acquired in Africa.
  33. Disney has the third largest cycad collection in all of North America -- more than 3,000 of the ancient, fern-like plants.
  34. The park has about 100 species of trees and shrubs foreign to North American soil.
  35. Disney was able to conserve hundreds of native oak trees and much of the natural native plants.
  36. Disney also used nurseries in California, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Arizona and Florida.
  37. Four distinct environments landscaping highlights in park are the tropical Oasis at the entry; the Cretaceous Forest and magnolia grove in DinoLand U.S.A.; the riverine environments, grasslands and Pangani Forest in Africa; and the rich rain foest and temples of Asia.
  38. I'm sorry that I can't be more specific, but my father works for a forestry company called Rayonier in North Florida, and Disney bought 50 oak trees from them. Disney cut them into pieces and put them back together all over the park. So some of the trees you see in Animal Kingdom are real, not persay, alive.
    REPORTED: Katherine 25 MAR 01
  39. There are three fences around the entire park. One fence is to keep the animals in; one fence is to keep the native Florida animals out and the third fense is to keep people out. As much as Disney tries, native Florida creatures still find ways to enter the park. Usually, they are caught and released elsewhere on Disney property. However, one family of foxes, re-entered

    Plant Facts and Figures



    Plants Planted

    More than 4 million

    Shrubs Planted

    More than 2.3 million

    Trees Planted


    Tree Species


    Shrub Species


    Grass Species



    more than 3,000

    Plant Origins

    37 states and 20 countries
  40. There are many fake trees through the park. There are some in each land, plus 7 baobobs, and many feeders located out in the Africa area, and feeders located in Oasis Gardens that look like trees.
    REPORTED: anon 06 OCT 97
  41. Imagineers had considered allowing the Lions to hunt but they would have needed 50,000 acres instead of the 500 that they had.
  42. Animal Kingdom has over 300 species of animals, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects represented - There are a total of over 1100 animals at the park.
  43. One of Walt Disney World's oldest attractions has fallen prey to one of its youngest. Discovery Island, an 11-acre zoo whose attendance has been hurt by last year's opening of Disney's 500-acre Animal Kingdom, will be closed on April 8, exactly 25 years after it opened. Discovery Island -- the last home of the now extinct dusky seaside sparrow -- has been in the works since Disney announced plans for its fourth major theme park, which opened in April 1998.
    REPORTED: The Orlando Sentinel 26 MAR 99

    Animal Facts and Figures

    Aardvark Golden-Rumped Agouti Giant Anteater Sable Antelope Bearded Barbet Brown-Breasted Barbet
    Red Barbet Yellow Barbet Carmine Bee-Eater Binturong Bongo Bontebok Kori Bustard
    Yellow-Fronted Canary Capybara Snowey-Headed Robin Chat Cheetah Chinchilla Lake Victoria Cichlids
    Coatimundi Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Salmon-Crested Cockatoo East African Crowned Crane West African Crowned Crane Demoiselle Crane
    Stanley Crane Nile Crocodile Axis Deer Tufted Deer Dik-Dik Miniature Donkey
    Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove Comb Duck Egyptian Duck Hartlaub's Duck Mandarin Duck White-Faced Whistling Duck
    Yellow-Backed Duiker Golden Eagle Echidna Patterson's Eland African Elephant Fennec Fox
    Ferret Greater Flamingo Tawny Frogmouth Dama Gazelle Thompson's Gazelle Gerenuk
    Reticulated Giraffe Goat Goose Western Lowland Gorilla Guinea Pig Helmeted Guineafowl
    Kenya Crested Gunieafowl Hammerkop Nile Hippopotamus African Hoopoe Abyssinian Ground Hornbill Rock Hyrax
    Hadada Ibis Scarlet Ibis Rhinocerous Iguana Impala African Jacana Long-Eared Jerboa
    Red Kangaroo Tree Kangaroo White-Collared Kingfisher Kinkajou Klipsringer Greater Kudu
    Ring-Tailed Lemur African Lion Blue And Yellow Macaw Green-Winged Macaw Hyacinth Macaw Lama Macaw
    Military Macaw Scarlet Macaw Mandrill Meerkat Kikuyu Colobus Monkey Blue-Naped Mousebird
    Reeves' Muntjac Naked Mole-Rat Lowland Nyala Okapi Opossum Scimitar-Horned Oryx
    Ostrich Asian Small-Clawed Otter Great Horned Owl Screech Owl Pot-Bellied Pig Green Pigeon
    Olive Pigeon Bahama Pintail Red-Billed Pintail West Grey Plantain-Eater Rosybill Pochard Porcupine
    Lop-Eared Rabbit Black Rhinocerous White Rhinocerous Lilac-Brested Roller Gulf Coast Native Sheep Tunis Sheep
    Cape Shelduck Magpie Shrike Striped Skunk Two-Toed Sloth African Spoonbill Roseate Spoonbill
    Spotted Cuscus Amethyst Starling Marabou Stork Saddle-Billed Stork White Stork Yellow-Billed Stork
    Malachite Sunbird Scarlet-Chested Sunbird Black-Necked Swan Tamandua Cotton-Topped Tamarin Golden Lion Tamarin
    Malayan Tapir Cape Teal Hottentot Teal Marbled Teal Ringed Teal Tenrec
    Galapaos Tortoise Violaceous Touracao White-Cheeked Touracou Soft-Shelled Turtle Cape Vulture Ruppel's Vulture
    Warthog Common Waterbuck Ellipsen Waterbuck Taveta Golden Weaver Chiloe Wigeon White-Bearded Wildebeest
    Grant's Zebra Grevey Zebra
  44. Parrots only repeat words with no conscious thought as to what they are saying? Not! These facts can be confirmed by video reference of an episode of "Scientific American Frontiers". Irene Pepperberg of the University of Arizona demonstrated a parrot, named Alex, who could name objects, types of materials, colors, as well as count & grasp abstract concepts. Granted this information is not well known, however it is a matter of public knowledge and proven under controled scientific conditions.
    REPORTED: Wayne and Hanzel 24 APR 99
  45. Most of the animals at Animal Kingdom are "scale trained"; this means that they are trained to walk up on their own onto a scale to be weighed, rather than being forced to do so. They are rewarded with a clicker and a small treat, making their vet visits an enjoyable experience.
    REPORTED: Kim Parker 05 DEC 98
  46. Making meals for the more than 1,000 animals at Disney's latest theme park, Animal Kingdom, is no small task when the animals consume two tons of food each day. 12060_winter
  47. Oranges that end up on the breakfast tables of Disney resort hotels come from the same shipment as the ones fed to the park's monkeys.
  48. The horse meat eaten by the park's lions and cheetahs is inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  49. Disney chefs from the resort hotels who have seen the kitchen where workers' prepare the animals' food are surprised at how large it is. The kitchen also has refrigerated rooms for fruits, vegetables and tree leaves.
  50. Although the Disney has always had animals at its 11-acre zoological park, Discovery Island, the company has never had to feed and maintain animals in such a large numbers.
  51. Next to sex, the most enjoyable part of these animals' lives in captivity is food, according to the creatures' keepers. It not only nourishes them but also provides some needed entertainment to pass the time. As a result, keepers have made their mealtimes playful by sprinkling popcorn, corn flakes, peanuts and cooked pasta in bedding and other areas that require a search.
  52. The food is prepared in an airy, clean kitchen. One large steel counter is used in preparing meals of carnivores, who make up about 10 percent of the park's animals. The other steel counter is used for the herbivores, who constitute 60 percent of the inhabitants, and omnivores, the remaining 30 percent of the animals.
  53. The most complicated diet for gorillas takes an hour to prepare. The park's 10 gorillas get 15 pounds of fiber-enriched biscuits, five pounds of mixed vegetables and leaves from bamboo, banana, hibiscus and mulberry trees grown on Disney property.
  54. The animals haven't taken to some of the park's innovations. The giraffes didn't like Lazy Susans on the top of trees that were to be used to rotate water and leaves. They are instead munching on real trees.
  55. The biggest eaters, far and away, are the elephants.
    1. The park's seven elephants eat a total of 1,000 pounds of freshly-cut grass each day.
    2. Vendors in the Orlando area have planted 50 acres of grass just for the elephants.
    3. The 14,000-pound animals also need 10 pounds of an alfafa-based pellets and 70 pounds of hay each day.
    4. Smitten with the perpetual munchies, the elephants often resort to snacking off trees and grass on the savannah. In the wild, the animals would eat up to 17 hours a day.
    5. All of the Disney 3D Adventure Shows, such as Muppet Vision 4D, and Honey I Shrunk the Audience, It's Tough To Be A Bug, as well as the since past show Magic Journeys all use the same principle of presentation. Unlike normal 3D show (red/blue lenses) these film use a process of reverse polorization every other frame. The clear glasses are reversed polorized which allow your eyes to detect the difference of angle between the two frames - this method is cheap for filming, and it can be added after filming is done. It also adds a higher degree of control on the 3D effects.
      REPORTED: Kenneth Klingensmith 25 JUN 98
  56. If you look on the new DAK Millennium glass being distributed at McDonalds you will notice that the emblem on the glass is the old DAK emblem. Now the emblem has 3 animals instead of five. The emblem was change in march of 99 because the other two animals on the emblem did not have any areas to represent (land of the animals that were, land of the animals that are, and land of the animals that never were.)
    REPORTED: Ryan G. 07 OCT 99

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