Lou Mongello / Monday, September 17th, 2007
- When Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, the central area was known as Safari Village. Like the “hub” in the Magic Kingdom, it led to all of the different lands in the park. In late 2000 or early 2001, the name was changed to Discovery Island.
- Although they bear the same name, there are few differences between this land in the Animal Kingdom and the small, quiet island retreat (which is now closed), located across from Wilderness Lodge and the (also closed) River Country.
- In June of 1998, the “Discovery River Taxi” was making round-trip tours to and from Safari Village , similar in concept to the Skyway in the Magic Kingdom – a circular tour of the park to give guests views of Disney’s newest creation. Guests didn’t think that was such a great idea.
- In September, 1998 the ride closed, but reopened in November as the “Discovery River Taxis.” The Taxis were short-lived and closed by 1999. In March of 1999, Disney gave it another try as the ” Disney Radio River Cruise”, thinking that adding DJs to the trip would make it more appealing. The crowds (or lack thereof), thought otherwise, and the musical mystery tour closed (again) in August, 1999.
- There are 27 million gallons of water in Discovery River . . . that’s an amount equal to 1,800 average-sized backyard swimming pools.
- Some 1,500 2-to-3-foot long fanciful hand-painted wooden folk art animal carvings – a fusion of pre-Columbian, Peruvian, African and Polynesian forms – were crafted on the island of Bali by native craftsmen, and can be seen adorning the architecture of Safari Village.