As you make your way around Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you get the impression that there are details everywhere that you must be missing. The fourth and latest Disney theme park is one of the most immersive and adventurous parks, with winding pathways leading to secret nooks. Along with huge themed areas dedicated to the wondrous nature of exotic continents and even an imaginary planet. All around are Animal Kingdom facts that will blow your mind.
Here are some things you may not know about Animal Kingdom that make it truly special.
The Story of Dinoland USA
Dinoland USA has a very interesting backstory. The theming of the area is two fold. That’s because Imagineers had the difficult task of portraying the remote wilderness of North America and at the same time, introduce dinosaurs into the park.
On one hand, there is an institute on a dinosaur dig site that conducts dinosaur research. On the other hand, someone built a wacky roadside carnival called Dino Rama. This is a great nod to American roadside attractions.
The carnival is an extension of a gas station near the institute. The owners, Chester and Hester, built the attraction to drum up business and cash in on the Dinosaur hoopla.
Meanwhile, the institute has a whole history of its own. This involves multiple quests for funding and buy-outs that resulted in a tech company taking over.
Most Disney backstories don’t have two completely different ideas like this. But put them together in Dinoland USA, and they work!
Find the Real Offshore Oil Rig
The massive Tree of Life is a masterpiece in the center of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The carefully sculpted tree bears images of all kinds of wildlife in the details of its trunk and branches.
The tree is not a real tree at all (even though it looks like one). It is actually an upside down oil rig repurposed as the iconic symbol of the park!
Cement and plaster are layered on top of the oil rig and carved to look like a tree trunk with animals engraved into it.
Never Meant to Open at Once
Disney never finished Animal Kingdom the way they meant to. Wait, what?!?
Funding dried up and the most ambitious part of the theme park was left to languish. This section would later became Pandora, but it was meant to be dedicated land to mythological creatures.
Safari with Guaranteed Animal Sightings
When you take a real safari ride in Africa, you might not see any wildlife. Because you are truly in the wild.
However, at Disney World if you take a safari ride, you will see a host of animals! Disney implements tricks and techniques to get the animals to come closer to the trams.
These include hidden air conditioners and strategically located feeding areas that are also camouflaged.
Another good bit of info is that different animals are more visible at different times of day, so multiple rides will yield different experiences.
Animal Kingdom first opened Dinoland USA with a McDonald’s sponsorship. There were several references to the corporate sponsor that have since been removed.
However, one fun little secret still remains on the Dinosaur attraction. As you approach the loading dock, there is a set of three pipes overhead that stand out among the rest. They are red, yellow, and white, which is clearly important, but what does it mean?
Well, these pipes have the chemical compounds notated along them and these compounds are none other than ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Yep, the same condiments that are plentiful on McDonald’s hamburgers.
In fact, you can see the Disney and McDonald’s partnership advertised in these vintage commercials that aired with the Grand Opening of the theme park. The quality is vintage, too, but it’s so fascinating to see these commercials!
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