After getting home to Orlando it didn’t take long for me to get my Annual Pass, which I picked up in the morning at Disney Springs’ Guest Relations (very calm and highly recommended). I then realized the park I had been missing the most was Animal Kingdom, even though I’ve just gotten back from real-life.  Anyways, I made a visit to Animal Kingdom yesterday afternoon and took a few photos that I thought I’d share with our readers, along with some Tips and Fun Facts!

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1. Animal Kingdom’s signature icon, the Tree of Life, stands at 145 feet tall with a 50 foot wide base as its trunk. There are over 300 animals carved into the tree, including a few Hidden Mickeys. The tree’s design is based off the shape of a Bansai with 18,000 branches covered in leaves that are each a foot long, all put into place by hand.

2. An oil rig was used as a skeleton for the Tree’s base to withstand the harsh weather conditions, like hurricanes, that often hit Florida.

3. When leaving the Harambe Village area of the park, there is a right turn you can make just after the tree but before the bridge. The path is almost covered to all the plants surrounding it, but it is open to the public and makes for a great close up shot of the tree. I’ve also run into Pocahontas and Tarzan around there!

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4. This park has TONS of murals found everywhere and they’re excellent for hiding Mickeys in! Make sure to look closely at all the murals around the park and you’ll be surprised how many Hidden Mickeys you’ll find! There are murals found along trails, in restaurants like Pizzafari, and even in line for Dinosaur. In the image above the archer’s earring is the shape of an upside down Mickey, he can be found along the Maharajah Trek in the Tiger viewing area.

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5. If you couldn’t get that Everest Fast Pass while visiting (and your party doesn’t mind splitting up) a single rider line is offered at the mountain, and it always seems to move pretty frequently.

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6. When Expedition Everest first opened in 2006 it was known as the home of the most sophisticated animatronic Disney had built to date; a 25-foot-tall yeti! He would lunge at the roller coaster tracks as guests zoomed by. But it didn’t take long for the massive yeti to crack the concrete base on which he stands, halting him from his impressive movements. He is now parked in what Imagineers call “B-Mode” with a strobe light flashing on him in the hopes to create the illusion of movement, which has earned him the name “Disco Yeti” among many fans. Of course, a refurbishment would put this ride out of commission for a long while, one that Animal Kingdom as a park could not afford. That is, until Pandora opens, possibly. Here’s to hoping we get our Yeti fully functional again soon.

7. Expedition Everest took about a decade of planning to become a reality, with a total of $100 million spent on the attraction, making it named by Guinness World Records as the World’s Most Expensive Roller coaster in 2011.

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8. If you decide not to get soaking wet by riding Kali River Rapids with your family, you can still have fun with them on the ride. While you wait, head toward the ride’s exit and on a bridge covered in ceremonial candles there’s a button to spray your family or friends as their raft passes between a couple of elephant statues nearby.

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9. Kilimanjaro Safaris houses animals on 110 acres of land. On the ride, you may think that you’ve seen an old stump, or a fallen log but these are actually concrete feeders used to lure animals toward ride vehicles with some chow!

10. You can say Kilimanjaro Safaris was years in the making, as Walt had the idea to use live animals on Jungle Cruise when planning Disneyland, until it was brought to his attention that real animals would sleep most of the day and be too unpredictable, so they settled on using animatronics. But with Kilimanjaro Safaris opening with the rest of Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998 Walt’s vision was finally realized.







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