Upcountry Landing

Asia’s Boat Dock

There were two boat docks as part of the Discovery Riverboats attraction, Safari Village and Upcountry Landing. Upcountry Landing was located in Asia, just past the bridge from Safari Village. Asia itself had minimal attractions at park opening in 1998 as the bulk of the land was still under construction. In fact, Flights of Wonder and Discovery Riverboats were the only attractions for Asia at that time.

Read More

Dinosaur Jubilee!

From Dinosaur Jubilee to Dino-Rama!

As part of Dinoland U.S.A, before Dino-Rama, there was the Dinosaur Jubilee!  Resembling a giant tent, it housed various dinosaur skeleton casts, interactive exhibits and cool fresh a/c to chill on a hot day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Both the Dinosaur Jubilee and it’s nearby counter part, the Fossil Preparation Lab, went through various changes from April 1998 until late 2000 before the way was cleared for Chester & Hester’s Dino-rama!

Read More

Always Coca-Cola at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Coca-Cola and Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Released in grocery stores during 1998, this 6 pack of glass bottles was sold as a commemorative edition set.  The pictures were taken in May 2018 of these 20 year old bottles, with the Coke still inside.  The packaging featured the full Animal Kingdom logo and slogan “A New Species of Theme Park”.  “Inaugural Year” and “Commemorative Edition” are clearly labeled on the package.  The bottles themselves also have the same printing minus the logo and “Inaugural Year”.
Read More

Original FastPass System

FastPass at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Before Genie+ / Lightning Lane there was was FastPass+.  But, before FastPass+, there was the original FastPass.  In this post we explore the earliest testing of the FastPass concept that dates back to the opening year of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and how the Discovery Riverboat’s contributed to that.

Read More

Disney’s Animal Kingom Atlas Map Pin

Disney's Animal Kingdom Pin Map
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Pin Map


Pin Trading Atlas Map Set

There have been hundreds of Animal Kingdom related trading pins that have come out over the years.  An early Cast Member exclusive series, the Atlas set, was released in 2001.  This set was exclusive to Cast Members and limited to an edition size of 3,000.  Each park map was broken up in a number of pins, which together formed the entire map.  Each pin featured a pin on pin highlighting a major attraction of building of that area. Read More

20th Anniversary

Twenty Years

Happy Birthday Animal Kingdom!  It’s hard to believe it’s already been 20 years, while at the same time so much has changed that I would be surprised if it wasn’t.  My history with the park started a few months before opening, working as part of the opening crew via Disney’s College Program.  It should be no surprise that I operated the Discovery Riverboats from park opening until mid-August 2018.  Alas, the attraction is no longer, having undergone a series of changes starting before the official opening and last until late 1999.  However, those details are a story for another time.  It’s taken me 20 years to finally begin posting about the park, and therefore I will share a series of pictures reflecting what was then and what is now.  Enjoy!

Tree of Life

Tree of Life
Tree of Life hasn’t grown an inch in 20 years

During the day, the intricate artwork of the animal impressions in the tree continue to be a marvel to admire.  At evening and into the night, a projection show has given additional life to this icon.  Aside from the projections, the tree itself and the show inside (It’s Tough to be a Bug!) has not changed.  In the opening year, identifying and counting the carvings from the Upcountry Landing area helped guests pass time while waiting for a round on the Discovery Riverboats.  While the many trees and plant life around the Tree of Life have filled in, the tree itself has not grown an inch 🙂

Read More