Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park

Caption This: A Merry Minnie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on December 9th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today’s “Caption This” photo was snapped at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the afternoon Jingle Jungle Parade.

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This little gal sure looks excited! What’s on her mind? You tell us – go ahead and “Caption This!” in the “Comments” section below!

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‘Limited Time Magic’ Thanksgiving Goodies Abound in Disney Theme Parks Coast to Coast

posted on November 22nd, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Let’s say you don’t want to sit down for a big Thanksgiving feast but prefer noshing as you play in the Disney theme parks. Here’s a tip sheet to help you navigate the “Limited Time Magic” treats available November 24 – December 1:

Walt Disney World Resort

Magic Kingdom Park


Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Pumpkin cupcake in most quick-service locations, and specialty drinks at bars and lounges


Epcot

  • Sunshine Seasons – Pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin muffin and gingerbread and pumpkin mousse (Thanksgiving day only)
  • Garden Grill – Sweet potato pie with maple whipped cream (Thanksgiving day only)



Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Kusafiri Bakery and Isle of Java – pumpkin muffin
  • Anandapur Tea Company and coffee kiosk at park entrance – pumpkin latte, maple-spiced raspberry latte and pumpkin muffins
  • For Thanksgiving Day, November 28, Tusker House is featuring an “all-you-care-to-eat Thanksgiving dinner” for lunch and dinner


Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Park



Disney California Adventure Park

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Fun Facts Shared on Rhino Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on November 6th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


What does your hair have in common with a rhino horn?

To answer the question above: If your hair can be unruly like mine, hopefully it’s not your look on a bad hair day! What do they have in common? Human hair and a rhino’s horn are both made of keratin, a protein that is a basic component of our fingernails, too.

Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Rhino Day (November 12) will discover lots of fun facts about the magnificent rhinoceros. Here are a couple more: A group of rhinos is called a “crash,” and there are five kinds of rhino: white, black, Indian, Sumatran and Javan. Every day, guests can see white and black rhinos on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, including the rhino calf that was born last year. And on the Wild Africa Trek, guests can relax on the boma landing and watch the white rhinos and many other animals on the savannas. On Rhino Day, guests can participate in special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, including learning what rhinos eat, how we care for the rhinos at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the creative ways that the animal care team is supporting rhino conservation.

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Did you know?

  • The success of the white rhino breeding program at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has enabled our animal care team to make a direct contribution to the conservation of white rhinos in the wild. In 2006, Nande and Hasani, two rhinos born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, traveled to Africa to join four others at Ziwa Sanctuary in Uganda, where they are helping to reestablish a population that had been extinct since the 1980s. In 2009, Nande became the first white rhino to give birth in Uganda in 27 years; she gave birth to a second calf in 2011.
  • This year, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is supporting projects that protect black and Sumatran rhinos. To find out more, visit www.disney.com/conservation

Read more stories about these celebrations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Sign Up for a Chance to Tour Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

posted on November 1st, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


As a part of “Limited Time Magic,” we’re offering another rare opportunity at Disney Parks. This time, it’s a chance to join us for a unique and special backstage tour of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park led by members of our Animal Programs and Animal Health departments.

DAK Entrance

Each afternoon at 1 p.m. (ET) from November 4-8, 2013, a group of lucky guests will be invited to join us for a special walking tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. During each session, you’ll have a chance to tour backstage animal housing at the park and our state-of-the-art animal medical center. There may even be an opportunity to see some of the animals in the backstage environments.

There will be only one tour each afternoon – with 25 guests in each group. You may enter here for a chance to attend only one of the five tours being offered from November 4-8, 2013. Also, here are the rules for the drawing for the Tour Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Sweepstakes at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Also, please remember the following for each drawing.

  • All participants who sign up for the events, must be U.S. residents, who have reached the age of majority in their primary state of residence.
  • Each entry is valid for one participant only; winners will not be permitted to bring a guest.
  • Park admission will be provided as part of the event.
  • Selected participants will be assigned a tour date and time. There will be no changes or substitutions allowed.
  • Tour opportunities are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered winner only.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Tours are subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Subject to complete Official Rules.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Rare Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 30th, 2013 by Matt Hohne, Animal Operations Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the arrival of a baby animal is always cause for celebration, but when the baby is a Hartmann’s mountain zebra, it’s even more rewarding for the animal care team. The population of this rare species of zebra is teetering at just under 50 animals in the U.S., and the Hartmann’s mountain zebra is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
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The filly was born earlier this month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests are able to see her with her mom roaming the resort’s savanna.

Disney’s Animal Programs team is actively involved in the Hartmann’s mountain zebra Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP).

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Did you know?

  • There are three species of zebra, two of which live on the savannas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can see plains zebras as well as Hartmann’s mountain zebras during your stay.
  • If you look carefully, you can tell which zebra species is which by their stripes: plains zebras have wider stripes that wrap around their bellies. The Hartmann’s mountain zebras have thinner stripes that do not extend around the belly.
  • There are many theories concerning the major function of the stripes on a zebra. Most scientists believe that the zebra’s stripes may serve to break up the outline of the zebra’s body in the herd and provide some camouflage when the zebra is standing in tall grass. And no two individual zebras look exactly alike.
  • Like zebras, many local species of wildlife are threatened by loss of habitat. Creating natural habitats for the wildlife in your own backyard is a great way to help. You can do this by planting native trees, shrubs and flowers, which serve as food sources and nesting sites for the wildlife near you. To learn more about Disney’s conservation efforts, please visit www.disney.com/conservation
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Wild Africa Trek: Explore a Different Side of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 24th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you tried the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
Wild Africa Trek: Explore a Different Side of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I have, and it’s an unbelievable way to explore the park from an entirely new vantage point. In case you aren’t familiar, the trek is a three-hour guided tour that offers guests up-close views of some of the park’s animals – including crocodiles, giraffes, hippos and rhinos – by foot, by safari vehicle, and by rope bridge. The experience also offers African-inspired snacks, and a photographer accompanies you on the trek so you don’t even have to take your eyes off the animals.

And did you know that a portion of the cost of each trek is donated to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which protects wildlife and wild places around the world? The unique part about the Wild Africa Trek is that each guest gets to choose between different animals that they learn about on trek and put their donation towards projects that focus on that animal.

For a closer look inside the experience, be sure to check out the video below.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Halloween Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Helps to Keep Bats ‘Hanging Around’

posted on October 23rd, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Hanging up bat decorations for Halloween is great holiday fun but at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we also want to keep real bats hanging around. Bats play a critical role in nature, helping to control pests and pollinate countless plants, including delicious fruits like bananas and mangoes.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Halloween Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Helps to Keep Bats ‘Hanging Around’

On Halloween, we’re celebrating Bat Day with special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where guests will discover that bats are cool, not creepy. Guests can enter a “bat cave” and test their skills at identifying North American bats. Fun games help guests learn what bats eat and what challenges they face. Guests also can meet our bat keepers and find out how we care for the bats that make their home on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They might even see one of our bats getting its wellness exam in the Veterinary Hospital.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Halloween Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Helps to Keep Bats ‘Hanging Around’ Wildlife Wednesdays: Halloween Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Helps to Keep Bats ‘Hanging Around’

Did you know?

  • The Malayan Flying Fox, which guests can see on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, is one of the largest bats in the world with a wingspan of close to 6 feet. Another bat species at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Rodrigues fruit bat.
  • Contrary to popular myths, bats are not blind and do not become entangled in human hair.
  • For 2013, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is supporting Bat Conservation International projects that are helping to protect long-nosed bats in the Caribbean, golden-capped fruit bats in the Philippines and straw-colored bats in Africa. This year, the DWCF also is supporting a Lubee Bat Conservancy project that is helping flying foxes in Madagascar.
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AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Will Transport, Transform Guests

posted on October 14th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Over the weekend, Tom Staggs wowed the crowd at the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan with an early glimpse of what’s planned for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. He shared some breathtaking concept renderings of floating mountains, bioluminescent plants and other awe-inspiring experiences guests will encounter in the mythical world of Pandora.

Also at the D23 Expo Japan, Tom shared video of filmmaker James Cameron and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde highlighting the creative work already underway on the project. Joe said when the AVATAR-inspired land is completed, it’ll be a transformational experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Today, we wanted to share the entire video with Disney Parks Blog readers.

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First Look: AVATAR to Come to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 12th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


From the moment AVATAR was released, people were captivated by the mythical world of Pandora. When we announced that we’d be working with James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment to bring this world to life in our parks, we felt certain that this partnership and combination of talent and imagination would produce an experience unlike any other ever created.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land During the Day, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Our combined team has taken huge steps forward in “imagineering” Pandora as a real place for our guests to see, hear and touch. At the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan, we shared an early glimpse of the plans for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and I wanted to share some of these breathtaking images and a short preview of what’s to come with all of you.
Artist Rendering of AVATAR-Themed Land at Night, Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As these concept renderings show in epic scale, in the world of AVATAR guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound. Guests will also discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee.
Guests Will Discover What it Feels Like to Soar into the Sky Riding a Banshee When AVATAR Comes to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

And the new AVATAR-inspired land won’t be the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Live Performers on Discovery Island Will be Part of New Entertainment Experiences Available to Guests as Part of Expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As part of the largest expansion in the history of the park, we’ll be adding all-new entertainment experiences, including a new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River that will delight our guests and truly cap off their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park will introduce more nighttime entertainment as well, including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured above) and a new nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
James Cameron, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Imagineer Joe Rohde View a Model of the AVATAR-Themed Land Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

As the world of AVATAR becomes real at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the energy and passion shared by our Imagineers and the Lightstorm team for this monumental task continues to be remarkable. I can’t wait to see the reactions of our guests as they step into a world that until now has only existed on the screen.

We look forward to sharing more details in the future here on the Disney Parks Blog.



See more updates on the AVATAR-themed expansion coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the posts below:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Excellent Care Includes a Visit to the Veterinary Hospital for New Gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on October 9th, 2013 by Scott Terrell, DVM, DACVP, Animal Health Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Excellence in animal care is a top priority at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and our Animal Health team provides a wide array of veterinary services to care for the animals that make their home here. These include regular wellness exams, surgical procedures, oversight of pregnancies and births, and emergency medicine.

Included among the wellness exams is what we refer to as a quarantine exam. When an animal comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, that animal spends time in a special area known as quarantine to help ensure that they won’t pass along any diseases when they join the rest of the animals in their group. A quarantine exam by our veterinarians is part of this process.

Azizi, A New Female Gorilla Who Recently Joined the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family

A few months ago, a new female gorilla, Azizi, joined the Disney’s Animal Kingdom family. Here’s a video of Azizi’s quarantine exam.

Now, guests can see Azizi with the rest of our gorilla family group on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Our primate team shared that Azizi spends lots of time playing with young gorilla Lilly, who is now three years old, and doing great.

Did you know?

  • The state-of-the-art veterinary facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom include an X-ray room, ultrasound equipment, surgical suites and full-service laboratories. Veterinarians and technicians use these tools to focus on preventative health and creating new methods to diagnose and treat animals, ranging in size from a two-gram poison dart frog to a 13,000-pound African elephant.
  • During a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can find out how Disney is helping save some special primates — orphan gorillas in Africa — at GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center) with help from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). The DWCF has given more than $2 million to support conservation projects that protect primates.
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