“Adventure is Out There!”
Stepping into a Disney Park opens the door to so many possibilities. For many of us, that first door leads us straight to the most popular attraction in the park that promises that satisfying adrenaline rush. While I certainly recommend hitting those big ticket attractions, I also suggest channeling your inner “Wilderness Explorer” and embarking on a new adventure down an unfamiliar path. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has so much to be explored that you probably didn’t even notice some of these hidden gems tucked away in plain sight. The next time you’re in the park, try taking the road less traveled by visiting some of these lesser known areas:
Just past the park entrance lies an area full of life called The Oasis. Many guests race through The Oasis on their way into the park, but there are so many fascinating animals to observe. Be sure to look for:
- Giant Anteater- 6 feet long from head to tail with a 2 foot tongue!
- Reeve’s Muntjac- Bambi lovers will love these cute, tiny deer.
- African and Roseate Spoonbills- You might mistake them for flamingos until you notice their spoon-shaped bills.
As you make your way to the park’s icon, The Tree of Life, be sure to take a closer look. There are some fantastic trails that not only give you a better view of the Tree of Life but they are also home to several species of animals. Behind the Tree you can find:
- Galapagos Tortoise
- African Crested Porcupines
Some of the animals you will spot toward the front of the Tree:
You will also find one of the Wilderness Explorer stations behind the Tree of Life. Be sure to stop by for a visit to learn about the live bugs they have on hand.
Before you enter The Dino Institute be sure to check out Dino Sue, just outside the popular attraction, DINOSAUR. The original “Sue” was the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered. Only two copies of the skeleton were ever made. The original skeleton is housed in The Chicago Field Museum. One of the replicas travels the world while the other is a permanent resident of Animal Kingdom!
If it’s a hot day in Florida you’ll more than likely see the stampede of people headed for Kali River Rapids for some cool relief. Located just outside the exit to the ride you can observe the family of White-Cheeked Gibbons playing together and doing acrobatics across their abandoned temple home.
After exploring the savannas in Africa, be sure to board the Wildlife Express Train and check out Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Many guests may not be aware that Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is the working veterinary hospital for the animals of the park. Here you can get a front row seat to the animal check-ups. Some days it may be a turtle, other days it may be a lion or a gorilla! Ask a Cast Member early in the morning to find out which animal is scheduled for the day.
When visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom it pays to slow down and truly explore. You never know what new adventures you might find!
A Disney enthusiast and former Cast Member, Emily Arnett is the author of the blog: Pixie Dust and Beyond. Walt Disney World is her passion and she loves to share her Disney knowledge with the world! Be sure to follow Emily on Instagram and Twitter!