Jambo everyone! This week, we’ll be taking a look at some news, construction, and photos from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We have about 60 photos of the park for you to enjoy today.

If you’d like to support the column and shop on Amazon.com at the same time, just click HERE and a percentage of anything you buy will support us, at no extra cost to you! It’s a great way to help yourself and keep this column going at the same time.


Welcome to Animal Kingdom!

Right up at the front gate, Disney had the flags at half mast to honor Boston after the tragic bombings that occurred there this week.
Some rolling shrub barricades are at the entry turnstiles. Probably for MyMagic+ work.

Entering the park, this little area is covered up. Anyone know why?

Tree of Life looks great, but only when the nets don’t get in your way.
Ropes still block the path to the Tree of Life by It’s Tough to be a Bug.
Fastpass+ is all set up for the bugs
The Fastpass+ readers are currently covered up.

I had lunch at Flame Tree BBQ this week, as I think it is one of the best counter service restaurants Walt Disney World offers. I had the pork sandwich, which was quite tasty.

Flame Tree is also great because this is the view while you eat.

Walls have finally gone up at the old Beastly Bazaar shop, which will now transform into the ‘Adventurer’s Outpost’ meet and greet, scheduled to open in mid May.

Back to the Tree of Life. Yes, the nets are still there, and yes, they’re still annoying. Some may think it’s silly that I’m complaining about them, but I feel passionately that this situation needs to be fixed. So, as long as the problem persists, I don’t plan on stopping my commentary. I hope I have your support.

Fastpass+ is set up for this character meet and greet, which is interesting. I’ve never seen terrible lines here, but this seems to be the way they’re going with this new system.

Some refurbishment happening at the Boneyard in Dinoland.

Dinosaur shots.

The pools in front of the attraction were dry this week.

Anyone else think it’s a cruel joke that Disney has Indiana Jones merchandise at the exit to Dinosaur?

Heading into Dinorama…

Some DCA 1.0-esque puns for you all.

Over at the Finding Nemo musical, some walls have gone up, and I think they are for Fastpass+ installation.

The standby entrance hasn’t changed.

Some walls up near Everest.
Love the details in this park.

40 minute standby wait.


Lots of beautiful flowers are blooming in the park this time of year.

I am not a fan of this dance party in Asia. I saw it earlier in the week, and yes, they did play Gangnam Style.

Kali River Rapids wait time.

I hadn’t seen this yet, but apparently this little pathway that leads down to a nice Tree of Life photo op has become a Pocahontas meet and greet.

These drums are always popular.

The street party in Africa isn’t perfect, and it causes some bottlenecking in this area, but in my eyes, it is much more tolerable than the one in Asia.

Still promoting Kodak film here.

Lots of walls have gone up near the Dawa Bar and all along the bridge to Africa, presumably for the relocation of the Festival of the Lion King show.

The Lion King is a very popular show which performs throughout the day. It should be very interesting to see how it impacts the park when the show has to shut down for relocation.

And with that, we will exit the park.

That wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. How do you guys feel about all of the work that has suddenly popped up in this park? Do you feel that Festival of the Lion King will work better in Africa? Let us know in the comments!

If you’d like to support Dateline Disney World and you shop regularly at Amazon.com, please CLICK HERE before you do. It won’t cost you any extra, and it’ll help out the column!!

If you enjoyed the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my photo site, [URL=”http://www.DisneyPhotographyBlog.com”]Disney Photography Blog[/URL]. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, [URL=”http://www.ISO5571.com”]ISO5571[/URL]

  • LoveStallion

    I haven’t been to Animal Kingdom since 1999, but I read some interesting commentary on Expedition Everest (which I’m dying to ride) this week.

    There are calls to fully enclose the track on that “bridge” between the shrine and the rest of the mountain with more mountain, as seeing the train exposed like that ruins the illusion of false perspective and makes the mountain seem smaller.

    Anyone agree with this?

    • red014

      Maybe they’ll just cover it with some wood beams and netting… 😛

    • Claybob

      I do agree…the track should be enclosed as it does make the mountain look smaller…ruins the perspective. But, if they decide to enclose it…how long will that take? Hmmmmm, if they need a time line for construction…use the “fix” for the Tree of Life. Just add some netting and beams and call it good. It was Rizzo The Rat who said…”Hey what do they know…they’re only tourists!” Oh how that rings true!

    • Instidude

      The loss of forced perspective is outweighed by the increase to the ride experience. The bridge across is one of my favorite parts of the ride as it builds the excitement level as you approach the top of the mountain. Plus, as a rider, the view from the bridge is very nice.

      I would rather have the mountain look a little smaller in order to have an improved ride experience.

    • RandySavage

      I illustrated this idea side by side on my blog, IdealBuildout, this week.

      It’s not something Disney would ever consider doing at this point, but may likely have part of the design process. At least two factors would have weighed in: As Instidude mentions, the trestle is sort of fun from an on-ride perspective and allows nice southern views of Discovery Island. The other factor is the cost of concrete rockwork which would have added considerably to the ride’s tab.

      Personally, I think both could have been achieved (allow for lift-hill views & maintain perspective/illusion for people on the ground), but that’s not how it ended up. Not the end of the world.

      What does drive me nuts is that not only are the Tree of Life Garden paths covered in nets, they also seem to be completely closed off for the forseeable future. Those trails were one of my favorites attractions in all of WDW, so it’s no small thing for me.

      Thanks, Cory, for the outstanding weekly photo updates.

  • Thank you Cory. I hope you will continue your crusade against the terrible nets around the Tree of Life. It’s absolutely unacceptable that Disney (known for their high standards) would slap a bandaid on this problem and not actually fix it. How many years do they need to fix a problem?!

    • Cory Disbrow

      I wish they would have just closed it when the first incident happened and fixed it the right way so we wouldn’t have to be here talking about it.

  • Disneymike

    The proliferation of meet and greets in the US parks is getting crazy and what is with the break dancing in Africa?

    • Cory Disbrow

      The breakdancing was actually being done by a guest, and is not a part of the actual street party.

      • Disneymike

        Shouldn’t that have been, um, discouraged by Disney CM’s?

  • toonaspie

    I dunno why they just can’t have a tree inspection each day after closing. If they see a branch in danger of falling on guests they can just chop it off then and there,

  • Claybob

    Cory…Dusty…couldn’t agree with you more. WDW used to be a GREAT place to head for vacation! The park was spotless…broken stuff wasn’t allowed to sit for years in disrepair…lands were themed. Now…it’s turning into another “amusement park!” Break dancing in Africa? WHAT! NOOOOOOOO!. The yeti doesn’t work…the Tree of Life (the park icon for Pete’s sake) hasn’t been touched or fixed!…reflecting pools are dry…need I go on? The nets! What…are they thinking for this long! Come on Disney…live up to the standards you tout! Really…Fast Pass + money could have been better spent namely on upkeep and repair! Yes I’ll still head there for vacation. However…like you Cory…if something broken needs a “shout out” then I’m joining your chorus!

  • mark

    A beautiful but neglected park. Thanks for the update!

  • WesternMouse

    I can’t ever imagine going to that park.

  • Big D

    I know I’m in the minority, but I love DAK. If it weren’t for the fact that I grew up going to Disneyland and it has a lot of memories for me, I think DAK would probably be my favorite of any Disney park. Because of the real live animals, it’s immersive for me in a way that no other Disney park can be. I could go on the safari ride over and over again all day and have an awesome time. I think Expedition Everest is my favorite ride (at least tied for favorite), and I don’t care that the Yeti doesn’t work because you only see him for a second anyway. I also love Conservation Station, and I’m very happy to hear about what a great job Disney is doing with wildlife preservation around the world and I think they should probably promote that part of the park a little bit more. The one thing it’s missing for me is a kick-a$$ restaurant. I hate the Rainforest Cafe, and the Tusker House used to be my go-to restaurant for lunch until they changed it to a character dining restaurant. I haven’t tried Yak & Yeti yet so maybe that’s really good, but I’d love a really good Mongolian BBQ place in the Asia section, or a good Mediterranean restaurant in an Egyptian themed building in the Africa section.

    • Skimbob

      You are not alone I love DAK myself. I am saddened to see the Tree of Life continue to go unfixed. We loved walking around it and seeing all the animals. FIX THE TREE Disney.

      I think the Lion King will be in a much better area once moved to Africa. I am curious what they will come up with for Avatar Land.

  • jcruise86

    Excellent update, Cory! THANK YOU!

    Go ahead and keep up your campaign against the nets.
    I was that way about the giant hand above Spaceship Earth.

    Funny comment about the Indy merchandise near Dinosaur.

  • TCadillac

    I’ve never been to AK but it sure does look like a sad park. Besides Expedition Everest I don’t feel like I’m missing much…. unfortunate

    • Cory Disbrow

      The park is really a wonderful place that is absolutely filled with detail. One of the more beautiful Disney parks, in my opinion. It has just been neglected quite a bit since opening. The last major attraction was Everest, which opened all the way back in 2006!

  • calsig31

    I love the Indy merchandise near Dinosaur. It serves as a reminder that there is a much better ride experience across the country. When I went there a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even do Dinosaur as I didn’t find a 90 minute standby worth it for an inferior version of Indy.

    • Skimbob

      I have to disagree with you. The Indy merchandise is out of place and does not fit the show of Dinosaur. I am a Californian and I love the Dinosaur ride. I am sick of people trashing it. Until you have been on the ride you should not make comments about it being inferior.

  • Disneymike

    And just think, Disneyland’s new president comes from DAK. No wonder Disneyland is having so much problems with DOSH these days.

    • DoppelV

      I think that’s a bit unfair. The DOSH issues were a long time coming, nothing that could have been influenced by a leader who has only been there a few months. Animal Kingdom has it’s shortcomings, I agree completely, but there’s a lot of refurbishments that happen there constantly, some are just not as visible as others.

  • KingEric

    I will always chant “hey hey ho ho those ugly nets have got to go!”

    • Coasterjunkie

      Absolutely, the Tree of Life was meant to be looked at so we can find the hidden animals and hidden Mickeys in its design. Those nets really detract from all that. I think Disney needs to realize they’re not Six Flags and that they have the money to fix things the right way. Who sponsors the It’s tough to be a Bug show anyway? I’ll bet they’ll fix it if the sponsor puts some pressure on Disney.

  • Michael Greening

    Great report as always. I’m soooo dying to get back out to WDW but at least I can live vicariously through your weekly column.

    That was such a keen observation and accurate statement that it is a very cruel joke having Indiana Jones merchandise outside of Dinosaur. It’s kinda like a big “Ha Ha, Screw You! You’ll take Dinosaur and like it” type of display.

  • Darth Goofy

    Having never been to DAK, reports like this make me want to put off ever going to visit this park until things are corrected, especially for the premium admission price that is charged to get in.

  • wdwprince

    The only good to come out of the nets is that it raised awareness of the existence of the paths. Not many people knew they were there before.

    Here is my video of the paths shortly before nets went up.


  • tcsnwhite

    The people jumping to such conclusions in the comments here never ceases to amaze me.
    DAK has its issues…just like EVERY other Disney theme park (sans Tokyo DisneySea) does.
    But overall, while it needs a few new entertainment offerings (parade, updated shows) and a few new attractions…it’s still one of the best conceived parks at WDW, and is quite well run. Trust, there are parts of WDW that need far more work overall. One pictorial that highlights a few issues (and important ones, I agree) becomes “oh my god, the sky is falling”. LOL!!!
    As Cory stated, most of the park is looking good.

  • Ravjay12

    Guys! I’m sure they’re trying to find a solution to the net problem! It’s either the nets or boxing up the entire tree until it gets replaced. I rather they cover the area with nets than be killed by a 200 lb fake tree branch. Just chill…..it will get done when they figure out the best way to fix it!!

  • QPerth

    Geeze, must have missed this update while I was busy studying, glad I found it now after my exams though!
    What a stunning Park. I think out of any WDW park, I’m most looking forward to oneday visiting DAK.
    But I do hope by then the Tree of Life is fixed and nets gone. Why they can’t just have spent the time and money to fix it, Safety First, then it would be over and done with, instead of delaying the Permenant Fix and impacting more people by the long term use of these ugly nets, which quite frankly in a serious incident do not look strong enough to catch a falling limb.

    Also on aethetics, in pictures I’ve always been puzzled by the huge gap and bridge in the Expedition Everest attraction mountain. It’s always looked wrong.

    Great update with stunning pics, thanks so much!