LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 22, 2008 – A ceremonial rope drop in front of the Tree of Life kicked off today’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hundreds of 10-year Cast Members joined young adults from six continents attending Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit to lead a processional and herald in the theme park’s next decade.
Since opening in 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has entertained millions of guests with world-class stage shows and attractions, unique shops, distinct restaurants and amazing adventures with wild and legendary animals and lovable Disney characters.
Over the years, Disney has expanded the theme park and strategically invested in new and exciting experiences. Some of the additions include:
Asia, an entire new land opened in 1999 as the home of Kali River Rapids, a white-water raft adventure; Maharajah Jungle Trek with tigers, gibbons, Komodo dragons and other creatures; and “Flights of Wonder,” an exotic bird show.
DinoLand, U.S.A. expanded with new attractions and activities, including Dino-Sue in 2000, Triceratop Spin and the Fossil Fun Games in 2001 and Primeval Whirl in 2002.
Expedition Everest debuted in 2006 as a thrilling runaway train adventure that combines a high-speed race through the Himalayas and a frightening encounter with the yeti.
Finding Nemo — The Musical premiered in 2007 and is a musical stage show that immerses Walt Disney World guests in the story of Marlin and Nemo – an overprotective clownfish father and his curious son – through a dazzling production that combines puppets, dancers, aerialists and animated backdrops.
“From incredible attractions to Broadway-style stage shows to character encounters, Animal Kingdom has all the elements that make a great Disney park,” said Val Bunting, Vice President of Operations for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “I’m particularly proud of the Cast Members who take a sincere interest in our guests, making sure they have an incredible experience during their visit, while inspiring them to care about wildlife and wild places.”
Commitment to Wildlife and Wild Places
Some of the most remarkable accomplishments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have taken place behind-the-scenes, through the efforts of Disney’s Animal Programs team, which oversees the health and well-being of approximately 7,000 birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. Responsible for almost 400 species, including 35 that are endangered or threatened, the team is committed to ensuring excellence in animal care, nutrition and welfare through an integrated approach.
Over the years, many of Disney’s 550 animal care experts have traveled around the globe, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to conserving wildlife and wild places. These veterinarians, scientists, educators, curators, and zookeepers have enhanced the world knowledge base of animals and bettered the lives of animals and their habitats in Central Florida and in the most remote areas of Africa, Asia, North America and South America. Some of their most significant work includes sending two Disney-born white rhinos to Uganda, becoming the first-ever to repatriate from the United States to Africa; delivering more than 29 million conservation messages to inspire guests to care about wildlife and wild places; and breeding many endangered species, including approximately 25 percent of the total world population of the Micronesian kingfisher through a successful, long-term captive breeding program.
Disney also has been at the forefront of efforts to better understand and care for endangered elephants. Through the development of a sophisticated elephant transmission collar, Disney scientists discovered two new vocalizations that had never been reported for elephants in the wild or in zoological settings. In addition, three African elephants have been born to date at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, adding to the largest herd in North America. And during the past three years, veterinarians from Disney’s Animal Programs led a coalition of experts to Africa to help manage the elephant population. Their work has since resulted in the creation of a new surgical procedure and device that effectively sterilizes male elephants with little trauma or side effects.
About Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit
Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit will take place April 19 – 25 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Over the course of one week, 100 young people, personally invited by Dr. Jane Goodall, will convene and explore how each individual can make a difference in protecting the future of our planet. For more information about the Summit, please visit www.globalyouthsummit.org. To learn more about the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, click on www.janegoodall.org. Information about Roots & Shoots, the Institute’s global humanitarian and environmental youth program is located at www.rootsandshoots.org.