From just a twinkle in Joe Rohde’s(Imagineering Concept Designer) eyes as he drove his pickup truck in January 1990 to the opening of the park in April 22,1998 to the ever changing landscape of the park we see today the Animal Kingdom is an amazing place. Today Animal Kingdom celebrates its 15th Birthday. Just as we celebrate any birthday, I thought I would look back at some of the amazing facts about Animal Kingdom.
- Animal kingdom is the largest Disney park at 600 acres.
- Over 1,000 animals and 250 species are on display.
- During construction around 2,600 construction workers would be on site each day.
- The designers asked that the plants have 2 growing seasons in the savannah before any animals arrived. This meant all plants in the savannah had to be in place in the spring of 1996.
- Facts about the tree of life
- 140 ft tall
- The tree is built to withstand 74 mph winds.
- 102,583 leaves were made and attached to the tree.
- There are only 4 types of branches, but with the way they are placed on the tree the branches look random just like a natural tree.
- 45 secondary branches lead to 756 tertiary branches which lead to 7,891 end branches.
- Over 400 animals have been carved into the tree
- More than 4 million plants were brought in, from huge trees to individual blades of grasses. The number of grass species alone is over 300. Just in Africa alone more than 770,000 shrubs and 70,000 trees were planted.
- Water was a problem on site. Huge concrete drainage pipes, some 7 feet in diameter were installed as deep as 28 feet underground. All of this was part of the 60 miles of underground pipe that had to be laid to keep the land dry.
- Yes there was to be a Beastly Kingdom and you can still point them out today…..
- Unicorn is one of the parking areas
- There is a dragon in the park’s logo
- There is a dragon shaped fountain just outside Camp Minnie-Mickey
- Since 1995, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund has funded over 230 projects and $6 million dollars to conservation efforts around the world.
So we tip our glass to the Animal Kingdom today, Happy Birthday buddy, and here is to many more.