In 2008, Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrated its 10th Anniversary, recognizing the success of the world's largest animal-themed park. As the largest animal-themed park, Disney has used the magic of Disney Imagineers to sculpt 500 acres of central Florida into jungles, forests, and a grassy savannah, just perfect for hosting over 1,700 animals representing 250 species.
The park is divided into seven different areas: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand, USA. At the center of Discovery Island is the 145-feet tall Tree of Life, whose trunk contains a 3-D theater showing "It's Tough to be a Bug!" and features carvings of 325 animals. In DinoLand USA, the "Boneyard" is a please-touch and please-dig display of faux dinosaur bones and life-like fossils. This display sets up an archaeological site for preschoolers and grade-school aged children to explore. Africa can be viewed through the eyes of rangers hunting for poachers on a two-mile long journey by safari vehicle on the "Kilimanjaro Safari." The Wildlife Express train steams past interactive displays of natural habitats, behind-the-scenes workings of the park, and features displays on how families can aid conservation efforts in their own community. The train provides transportation between the Harambe, Africa, and Rafiki's Planet Watch. It is the only way to access Rafiki's Planet Watch, which is devoted to the preservation and conservation of animals.
Besides the expected fun stuff, Animal Kingdom also offers families a chance to get out and hike through "nature." For the littlest adventurers, the well-loved, costumed Disney characters and Simba's animal buddies are based at Camp Minnie-Mickey, across the river from Safari Village. Regularly scheduled performances, character appearances, and parades round out this Out of Africa experience. In Asia, you can tour another animal-themed area by river on "Kali's River Rapids" and let the older kids ride the mountain-shaped rollercoaster "Expedition Everest."
Be sure to stop by the Oasis exhibit, where you can dine for all meals at the Rainforest Café. The café offers a delicious aroma with delectable treats, and provides wondrous sights and sounds. Part of this experience includes taking part in a tropical thunderstorm, and listening to the audio-animatronic wildlife.
New for 2009, your favorite Disney friends are making sure you have fun until the minute you leave with Adventurers' Celebration Gathering. Mickey Mouse and all his friends will gather next to Disney's Animal Kingdom entrance every evening during closing to say goodbye to all their guests. Characters will dance to music in the streets and try and get guests to join along.
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