I found this article in an old (circa '98) issue of Disney Adventures magazine and thought that DWT might be interested, so i'll type it up here! Extra-interesting parts are highlighted in red.
Call Of The Wild
Disney's brand-new theme park explores the wild world of animals.
Roaring. Soaring. Exploring. And never boring! It's Animal Kingdom! Walt Disney World's newest theme park,opening April 22, celebrates animals ranging from dinos to rhinos. You can safari through Africa, where you'll spot real animals like lions, giraffes and zebras running wild. Then, as you cruise Discovery River, watch out for the fire-breathing dragon. And when you stop at Conservation Station, you'll learn how you can help save endangered animals. [Disney Adventures] went behind the scenes to check out our favorite spots. Ready to explore? Keep reading!
DinoLand U.S.A. boasts the fast and fun thrill ride Countdown To Extinction.
What better way to enter DinoLand U.S.A. than by walking under a 50-foot tall Brachiosaurus skeleton called Olden Gate Bridge? In this area of the park, you can visit a dinosaur dig site, unearth a dino skeleton and crawl thrugh fascinating fossils. Next, explore the Cretaceous Trail, to see live survivors from the dino age like soft-shelled turtles and Chinese alligators. Just when you think this prehistoric place can't get any cooler, you board an exciting, high-speed adventure ride. Countdown to Extinction takes you back 65 million years on a quest to save the endangered dino from a deadly asteroid. Ride designer Paul Torrigino describes the dinos you'll see as you twist, turn and tilt through the Cretaceous Period.
Eating Habits: Carnivore (meat-eater)
Claim to Fame: It's big, bad head boasted two horns, similar to a bull's horns (no wonder it's name means "meat bull").
Most Likely To: Tear other animals in half with its powerful jaw and sharp teeth.
Weird Science: "These dinos have tiny forearms, and the paleontologists are still debating how these were used," says Paul.
Ride Role: Carnotaurus, the baddest of the bad guys, bullies the ride's passengers (the designers gave him a reddish color to make him scarier). This deadly dino chases its unwelcome visitors through a prehistoric forest, destroying whatever crosses its path. Let's just hope it's not the passengers!
Eating Habits: Carnivore
Claim to Fame: The "killer claw," a 5- to 7-inch claw on each foot, helped the raptor rip into the body of its enemies. Ooouch!!!
Most likely to: Win the "best weapons" award for its extra-sharp teeth, strong hands and Freddy Krueger-like claws.
Weird Science: Paleontologists found a hinge behind the raptor's eyes that they think kept this beast's brain in place when it bit down hard on something.
Ride Role: Passengers experience a close call with the raptor. "The raptor spots the passengers and wants to attack them," Paul says, "but the ride vehicle short circuits and scares thedino away."
Animal Kingdom's towering tree soars to life.
You can see it from miles away, yet when you walk through the entrance to Animal Kingdom, it's nowhere to be found. As you walk further into the park, you continue your search, wondering if it even exists. Then, as you turn the corner into Safari Village, you see it-a tree, 14 stories high! It's the Tree Of Life, a 145-foot-tall fake tree smack dab in the middle of Animal Kingdom. This amazing piece of art has 325 carvings of animals sculpted into its roots, trunk, and branches. A movie theater is tucked inside the tree's tremendous trunk. It's currently showing It's Tough To Be A Bug, a 3-D film about the creepy, crawly, slimy, squishy world of insects.
It took 12 months for the sculptors to hand-carve the 325 animals into the Tree Of Life.