Could Animal Kingdom Add an Australia Expansion? Imagineer Responds

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Tree of Life Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

For Guests who have visited Walt Disney World Resort in the past, you surely know of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The fourth theme park to be added to the Resort and newest Park overall has grown in popularity as new lands such as Pandora: World of Avatar have developed over time with stunning views, designs, and top-tier attractions.

mickey and minnie animal kingdom
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Animal Kingdom is all about creating a space where Guests can not only enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat, but they will get to explore the world and surroundings that they live in. When you enter Animal Kingdom, much like Magic Kingdom, the Park is dissected into lands.

  • The Oasis
  • Discovery Island
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Asia
  • DinoLand U.S.A.
  • Pandora: The World of Avatar
animal kingdom crowds
Credit: Screenshot via Dis Our Dream

Each section of land is distantly unique from the other and has animals and items that would be found in that region or area, always being sure to keep theming in mind. Although there are many animals in the Park, of course, there are plenty of other regions around the globe that could have been represented in the theme Park to showcase wildlife.

giraffe born at animal kingdom
Credit: Disney

One fan asked retired Imagineer Joe Rohde, one of the iconic creators of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, if Australia was ever in the mix as a possible expansion on Twitter.

Rohde responded:

We talked at one time or another about any place that had animals people liked that were big enough to see. However we tended not to group by national identity, but by habitat range. Epcot is nations. DAK is habitat ranges. Where savanna is. Where tigers are. Like that

If we look at habitats in Australia, the Imagineers likely threw around the idea of including Arid habitats, which is something Australia is known for due to the dry climate. Considering Australia is the second-driest continent in the world, which is quite different than a lot of what we see in Animal Kingdom, it is easy to imagine that Disney toyed around with the idea of a more “desert” themed land, which could have included aspects of Australia.

expedition everest animal kingdom
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One thing I personally found interesting is that Rohde noted that Animal Kingdom was not meant to be divided by nations but by habitat ranges; however, as we listed above, Africa and Asia are two predominant lands in the Park. Although both have vast habitat ranges, by placing those names on the entryway signs of each land, I have always looked at them as a nation. The two almost seem to be more immersive, in-depth pavilions that fit better in Animal Kingdom than EPCOT. However, that is purely opinion-based!

What do you think about Animal Kingdom potentially expanding one day? What would you like to see? 

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