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Fastpass To History: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World’s newest theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, first opened on April 22, 1998. What else is so significant about this park’s opening date? For their first theme park dedicated to animal conservation, Disney chose to open the park on Earth Day.

One of the most well known attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest; however, this thrilling attraction was not present at the park’s opening in 1998. In fact, the park opened without the entire land of Asia. I remember visiting Animal Kingdom in 1998 and seeing the construction for what would become Asia. I was excited to see what else the imagineers had in store for us at this new Disney park.

The land of Asia opened in 1999 and it did not disappoint! After just one ride, Expedition Everest had become another one of my favorite Disney attractions. The yeti featured on the ride was amazing! (Unfortunately, as you probably know, he didn’t stay in working order for very long.) Asia also provided another great attraction, Kali River Rapids. Although I’m not the biggest fan of getting soaked on rides, the attraction itself is quite fun.

In 2011, Disney announced another expansion for its newest park. This expansion would include the world of Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar. This expansion will include a much needed nighttime spectacular for the park. When the Avatar themed land was announced, I wasn’t too excited about it, but after seeing the concept art and hearing about the nighttime festivities, I think this expansion could be just what the park needs!

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Photo credit: IceNineJon / / CC BY-NC-ND

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lori ketcherside

I remember visiting the first year when Asia was still under construction and playing the “I wonder what they’ll add in Beastly Kingdom” guessing game while waiting in line for the Kilimanjaro Safari.

Kimberly @Frontierland Station

Beastly Kingdom would have been awesome!


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