Home » 6 Low-Key Changes You Might Have Missed From Disney’s Animal Kingdom

6 Low-Key Changes You Might Have Missed From Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Most of the news out of Walt Disney World over the past few weeks has been related to the phased opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge happening this summer or the impending reboot of Epcot. However, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been making a few quiet changes over the past few weeks that might have just slipped under the radar! Here are all the announcements, new additions, and changes coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that you might have missed! 

1. Rafikki’s Planet Watch is officially going to be open once again this summer

Last fall, Disney announced that Rafiki’s Planet Watch (and the connected Wildlife Express train) would not be available to guests for an indeterminate amount of time, releasing a statement that said they “anticipated” reopening this attraction in Spring 2019. However, though it looks like Disney will miss that original Spring opening date, they have confirmed that this attraction will once again welcome guests this summer. 

Of course we don’t know exactly how much of this attraction will reopen, as Disney removed all the character experiences just one month before closing this area entirely last fall, and if they are only reopening this attraction seasonally, Disney might not go through the effort of reopening all of it if they are planing to close it again later this year. 

It has also been confirmed that some elements of The Lion King will also be introduced into the attraction to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, which means when this attraction reopens, it could be plussed up a little bit. 

However, even though we don’t know exactly what condition this attraction will be in when it reopens this summer, we’re just excited to see that Rafiki’s Planet Watch hasn’t been completely abandoned just yet, and we’ll definitely be hopping aboard the Wildlife Express as soon as we know what the re-opening date is for this attraction! However, that’s not the only change coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom…

2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom extends operating hours into the evening this spring

On select days this spring in April and May, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open a little later than was originally planned, with the following dates now featuring these adjusted closing times:

  • April 7 – 28: Park closes at 9:30 PM (previously 8:00 PM)
  • April 29 – May 2: Park closes at 9 PM (previously 8:30 PM)
  • May 3 – 4: Park closes at 10 PM (previously 8:30 PM)

3. Dinosaur cuts operating hours beginning next month

Image: Disney

Though Disney’s Animal Kingdom is going to be open later this spring, one attraction will be closing a little sooner: Dinosaur. Beginning next month this ride will be closing an hour before park close every day. It is unknown if this is a temporary or permanent change. 

4. Kilimanjaro Safaris gets an adorable new addition


Earlier this year a new Masai giraffe named Jabari was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and now that this little guy has turned two months old, he has officially joined the giraffe herd at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Named Jabari, which means “brave one” in Swahili, this new addition is described as a bold, curious and courageous calf, and can now be seen with his mother at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

5. A new Bollywood show is now performing in Asia

Image: Disney

A brand new show has debuted this month in the Asia area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Bollywood Beats, which brings traditional Indian dance together with the fire of Hindi film, is now being performed several times daily at the stage across from the Anandapur Theater, and is expected to stick around for the foreseeable future at this park. 

6. Kevin from UP! now meeting guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Image: Disney

Last month, Kevin, the bird from from Up! began appearing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Discovery Island area of the park. Right now, this character simply wanders around the front area of the park, and guests can interact with Kevin by petting her, talking to her (she squaks back!) and taking photos with her. Kevin currently appearing randomly throughout the day, but eventually there will probably be times on the Disney’s Animal Kingdom times guide for this character as this experience changes and evolves.