Disney’s Animal Kingdom marks 25th anniversary with celebrations kicking off on Earth Day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The official festivities kick off on April 22, which is also Earth Day.

Over nearly three decades, Animal Kingdom has grown and expanded, and as they celebrate their birthday on Saturday, they’re looking forward to even more memories at the park. "There is always something cool on the horizon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom," said Disney Conservation Manager Dr. Zak Gezon. 

For now, the park is celebrating how far they’ve come from opening day on Earth Day in 1998. "Twenty-five years, that’s a huge milestone, and I’m so proud of everything we’ve done over the 25 years," Dr. Gezon added. 

The goal has always been to protect and preserve animals in the park and beyond. "We take such good care of the animals here, from the nutritionists, veterinarians, conservationist biologists like myself. Everything we do working with the animals in our care, we can turn right around and have a massive impact in the communities where we work."

Dr. Gezon, who holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology, said he loves seeing people be inspired by the relationships caregivers have with each and every animal in the park.  Forty-five of the animals at Animal Kingdom have been there since opening day. He also said interactions people have at the park with the animals can lead to change – something he hopes families can focus on this Earth Day.

"You can go home and save the Monarch butterfly. You can plant plants, and you can put milkweed in the ground. They will show up, and they will be so grateful for the efforts you have done to help save them right in your own backyard," he said. 

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Disney is offering special commemorative merchandise as part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom 25th Anniversary collection.

He and his team ask that, outside of Earth Day, take a chance every day to think of new ways to celebrate and protect Earth. 

How Disney is celebrating Animal Kingdom's 25th anniversary

  • Disney is offering special commemorative merchandise as part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom 25th Anniversary collection, available starting April 21 for a limited time at Island Mercantile, Discovery Trading Company, and Mombasa Marketplace. "The earthy collection includes everything from a commemorative Spirit Jersey to a tumbler and a pocket tee." 
  • Guests can enjoy new food and beverage offerings that celebrate this unique park. "New items debuting throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom exclusively on April 22 include the Colossal Elephant Roll and the 25th Anniversary Alive with Magic Cupcake. At Tiffins Restaurant, guests can enjoy a 25th Anniversary Dessert Platter or dig into a 25th Anniversary Earth Tart at Tusker House Restaurant."
  • Disney PhotoPass Service is offering photo ops in celebration of Earth Month and the park’s 25th anniversary in front of special props, and through Magic Shots.
  • At The Animation Experience at Conservation Station, during April, guests can learn to draw characters like "Dumbo," "Terk" from Tarzan, "Crush" or "Bruce" from Finding Nemo, "Tigger" from Winnie the Pooh or "Simba" from The Lion King. From April 16 to April 23, Wilderness Explorers have the opportunity to earn a special badge by completing a limited-time nature challenge.