Photo Tour: Brand New Holiday and Christmas Decor Debuts in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

To quote a favorite Frozen song, “For the first time in forever” Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a holiday makeover! Every single land — including otherworldly Pandora — is getting in on the holiday action this year with new decor and overlays.

Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

Disney has been releasing photos and videos during the summer and fall with some sneak peeks at the new decor. This made us anxious to stop by and check out what’s new, and we were certainly in the holiday spirit by the time we left!

Animal Kingdom Entrance

New Christmas and Holiday Decor in Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island

As promised, Discovery Island is dressed up with luminaries in the form of animals, lanterns, and garland. The luminaries and lanterns are in pastel shades and light up beautifully at night.

Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

These aren’t simple paper luminaries like you may find in your own neighborhood. They’re intricate, with delicate swirling designs, subtle textures and patterns, and an ethereal tone.

Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom
Holiday Decor at Night
Holiday Decor at Night
Holiday Decor at Night
Holiday Decor at Night

The Tree of Life does not appear any different during the day, but at night Disney promises a stunning holiday Tree of Life Awakenings program. In addition to a new light show, there is also a new holiday soundtrack for Awakenings.

Tree of Life Awakening for Animal Kingdom Holidays
Tree of Life Awakening for Animal Kingdom Holidays

We were also recently treated to a preview of the puppets that will be around Discovery Island, but seeing these in person is so much fun! They are not the size of your average puppet; these puppets are accompanied by cast members, and they interact with guests.

Animal Kingdom Puppets
Animal Kingdom Puppets

New Christmas and Holiday Decor in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora

Pandora has not been decorated for the holidays in the past. We were promised decor as unique as the land, and that’s what we found!

Pandora Holiday Decor

Pongu Pongu is loaded with interesting garlands comprised of… well, a TON of different materials.

Pandora Holiday Decor
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

The decorations are made to look like they used ACE lighting and added ornaments and figurines to the lighting with rope. The combination of natural and man-made materials is perfectly suited to the land.

Pandora Holiday Decor
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

Take some time to look at all of the details, we spotted some nutcrackers at Pongu Pongu.

Check out the details
Check out the details

We think we found Santa in Pandora!

Santa is that you?
Santa is that you?
Santa is that you?

New Christmas and Holiday Decor in Animal Kingdom’s Africa

Africa is full of creative and colorful holiday decor — starting with the Christmas tree made of up-cycled bikes, tubing, toys, and more!

Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor

This tree is even more incredible at night! Check it out!

Animal Kingdom Decor at Night
Animal Kingdom Decor at Night
Animal Kingdom Decor at Night

The garlands in Africa are stunning. We snapped shots of several because we couldn’t help ourselves!

Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor

Some garlands are lit up for night as well.

Decor at night

Some garlands even span the full width of Harambe. Colorful batik fabric scraps are tied around telephone wires, bringing color and texture to the space. We love the spirit of repurposing materials in this land.

Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor

There are also some beautiful wreaths that keep with the tone of the land! The bottle cap designs are our favorite, but we love ’em all!

Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor
Africa Holiday Decor

Night brings these pieces a different kind of life.

Decor at Night
Africa Holiday Decor
Decor at Night

New Christmas and Holiday Decor in Animal Kingdom’s Asia

You can hear the decor in Asia before you see it — a key element of the decor is bells, along with lanterns and traditional floral garlands. The holidays here center on Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights that occurred in late-October.

Holiday Decorations in Asia
Holiday Decorations in Asia
Holiday Decorations in Asia

We love seeing all of the color in this land thanks to the decorations — and the decor is so detailed. Take a moment when you visit to appreciate this decor!

Holiday Decorations in Asia
Holiday Decorations in Asia

New Christmas and Holiday Decor in Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A.

Disney told us to expect DinoLand U.S.A. decor that looked like the characters did it themselves — and that’s what we found! Look at all of these lights!

Christmas Lights in DinoLand U.S.A.
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

And how about a wreath decorated with… mittens? Yes, mittens!

Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

The dinos are dressed up for the season with Santa costumes and ugly sweaters!

Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom
Happy Holidays from Animal Kingdom

Donald’s Dino Bash has returned for 2019, and it’s flashier than ever!

Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash

We found Scrooge McDuck in DinoLand meeting guests — and he even has presents for his nephews.

Scrooge McDuck
Scrooge McDuck

Be sure to check out this reference to Disney’s version of A Christmas Carol!

Scrooge McDuck’s Meet and Greet area

The fossils have gotten in on the action, too. Merry Christmas, our bony friend!

Donald’s Dino Bash
Donald’s Dino Bash

While you’re in the park be on the lookout for gifts to and from Disney characters — we think Pluto will love this gift from Donald!

Gifts all over the park

Speaking of Donald, he made these stockings for his friends!

Stockings

New Christmas and Holiday Treats in Animal Kingdom

You’ll also find some special holiday-themed treats around the park — like this now green and red lion paw cookie!

Lion Paw Cookie
Lion Paw Cookie

DIno-Bites is offering a monster-sized Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich!

Dino-Bites Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich
Dino-Bites Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich

Don’t forget — Animal Kingdom is hosting its Tasting Sampler program again this holiday season. Learn more here!

We loved this holiday visit to Animal Kingdom. The decor is detailed, authentic, and festive. This may have been a skippable park during the holidays before — but not anymore!

Do you plan on visiting the Animal Kingdom during the holidays? Let us know in the comments!

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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One Reply to “Photo Tour: Brand New Holiday and Christmas Decor Debuts in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!”

  1. I’m kinda polarized on this one. I totally get that they are trying to keep it authentic but I can’t help thinking it looks exactly like what it is…forgive me but just a bunch of lit up junk. I’m hoping that the pictures aren’t doing it justice but even the animal lanterns aren’t grabbing me. They don’t say Christmas to me at all and could be there all year round without standing out. I’m going to have to see it for myself before I can say for sure but so far it seems super tacky.