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Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom April 22

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Are you planning on attending the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom this Earth Day, April 22? After attending the anniversaries of Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot in 2011 and 2012, respectively, I’ll be there for sure.
Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom April 22

Here are a few of the details of what’s planned for the park’s anniversary.

  • Special opening ceremony – Meet at the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m., to hear from Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment. Make sure you arrive early for this!
  • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” festivities – Special interactive activities that focus on animals and nature will take place throughout the park from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Artists and other vendors will present their work on in Africa and on Discovery Island, with their work available for purchase.
  • Opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise, available in limited quantities.
  • Special food & beverage.

We’ll have more details on Party for the Planet fun, food & beverage and merchandise closer to the event date – stay tuned!

To join the conversation about the park’s anniversary online, use the hash tag #DAK15 on Twitter.


  • My next WDW vacation isn’t until the end of May. Will I still be able to purchase some of the merchandise? I want that Tree of Life iPhone case something fierce!!

  • I was there for opening day 15 years ago and still have my Opening Day T-shirt!!!! I was really looking forward to attending the 15th anniversary ceremonies!!! Will Passholders be able to attend the 8:40 ceremonies even though the park opens for us at 9? Also I’m a bit disappointed that Joe Rohde is no longer shown as a particpant in this milestone celebration. I would hate to make the effort to get there for the ceremonies and then not be able to gain entrance until 9 am.

  • I saw elsewhere that Joe Rhode will no longer be participating in the opening ceremony and see that his name is no longer listed in the above blog. Any word why he is no longer coming?

  • Answered my own question – Disney’s Animal Kingdom is scheduled for morning Extra Magic Hours from 8am-9am on 4/22. So that covers on-property hotel guests. Would everyone else still be admitted through the entry gates but not be able to ride anything until 9am?

  • If the park doesn’t open until 9am, how are we to see this at 8:40am? Will there be a special security escort to lead anyone at the park gates at, say, 8:30am through to the Tree of Life to watch?

  • My wife (Vicky) and I rode on the boat ride with animators in the days prior to opening in 1998. They changed the loading area several times but it now sits vacant and the ride is no more than a memory.

  • The park opens at 9 AM. How early can we as passholders gain admission to hear the speaches at 8:40 AM?

  • Park hours are listed as 9am on the 22nd, but an event held at the Tree of Life starting at 8:40am…. will there be early admission to the park? (or at lease early admission for us passholders?)

  • Can’t wait! We planned our trip 6 months ago and are arriving on the 21st! We didn’t even know about the anniversary when we booked everything! When can we expect a full schedule of events?

  • gonna barely miss it. coming in on the 26th

  • I was already excited for our upcoming trip, this is a very cool bonus while we are there!

  • Will soooo be there! What time will the park open that day?

  • We just came back from our yearly Disney trip…won’t be back until next May. Animal Kingdom is my husbands favorite park too!!!!

    • You can check out coverage of the event right here on April 22. 🙂

  • I was there for opening day when I was 8 years old. Unforuntly I won’t be there this year until July.

  • well I just keep getting more and more excited about leaving for our nine day first family trip to Disney starting on April 21st 2013. just 11 days away. with everything including the garden festival and now hearing about this great event I am about to burst. I myself have not been to Disney since 1982 in which none of this was around. and my wife was there last in 00′ my 5 and 4 year old boys are going are never going to forget this trip.

  • I was at the first preview day before it opened and was at the opening press event, I definitely wanna be at the 15th anniversary event if I can make it! 🙂

  • Dang!!! I wish I had known sooner, I would have booked my Southwest flight to come on down for a GREAT time!!

  • I’ll be there! So excited that when I planned out my days six months ago, I put s in AK on the 22nd.

    • Good timing!

  • YES YES YESSSS!! finally something good,
    i visit animal april 22 now i am even more happy to visit disney for 6 days!
    i come from the Netherlands and i visit Disney 6 days and even on a special day makes it better!

  • I’m going to be in the parks on the 20th, and right outside for a few days afterwards. Will the special merchandise be available at Downtown? I will only have a one-day pass.

  • Will there be a chance for photos with Joe Rohde? My son and daughter just watched the old videos of when he visited Tibet to look for the Yeti and the construction of EE. He’s a bit of a celebrity around our house. My kids thought we were just watching the videos because we are Disney nuts but we’re bringing our kids down on a surprise trip which includes the 22nd. A chance to meet “the earring guy” as my 4 year old calls him would be icing on the cake.

  • I won’t be there that day because I live in Southern California home of the Original Magic Kingdom. The Disneyland Resort Where the Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier!

    Will they also announce any details and begin ground breaking for Pandora from James Cameron’s hit-movie AVATAR that day?

    Where are they building Pandora from James Cameron’s AVATAR? From what I’m hearing are they going to build it where Camp Minnie and Mickey is located? Mickey and Minnie’s meet and greet area moved recently. I also have been hearing where they were going to move the Festival of the Lion King somewhere in Africa?

  • Will they be doing things all year to celebrate? I am coming down in June.

  • Congrats Animal Kingdom! Love the whole vibe of the park, the beautiful landscaping, discoveries around every corner (like the hidden kangaroos), and some of my favorite Disney rides of all time: Kilimanjaro Safari, Dinosaur, & the Forbidden Mtn! Just please fix the Yeti! Add some night time entertainment and a few more rides then Animal Kingdom will be complete. Hope to make it to the party!

  • Wow I’m actually going to be there! I usually miss things like this by a week when I plan my vacations. Looking forward to it.

  • We won’t be down until Thursday the 25th, is the celebration a one day event or all week?

  • I feel so spoiled as an annual pass holder. 🙂 Just hope I have off work that day, I know my son would love to go to this event. Animal Kingdom is his favorite park. He just LOVES the animals.

  • Is there any way to get merchandise besides at the resort? Like a phone number or website?

    • I’m not sure…let me look into it.

  • Happy Anniversary Animal Kingdom!! You are my favorite Kingdom next to the Magic Kingdom! We took the Wild Africa Trek in March & what an amazing journey we had with wonderful guides & a delectable lunch! Shout out to White Rhino Helen & the girls 🙂

    • The Trek is really cool. I got to do it last year and it was amazing!

  • The first time i went to US, first time at Disney… my 15th birthday… 15 years ago!!!!!! A magical day i will never forget!!! wish i could go this year!!!!

  • I’m so bummed that I can’t come, I’ll be stuck in Indiana :(. My husband and I got to go to a preview opening before the official day and it was awesome to see the park before anyone else!! Animal Kingdom is my favorite park. Will the logo be available as a pin? If so, I will have to find a way to get one; I love it!

  • We will be down in Florida on this day, but the information was released so late our plans are already set in stone 🙁

  • Boo! I’ll miss it. Won’t be there until 5/2 🙁 Do you know if the anniversary merchandise will be available after the 22nd?

  • I would love to go… Just this living 28 hours away thing that stands in the way. When I retire to florida I will do Disney EVERY day.

    • Sounds like a great retirement! 🙂

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