Plus…Monorail Black now covered in Iron Man wrap, News on the Swiss Family Treehouse and more!

by Don Myers

It’s a very special time at the Vacation Kingdom of the World, as one of the four parks turned 15 this week! So let’s get the festivities started and dive right in to the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…..

We begin this edition of the Newswire with some birthday wishes for WDW’s fourth (and newest) park: Animal Kingdom. It’s hard to believe, but Animal Kingdom has been in operation for 15 years now! To AK15commemorate this special occasion, Disney gave the park a 15th Anniversary celebration. The big day took place on Monday April 22nd, an important date Worldwide, as it also happens to be Earth Day. Festivities kicked off bright and early at 8:40am with a special Opening Ceremony at the base of the Tree of Life. Speakers for the ceremony included Jackie Ogden (VP of Animals, Science, and Environment for Disney Parks) and Josh D’Amaro (VP of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park). Other special events for the day included Party for the Planet activities in Africa, Asia, and Rifiki’s Planet Watch, and several artists and vendors were also on hand throughout Africa and Discovery Island. Special merchandise also played a part in the celebration, as various anniversary products such as shirts, hats, pins, and Vinlymation were available for purchase. There were also commemorative guide maps and keepsake postcards for Guests as well, and of course the party wouldn’t be complete without a delicious Earth Day cupcake! All in all it was a very special day and a very important milestone for Animal Kingdom, and I for one am extremely happy that Disney decided to honor the park for 15 years of service and memories.

Now it’s time to look ahead to the future of Animal Kingdom. For this newsbit we head into the heart of Africa, where construction walls have recently emerged at the site of the new theatre for Festival of the Lion King. The show will be relocating from its current home in Camp Minnie-Mickey to a new location in Africa later this year. The move comes in anticipation of the upcoming Avatar project at Animal Kingdom. Once it’s completed, Avatar Land will take up the space currently occupied by that of Camp Minnie-Mickey. This inevitable transition makes the Lion King’s upcoming move to Africa both a logical and necessary choice.

For more Animal Kingdom news, let’s venture over to the land of Asia where the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck has just closed up for refurbishment. The closure began on Sunday April 15th, and will last until Thursday May 23rd. This will put the total downtime for the frozen treat spot at just under six weeks.

Now it’s time to park-hop over to Magic Kingdom for some news on an Adventureland attraction. Last week, portions of the Swiss Family Treehouse were covered with large black tarps. As of now the attraction is still open to Guests, despite the presence of this cosmetic inconvenience. This appears to be a simple case of some minor touch-up work for the treehouse, as no upcoming closures are currently scheduled for the attraction.

Our final bit of news today is on the WDW Monorail System. Monorail Black recently hit the Express and Resort Beams sporting a brand new wrap. This new wrap is in promotion of the upcoming film: Iron Man 3. This is the third such wrap to adorn a WDW Monorail. From March 2010-July 2011, Monorail Coral was draped with a Tron wrap, and from March 2012-February 2013 an Avengers wrap covered Monorail Red.

Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update.  We are having some trouble with our polling software but will get one up and running as soon as possible!

Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World.  He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history!  Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.

One Response to "WDW Radio Newswire: Happy Birthday Animal Kingdom!"

  1. Anthony Yamarino says:

    Happy Birthday, Animal Kingdom!!! I was there the year it opened! It was my second trip to Disney World. My first was the year before in 1997, which is interesting for a simple reason. The very first time I witnessed Cinderella Castle was during its birthday cake look! I didn’t see the castle in its original state until the following year (’98). Those two trips were what sparked my Disney passion beyond words. You’re doing what I wish I could do every single day, Lou, and I absolutely envy you! Either way, I went in June of ’98; a month after its opening. I’ll never forget it! Asia wasn’t even completed yet; it was still under construction. All of our passes, key cards and what not are all themed Animal Kingdom. Such a memorable year. So, my first and second trips, back to back ’97 and ’98 were the beginning of a super passion. I was 8 and 9 respectively. :)

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