What New Attractions Are Coming To Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

What New Attractions Are Coming To DIsney's Animal Kingdom? - January 2016 Q&A

Photo credit: Victor Prada via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Welcome to the very first edition of our monthly Q&A series! Each month, we’ll be answering Disney questions sent in by readers just like you. Questions can cover a variety of Disney topics, from vacation planning questions to Disney history, trivia, and more. To submit a question for next month’s post, just fill out the form on our Submission Page. We would love to hear from you! Now, on to this month’s questions:

I am excited to hear about the upcoming changes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom; can you outline the when and what of the new offerings? It sounds like wild things are planned! – Didi Marie

There are quite a lot of exciting things in the works for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Didi Marie! I can’t wait to experience everything once it is completed! The first new experience for Animal Kingdom will be the Rivers of Light show which is scheduled to open in Spring 2016. This show will take place in front of the Tree of Life on Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. Two mystical hosts will come to the river, bringing their gifts of light. Together, the hosts will use water and light to summon the animal spirits. Fireflies will also help make the park’s icon, the Tree of Life, come alive. Take a look at the video below to see some of the stunning concept art for this show.

Also debuting at the same time as Rivers of Light will be a new version of the popular Kilamanjaro Safaris. The Sunset Kilamanjaro Safaris will feature spectacular views with the orange glow of sunset. In addition, two new species – African wild dogs and hyenas – will be added to the African savanna.

The spring of 2016 will bring about Tiffins, a brand new signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The restaurant will showcase the art of travel and feature a menu showcasing cuisine from locations which inspired Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The restaurant, which derives its name from the Indian English word “tiffin” meaning midday meal or container used to carry food while traveling, will feature waterfront views, as well as, indoor and outdoor dining.

On January 8, 2014, ground was broken for Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora – The World of AVATAR. This land will be based on James Cameron’s Avatar, as well as, the two yet to be released films in the series. The new land will feature the floating Hallelujah Mountains of Pandora (which I can’t wait to see) and bioluminescent plants which will dazzle guests after dark. The land will also feature a few new attractions including AVATAR Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. AVATAR Passage of Flight will be a brand new e-ticket attraction on which guests will be able to experience the thrill of flying with the banshees. Na’vi River Journey will be a new family-friendly attraction in which guest board canoes to journey down a sacred hidden river within the bioluminescent rainforest. Guests will encounter exotic plantlife, spectacular creatures, and a Na’vi shaman. Pandora – The World of AVATAR is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.

Have you heard if Disney is considering at-par pricing for vacation packages for Canadians due to the present exchange rate? – Lee

Great question Lee! In the past, Disney has occasionally offered at-par specials for Canadian residents when the exchange rate was less than favorable. These promotions have typically been offered in the off-season. While I can’t say for sure if Disney is considering these at-par specials for the near future, I’d say there is definitely a slight possibility if the past is any indication. I would recommend visiting the Special Offers tab of the Canadian website for Disney Parks (disney.ca). This page will list all current promotions available to Canadian residents. The majority of the time, these promotions will be identical to the promotions for U.S. residents; however, if Disney does decide to offer at-par rates for Canadians, those specials will show up on the Special Offers page. It may also be a good idea to check with your travel agent in Canada, as they will most likely be kept up to date on promotions available to Canadian residents.

Which Magic Kingdom attractions have been there since day one? – Cindy

There were quite a few great opening day attractions at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Cindy. In fact, many of the attractions which opened on October 1, 1971 are still around today and have become staples of the park. Let’s take a look at the opening day attractions in each different land of the Magic Kingdom:

Main Street, U.S.A.

  • The Dapper Dans
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • Penny Arcade
  • Walt Disney World Railroad

Adventureland

  • The Jungle Cruise
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Sunshine Pavilion
  • Tropical Serenade (changed to The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management 1998 – 2011)

Frontierland

  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Diamond Horseshoe Revue (renamed Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree in 1986; 1971 – 2003)
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (1971 – 1994)
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
  • Mike Fink Keel Boats (1971 – 2001)

Liberty Square

  • The Hall of Presidents
  • The Haunted Mansion

Fantasyland

  • Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel (renamed Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel in 2010)
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant
  • it’s a small world
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey Mouse Revue (1971 – 1980)
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (1971 – 1998)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Skyway (1971 – 1999)
  • Snow White’s Adventures (renamed Snow White’s Scary Adventures in 1994; the attraction closed in 2012)

Tomorrowland

  • Grand Prix Raceway (renamed Tomorrowland Indy Speedway in 1994; renamed Tomorrowland Speedway in 2008)

The following attractions opened just days after Magic Kingdom’s opening day:

  • Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat (Oct. 2, 1971 – 1980)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Oct. 14, 1971 – 1994)

If you’ve got a question you’d like to see answered in next month’s Q&A post, we invite you to submit it here. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question for our very first Q&A post!

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

Latest posts by Kimberly (see all)

  • DIStherapy

    Nicely done Kimberly- your research makes me want to book that spring trip to Walt Disney World ASAP! Thanks!!

    • Me too! I can’t wait to see all of the new experiences! I think I’m most excited to get to fly with the banshees…and see the floating mountains. I have no idea how they’re going to bring those to life, but I’m sure they will be spectacular!

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