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Editorial: Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Past, Present & Future

Over the past 18 years Disney’s Animal Kingdom has really evolved as a theme park. Although there are not many attractions, the theming in the park is spectacular. Today, Animal Kingdom is turning 18 years old. Let’s take a look at some of the attractions that have come and gone during this time period let’s see how the park is evolving into a totally spectacular Disney theme park.

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
Perhaps the most beloved attraction to leave Animal Kingdom, the Jammin’ Jungle Parade debuted for the 100 Years Of Magic celebration in 2001 and ended its run in 2014. The parade featured all of Disney’s iconic characters such as “the fab 5” (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto) and had safari themed floats. It had a long life span for a parade. Unfortunately the parade left because of construction, and due to the fact that it doesn’t really fit in with the new entertainment offerings at the park (let’s not forget that budget cuts could’ve also led to the parades demise).

Camp Minnie Mickey
This was a very poor excuse for a themed land. Camp Minnie Mickey was removed in 2014 to make room for Pandora, the new Avatar themed land coming to the park. The removal of this land is apart of the parks evolution plan, as the theming was sub-par and does not match the new high quality theming the park is going for.

Pandora will be giving new life to Animal Kingdom. The theming will be spectacular, right up there with Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. This new area will help the park feel more complete, as it is adding 2 new rides.

Night Entertainment
As of now, no guests can really spend a full day at Animal Kingdom. The new night time entertainment offerings will fix this. The new Jungle Book night time show will hold guests in the park later during summer 2016, and eventually Rivers Of Light will be the main night time draw to the park. The new entertainment offerings are going for an “off beat” and somewhat weird and unique feel, very similar to the entertainment offerings at Walt Disney World that were offered for the Millennium Celebration (Illuminations, Tapestry Of Nations & more).

As for the future of this park, I can see Disney trying to make this their US version of Disney Sea located in Tokyo. The park will have amazing theming, great rides and great shows. Eventually, I can see Dinoland USA leaving to get replaced by a new higher quality themed land. If all goes well, Animal Kingdom should be an amazing park within the next 5-10 years.

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