Happy 15th Anniversary Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is youngest theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida that opened on 22 April 1998. It is the largest Disney theme park in the world, although it doesn’t feature that many attractions. Most of the park is made of themed landscaping and animal enclosures.

One of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World can be found at Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest, which opened in 2006, dominates the park’s skyline, along with the park’s icon The Tree of Life. The park is made of 7 areas:

  • Oasis: the entrance of the park
  • Discovery Island: which houses the Tree of Life
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey: with its Disney character meet ‘n’ greet locations
  • Africa: where the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction is located
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch: a zone dedicated to the conservation of animals
  • Asia: with its towering Expedition Everest
  • DinoLand U.S.A.: one of the least popular areas, due to the poorly themed Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama fun fair.

A new area based on the world of Avatar is currently being developed and will replace Camp Minnie-Mickey. A land based on mythical creatures like dragons was quickly abandoned after the park opened, although some references still exist throughout the park.

Welcome to a kingdom of animals… real, ancient and imagined: a kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs and dragons; a kingdom of balance, harmony and survival; a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama, and learn. — Michael D. Eisner, April 22, 1998

In honor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Anniversary, browse through these photos from the Photos Magiques archives.