If you have ever felt that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was incomplete, or “missing” something, it’s probably because the original plans for the park included plans for another land called “Beastly Kingdom”. The park concept was to have lands for all animals – those that exist in reality today (Safari), those that did exist but are now extinct (Dinoland) and those that only exist in fantasy. When the park opened in April 1998, given budget constraints and concerns over conservation, “Beastly Kingdom” was put on hold and a placeholder “Camp Minnie-Mickey” was put in its place. If you look closely around the park today however there are several places where you can find leftover elements from the plans for this “Beastly Kingdom”. Most prominently, a silhouette of a dragon appears in the park’s logo. Also the next time you are standing in line waiting to enter the park notice the three large heads over the entrance of the park/ticket booths, the Elephant, the Triceratops and the Dragon.
Disney seemed to put a placeholder for these mythical creatures in place when they constructed Expedition Everest which has been home to the Yeti since 2006. Over the years concepts and rumors regarding a larger Fantasy inspired expansion have come and gone. In September 2011 though, an announcement was made that Disney was working with James Cameron on Avatarland which would consist of elements of both his original movie and the subsequent two. Nearly two years later the plans for that land seem to be moving forward as recently Disney has released some concept art and rough timelines for completion (early 2017).
One of the other major drawbacks to Animal Kingdom since its opening has been the limited park hours. Since the park was only open during daylight hours and had no nighttime entertainment many guests would refer to this park a “half-day park”. Along with this expansion of the new AVATAR-inspired land, for the first time ever, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also offer a new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River. The Park will introduce more nighttime entertainment as well, including live performers on Discovery Island® and a new nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris®. With these changes on the horizon DWDads are looking forward to spending alot more time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- First Look At Breathtaking AVATAR LAND Coming To Disney’s Animal Kingdom (comicbookmovie.com)
- Avatar Land Concept Renderings Released for Disney’s Animal Kingdom (thedailycity.com)
- Can ‘Avatar’ Save Disney’s Animal Kingdom? (dailyfinance.com)
- AVATAR coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! (adventureamigos.net)
- First Look at Disney’s AVATAR LAND (geektyrant.com)
- First Look: AVATAR to Come to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (chipandco.com)
- First Look: ‘Avatar Land’ at DisneyWorld’s Animal Kingdom (slashfilm.com)
- Disney reveals ‘Avatar’ world concept art for Animal Kingdom (nydailynews.com)
- Avatar to Come To Life At Disney’s Animal Kingdom In 2017 (firewireblog.com)
- Disney brings ‘Avatar’ to Animal Kingdom (wptv.com)