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Secrets of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

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Secrets Animal Kingdom

Could you just imagine? Heading out on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and you don’t see one, not one, animal? How does Disney make sure you get to see some of their animals when you hop on board one of those jeeps?

The Imagineers spent a considerable amount of time and energy designing all of the details that make Disney’s Animal Kingdom such an amazing park and a great place to spend time. Never rush through your time there. Take a careful look at all there is to see so that you can get a full appreciation for all that has gone into the park. All the little hidden details are amazing.

If you are a Disney regular, we know you have you heard of DeVine – I love walking through the park and seeing the expression on a new visitor’s face when they see her for the first time!

Did you know the park, when viewed from above, is actually the shape of Africa?

Secrets of the Safari

The animals on the preserve are treated exceptionally well and the naturalists on the preserve use exercise and feeding to their advantage to help make sure guests get the best experience. To make sure the animals will be around for you to see from the jeep, staff of the park shoot raisins out of cannons to get the gorillas to move out and about by the safari vehicles. Honey is smeared in key locations for the elephants and my most favorite secret of all – when you see a lion lounging on the rocks during your safari – every single time! It must be magic! Or . . . the top rock is air conditioned to entice the lions to spend time there! Food is typically hidden in strategic places like rocks, trees and hollowed out logs in order to keep the animals entertained and to make sure the guests get to see them. When the safari is done for the day, different species of animals have been trained to respond to the sound of a whistle, a click, drum, horn, bell or even duck calls, which signal that they can return to their nighttime accommodations.

Don’t ride the safari just once. Different animals can be seen at different times of the day. Ride first thing in the morning and then again late in the afternoon and you will have two different experiences.


At one time,  “Beastly Kingdom,” was planned as a land of the park with mythical creatures, but was never developed. You may still see signs that have the silhouettes of various animals AND a dragon. The originally park design was supposed to include an area which would have mythical creatures (such as dragons and unicorns). This space is currently being used as Avatar Land.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is full of coded signs. The Boneyard sign in Dinoland U.S.A. is in the shape of a Stegosaurus bone. The Route 498 sign refers to the opening of the park in April 1998. The red, yellow and white pipes running along the loading area in DINOSAUR are stenciled with the chemical formulas for ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. 

There are 27 Hidden Mickeys in the mural in the Animal Kingdom Conservation Station. Can you find them all? 

The Tree of Life

Jane Goodall visited the park during construction at the invitation of Michael Eisner. He asked her opinion on the animals being carved into the tree of life. Ms. Goodall chose the spot for the chimpanzee, at the entrance outside of It’s Tough To Be a Bug, so that all guests would be able to see “David Greybeard” the first chimp she ever observed. Notice he is more detailed than the other animals – multicolored (grey beard), and there is a plaque next to his image describing him.

There are so many things and little details that I love about Animal Kingdom and it has become my granddaughter’s favorite park. What do you like best about Animal Kingdom?

You might also like to read the 10 Secrets of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

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