Opened in 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom is newest of Walt Disney World's theme parks - and also by far the largest. The sprawling park, of course, doubles as world-class zoo, as well as packing in Disney's usual array of family-friendly rides and shows. Running the park is a major operation, and it is home to some truly spectacular structures and enclosures. Next time you visit the park, impress your family and friends by reciting some of these 20 amazing facts about Disney's Animal Kingdom!
20. A hand-made tree
The iconic Tree of Life is topped with more than 103,000 leaves, each of which was individually placed on 8,692 branches.
19. A painstaking task
It took 10 artists and three Imagineers around 18 months to create the 325 animals carved into The Tree of Life. The sculptors had around 6-10 hours to produce the final image before the plaster hardened.
18. Recycling an oil rig
The base of the Tree of Life had to be very strong in order to withstand the hurricanes that regularly hit Florida. To provide the necessary strength, an old oil rigwas installed as the base skeleton for the tree's trunk.
17. Not the biggest
Disney's Animal Kingdom is frequently cited as being the largest theme park in the world at 580 acres. However, some areas of the park are as yet undeveloped or not accessible to the public. Disney's own website claims that the park covers either 500 acres or 403 acres, which makes it smaller than the 510-acre Six Flags Great Adventure.
16. A huge staff
More than 4,500 Cast Members work at Disney's Animal Kingdom, manning attractions, working in restaurants, looking after the animals and performing all manner of backstage functions.
15. Cloning a classic
Dinosaur reuses the Enhanced Motion Vehicle ride system developed for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eyeat Disneyland. The ride's layout is also very similar to the Disneyland ride.
14. A big ride
The savannah that hosts Kilimanjaro Safaris spans around 110 acres. That makes it larger than the entire Magic Kingdom theme park.
13. Hungry beasts
Feeding the 1,000+ animals that are hosted at the park requires around 4 tonsof food per day.
12. Creating a Kingdom
More than 4 milliontrees, plants, shrubs, vines, grasses and more from every contintent on Earth (except Antarctica) were planted during the construction of Disney's Animal Kingdom.
11. A sprawling waterway
The Discovery River contains more than 27 million gallons of water - equivalent to around 1,800 backyard swimming pools.