Animal Kingdom was the fourth, and newest, park built at Walt Disney World Resort. The park was opened on April 22, 1998 and is the largest Disney park in the world (covering more than 500 acres). Before the park opening many considered the park to be a zoo but, as an early Disney advertising campaign for the park touted, the park is "Nahtazu" (a fictional word pronounced "not a zoo"). The park is so much more than a zoo.
The park is divided into seven different areas, each with its own theme:
Oasis is the first area guests encounter when entering the park.
Discovery Island is the main area of the park (which was previously known as Safari Village). This area is in the center of the park and serves as a hub to all the other lands with paths leading off of it to each of the other six lands.
Camp Minnie-Mickey is home to two of the parks shows and a meet and greet area where guests can have their photos taken with Mickey, Minnie and many more of the famous Disney characters.
Africa is a replica of a fictional African village, Harambe. This area contains many of the animal attractions at the park.
Rafiki's Planet Watch, which is accessible by train only, is a much overlooked area of the park but one of the most important to the world. This area contains some of the smaller animals in the park as well as a petting zoo. The real importance and message of this area of the park is conservation.
Asia was added to the park in 1999. This area is also a replica of a fictional village, Anandapur. This is also the land that contains the newest of the Disney coasters, Expedition: EVEREST.
DinoLand USA is a land that contains fun of prehistoric proportions.
This park is still growing and we look forward to seeing what all they can bring us in the future.
Park Dedication (Michael Eisner - April 22, 1998)
Welcome to a kingdom of animal...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.