Looks like this little one is having a good time – and he’s sure daring around all of these dinosaur skeletons. What happens next? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” photo in the “Comments” section below!
posted on August 19th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
posted on August 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Anyone up for some fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
This park-inspired BINGO card challenges you to visit attractions, Disney characters – and in this case, animals who reside at the park – in specific orders. Would you try something like this on your next trip to the park?
Wildlife Wednesdays: Mom of 22 Among Cotton-Top Tamarins Celebrated This Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
posted on August 7th, 2013 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs
I first “met” Tamara, a cotton-top tamarin who lives in the forest in Colombia, South America, when she was still in her mom’s belly. Thirteen years later (a ripe old age for a cotton-top), she continues to amaze me. Cotton-tops usually give birth to twins, and she recently gave birth to her 12th litter and 22nd infant!
Over the years, Tamara has been a fantastic mom and family member. Thanks to her resourcefulness, Tamara’s family has continued to thrive in their forest home. And she has helped us to learn so much about cotton-top tamarins. For example, we had no idea how many infants a female in the wild could produce. Thanks to Tamara, we’ve had the opportunity at the conservation organization dedicated to cotton-tops, Proyecto Titi, to study all of her infants and learn so much about these fascinating animals. Luckily for Tamara, cotton-top moms don’t raise their babies all by themselves. The babies’ dad, brothers and sisters all help to take care of the babies.
This month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re celebrating Tamara and rest of the cotton-tops, critically endangered monkeys found only in Colombia, where August 15 has been proclaimed a national holiday — the Day of the Cotton-Top Tamarin. If you visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you can find out about cotton-top tamarins’ favorite foods, how scientists locate them in the forest, and even how to do the cotton-top tamarin dance. Other highlights include face painters and caricature artists with designs featuring cotton-top tamarins created just for the celebration. And, take my word for it, the cotton-top tamarin cupcakes are too delicious to pass up.
Every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can see cotton-top and other tamarins in Habitat Habit!, on the trail to Conservation Station in Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Guests also can see cotton-tops in Discovery Island near the Tree of Life.
Did you know?
- Cotton-top tamarins and plastic bags actually have something in common. Proyecto Titi has taught women to crochet using plastic bags like the ones we bring home from the grocery store (what a great way to recycle and keep trash out of the forest!). They make these beautiful, colorful tote bags called eco-mochilas, which are sold at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Purchasing an eco-mochila helps communities in Colombia protect forests that the cotton-top tamarins call home.
- You can find out even more about cotton-top tamarins at www.proyectotiti.com and how the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is helping cotton-tops, other tamarins and wildlife around the world at www.disney.com/conservation.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Debuts Special Kiosk on August 4 for Guests with Dietary Restrictions
posted on August 2nd, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
Beginning August 4, guests with food allergies and intolerances visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have an easy way to learn about meal options in the park that can accommodate dietary restrictions – and pick up some healthful, prepackaged snacks.
The kiosk, located on Discovery Island next to Adventurers Outpost, is called the Gardens kiosk. Here guests can stop and chat about food allergies or intolerances such as gluten or wheat, lactose or dairy, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish, soy, fish, eggs and corn. And while you’ll be directed to the best restaurants to accommodate your needs, it’s important to still speak with a manager or chef at the restaurant – but you’ll already know exactly what the restaurant can accommodate before you begin your meal.
You can also pick up snacks at the Gardens, including popcorn, desserts, chips, hummus with vegetables, granola bars and a gluten-free beer. Vegan sweets from Baby Cakes also will be offered – all-natural, organic goodies that are made without wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs.
The Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
While this is the only park with a kiosk, guests with food allergy concerns can always speak with a manager or chef at many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants, who will do their best to accommodate. For more information, visit Disneyworld.com to review special dietary requests, or send an email 14 days prior to your visit with specific needs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disney Parks Blog Fans Choose ‘Mosi’ As Name For First Masai Giraffe Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
posted on July 31st, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
The votes are in! Disney Parks Blog fans chose “Mosi” (which means “first”) as the name for the first Masai giraffe calf born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Our animal care team is thrilled that so many people voted to help choose his name. Other choices that received a lot of votes were “Baraka” (which means “blessing”) and “Shingo” (which means “long neck”), but ultimately “Mosi” was the winner. Thank you so much for caring as much about the baby giraffe as we do!
I have some more great news – yesterday, Mosi ventured out with his mom on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna for the first time. We are very pleased to share a photo and some video of Mosi’s first day on the savanna. Enjoy!
The next time you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be on the lookout for Mosi and the rest of the giraffe herd on Kilimanjaro Safaris and Wild Africa Trek.
Read on for more updates from Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
posted on July 29th, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment
I fell in love with “Festival of the Lion King” the first time I saw it, in a sneak preview ahead of the 1998 opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From the acrobatic antics of the Tumble Monkeys to Zawadi’s soaring vocals during the signature “Circle of Life,” the exuberant spirit of the show’s cast has kept me coming back time and time again and made “Festival of the Lion King” a guest favorite at Walt Disney World Resort for 15 years.
Today, I’m excited to tell you “Festival of the Lion King” will soon be moving to an all-new theater, bringing the “tribal celebration” home fittingly to the Africa section of the park, where Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will be able to continue enjoying the show for years to come.
The new “Festival of the Lion King” theater is set to open in 2014.
posted on July 27th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks
Last week, the Disney Parks Blog gave readers a chance to name the first Masai giraffe calf, a male, born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Baby animals born at Disney Parks are welcomed into their respective families often within weeks of their arrival. Read the posts below to check out some of the baby animals that have been born at the Walt Disney World Resort. What name did you choose for the Masai giraffe? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.
Take 5: Baby Animals Born at Disney Parks
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Vote To Name the First Masai Giraffe Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Cast your vote and help name the first Masai giraffe calf born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Saddle-Billed Stork Has First Chick; White-Cheeked Gibbon Expands Family with New Addition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – March was an exciting month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a first chick for a pair of Saddle-Billed storks, and a new addition to our White-Cheeked Gibbon family.
- Baby Elephant Receives Warm Welcome at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Two years ago, a new elephant named Jabali was born and joined the herd as the sixth elephant born to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Real-Life Pumbaas (Baby Warthogs) Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – In February of last year, we welcomed five baby warthogs to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Is It a Zebra? Is It a Giraffe? No, It’s an Okapi – New Baby Welcomed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family – Meet Nafuna, the rare and fascinating okapi at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
posted on July 24th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
Our very first Masai giraffe calf, a male, was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently and will go out on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna within the next few weeks. We are excited to have you pick the baby’s name from a list prepared by our animal care team. It’s easy to cast your vote. Check the list below, make your choice and keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog to find out what name gets the most votes—I’ll post the results next Wednesday (July 31).
Did you know?
- There are two subspecies of giraffe—Masai and reticulated—roaming the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna. Most are now Masai giraffe, with reticulated giraffe making their home on the savannas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Having two kinds of giraffe enables cast members to share even more great stories about these amazing animals.
- The Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) can be found in southern Kenya and throughout Tanzania. Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are widely found in northern Kenya and in Somalia.
- The Masai giraffe’s coat features jagged-edged patches. The patches are dark brown on a cream background, making the Masai the darkest-colored subspecies. The reticulated giraffe’s coat features a pattern of very defined patches that usually are orangish brown. The patches are separated by bright white lines, and the lower part of the legs are a lighter color.
- It is estimated that there are fewer than 40,000 Masai giraffe in the wild. The reticulated giraffe is more threatened in the wild, with numbers fewer than 5,000. Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, poaching, and human-wildlife conflicts.
- The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) helps to support conservation programs for wildlife like giraffes. For example, through a recent project, the DWCF helped Tusk Trust USA and the Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy reintroduce Rothschild’s giraffes in Kenya. This program also enhances community awareness of wildlife conservation through anti-poaching, wildlife monitoring, and educational programs in local schools. Since its inception in 1995, the DWCF has provided more than $4.5 million to support habitat conservation for giraffes and other African wildlife. Through a collaboration with Disneynature and the “See ‘African Cats,’ Save the Savanna” campaign, the DWCF also helped the African Wildlife Foundation to protect more than 65,000 acres of land in Kenya’s Amboseli Wildlife Corridor to enable indigenous animals including giraffes, cheetahs, and lions to roam freely between protected habitats.
What name did you vote for? Tell us about your favorite in the “Comments” section below or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #DisneyGiraffe.
posted on July 17th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
Look closely at this tiger photo taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and you’ll discover some of the special characteristics of this magnificent animal — the largest of all cats.
For one thing, you may notice that the tiger’s ears can turn independently of each other, allowing them to pick up sounds from different directions. The ears also have distinctive white circular spots—think eyes in back of their heads to scare off potential predators, according to one theory.
Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 25 will discover even more about tigers and learn about efforts to conserve them as the park celebrates Tiger Day with special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Families can test their skills at identifying tiger calls, find out where in the world tigers live and how they travel through the forest, and see if they can leap as far as a tiger, among other activities.
Of course, every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests love seeing our tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where the tigers can enjoy a dip in the water, nap on the grass, and play with a variety of tiger toys. Unlike some other cats, tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is helping to conserve tigers. So far, the fund has contributed $1.4 million to projects working to protect tigers and other big cats like lions and leopards. Last year, for example the DWCF provided funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society to help the government of Thailand train and equip park rangers to reduce the threat of poaching and wildlife trade for tigers and other forest wildlife in that country.
More tiger fun facts:
- Did you know that a tiger’s stripes help it hunt? The stripes break up their outline, helping tigers to remain undetected as they close in on their prey in their forest homes. And not only is a tiger’s fur striped, but its skin underneath is too.
- During the day tigers can see about as well as humans, but their night vision is six times more powerful.
- Tigers use their whiskers as “feelers,” helping these large cats to navigate their way through dark and heavily wooded areas.
posted on July 12th, 2013 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group
“The wilderness must be explored! Caw! Caw! Roar!” That’s what the ever-determined Russell declared in the beloved Disney·Pixar’s “UP“. He was dedicated to earn his final Wilderness Explorer badge and thus securing the rank of Senior Wilderness Explorer.
Now you, too, can experience all that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer with the brand-new Wilderness Explorers. It allows you the joy of discovering the natural surroundings of the park—and more—as you earn over 30 badges.
Assisted by a complimentary official Wilderness Explorers Handbook—and cast members serving as Troop Leaders and Badge Guides—you undertake challenges and activities around the Park.
While aimed at pint-size family members, Wilderness Explorers appeals to all ages. “Some of our younger Explorers are great at leading their families through the entire experience,” Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation director, Disney’s Animal Programs, told us. “There is a lot of ‘Caw! Caw! Roar!’—the official Wilderness Explorers call—going on throughout the park these days.”
Dr. Anne and her team helped provide content for the animal-themed badges. For instance, there are badges that help you (and your little ones) learn how to track animals, how to identify animals and how animals communicate. It’s not only about wildlife, however. You can earn a badge while examining an African culture, exploring dinosaur fossils or learning about recycling.
Once you complete a task, proudly present your results to a cast member and receive a sticker representing the badge.
“I think our guests are really excited to learn more about the animals that are featured in Wilderness Explorers, and there are memorable experiences for everyone,” Dr. Anne explained. “Guests can learn to knuckle-walk like a gorilla or become experts at identifying the clues that animals leave us as we explore the wild!”
While Russell may have been eager to fill his badge sash as quickly as possible, you can pace yourself. Wilderness Explorers is designed for kids—and all of us who are kids at heart—to tackle at their own speed.
Is your enthusiasm bubbling over? Get an early start and spend the whole day exploring. That way you can savor a leisurely approach and enjoy the great Disney’s Animal Kingdom attractions and entertainment between challenges. Conquer Expedition Everest and the fearsome Yeti. Thrill to the discoveries you’ll find on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Take in the wonderfully whimsical Finding Nemo—The Musical. Or spread the activities out over numerous visits to the park. It’s totally up to you. You’re the explorer.
As the stories of nature, traditions and legends unfold during this engaging, immersive adventure, Dr. Anne sees more than just a fun time for the whole family. “Most of all, I hope that as our guests earn badges and explore the Park, they will want to help protect wildlife.”
But we can’t guarantee you‘ll spot a snipe! (Remember Russell’s friend Kevin from the movie?) You can be sure, however, to uncover lots of fascinating facts about the world around us.
Wilderness Explorers is complimentary with valid Disney’s Animal Kingdom admission.