Discovery Island - Animal Kingdom

Florida Guide > Animal Kingdom

Discovery Island is the central part of Disney's Animal Kingdom rather like Magic Kingdom's Main Street. From the Discovery Island section, the other parts branch off, from left to right: Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia, and Dinoland USA.

As you emerge from the heavy foliage of the Oasis you see the 145-foot tall Tree of Life, which took 18 months to build.

The branches stretch 165 feet across and I believe here are over 100, 000 leaves on the tree and the trunk is 50 feet wide. Apparently it took 20 artists to carve into the trunk, branches and roots over 320 animals. Be sure to view the Tree of Life at different times during the day because as the sun and the shadows move you will see different animals appear. Every time we go we see different animals and the girls compete to see who can find the most!

The Tree of Life roots find their way into the paths and these are the Discovery Island Trails - a quiet area of pools, meadows and trees that are home to flamingos, otters, lemurs, axis deer, cranes, storks, tortoises and red kangaroos. Be sure to use the small animal viewing areas to observe these.

It is a good time to explore this area when the park opens in the morning. While everyone else is rushing off to get Fast Passes or heading towards the Safari you will have a very peaceful time to yourselves.

We once spent ages watching a giant Galapagos Tortoise as it very slowly munched its way through lettuces, carrots, sweet potatoes and apples.

Take your time wandering through the Tree of Life roots; there are so many carvings to discover. As you make your way through the roots, you will find yourself at the base of the Tree of Life and the entrance to It's Tough to be a Bug theatre. The 430-seat theatre is home to Flik and Hopper where you will be entertained with a 3-D film and Audio-Animatronics figures.

A cast member once advised us not to bother with a Fast Pass as the way the line is designed your wait will never be more than 30 minutes.

This 3D movie has warning signs outside. There are hairy bugs, spiders, and it is loud and dark with some intense scenes. However all our family actually love it with the exception of our youngest girl who we took when she was 6. I had to leave with her after a few minutes and we have not been able to persuade her to return despite the fact she is now 10. Having said that she has to be persuaded to use her 3D glasses at most such shows!

Look out for the movie posters in the waiting area: "A Stinkbug Named Desire, " "Web Side Story, " "Beauty and the Bee" and "My Fair Lady Bug. "

The attention to detail is real Disney and an announcer even reminds you “to refrain from buzzing, chirping and stinging throughout the presentation. ”!

If you are feeling hungry when in Discovery Island you can visit the Turkey Leg kiosk, get a pizza or sandwiches or go to the Flame Tree BBQ for a more substantial meal.

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