This past weekend, I had the opportunity to experience all Animal Kingdom has to offer this holiday season for the very first time! As you know when Disney does the holidays, they do them right and Animal Kingdom is no different. Disney has provided the descriptions below for guests, and we couldn’t wait to experience them for ourselves. While there are many things to be seen during the day (the puppets are great to interact with) many of them really come to life once the sun goes down. You have to see the Tree of Life! We walked the entire park during the day and again at night to experience everything in both the daytime and nighttime, stopping for some of the holiday snacks along the way. If you like mint, the peppermint soft serve ice cream cone is delicious! Otherwise, the sweet shop in Africa had sweet and tasty festive cupcakes and cookies. Craving salt? The popular holiday popcorn buckets are available throughout the park (while supplies last) along with the two holiday sippers!
As we stopped to meet our favorite Disney characters throughout the park, you will admire each of their holiday backgrounds. Daisy’s pink Christmas tree and dino friend may have been our favorite! Dinoland surely is a great place to meet many of your favorite friends in one location. Even Tusker House has gotten in on the holiday fun where Mickey and friends will have a light holiday overlay for the character buffet.
About Holidays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
◦Discovery Island – Crossing the bridge to Discovery Island, guests find themselves in the midst of a celebration of winter, hand-crafted by the eclectic community of artists who make the island their home. Life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets (including reindeer, foxes and polar bears) roam around by day while colorful rooftop luminaries and bird lanterns light up the night.
We found guests are able to interact with the puppets and the Cast Members with the puppets. Children seemed to had the most fund with the animals, but they sure were drawing a crowd. You’ll want to catch them during the day, because when the sun goes down so do these puppets for the night.
◦Holiday Décor by Night – As day becomes night, the rooftop luminaries and bird lanterns all around Discovery Island bring a warm and festive glow to the entire village.
◦Tree of Life Awakenings – At the center of everything, the Tree of Life awakens each evening as a series of wintry tales emerge from within, complemented by a familiar and heartwarming holiday-inspired musical score.
◦Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life continues to shimmer and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.
◦DinoLand U.S.A. – Throughout DinoLand U.S.A., all of Donald Duck’s friends gather for Donald’s Dino-Bash! get into the spirit with colorful holiday decorations they have each chosen according to their own styles.
We really loved meeting the characters during the day at DinoLand, and heading back for all the festive decorations at night at DinoLand, the Dinos really know how to get in the holiday spirit, just ask the Santa Dino.
◦Asia – The residents of Anandapur have decorated the theater district in celebration of Diwali, India’s holiday festival of lights. Glowing flowers, lanterns and more illuminate the square between Anandapur Theater and the waterfront stage, home to authentic and colorful cultural performances.
The cultural performances not only have great music and entertainment, they also know how to get the crowd involved. We enjoyed watching a few of these.
◦Africa – The village of Harambe welcomes visitors with a unique holiday presentation, blending the inspiration and style of Western traditions with the colors and textiles of authentic African celebrations.
◦Pandora – The World of Avatar – The ex-pats living and working on the moon of Pandora bring a little holiday fun to their interstellar home, with a display at Pongu Pongu of holiday décor, combining vintage pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from materials indigenous to Pandora.
Looking to find the perfect holiday gift for yourself or someone else? Holiday merchandise is a plenty, and we found the best selection at Discovery Trading Company.
Cheerful Character Encounters
Pose for festive holiday photos with some beloved Disney Characters:
Walt Disney World hosted a media event which I attended to provide you with all this great information. All opinions are my own, but I was sponsored by Disney to attend this event.