Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom captivates guests with immersive theming, thrilling attractions, and a deep dedication to wildlife conservation. As one of Disney’s most beloved and unique theme parks, rumors of its potential closure have left fans understandably concerned.
Speculation about Animal Kingdom permanently closing its doors in 2024 originated from an unofficial fan site, not credible sources within Disney. While temporary closures of certain areas occur for refurbishments, there are no legitimate indications of the entire Animal Kingdom shutting down.
Let’s explore the validity behind these rumors and take a glimpse into the future of Animal Kingdom to uncover what exciting new experiences await.
What are the Rumors About Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
The false rumors of Animal Kingdom’s closure stem from a parody news video created by the unofficial fan site “Mouse Trap News.” This comedic video fabricated a story of Disney permanently closing Animal Kingdom in 2024 due to a sharp decline in attendance.
While the video states that a “lack of new attractions” has led to waning interest, this contradicts the reality of major recent investments like the hugely popular Pandora – The World of Avatar expansion. The video provides no actual evidence or quotes from Disney sources to support its fictional claims.
As the video spread rapidly across social media, many viewers mistakenly believed it represented factual news rather than satire. This resulted in widespread speculation about Animal Kingdom’s future among concerned fans online.
Are Rumors Coming from a Valid Source?
The rumors originated purely from an unverified fan channel, not through official Disney communications or credible news outlets. Mouse Trap News creates parody content for entertainment but does not have legitimate insider knowledge of Disney’s plans.
It’s important to verify the accuracy of any source spreading major claims about Disney parks before giving credence to rumors. As of now, Disney has made no suggestion of closing Animal Kingdom permanently in any capacity.
Is This Walt Disney World Park Permanently Closing Its Doors?
There are currently no plans whatsoever for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom to shut down entirely. As one of Disney’s largest theme park investments and most popular attractions, the future of Animal Kingdom remains bright.
While certain rides or shows may be updated or replaced to keep the guest experience fresh, the park itself has continued thriving since its 1998 debut. In fact, Disney continues investing in Animal Kingdom, most recently with the huge Pandora expansion.
Rather than closure, Disney appears fully committed to Animal Kingdom’s growth. The company even offers special perks like Early Park Entry to enhance the guest experience and accessibility within the park.
What Time Does Animal Kingdom Close?
Animal Kingdom’s standard operating hours are from 8am to 7pm. However, during certain nights the park remains open later with extended evening hours from 7pm to 9pm.
These extra hours allow more time to enjoy Pandora’s glowing landscape or stay for nighttime entertainment like the Rivers of Light show. Planning your visit during extended evenings provides additional Animal Kingdom magic.
Early Theme Park Entry: Unlocking the Magic Before the Crowds
Recently Animal Kingdom introduced Early Theme Park Entry, allowing resort hotel guests and select visitors early access at 7am, one hour before the official opening.
During this early window, popular attractions like Avatar Flight of Passage or Kilimanjaro Safaris see much shorter wait times since crowds have yet to arrive. This gives early risers an advantage to experience more with less time spent in lines.
As Early Theme Park Entry gains popularity for enhancing the guest experience, it signals Disney’s continued investment in drawing visitors to Animal Kingdom rather than closing down.
Extended Evening Hours
In addition to early entry, Animal Kingdom also offers Extended Evening Hours certain nights from 7pm to 9pm. Pandora glows vividly once the sun sets, bringing the alien landscape to life.
Extended evenings present more opportunities to enjoy Rivers of Light’s stunning theatrical display of water, fire and light. And attractions like Expedition Everest offer a unique nighttime thrill.
By extending Animal Kingdom’s hours into the night, Disney caters to guest demand for more time to experience everything this park has to offer.
Is the Animal Kingdom Free in the Evening?
No, Walt Disney World does not currently offer free evening admission to Animal Kingdom. While the park remains open later some nights, regular daytime admission and parking fees still apply.
However, guests with a valid theme park ticket can enter free of charge during the extended 7pm to 9pm hours on applicable nights. But a standard daytime ticket or annual pass is required for entry.
What Time Are the Animal Kingdom Nighttime Shows?
Animal Kingdom’s dazzling nighttime entertainment runs on select nights when the park has Extended Evening Hours from 7 pm to 9 pm. Showtimes are:
Rivers of Light – Stunning water show with lanterns, fountains, and floating animal imagery. Showtimes at 8:55 pm and 10:05 pm.
Tree of Life Awakenings – The iconic tree comes to life with magical color-changing animal projections. Showtimes every 10 minutes between 7pm to 9pm.
Planning your Animal Kingdom visit on an extended evening allows you to fully experience these illuminating nighttime spectacles that shouldn’t be missed!
Staying Late in the Park
On nights when Animal Kingdom remains open until 9pm, use that extra time to enjoy crowd-free attractions, snack at food carts with shorter waits, browse through less crowded gift shops or simply soak in the magical ambience.
Pandora glows even brighter once the sunlight fades, making it the perfect time to ride Avatar Flight of Passage. And you’ll have prime viewing spots for the dazzling Rivers of Light shows.
Sticking around past regular closing hours lets you experience the park’s unique nighttime personality at a relaxed pace. Take advantage of Animal Kingdom’s extended evenings to make the most of your visit!
After Hours Events
Disney also occasionally offers special after-hours events at Animal Kingdom beyond normal operating times. These limited-ticket happenings give guests 3 extra hours in the park from 9 pm to midnight with shorter wait times at rides, character greetings, food and merchandise locations.
After-hours events provide exclusive experiences with limited attendance, allowing guests to visit a virtually empty park to enjoy attractions at their own pace. Keep an eye out for any Animal Kingdom after-hours events during your trip for a truly VIP-style visit!
Visiting Animal Kingdom in 2023
Rather than closure, the future looks bright for Animal Kingdom in 2023 and beyond. Major attractions debuting soon include:
Wondrous Expedition – An innovative new daytime show featuring Disney characters on expeditions to meet exotic animals. Opening in 2023
Moana: Journey of Water – An immersive walkthrough attraction retelling Moana’s story with lush scenic design. Opening late 2023
Zootopia Land – An entire land themed to the movie Zootopia, with new rides and interactive elements. Potential opening in 2024/2025
These exciting additions continue Animal Kingdom’s legacy of blending theme park thrills with animal education through Disney storytelling. They reinforce Disney’s long-term investment in Animal Kingdom’s future as a world-class theme park experience.
Avatar Flight of Passage
One of Animal Kingdom’s newest and most popular attractions is Avatar Flight of Passage in Pandora – The World of Avatar. This advanced 3D ride simulates flying on a Banshee over the alien moon’s breathtaking landscape.
With groundbreaking visuals and motion effects, Flight of Passage captures the excitement of soaring through Pandora’s bioluminescent rainforests and mountains. It’s an unforgettable expedition that demonstrates Disney’s innovative approach to modern attractions.
As Animal Kingdom’s top-rated experience that continues drawing record crowds, Avatar Flight of Passage will undoubtedly stay as Pandora’s signature attraction for years to come. Its astounding popularity is a clear sign of the park’s enduring success.
Na’vi River Journey
Another top highlight of Pandora is the mystical Na’vi River Journey boat ride. This immersive dark ride transports visitors down a sacred river hidden within a Pandoran cave resplendent with exotic glowing plants, exotic creatures, and the spiritual Shaman of Songs.
The animatronic Shaman showcases Walt Disney Imagineering at its most innovative, with lifelike facial expressions and seamless movements. Combined with visual styling that creates a fully believable alien realm, the ride demonstrates next-level technical wizardry.
As a core part of Animal Kingdom’s most ambitious land ever created, Na’vi River Journey will wow and delight guests for generations. Its extraordinary craftsmanship and artistry solidify it as an Animal Kingdom staple now and into the future.
Pandora Drummers- Swotu Wayä
In addition to its marquee attractions, Pandora also hosts smaller touches that make it feel like a living, breathing world. One delightful highlight is the roaming Pandoran drummers known as Swotu Wayä.
These performers appear as native Na’vi drumming and chanting throughout Pandora, interacting playfully with guests. Their colorful, exotic appearance and upbeat rhythms bring infectious energy that completes the land’s sense of immersion.
From their intricate costumes to unique instruments, the Swotu Wayä reflects Disney’s knack for thoughtful detailing that transports visitors into the fictional Valley of Mo’ara on Pandora. Their presence adds an extra layer of joy and discovery.
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Aside from Pandora, Animal Kingdom houses a trove of world-class attractions like Expedition Everest. This intense roller coaster speeds through the Himalayan mountains where riders encounter the legendary Yeti guardian.
With its towering peak visible from all around the park, Expedition Everest stands as a beacon luring thrill-seekers. Its dizzying drops, backwards section and close call with the terrifying Yeti make it one of Disney’s most exciting rides.
Thanks to continual maintenance and enhancements, Expedition Everest stays highly relevant sixteen years after first opening. This cutting-edge coaster anchors Animal Kingdom with family-friendly thrills guests can’t get enough of.
Animal Kingdom’s dedication to immersive theming reaches back 65 million years on the exhilarating dark ride DINOSAUR. Boarding specialized Time Rovers, riders are transported to a dangerous prehistoric world with startlingly realistic dinosaurs.
DINOSAUR set milestones with technical feats like the towering Carnotaurus and Parasaurolophus animatronics still representing the forefront of modern Audio-Animatronic achievements. These lifelike dinosaurs solidify an exciting, educational journey into the age of reptiles.
By blending Disney magic with scientific concepts, DINOSAUR exemplifies Animal Kingdom’s essence of fusing entertainment with wildlife education. Its imaginative adventure makes prehistory unforgettable for guests of all ages.
Rivers of Light
Animal Kingdom’s dazzling nighttime show Rivers of Light features elaborate theatrical effects portraying the beauty of animals and nature through stunning lantern floats, shimmering fountains, swirling animal imagery and soaring fire effects.
This 15-minute production on the park’s Discovery River incorporates water screens, mist screens and intricate lighting design to conjure truly breathtaking visuals accented by an original musical score focused on conservation.
Rivers of Light represents Animal Kingdom’s passion for delivering innovative entertainment that strikes an emotional chord. Its message highlighting the splendor of the natural world and the need for environmental stewardship resonates powerfully.
This magnificent show promises to continue touching hearts and underscoring Animal Kingdom’s soul and purpose for years to come as a beacon of light guiding humanity toward safeguarding all life on Earth.
Tree of Life Awakenings
Aside from Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom’s iconic centerpiece Tree of Life also comes to life each night through the dazzling projection show Tree of Life Awakenings.
Through colorful imagery and animation, the park’s stunning 145-foot-tall tree is transformed with charming vignettes showing animals playing and dancing to the delight of crowds below. These brief stories pay tribute to the wonder of nature.
Thanks to the Tree of Life’s enormous 50-foot-wide canvas, Imagineers employ cutting-edge technology to create a magical experience that seems to make the tree’s elaborate carvings spring to life.
These nightly Awakenings infuse even more character and warmth into the park’s breathtaking heart. Tree of Life Awakenings promises to continue charming guests young and old as Animal Kingdom evolves.
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
One of Animal Kingdom’s original attractions that continues entertaining crowds is It’s Tough to Be a Bug! – a 4D film experience that shrinks guests down to a bug’s perspective for a funny and informative show.
With in-theater effects like wind, water and smoke – plus tactile sensations simulating things like spiderwebs or stinging wasps, It’s Tough to Be a Bug! achieves new heights of immersive Disney storytelling.
This charming experience blends education about insects’ important roles with signature Disney whimsy. It exemplifies Animal Kingdom’s mission to inspire adoration for all creatures great and small through unforgettable adventures.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug! promises to stay one of the park’s signature family-friendly shows for years to come.
Younger guests also delight in Animal Kingdom’s mini thrill ride TriceraTop Spin, which sends riders whirling through the skies in colorful Triceratops-themed vehicles. As carnival-style music plays, guests spin and tilt around a central axis while suspended nearly 20 feet in the air.
With its playful dinosaur theme and gentle motion, TriceraTop Spin makes a perfect introduction to rides for little ones working up the courage for more intense attractions later on. Its colorful, larger-than-life triceratops cars and smiling dinosaurs popping up from the ride’s center add a cheerful personality.
As a staple family ride in Dinoland USA, TriceraTop Spin provides breezy thrills for visitors of all ages. While it offers a familiar carnival-style experience, its prehistoric twist adds Disney magic. For many young Animal Kingdom fans, TriceraTop Spin earns a special spot among early theme park memories.
In addition to marquee experiences like Pandora and Expedition Everest, part of what makes Animal Kingdom so special is the diversity of attractions appealing to all interests.
Younger crowds enjoy whirling elephant rides on The Magic Carpets of Aladdin or steering their own sauropod on TriceraTop Spin. Families explore exotic Asian ruins on Maharajah Jungle Trek or discover their inner Simba on the Festival of the Lion King show.
And thrill-seekers face runaway trains and ominous curses on Expedition Everest or turbulent rafting rapids on Kali River Rapids. Plus, live entertainment like Finding Nemo: The Musical and street performances happen daily.
Rather than removing beloved rides, Disney continually enhances, updates and maintains attractions across the park. Combined with new additions like Pandora, Animal Kingdom offers a remarkable variety that outshines competitors. This breadth of unique, high-quality options will continue driving lasting success.
How Often Are Animal Kingdom Hours Updated?
Animal Kingdom park hours are generally set and posted by Disney 6 to 8 months in advance, though they may adjust closer to your trip. Hours typically follow predictable seasonal patterns year after year.
It’s rare for operating hours to change dramatically without warning. Guests receive ample notice of any major adjustments to enable proper trip planning. This reliability makes visiting easy.
During special events like the holiday season, hours may be extended later. Disney posts these updates immediately online once determined for planning.
Guests shouldn’t worry about sudden unforeseen drops in operating hours. Animal Kingdom’s future remains bright.
Our Predictions for Future Animal Kingdom Park Hours
Rather than reducing its operating calendar, we predict Animal Kingdom’s hours expanding further in coming years through:
- Extended evening hours offered more consistently year-round
- More after-hours special events and parties added
- Extra morning early theme park access for on-site hotel guests
- Potential seasonal late-night hours introduced (ex. until 11 pm in summer)
Disney appears fully committed to boosting Animal Kingdom attendance by enhancing guest accessibility, not limiting it. Between special early entry opportunities and later closes, visitors will enjoy more flexibility than ever.
Is There Christmas In Disney World?
The holiday season transforms Walt Disney World into a winter wonderland with special entertainment, events, decorations and seasonal magic across every park.
Both Epcot and Hollywood Studios feature special holiday festivals. Magic Kingdom debuts iconic Christmas decor and shows. And Animal Kingdom celebrates with colorful lights and entertainment additions like carolers.
So guests spending Christmas at Disney World will discover festive flair at every turn!
What To Wear To Disney In December
Visiting Walt Disney World in December means preparing for cooler Florida temperatures, especially at night. Guests should pack layers and plan outfits for weather ranging from warm afternoons near 70°F to evenings dropping into the 50s.
Here are recommended clothing items to pack:
- Light jackets or sweaters
- Long sleeve shirts
- Pants or jeans
- Shorts for daytime
- Closed-toe shoes
Having flexible layers allows removing or adding items as needed when moving between attractions. And don’t forget the holiday spirit – feel free to wear Disney character sweaters or Santa Mickey ears!
Is It Worth Going To Disney World At Christmas Time?
Absolutely! Walt Disney World transforms into a true winter wonderland throughout the Christmas season. The exciting holiday festivities make it an ideal time for a family trip.
The parks dazzle with lights, trees, wreaths and holiday entertainment. Guests can meet Santa Goofy, watch Cinderella Castle’s icy projection show, enjoy Epcot’s Holiday Festival or catch the Jingle Cruise.
Exclusive seasonal food, drink and merchandise also debut across Disney World. Hotels decorate grandly with massive trees, wreaths, gingerbread displays and more.
From the elaborate decorations to character meet-and-greets in cozy Christmas sweaters, visiting Disney World at Christmas time brings extra pixie dust to any vacation.
Disney Moving To New Orleans: Magical Transformation
A recent viral TikTok video joked about Disney relocating from Orlando to rebuild a Disney World in New Orleans. This clever parody pokes fun at the outlandish rumors that often spread about Disney’s future plans.
In actuality, there are no legitimate plans to construct a new Disney World or other full-scale theme park resort in New Orleans. The Orlando resort continues evolving as Disney’s flagship global vacation destination.
That said, a Disneyland concept near New Orleans could potentially complement the existing Walt Disney World in Florida one day. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has discussed regional parks in new U.S. locations.
But for now, the TikTok suggestion of Disney World Orlando moving or a new resort replacing it remains purely fictional fun. Disney’s central hub isn’t going anywhere!
Finding Nemo The Big Blue And Beyond
The popular Finding Nemo musical stage show at Animal Kingdom, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” retells the beloved Disney•Pixar film through creative puppetry and lively original songs.
Using creative puppetry and costumes, this 40-minute show brings characters like Nemo, Dory, Crush and Squirt to life with innovative designs from Michael Curry (Festival of the Lion King, Frozen on Broadway). Signature moments from the movie play out through big production numbers in Disney’s signature style.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! represents the pinnacle of modern puppetry art blended with Disney magic. Its joyful music and whimsical performances promise to entertain Animal Kingdom audiences for years.
Disney Park Characters: How to Find Them Without Waiting in Line
Meeting beloved Disney characters often means long lines, especially for rare characters like Orange Bird. However, guests willing to be flexible can frequently encounter characters roaming parks or dining in restaurants with no wait.
For example, Pluto, Goofy Chip, and Dale randomly appear on walkways. Characters like Donald or Daisy Duck host meals at select restaurants. Grabbing an early breakfast or late dinner with them means quality time without queues.
Similarly, waiting by off-path character greeting spot exits as sets changeover allows quick meets with whoever emerges next. With creativity, you can meet Disney stars without wasting precious park hours in conventional lines!