I recently spent a few hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park during a beautiful, sun-filled Florida morning. I was there taking photographs for a few articles I’m writing about the park’s upcoming 15th Anniversary. In spring 1998, I remember spending many weekends at the park taking photos with my old film camera (some things never change). At the time, there were so many new places to explore, and I tried to capture all of the details on film. As I passed through Island Mercantile during my most recent visit, I was reminded of those early days as I looked up to see a sky filled with animals.
Island Mercantile is the largest merchandise shop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Located in Discovery Island, every guest must pass by this location while traveling in and out of the park. The shop has nearly everything you would find in its sister locations like Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom Park or Mouse Gear at Epcot. Guests can find apparel, logo merchandise, home goods, toys, plush and much more. The location is also filled with some amazingly beautiful details found directly above the merchandise.
According to the exceptional book, “The Making of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park” by Melody Malmberg, all of the shops in the Discovery Island area salute the animal world with beautiful carvings, murals, fixtures and other adornments. Island Mercantile features animals that “migrate and work – whales and wildebeests, ants and bees.” Some of their fanciful designs were inspired by 1940s fruit-crate art.
I’m most impressed with the magnificent wood carvings, which were carved and painted in Bali by expert craftsmen. I also love the little details like the beaver-chewed posts near registers, the donkeys in the desert mural, or camel silhouettes found on elegant hanging lamps.
Here are a few other animals I found inside the shop. I’d love to hear if you have a favorite detail from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Please share in the comments below. You can also join the conversation about the park’s anniversary online by using the hash tag #DAK15 on Twitter.
Steven, off topic, but it is hard to speak to someone on your side. What is up with the pin trading nights at WDW? Some scary online rumors about WDW doing away with them. We can understand issues with securing a ballroom for the event, but can you see if there is anything official so we will know? Lots of people are waiting to hear something. Thank you!
@Christopher – Thank you for your comment. I spoke with the merchandise events and trading teams again today. They are continuing their search for available space and a date for another Disney Trading Night at Walt Disney World. I have not (stress “not”) heard of any plans to discontinue trading nights. Once additional information is available, we will update our Disney Parks Merchandise website – http://www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com
Can’t wait to see your posts about the 15th Anniversary merchandise…I also hope the merchandise will be made available either online or by Mail Order.
I think I am seeing so many new merchandise offerings that I love, but can’t tell if they’re available anywhere…is there a new collection based on sign replicas (Enchanted Tiki Room)? And, are there now souvenir mugs (similar to the resort refillable mugs) for each of the four parks? I’d love it if those were available online/mail order too..along with that awesome new Dumbo popcorn bucket..
@Jonathan – Please stay tuned for details about the 15th anniversary merchandise. I was actually working on that article today. Your best option for merchandise items like those signs is to contact our Merchandise Guest Services team. The refillable mugs and the Dumbo popcorn bucket falls under food and beverage at Disney Parks. I am not aware of any options they have for purchasing those items outside a Disney Park.
My favorite detail in Animal Kingdom is more of a well placed joke from a merchandise and ride system stand point. At the gift shop at the end of Dinosaur they sell Indiana Jones merchandise.
this and pizzafari are two of the best places in Animal Kingdom for the artwork and ambiance. we seem to spend a lot of time in those two areas looking around the rooms at all the wonderful artwork.