VIDEO - Watch Disney's Animal Kingdom Anniversary Celebration

Apr 22, 2018 in "Disney's Animal Kingdom"

Hear from some of the key cast members and Imagineers who brought the park to life over the past 20 years, along with a special interview with Joe Rohde of Walt Disney Imagineering.

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Article Posted: Apr 22, 2018 / 10:15am ET
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CTXRoverApr 26, 2018

Really cool Tiffins talks tonight. Had the opportunity to meet and listen to Joe Rohde talk about some of his travels to Nepal, Bali, etc. and how they influenced the design of parts of Animal Kingdom. Dinner was fantastic. Between each course he would come and sit at each table and talk a bit more personally to everyone. Very nice and genuine person. At the end, everyone got the conservation fund book and the honey badger card he designed already signed. The honey badger became the official 'mascot' of the original design team after an encounter with one in Africa during their research trips. The story is on the back of the card. Such a cool experience

Prototype82Apr 25, 2018

Wow. Just wow! The 22nd was the perfect example of less-is-more. The decorations were beautifully subtle, the photo-ops were kind of fun, not going to lie(only cause I couldn't pass up the banshee one)...But onto substance - I missed the re-located ceremony only because I was misinformed that it was cancelled, which is kind of a bummer... However, I got to see the photo op with the original Cast Members from opening day which was followed by a MASSIVE macaw flyover; a huge highlight! I got to meet Joe Rhode without a print(I was told I was not guaranteed we would meet him, but it was standby.) - There was a mega-fan with a Joe Rhode action figure he made from scratch to have autographed. haha, Joe's reaction was amazing! Tiffins Talks with Dr. Joe Soltis was super interesting. Guys, the food...corn coconut soup, a raw venison pate(yeah I didn't realize it was raw until I re-read the menu afterwords. I love how adventurous Tiffins is!), lamb sausage, and to tie in with the bee-conservation theme; they had a honey-soaked pear with honey-flavored ice cream. Even the white chocolate garnish had a honeycomb pattern molded into it which was pretty darn cool. The event wasn't only informative, but some really neat perks came with it: a complimentary pin and Disney Conservation fund book were included. Planet Watch played host to some super-old macaws that have been around since their debut as opening day residents. The utility-suit conservationist in Pandora put on a great debut show in the morning. It was kind of a rush to see the new additions, however subtle that they were - One of the Discovery Island cast members showed me the new stained-glass inspired costumes that they debuted that day - each shirt shows a different ecosystem of animals. The weather was clear until the evening when it started pouring. As you can imagine, the Rivers of Light crowd was small. I was passing out some Earth Day prints of turtle and banshee watercolors I created for the event - When I presented one to one of the RoL hostesses, she was super-moved and thanked me and my sis by allowing us to view the show up on a special-viewing balcony. The day was less-is-more, and it's kind of neat that Earth's unpredictable weather situation granted my party with an unforgettable view at the end. When asking Joe what the greatest challenge of building Animal Kingdom was: "we needed to create a place that felt as real as the animals that were going to live in it." You can criticize how Disney chose to celebrate this event if you want, but I won't easily forget Earth Day 2018.

GlacierGlacierApr 23, 2018

I agree with your sentiment but not your typing skills. I got a wonderful safari trip on the 20th, right as the sun was setting. Hyena flopped on the ground like my black lab does, saw Augustus (I think that's his name) the baby hippo resting on momma and then fall backwards into the water, saw the lions just relaxing in the clearest I'd ever seen, and a wonderful giraffe run back and forth in the simultaneously most silly and most beautiful thing ever. Nothing can compare to the wonder of seeing living animals not only comfortable but content in the closest to their natural habitat that can be provided.

Walt dApr 23, 2018

I did not think ak was going to be that great. On my first vist, then by the end of the day i, found out i was wrong . All the work joe. And every put in, wow. On one of my Safari trips. The truck had to stop as a big, rhino rolled in a mud puddle in front of the truck. To get mud on him, as it got hotter out just like a puppy. That was, no anima Tronics there! Ak rocks!

wdisney9000Apr 23, 2018

Baseline Tap House Green Flash Kick Starter and Scrimshaw Pilsner

EricsBiscuitApr 23, 2018

I got in the line around 2:00~ when they still had it open. The CM said since I don't have a wrist band I wasn't guaranteed to meet him and I waited like 25-30 minutes but I finally got to meet him.

wdwmagicApr 23, 2018

That was highlights. Here is the full thing

Clyde BirdbrainApr 23, 2018

You got into the ceremony AND met Joe Rohde without buying the print?! Man, I should have hung out with you yesterday. After CMs told me that the ceremony had moved indoors and was for invited guests only I got in line for the print. No one I asked could tell me how much the print was. After a while I heard someone say it was $55, so I got out of line. I didn't want to spend that much. I asked a CM if it was possible to meet Joe Rohde without the print and I was told no. Around 3pm I went to check out the signing to watch the imagineer from a distance and I saw that hardly anyone in line had the print and people were getting anything signed from park maps to tote bags and t-shirts. I went to the back of the line, but it had just closed. I'll try this again in 5 years.

Jedi StitchApr 23, 2018

My wife's favorite park is DAK. On a return trip to WDW, she would love to have a Savanna Room at DAKL. Kinda neat that the 20th is low key. Getting to meet Joe, would be awesome. I thought it interesting that there was a lot of negative comments about the celebration. I would think if Disney pumped it up and went over the top everyone would have complained about the crowds, the heat, long lines, not being worth it. Just saying is all.

disneygeek90Apr 23, 2018

Surely this wasn't the whole thing? Edit: Found it.

disneygeek90Apr 23, 2018

They must have opened early. I walked into the entrance about 8:30 and was in line at FoP over the bridge leading to Africa by 8:45.

disneygeek90Apr 23, 2018

Damn, I was there about 830 and asked the cast member who said you had to have a special ticket to enter. Went over to FoP and was on in 45 mins, so I'll take that as a consolation prize. Repped my 20th Shirt and magicband yesterday and checked out the Up show. All in all a great day.

NearTheEarsApr 23, 2018

We bought our Epcot shirts from the app while waiting in the traffic to get into the parking lot that day. It was a good move.

KrazyKatApr 23, 2018

I would definitely have to say Joe Rhode is Disney’s most famous Imagineer. We were walking around AK Lodge last year when we stumbled by accident into a private event and Joe was standing there talking to some people. I told my wife “there’s Joe Rhode” and he was nice enough to wave and say hi.