Hi everyone –
Disney’s Animal Kingdom turns 22 today! The park opened on April 22nd, 1998, which is Earth Day and usually there would be a Party for the Planet going on this month. Instead, we are celebrating at home by looking at photos and video of past events. I first visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998, a day or two before it officially opened. There were Passholder previews in the days leading up to the official opening (they cost around $20). However, resort guests were eventually let in on some of those days so it ended up being very busy. I did visit on opening day as well.
I had written an article in 2008 about the 10th anniversary, but I posted photos much smaller back then so I thought I’d share some at a larger size. We also have a video of the ceremony and Joe Rohde speaking. Here are photos and video from that day!
Here is the ceremony video we posted today before the photos.
Cast Members and performers arrived to the event.
Each section of the park was represented, including Pocahontas and Baloo as part of the Africa group.
Dr. Jane Goodall, Imagineer Joe Rohde, and Erin Wallace spoke.
Erin Wallace was executive vice president of operations at the time and hosted the ceremony.
On this day, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund was becoming the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Dr. Goodall talked about waking up in her room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and seeing animals including giraffes outside. She said, “What a way to wake up”.
Joe Rohde said – among other things – that one of his fondest memories of opening day was Goodall saying they did a good job.
Goofy and Donald look on.
Donald, Pluto, Goofy and more were here as well as park performers.
I don’t remember seeing the Yeti costume after this.
Joe Rohde also gave a talk about the origins of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We have the video here.
Rohde is always a passionate speaker about his projects.
A variety of photos and concept art were part of the talk.
It was fun going through the photos and seeing the video again! We usually are at the parks for the anniversary, and it is just a few more years until the 25th.