The Lion Guard Adventure

Fans of The Lion Guard, a new Disney Junior television series, have something to roar about at Animal Kingdom. Through early April 2016, little ones (and their family and friends) can go on a scavenger hunt type adventure throughout the park to find Kion, son of Simba, and his wildlife protecting friends.

Pick up a map at a participating merchandise location and get familiar with the Lion Guard characters and their special traits. This interactive activity exercises kids’ map skills as they search for character statues throughout the park. They also learn cool animal facts, like how keen eyesight helps birds hunt or how fast a cheetah can run, and even some Swahili phrases.

Once you find all the members of the Lion Guard, head to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find Rafiki, take the Lion Guard Pledge, and become inducted as a defender of the Pride Lands!


FL Science Standards: [animal traits] SC.K.L.14.3, SC.5.L.17.1
Next Gen Science Standards: [animal traits] 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 4-LS1-1
FL Social Studies Standards: [map skills] SS.K.G.1.1, SS.K.G.1.2, SS.K.G.1.4, SS.1.G.1.2, SS.1.G.1.4, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.3.G.1.2, SS.4.G.1.4
P21 Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

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DinoLand Animal Viewing

There are lots of animal viewing areas in Animal Kingdom park. And some are better marked than others on the guide maps. There are a few hidden gems in DinoLand U.S.A.

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If you make your way toward Restaurantosaurus, look around the small island of greenery you’ll pass. The guide maps do show that this area has an American Crocodile, and it’s pretty spectacular to see up close. But keep going! You may also spot an Asian Brown Tortoise or some large Abdim Storks.

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Placards will teach you all about where each animal comes from, their diet and habits, and what makes them special to our planet. Keep your eyes peeled for even more interesting animals throughout the park.

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.5.L.17.1

AMC Movie Theater

Downtown Disney is a great place for shopping and dining with the whole family. But there are also some learning opportunities here if you know where to look and your timing is right.

The AMC Movie Theater may not seem like an obvious educational spot. But in addition to the popular popcorn flicks it shows, the theater sometimes screens nature and art films. This is always the place to catch premieres of DisneyNature films, which has included Earth, Oceans, African Cats, Chimpanzee, Bears, and Monkey Kingdom.

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This AMC theater also participates in Metropolitan Opera simulcasts, so you can catch live performances of famous operas straight from New York.

Check out the AMC website for show times and more information.

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.16.1, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.3.L.17.1, SC.4.L.16.3, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.5.L.15.1

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. It’s a pretty amazing experience and fun for all ages. Board an open-air safari truck and get out your cameras to observe and learn about African animals in natural habitats. The 18-minute tour takes you through the Disney-created Harambe Wildlife Reserve, and promises lots of animal sightings.

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The learning begins in the queue. Placards throughout the line match African animals and their Swahili names, or give fast facts about the animals. Did you know that Simba means “lion” in Swahili? There is also a short video that plays as you get closer to the loading dock. The video introduces us to the warden of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, and teaches more about animal behavior and factors that are threatening those animals in the wild.

IMG_4128During the safari you can use overhead animal spotting guides to help you identify the animals that you see in the Reserve. But be sure to listen to your safari guide as well. He or she will help point out the animals and is sure to share lots of information about them. On our last safari, we learned quite a few new things. For instance, cheetahs are the only big cats that purr!

IMG_4133Kilimanjaro Safaris is a great educational attraction and a must-do for animal lovers. The ride is always different because you never know which animals you’ll spot! FastPass+ is usually recommended for this attraction during busy seasons.

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.5.L.17.1

Animal Guide

Opportunities for learning about animals and their habitats abound at Animal Kingdom park. To help identify the many animals you may encounter during your visit, Animal Guides are available wherever you pick up park guide maps.

IMG_3163These guides point out all the animals you may possibly see, organized by land. There are over 100 species listed! The animals that have a highlighted icon are supported specifically by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. You, too, can contribute to the Fund at Guest Relations and at merchandise and select dining locations. During your next visit, pick up an Animal Guide and challenge yourself to find as many animals listed as possible.

Jungle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise is a classic favorite at Walt Disney World. Guests board canopied steamer boats for a leisurely cruise down the river, complete with corny jokes from the skippers. During your trip you’ll encounter animals, landscapes, and cultural references to four different regions of the globe. While the friendly skippers and their groaners are a big part of the fun, there are real facts mixed into their banter. Believe them when they tell you how long the Nile River is and how you can tell Indian elephants from African elephants.

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In fact, the original concept for the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland was a much more serious, educational experience based on Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventure films. Walt famously wanted to have real animals in the attraction, but this proved to be a logistical nightmare. So the Imagineers created animatronic animals and a storyline that took guests down four of the world’s rivers: the Amazon, the Congo, the Nile, and the Mekong.

The Jungle Cruise is one of the longest rides at Magic Kingdom, so it’s a perfect opportunity to rest your feet as you take in some fun facts (along with those silly skipper antics). You may be surprised how much you can learn from the Cruise!

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.5.L.17.1
FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.G.3.2, SS.912.G.2.1

The Oasis

The Oasis is the first themed area that you encounter when you step into Animal Kingdom park. Many guests breeze through this area on their way to the attractions that lay beyond. But if you’re an animal lover, take some time to explore the Oasis Exhibits.

The Exhibits showcase some interesting and rare species of both animals and plants. Look up and around you to see beautiful orchids and tropical plants. And many of the animal habitats provide a closer look than the other walking trails in the park. Some of the species you may encounter include the rhinoceros iguana, wallaby, babirusa, and many different kinds of birds.

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Plaques provide information about each animal, such as where it lives in the wild, what it eats, and special features or characteristics. The plaques also include quotes from famous naturalists and peace figures. Be on the lookout for a very special plaque near the entrance to the Oasis that marks the dedication of Animal Kingdom park. It emphasizes the wonder, beauty, and chance to learn from our natural world.

Babirusa Info Plaque

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.5.L.17.1