Earlier this week, the cast of the popular stage show “The Festival of The Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom marked a major milestone – 1 million guests have attended the show since it reopened in the new Harambe Theatre this past June.
The LePage Family from Colorado Springs, CO, were the lucky 1 millionth family, and were recognized with front-row seats and a special meet-and-greet opportunity with the show’s cast after the performance concluded.
In case you aren’t familiar with the show, “The Festival of The Lion King” is a fun retelling of the story of Simba the lion cub that is told through song, dance, acrobatics, aerial performances and more. It debuted at the park in Camp Minnie-Mickey in 1998. The show relocated to the new Harambe Theatre in the Africa section of the park earlier this year.
What do you enjoy most about this show? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to over 1,800 animals who serve as ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild. Cast members work to educate guests through activities like Wilderness Explorers, exploration trails and attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris. Helping protect wildlife and wild places is at the core of The Walt Disney Company and recognizing the intrinsic value of nature is a guiding principle of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Throughout the day, in locations across the park, conservation messages are shared and calls to action prompt guests to learn more about endangered species and ways to get involved even after returning home.
Conservation Station is a great place to continue your adventure and learn about conservation efforts taking place at the park. Through informative hands-on exhibits and a viewable onsite research facility, Conservation Station invites you to uncover the mysteries of the wild—and to go behind the scenes of Disney’s efforts to promote conservation awareness.
For guests interested in elephants, rhinos, and conservation efforts for these great animals, September 23 will be a great day to visit as Conservation Station hosts Elephant and Rhino Day, a celebration dedicated to two beautiful, but endangered animal species. Education cast members will staff hands-on activities, the work of the Animal Nutrition Center will be highlighted and Animal Keepers from the Elephant, Savannahs, and Ituri Forest teams will be present to share information and answer questions related to the animal-care profession. Guests will also have the opportunity to speak with representatives from various conservation organizations including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to learn more about opportunities to get involved.
Let us know what you do to help conserve wildlife and wild places in your area!
This week’s “Caption This” image was shot inside a popular attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – DINOSAUR.
What’s on this guy’s mind as the Time Rover approaches? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” photo in the comments section below!
If you’ve recently enjoyed a Disney visit, you probably had the opportunity to support the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). There are plenty of ways you may have contributed – adding a dollar to your purchase, picking up a sponsored pin or plush item, enjoying the Wild Africa Trek excursion at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or snorkeling at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Every donation, big or small, adds up and is combined with support from Disney, which in turn has given all of us something amazing to celebrate.
Including the 141 grants being awarded this week, we have contributed more than $25 million dollars to study wildlife, protect habitats and develop community conservation and education programs across the globe and here in Florida.
This week, our office shared the good news with more than 100 nonprofit organizations who will divide $3.5 million dollars in 2014 conservation grants to support projects benefiting wildlife and habitats spanning five continents –from lions in Tanzania and elephants in China to giant armadillos in Brazil and monk seals in Hawaii. To see a list of all the 2014 DWCF grant recipients, visit www.disney.com/conservation.
Today the world is losing species at up to 10,000 times the natural rate, which makes doing what we can to protect the wonder of nature more important than ever. Thank YOU for joining us as we work with experts to reverse the decline of threatened species around the globe and build the next generation of conservationists.
What inspires you to protect the planet?
In the early morning hours, while many of us are fast asleep, the Animal Nutrition Team is busy preparing and delivering balanced and individual diets for over 2,000 animals at Walt Disney World Resort.
The job of an animal nutritionist and the Nutrition Team is quite involved as they work to assess the diet of each animal based on various data including weight, physiological stage of the animal, food sensitivities, animal health and food options available to prepare the diets, among others. Every animal has a diet sheet, but diets might be adjusted and supplements (like vitamins to humans) are added depending on the specific needs of the animal.
The Animal Nutrition Team works with partners around the world to continuously assess diet options and aid in research. The research data gathered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been used to help improve around 18 animal nutrition products regularly used by the zoo community today.
Some of the research is actually helping conserve endangered animals like the Puerto Rican Crested Toad that can be found at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Nutrition data and best practices in caring for the parents and tadpoles are gathered and noted for future generations. Then, twice a year, tadpoles are sent back to Puerto Rico to be released and continue increasing numbers in the wild.
You can learn more about animal nutrition from a member of our team on your next visit to Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Earlier this year, we shared with you the exciting news of a wallaby joey that could be seen at the Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Now that the joey has grown a bit, we can share that “It’s a boy!” and his name is Ozzie. His first time coming out of his mom’s pouch was in April. He gradually spent more and more time out of the pouch and is now pretty independent. He is eating solid foods and currently weighs in at 2.3kg! (The weight range for adults is 4-9kg.)
If you are looking for Ozzie on your next visit to the park, he is most active during the cooler parts of the day, mornings and after late day rains. Wallabies are just one of the many interesting wildlife species that can be found at the Oasis Exhibits as you begin your adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Be sure to also look for Giant Anteater, Babarusa (an exotic boar), Barking Deer, Spoonbill Stork and Macaws!!
To learn more about Wallabies or if you missed the first story … you can check it out here!
Sohni is a name of Hindi origin which means beautiful. This is certainly a fitting name for the newest tiger that can be seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a self-guided walking tour set in the land of Asia.
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is home to many different species including komodo dragons, birds, bats and hoof-stock. Until very recently only one species of tiger could be found on this trail, but with Sohni’s arrival comes increased diversity in the form of a Sumatran tiger, a species that is only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. To help you identify the difference, remember that Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. Females weigh between 165 – 242 lbs. and males weigh between 220 – 310 lbs.
Human population growth has dramatically reduced the tigers’ natural habitat. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and it is estimated that there are fewer than 500 individuals left in the wild. You can help protect tigers and many other species by supporting conservation organizations through contributions or volunteering.
You can learn more about tigers including Sohni on your next visit, but until then here are a few tiger fun facts:
- Tigers mark their territory with visual signals, such as scratches on a tree or on the ground, and chemical signals, such a spraying a tree with urine and scent gland secretions.
- Tigers can be extremely swift for short distances, running 30 to 35 mph, and can leap impressive distances averaging 13 feet.
- Tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.
- Tigers are carnivores and are the top predators in their ecosystem. A male tiger in the wild requires nearly 3 tons of food per year.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) supports local and global nonprofit organizations that address the planet’s most urgent conservation issues including tigers around the world. In spring 2013, the DWCF supported an emergency request to assist the rehabilitation of orphaned tiger cubs in Russia. For more information and an update on the tigers supported in this project, check out the video on IFAW’s website.
By far my favorite photo we shared this week on the Disney Parks Blog was of the new baby gorilla that was just born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The yet-to-be-named male gorilla is the fourth to be born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the park’s history. Too cute!
Hamjambo! This is a Swahili greeting guests may hear at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as they make their way through Africa to experience the sights, sounds and attractions of the area inspired by the diversity of the country. Another Swahili term is ‘karibuni’ which means welcome. Guests who travel down the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail may be among the first to help welcome the newest member of the gorilla family troop!
The Animal Programs team reported that mom, Azizi, has been doing great with her new baby boy. During the first days of an infant’s life, mom needs to learn how to locomote while the infant clings to her body. Nursing and learning how to cling to mom without assistance are among the first essential skills for this little guy. Usually, within the first week, the infant is clinging with all four limbs and mom may return to quadrapedal locomotion.
As with any new baby, there is a lot of curiosity about the newest member of the group especially from 4 year old, Lilly. Both Azizi and Gino (silverback/dad) have been disciplining her appropriately if she gets too rambunctious. So far, she has touched him gently on the head.
The new baby, which is yet to be named, is the fourth gorilla born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals. The first gorilla birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom occurred in 1997 before the park opened, the second baby arrived in 1999 and the third was born in 2010.
Join us in saying ‘karibuni’ to the newest member of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom family!
Those of you who visit the Disneyland Resort every holiday season know what happens when holidays collide – in two words … Jack Skellington. So it should be no surprise to find one of our favorite Halloweentown characters on our Alex and Ani bangles.
So treat yourself, as this is no trick, and get ready for Halloween a little early this year. Look for the new Jack Skellington bangle starting today at the following Disney Parks locations or online.
Walt Disney World Resort
Online – Shop Now!
So what comes after fall and Halloween? Winter of course! Just like Elsa, the cold never bothered me anyway, and these “Frozen”-inspired bangles, featuring Anna and Elsa are bound to be hot! Look for them in stores and online beginning September 8.
Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog and follow us on across our Disney Parks social channels for more details on these new arrivals.