Walt Disney World – Animal Kingdom Changes

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos.

In early December I wrapped up my 2015 Disney Parks World Tour back where it all began for me: at Walt Disney World. During 2015 I was able to visit all 11 Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Orlando.

It had been a year since my last trip to WDW and as I walked around I looked for changes as I always tend to do. I have put together a series of posts for AllEars.net of some of the changes that stuck out to me as I roamed the parks, resorts and Disney Springs. As always if you want to see my full picture & video sets and read my thoughts & observations visit my site disneygeek.com. This first set of photos covers Animal Kingdom.

Let us start off as you enter Discovery Island. The entrance area has been renovated to be more open with the removal of the wait time area, kiosks, and planters. Ongoing pavement replacement was still happening while I was there.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

At the Tree of Life many of the trails are still closed but the roots have been extended with some new animals.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

To the right as you enter Discovery Island is a new store, the Riverside Depot.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

A look inside the Riverside Depot

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

As with most Disney Stores Star Wars has taken over. Same is true here in Animal Kingdom.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

A new animal experience called Winged Encounter takes place several times a day. It features a flock of parrots flying in as cast members talk about them – and then they fly away.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Elsewhere on Discovery Island a new stage across from Flame Tree BBQ.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Pizzafari now serves a new type of pizza and has reduced seating due to construction of the new Tiffins restaurant on the back side of the location.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Behind this wall featuring Avatar artwork you can see the restaurant construction behind Pizzafari.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

There seemed to be more Christmas decorations in Harambe this year. Here is a wreath as you cross the bridge.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Harambe has grown since last December with the addition of the Harambe Market

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

On the Kilimanjaro Safari some new animals. First up a young giraffe

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

And white rhino

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

African Painted Dogs have been added too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

In Asia a new food location has opened, the Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks, in the former Expedition Everest FastPass distribution space.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

The location features two sets of counters.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

The bar half

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

And snack half

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Work continues on the Rivers of Light viewing area and show installation. The show is scheduled to debut in Spring 2016.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Some fountain testing was going on during my visit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

The biggest project is Pandora – The World of Avatar that is being constructed in the former Camp Minnie Mickey area. No official opening date has been announced yet but a 2017 date is expected. Here is one of the large show buildings seen from a bus entering the park.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

As you enter the park you can see the floating mountains and other rock work taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

One last picture of a sign featuring the 2016 marketing slogan…Unforgettable Happens Here…

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of some of the changes I noticed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since my last trip in 2014. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full picture sets I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.

Jason is a guest contributor from disneygeek.com sharing pictures, thoughts and observations from his Disney travels with a west coast focus. He has been posting Disney-related content to his site since 1994. He has visited all 12 Disney theme parks over the years plus has had many other Disney adventures. He is a programmer by trade, and has helped with several projects here on AllEars.net over the years.

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