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Discover the Real World Research Behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ‘Zootopia’ in a New Exhibit Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Shawn Slater

by , Senior Communications Manager, Disney Live Entertainment

In Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll soon be able to explore a new exhibit that delves into some of the behind-the-scenes research that went into the production of Disney’s upcoming comedic adventure “Zootopia.”

At Walt Disney Animation Studios, the journey in making every film begins with research. In order to create the rich and engaging modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia and its wide variety of animal inhabitants, the filmmakers spent 18 months studying animals and their habitats. Their very first stop was Disney’s Animal Kingdom in March 2014, where they worked closely with the park’s team of animal care professionals.

“Research is such an important part of every animated film we make at Disney, and for ‘Zootopia’ our research began at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to meet with some of the best animal experts in the world,” said Clark Spencer, the Oscar®-nominated producer of “Zootopia.” “Everything that we learned about animal behaviors, personalities and movement our artists incorporated into the world of ‘Zootopia,’ and to now be able to share those discoveries and influences with the guests at the park is truly a full circle moment.”

The ‘Zootopia’ exhibit opens January 29 inside Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Beginning this week, you can also catch our special sneak preview of scenes from “Zootopia,” giving you an advance look at several clips from the upcoming film. The sneak peek opens as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, January 21, and comes to the Bug’s Life Theater at Disney California Adventure park this Friday, January 22.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4 in 3D.


  • That sounds like an interesting addition to AK. But, One Man’s Dream just had the movie restored after another movie was previewing there…if the films were alternating thats one thing, but last time an essential part of the attraction was taken out completely for a preview.

  • We will check out the sneak peek this weekend at DCA. I will be taking my son for his 5th birthday to WDW. He wants to spend his actual birthday at Animal Kingdom. Will this be open at the end of April? Thank you

    • Liz – The plan is for the exhibit to be in place at least through Earth Day, April 22, so it’s possible you’ll get to see it on your visit.

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