More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

‘Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’ Returns Jan. 1

Dr. Mark Penning

by , Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

Do your New Year’s resolutions include seeking out adventure? Learning new things? Spending more time with family and friends?

If so, kick off your new year with an all-new season of “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” debuting Jan. 1 on National Geographic. And if you’re like me and prefer to binge your favorite shows, all episodes will be released on Disney+ Jan. 4. The debut is part of Disney 100 Years of Wonder, which begins New Year’s Eve and celebrates the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company.

Disney has brought people and nature together for nearly a century through inspiring storytelling and memorable experiences. And we can’t wait to update you on some of your favorite stars from season one, along with new stories that inspire connections with the wonders of the world around us.

Join us for an all-access pass to explore the magic of nature within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at EPCOT and Tri-Circle-D Ranch, which hold more than 300 species and 5,000-plus animals. 


This 10-episode docu-series showcases the vast array of animals in our care, and our dedicated team of animal experts who manage the around-the-clock needs of the animals, ranging from pulling a big tooth from Lil Joe, the manatee; throwing a birthday party for Galápagos tortoises; releasing sea turtles back into the wild after rehabilitation; hatching baby flamingos and more! From special enrichment programs and nutrition to encouraging animals to participate in their own medical care, our team has established strong bonds with the animals to maintain their health and promote their wellbeing.

A tribute to Disney’s dedication to conservation and the environment, this series highlights our teams’ commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, caring for wildlife and their habitats, and creating experiences that inspire action. These collective efforts are known as Disney Planet Possible, and throughout each episode viewers will learn more through pop-up facts and  tangible actions we’ve taken to support a world in balance and a healthier home for people and wildlife. That includes highlights from organizations supported through the Disney Conservation Fund and the work of Disney Conservation Team Wildlife, which works hand-in-hand with the animal care teams to deliver best-in-class scientific programs to conserve wildlife in Disney’s backyard and beyond.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the amazing and inspiring stories that will unfold this season:

Giraffes walk on the savannah at Disney's Animal Kingdom
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Giraffic Jam”

Sun, Jan. 1 at 8/7c on National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD

Giraffes on the savanna hold up guest traffic and find a way to get more food from keeper Rory; Tolstoy the 100+ year old loggerhead sea turtle undergoes treatment to help him eat properly; a new hippo Rosie attempts to make friends with the rest of the bloat; and an aging collared brown lemur celebrates his birthday in style.

A Sea turtle with a transmitter is released for Tour de Turtles
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Sea You Later, Turtles!”

Sun, Jan. 1 at 9/8c on National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD

Love is in the air as Nadirah and Mac the elephants go on their first date, and hopefully create new life. Lilly the Cinderella pony fulfills her destiny and makes a bride’s dream come true. Tiny wild turtles hatch at Disney’s Vero Beach, and Spike the gorilla struggles with the lasting effects of a dangerous infection and severe osteoarthritis.

Dr. Jen examines a rescued Green Sea Turtle
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Sea Turtle SOS”

Fri, Jan. 6 at 10/9c on National Geographic

A group of rescued wild sea turtles arrive at EPCOT in need of urgent medical care before being released back into the ocean, a young rhino receives special treatment backstage after he cracks his horn, the Disney team creates a new chew toy to entertain the lion pride, and Heidi the Hartmann’s mountain zebra gives birth!

Olivia the Okapi
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Okapi Bundle of Joy”

Fri, Jan. 13 at 10/9c on National Geographic

Olivia the pregnant okapi has a successful ultrasound scan and delights her keepers by giving birth to a healthy baby, Logan the raven learns some new tricks before wowing audiences during his stage show, Princess the elderly mandrill arrives at the park in search of a new home and family, and Disney’s first blacktip reef shark prepares to join the main underwater environment at The Seas.

Ada the Western Lowland Gorilla eats a leaf
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Gorilla Divemaster”

Fri, Jan. 20 at 10/9c on National Geographic

A western lowland gorilla takes a road trip to receive pioneering hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a black rhinoceros is fitted with a fitness tracker to study his movements, the veterinary team investigates what might be causing a roan antelope to drastically lose weight, and the Galápagos tortoises celebrate their tenth birthdays with a wild party!

African Painted Dogs at Kilimanjaro Safaris
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Flocks of Love”

Fri, Jan. 27 at 10/9c on National Geographic

Lily the Masai giraffe needs an X-ray to determine if she’s broken her toe, but she’s reluctant to be anesthetized. The park’s tight-knit pack of painted dog brothers must be separated to get their annual health check. And at the Tree of Life, the lesser flamingo flock gets a visit from the stork with a very cute addition for Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Sigsbee the anemic green moray eel gets a health check
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: That’s Amore Eel”

Fri, Feb. 3 at 10/9c on National Geographic

Sigsbee the anemic green moray eel gets a health check, Tequila the Nile hippopotamus has a painful toothache, and Hank the wild gopher tortoise digs herself a new home on Disney grounds. Then the granddaddy of the resident purple martin flock, Steve, disappears without a trace! And Harper, a beloved white-cheeked gibbon, prepares to leave the park to start her very own family.

A cheetah roams its habitat in Disney's Animal Kingdom
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Chilled-Out Cheetahs”

Fri, Feb. 10 at 10/9c on National Geographic

A young zebra undergoes urgent abdominal surgery after an encounter with an eland’s horn, two meerkats jostle for top position in the meerkat mob, a frogfish is given a bone graft to mend his broken jaw, and the Disney Imagineers build a motorized ball to help keep a trio of chilled-out cheetahs entertained.

Animal Keeper Katie holding Logan the Southern White Rhino's head up in the rhino barn
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Giant Leap for Rhinokind”

Fri, Feb. 17 at 10/9c on National Geographic

A critically endangered antelope is losing weight fast and needs urgent surgery, a baby rhino takes her first steps out on the savanna to meet her extended family for the very first time, a dig-happy warthog gets the perfect piggy pedicure, and a beloved manatee struggles with a toothache – time to visit the dentist!

Jolo the West Indian manatee
“Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Gesundheit, Jolo!”

Fri, Feb. 24 at 10/9c on National Geographic

Jolo the rescued manatee battles a potentially deadly parasitic infection that puts her release into jeopardy, Kianga the elephant throws a temper tantrum in the pool, Maathai the cheetah has tummy troubles that must be investigated, and Kevin the crested coua chick shows his keepers how to keep his food on target.

Filmed over five months, this series highlights the magic found in every crevice of the animal kingdom, diving into the details of our parks and one of the world’s most advanced animal health facilities.

We can’t wait to share with you these new and timeless stories, welcoming you to reconnect with nature and what makes life fun, wonderful and meaningful to all of us.

Comments

  • We have so enjoyed watching the new season!! Thanks!!

  • Is season 2 available in canada? I can’t seem to locate it?

  • What about poor gorilla Spike being killed in episode 2? He didn’t ask for that and was enjoying life. Thumbs down. Disgusted with the episode and the vet.

  • It’s January 7th, and I still don’t see season 2 on my Disney + account. Is this only available in the US? We loved season 1 and were really excited for season 2. I’m sad it’s not there.

  • I watched the first episode of season 2. Josh Gad is no longer narrating the episodes. He brought humor and warmth to the show. He made it seem Disney. Now it feels like any other animal series. Not as magical for me. I am very disappointed.