Magic Kingdom has Cinderella Castle, Epcot has Spaceship Earth, and Animal Kingdom has Discovery Island. Serving as the hub of the park, Discovery Island offers more than a photo opportunity in front of the Tree of Life. With animals to see, trails to walk, food to eat, and characters to meet, it’s worth taking the time to explore the area. Here are six things you can’t miss out on at Discovery Island.
6. Tree of Life/It’s Tough To Be A Bug!
The Tree of Life serves as the focal point and the symbol of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This man-made structure stands at 145 feet tall with over 300 different animal carvings around the trunk. Inside, park guests can experience the It’s Tough To Be A Bug! attraction. This 3D show takes you inside the Tree of Life as you meet Flik, Hopper and a number of insects from the Pixar film, A Bug’s Life. Additional effects are used to simulate smells (beware of the stink bug) and insects moving to evacuate the theater at the end of the show. Song parodies and puns such as “Beauty and the Bees” and an acorn weevil as “Weevil Kneevil” make up most of the show. This comical show about different types of bugs and how they help humans can also be unpleasant for anyone who isn’t comfortable around bugs. Be sure to read the warnings posted outside or speak to a Cast Member if you’re not sure. It you don’t mind bugs, especially animated ones, then don’t miss out.
5. Discovery Island Trail
Once at the Tree of Life, follow the Discovery Island Trail around the tree and see different kinds of wildlife while also getting a closer look at the animal carvings on the trunk. The trail consists of wooden foot bridges, tunnels and pathways. Along the way, there are many opportunities to take pictures from observation stations of the animals who live on the island. Animals on the trail can include storks, kangaroos, otters, cranes, flamingos, macaws, lemurs, and vultures. This trail allows you to go at your own pace you guests can take their time exploring Discovery Island.
4. Viva Gaia Street Band
This outdoor entertainment encourages park guests to dance and have fun as the Viva Gaia Street Band leads a Caribbean street party. With bright colorful costumes and rhythmic music, they always draw a crowd around them while some guests choose to join the band and learn a few new dance moves. The band plays throughout the day, weather pending, so take a break from your day and simply enjoy the music.
3. Flame Tree Barbecue
If all that exploring and dancing worked up an appetite, you should stop in at the Fame Tree Barbecue. This Quick-Service venue offers mouth-watering dishes that include a half-rack of ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and turkey legs. A smoked chicken salad or fruit plate are also available and sides on the menu include French fries and an onion ring basket. For dessert, try chocolate mousse or key lime mousse. Besides the usual beverage offerings of water, soda, and lemonade, guests can also purchase alcoholic drinks here. For kids, drumsticks, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and Uncrustables sandwiches are also available. If you love good barbecue, you can’t miss this. (At the time of publication Flame Tree Barbecue is closed, but plans to reopen Spring 2015)
2. Winged Encounters- The Kingdom Takes Flight
If you’re a macaw fan, you’ll want to see Winged Encounters- The Kingdom Takes Flight. The show features six different macaws as Cast Members show off each bird and share interesting facts about them. They also talk about conservation efforts to save the macaws in Central and South America and what role Disney is playing in these efforts.
1. Adventurers Outpost and Other Meet and Greets
Discovery Island is also where you can find the Adventurers Outpost where Mickey and Minnie await to greet park guests. The famous couple are all set to go on a grand expedition in their safari gear and love to show their new friends mementos from their past trips that can be found around the meet and greet area. Fastpass + service is available for this Disney experience.
Other Disney characters can also be found on Discovery Island like Russell and Dug from the film Up, Pocahontas, and Daisy Duck. Check the Times Guide near the entrance of Animal Kingdom or ask a Cast Member for their meet and greet schedules.
Animal Kingdom is more than just a few attractions. This park encourages you to take your time and explore the area; to not only see a variety of animals, but to learn about them as well. Discovery Island is a great place to get attractions, animals, food, and character encounters all in one place.
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