Home » Gone for Good: The 5 Lost Attractions of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Gone for Good: The 5 Lost Attractions of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the youngest of Walt Disney World’s theme parks, having debuted in 1998. Despite this, a number of attractions that have featured in the park are now closed for good.

Some of the closed rides and shows are missed by guests. Others are seen as having deservedly been consigned to the history books. But what were these defunct attractions, and when and why were they removed? Let’s take a look! Note that this list does not include rides that were conceived for the park but never actually built, such as the ambitious Excavator roller coaster, the Animal Carousel or the mythical Beastly Kingdom.

5. Journey into the Jungle Book

Journey into the Jungle Book

Image © Disney

The Theater in the Wild hosted its first production on the Animal Kingdom’s opening day. It brought to life the story of The Jungle Book, featuring a number of characters and songs from the movie. It lasted just one year before being replaced in July 1999 by Tarzan Rocks.

4. Pocohontas and Her Forest Friends

One of Camp Minnie-Mickey’s headline attractions when it opened alongside the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the Pocohontas and Her Forest Friends show. The show featured the lead character from the movie, as well as a host of live animals. It was hosted in the 350-seat Grandmother Willow’s Grove theater. Animals featured included a porcupine, a possum, a rabbit and a skunk. When the “credit crunch” hit in 2008, Disney slashed budgets across its Parks and Resorts division. One of the casualties was the Pocohontas show, which gave its final performance on September 27, 2008.

3. Tarzan Rocks

Tarzan Rocks

Image © Disney

Replacing Journey into the Jungle Book in the Theater in the Wild, Tarzan Rocks lasted for seven years before being replaced in 2006 by Finding Nemo: The Musical. It featured singers, dancers, gymnasts, aerialists and in-line skaters, joining Tarzan, Jane and Terk in a show that featured some impressive stunts.

2. Discovery River Boats

Discovery River

The Discovery River is now devoid of “taxis”.
Image: IceNineJon, Flickr

The Discovery River Boats was one of just a handful of actual rides to be featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on its opening day. The boats were intended to provide transportation from the Safari Village to Asia, taking in scenery that included animatronic dragons and other props from Beastly Kingdom. Unfortunately, Beastly Kingdom was never actually built – leaving guests to look at bland riverbanks. Those expecting an experience similar to the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise were very disappointed. After six months, the boats were renamed as the Discovery River Taxis, emphasising that they were intended to provide transportation and nothing else. By 1999 the attraction was once again renamed, this time as the Radio Disney River Cruises, with the boats being repainted in bright colors and Radio Disney music piped in. It proved to be just as unpopular, and the ride was closed for good.

1. Camp Minnie-Mickey

Camp Minnie-Mickey

Image © Disney

The infamous Camp Minnie-Mickey was thrown together late in the development of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, following the decision to push back the construction of Beastly Kingdom (which never actually went ahead) and the realisation that work on the Asia area was behind schedule. According to Jim Hill, then-CEO Michael Eisner decided to install a temporary land similar in style to the former Mickey’s Birthdayland area at the Magic Kingdom (which had been designed and built in just 90 days). Rather than Imagineering, Walt Disney World’s entertainment office was brought in to create the land, built around a low-budget stage show and character meet-and-greet “trails”. Although Festival of the Lion King ultimately proved to be a popular show and was relocated, the rest of Camp Minnie-Mickey is no more, closing for good several months ago to make room for the Pandora – The World of Avatar expansion.

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