Discovery Island Trails Animal Kingdom


The Discovery Island Trails are the best kept secret that you’ll find on the Animal Kingdom Guide map.

These are beautifully landscaped paths and trails around the base of the Tree of Life that contain small animal viewing areas. Here you will find the likes of lemurs, Saddle-billed Storks, Macaws, kangaroos, and much more.


Saddle-billed Stork


When the park opens in the morning, take time to explore the area and watch the animals. While everyone else is rushing off to get FastPasses or heading towards the Safari….you’ll have a wonderful quiet time all to yourself!

Giant Galapagos Tortoise

Deb’s Notes from when the park first opened: “We decided to explore the Tree of Life Gardens, oh wait, they are now called the Discovery Island Gardens. What an incredible time we had. Staying at DAKL gave us a better appreciation of just sitting and watching the animals and so we did that on this particular morning.

The Giant Galapagos Tortoise gave us an incredible show for about 20 minutes. It was his feeding time and we watched as he slowly (and I mean slowly) climbed out of the small pond and lumbered over to a bed of fresh lettuce greens, carrots, sweet potatoes and apples (we are guessing what the food was).

We took over 100 photos of him with the digital camera. I actually had tears in my eyes at one point, I can’t explain why…except that we felt so fortunate to have this long audience with the Tortoise all to ourselves. This is one of the big reasons why Animal Kingdom is so special to me!

This is just one of the many discoveries awaiting you along the Discovery Island Trails. There are others just waiting for you……..

Here is a listing of some of the animals and birds you may see in the Discovery Island Trails…..

African Crested Porcupine
Asian Small-clawed Otter
Blue & Yellow Macaw
Galapagos Tortoise
Greater Flamingo
Green-winged Macaw

Lappet Face Vulture
Lesser Flamingo
Red Kangaroo
Ring-tailed Lemur
Saddle-billed Stork
West African Crowned Crane
White Stork


Pocahontas has a meet and greet on the Trail, across from Starbucks.


The Discovery Island Trails were originally called the Tree of Life Gardens and then the Discovery Island Gardens.

Archives (no longer part of Animal Kingdom)

CapybaraCapybara – the largest living rodent in existence. One was laying out in the sun, sleeping. The other was enjoying the shade back in a sheltered area. The digital camera really showed its stuff here and you can see the regular, 2x and 4x zoom of the same photo.

Capybara are semi-aquatic and native to South America. They are most active in the early morning and evening; although some can be quite nocturnal. They live 8 – 10 years in the wild and are herbivores. The capybara will dive into the water to escape the Jaguar, it’s predator!