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Vintage Walt Disney World: Building The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

In honor of 14 years of wild times at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the park’s icon, The Tree of Life.


This 145-foot tall tree is covered with approximately 103,000 leaves and has more than 325 animals intricately carved into its trunk. More than 8,000 branches spread foliage 160 feet wide over the park below.

The Tree of Life is home to the attraction “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” showcasing the stars of Disney·Pixar’s film “A Bug’s Life.” Even though I’ve seen the show a few dozen times, I still jump every time Hopper sends the stingers to attack – you’d think I’d be prepared.

For more Disney Parks history, check out these other Vintage Walt Disney World posts:


  • I remember seeing it under construction from the top of Summit Plummit and being so excited for it to open!

  • We were very lucky to be there in 1998 When they had a preview opening. It was fsacinating to be in a brand new park and be able to some of the finishing touches going in. To follow two years later too and see what had been added and what was eliminated.

  • The video really shows you how much camera quality has improved since the 90s!

  • It’s real if you believe and we believe!!

    • Exactly! 🙂

  • I can imagine any kids watching this will be saying “What!? The tree isn’t real?” I used to think the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disneyland Paris was real, as well. It was really convincing!

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