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This Underrated Gift Shop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Permanently Closing

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom itself is perhaps the most underrated theme park for shopping at the Walt Disney World Resort. The park is home to unique items inspired by films like The Lion King (1995), Finding Nemo (2003), and Up! (2009) along with pieces handmade by artisans in Asia and Africa, plus uniquely Animal Kingdom styles like leopard print Minnie ear headbands, Mickey animal print silhouette beach towels, and more.

Rafiki's Planet Watch

Credit: Disney

One often-overlooked gift shop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Out of the Wild located at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, will be closing permanently at the end of this month, with the space being repurposed into a seating area close to Affection Section.

Out of the Wild is certainly not at the top of many Guests’ shopping lists, however, this is an underrated merchandise location. Especially in the summer months, Rafiki’s Planet Watch can be quite hot. The train ride over to the area from Africa can be downright steamy in the humidity and Guests shopping with merchandise discounts like Annual Passholders for instance, could always stop at Out of the Wild for cold water or soda rather than using a nearby vending machine.

Credit: Disney

While the shop has not often sold much of its own unique merchandise, it has always offered a nice selection of plush both of Disney characters from hit animated films and of some of the real-life animals Guests can see while visiting the park. Out of the Wild was not necessarily a destination on its own, but for those looking to pick up a quick gift while exploring this part of Animal Kingdom, it was certainly a convenience to have the shop available to them.

The shop is set to close by the end of the month, with plans ahead for the space to be used as an additional seating area. While Rafiki’s Planet Watch does need more seating areas, especially ones either inside with air conditioning or under cover or nearby fans, we would argue that the shop could be repurposed with more original merchandise and more seating could be added.

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If it has been a while since you’ve visited Rafiki’s Planet Watch, or if you are curious about checking out Out of the Wild before it closes later this month, we encourage you to hop on the Wildlife Express train and take the trip. Once there, you’ll find lots to do from taking a behind-the-scenes look at backstage animal medical facilities, to drawing classes featuring classic Disney animated animals, as well as the petting zoo in the Affection Section.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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