Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tree of Life Guide

When you think of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, what is the first thing that comes to your mind. For many Disney fans, this is perhaps one of the most magical and majestic sculptures Disney has ever created, the Animal Kingdom tree, better known as the Tree of Life.

Tucked away within the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando is a beast kingdom filled with exotic animals and theme park adventures with thrilling attractions brought together in one theme park.

Credit: Disney

But what exactly is Disney’s Animal Kingdom tree of life? Let’s walk the Discovery Island Trail together, exploring one of the most iconic concepts Disney has ever created.

What is Disney’s Animal Kingdom tree of life made of

On April 22, 1998, our beloved Disney park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom presented The Tree of Life after an 18 month long process!

Inspired by the mythological concept also known as The Tree of Life towers over Disney’s Animal Kingdom at 145 feet (44 m). To the naked eye, it may look like a real tree, but it is actually man-made!

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

What materials are used in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tree of Life?

To make this structure as authentic as possible, the Disney Imagineers took their time with each limb and each leaf.

The Tree of Life features over 100,000 artificial kynar leaves and over 8,000 branches have been placed to give this park icon true Disney magic.

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

How is the oil rig reused to create the structure of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tree of Life?

To help withstand the hurricane winds in Florida, Disney decided that creating a hollow structure wouldn’t work. Instead, the Disney Imagineers built the Tree of Life from an upside down oil rig.

By pouring cement at the base, the Tree of Life was secured around Discovery Island, ensuring that it could withstand not only the Orlando weather, but the thousands of leaves and branches attached to it. disney tree.

Tree of Life Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

How was Disney’s Animal Kingdom tree of life made?

With the help of Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, the dream was to create a symbol much like Spaceship Earth in EPCOT. For Discovery Island, the tree represented a source of life and the inspiration actually came from a bonsai tree that Disney found at the International Flower and Garden Festival!

If you don’t already know, located at the foot of the Tree of Life is a 428-seat theater which also allows visitors to enjoy a 3D cinematic attraction based on the Disney and Pixar films, The life of an insect called It’s hard to be a bug!

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Animals on the tree of life of the animal kingdom

What types of animals can you find on the tree of life in the animal kingdom?

Did you know that the Tree of Life has 325 sculptures of animals, extinct and extant? From a distance this massive baobab trunk may look normal, but up close, guests can spend hours mesmerized by the intricate animal sculptures carved into this tree.

Check out this long list of animals according to Wikipedia:

  • African elephant
  • Alligator
  • Anteater
  • Arachnids (spider, tarantula, scorpion),
  • Baboon
  • Bat
  • bighorn sheep
  • Birds (songbird, egret, heron, hammerhead, macaw, cockatoo, pelican, vulture, falcon, golden eagle, bald eagle, peacock, ostrich, flamingo, eagle owl)
  • Bison
  • camel
  • Centipede
  • Cephalopods (Octopus, squid, prehistoric squid)
  • Chameleon
  • Chimpanzee
  • Puma
  • Crocodile
  • Deer
  • Fish (salmon, sea bass, catfish, goldfish)
  • Flying squirrel
  • Fox
  • Frill-necked lizard
  • Frog
  • Gecko
  • Gibbon
  • Gila monster
  • Giraffe
  • Goat
  • grizzly
  • eel
  • Hammerhead shark
  • Hedgehog
  • hermit crab
  • Hippopotamus
  • Horse
  • Iguana
  • Impala
  • Indian elephant
  • Insects (ant, beetle, butterfly, moth, bee, wasp, dragonfly, grasshopper)
  • Astonished
  • Kangaroo
  • Killer whale
  • Koala
  • Komodo dragon
  • Lion
  • Lobster
  • Lynx
  • Manatee
  • Marlin
  • momentum
  • Pangolin
  • Porcupine
  • Prairie dog
  • Prehistoric animals (Allosaurus, ankylosaurus, trilobite)
  • Python
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoon
  • Rattlesnake
  • Rhino (java & white)
  • Road runner
  • Sand Antelope
  • Seahorse
  • Sea otter
  • Seal
  • Shrimp
  • Lazy
  • Spider monkey
  • Squirrel
  • Tapir
  • tiger
  • Tortoise
  • Turtle (box and snapping)
  • Walrus
  • Wild dog
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra

Related: Parks Closed: How Are The Animals In Disney World?

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

What animals were added to the tree of life in the animal kingdom?

The sculpture of David Greybeard, the famous chimpanzee studied by expert and primatologist Jane Goodall has been added to the Tree of Life at his request. After a visit to Animal Kingdom, she noticed that there were no chimps, so Disney decided to place one at the bottom of the tree near the entrance to the Tough To Be A Bug attraction.

Did you know that the Tree of Life also features a hidden Mickey Mouse? Guests facing the Africa and Asia sections of the park will see a hippo located on the trunk. Take a closer look at the hippo’s eye – there you will find an iconic hidden Mickey in a grayish color upside down!

Tree of life
Credit: Barbara Seebold on Pinterest

Guests exploring the base of the Tree of Life will discover a serene landscape of pools, greenery, and lush trees. The Tree of Life is also home to living animals, including lemurs, flamingos, kangaroos, turtles, otters, axis deer, cranes, and storks.

The awakening of the animal kingdom Tree of life

What is the Awakening of the Tree of Life?

Like the nightly Cinderella Castle screenings at Magic Kingdom Park, the Tree of Life shares four animal-inspired stories, Journey, Rendezvous, Gift Giver, and a Disney Medley inspired by classic Disney movies, including Pocahontas, Bambi, Tarzan, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and more.

The official Disney World website States:

Sparkling fireflies magically appear and animate animal spirits within the towering trunk of the tree, highlighting a dazzling visual display teeming with color and moving images.

Watch a young doe embark on an exciting journey. Here is the love that blossoms between a pair of hummingbirds. Watch a cunning fox spreading gifts of love among the inhabitants of a winter forest.

A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, large or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your entire family tree.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

When does Tree of Life Awakenings take place?

Guests can enjoy this nighttime show after dark in Orlando and perform four presentations every 10 minutes until the park closes. In 2019, Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated the biggest vacation deal with the Tree of Life Awakenings Vacation Edition. Discover an overview of the offer below which Shared Disney Parks Blog.

Land around the tree of life of the animal kingdom

What can you find near the tree of life in the animal kingdom?

If encountering the Tree of Life is first on your list while on your Disney vacation, don’t worry – you won’t miss it. Once you enter the park, guests will pass the Oasis and enter Discovery Island, located right in the heart of Animal Kingdom.

Taking it all in, make sure you consult the timetables for Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight where guests meet six species of South American macaws and watch them soar above the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Related: Best Outdoor Activities in Animal Kingdom

How to access the tree of life of the animal kingdom?

While Disney’s Animal Kingdom has plenty of trails where guests can interact with the animals up close, the Tree of Life has a secret path that many guests miss.

Following this path will allow you to enjoy this majestic structure up close and give guests the chance to inspect all of the animals carved into the tree without large crowds in their path.

Disney World cast members Covid-19 test
Credit: Josh D’Amaro Instagram

What’s the best way to travel through Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

The best suggestion for approaching Disney’s Animal Kingdom would be to review the map first. With iconic lands like Pandora – The World of Avatar, Asia, home to Expedition Everest, and Africa, home to Kilimanjaro Safari, most Disney fans will know which path to take first.

Personally, I usually circle the entire park from left to right and still have enough time to relax, eat, and enjoy all that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer before the park closes.

Entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

What is your favorite animal displayed on the Tree of Life? Do you know any secrets of this iconic piece that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!


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