- By Shelley Cara, ICFlorida.com
On Earth Day, April 22, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th anniversary with entertainment, parties, and educational experiences for a limited time.
Party for the Planet
It wouldn’t be a milestone celebration without a party, and all 500 acres of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive with a wild party that includes animal encounters, activities, and special desserts the Party for the Planet celebration that will take place from April 22 until May 5.
During the two-week celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals at thepark.
Take a Peek Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rafiki’s Planet Watch has long been a favorite of guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and during the 20th anniversary it will take center stage.
After boarding the antique train you will make your way to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues, and for the rest of the year you will also get a ‘backstage experience’ with animal experts around animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.
A New Show Debuts
On April 22 a new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film, will make its debut.
Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug and park guests will encounter exotic birds from around the world in a free-flying show, multiple times a day.
Special Anniversary Photo Opportunities
Disney Photopass photographers will have a specially branded oversized picture frame to celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary, as well as ones that will help the “Reverse the Decline” initiative to help protect 10 threatened animal species. Recently the program has been credited with the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at the park.
The Wilderness Must be Explored…Caw, Caw, Roar
The popular park scavenger hunt centered around “Up”’s Wilderness Explorer will have a new, limited-edition badge to earn through fact-finding challenges.
The Wilderness Explorer Program is one of the free experiences available at Walt Disney World.
Dine with Animal Experts
If learning about animals is your passion, six different Tiffins Talks offer intimate dining experiences with specialty food and beverages that complement the topics shared by animal and conservation experts.
You can find more information on the Tiffins Talks here.
Merchandise & Treats
It wouldn’t be a celebration at Walt Disney World without commemorative merchandise, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th anniversary is no exception!
The merchandise offered will include t-shirts, hats, pins, Alex and Ani bangles, 2 styles of Disney Dooney & Bourke purses, a limited edition banshee for adoption in Pandora, and more.
In addition the merchandise there is also a special-edition print that was created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and he will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited.
There are going to be two celebratory cupcakes, a Tree of Life Cupcake will be available at Creature Comforts and Flame Tree Barbecue, and an Earth Day Cupcake will be available at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus.
On the savory side, there are delicious plant-based burger offerings at Nomad Lounge and Restaurantosaurus. Nomad Lounge will offer Impossible Burger Sliders with tomato chutney and smoked onion on a brioche bun and served with yucca fries. At Restaurantosaurus, you’ll find an Impossible Burger with avocado and tomato on a brioche bun.
Tiffins will offer a limited-time 20th Anniversary Chef’s Lunch Tasting Menu. Served daily from 11:30am to 3:30pm, this 3-course tasting menu celebrates the cuisines of Africa, Asia, and South America. Walk-ups are welcome!
All of these offerings will be available during Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through May 5.
Can't make the celebration in person?
If you want to experience the 20th Anniversary moment during Sunday's Celebration, the Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming the #DisneyAnimalKingdom20 ceremony starting at 10:15 am EST!
Wild Adventures Before an Incredible Summer
All of these wild adventures help kick off an ‘Incredible Summer’ at Walt Disney World that includes a new celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Donald and his friends from Ducktales will premiere a ‘dino-tastic’ celebration Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. as Donald celebrates his discovery that bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more.
Make sure to follow @icFloridaEvents on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and fun that Central Florida has to offer. And to use the #icFloridaInsider when you post for a chance to be featured!