Discover this Hidden Gem in the Animal Kingdom

Credit: Donna


Have you ever explored the nature trails of Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Check out this trail that is often overlooked. You will not believe the beautiful views of the Tree of Life.

Beauty of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Credit: PhotoPass Photographer

I (Donna) will admit that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was at the bottom of my Park list for Walt Disney World. I am embarrassed to admit that now because this Park is now my favorite second to Magic Kingdom, of course.

In the beginning, I didn’t truly appreciate the true beauty of this park. As we are reminded in the animated classic Aladdin, “Don’t be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has an understated beauty that is often overlooked. It may not have the neon lights of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the timeless beauty of Magic Kingdom, or the old world charm of EPCOT’s World Showcase. What is often overlooked is well made up for in natural beauty.

Is Animal Kingdom a half-day park?

Credit: KtP writer Donna

We often hear Pirate Crew members ask how long to devote to each Park at Walt Disney World. Everyone is open to their own opinion, but many have suggested that Animal Kingdom is a half-day park.

Animal Kingdom does have fewer attractions than the other three Walt Disney World Parks. They are also currently missing one of their entertainment offerings with the prolonged closure of Finding Nemo: The Musical.

Looking at it from clearly a logistical standpoint, this park does appear to be a park that could be enjoyed before lunchtime. Remember from Aladdin quote earlier there is so much more inside to enjoy.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is more than just a grouping of attractions and entertainment offerings. There is truly so much that can be enjoyed in this park. Previously we shared of the fun interactive Wilderness Explorer program for the young and the young at heart to complete throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Tree of Life

Credit: Kenny

Disney’s Animal Kingdom first welcomed guests on April 22, 1998. The Tree of Life towers at 145 feet tall and is the iconic symbol of this beautiful park. In the past our family had traveled into the Tree of Life in order to enjoy “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!”

As we traveled into this theatre, we were able to enjoy a few of the over 300 animal carvings that are featured on this tree. Each animal that is found along this icon is to be an “epic visual symbol of the diversity, beauty and interconnected nature of Earth’s creatures.”

On one of our visits to “It’s Tough to be a Bug!”, my husband remarked that there should be a way to enjoy more of the beauty of the Tree of Life. The intricate carvings of this tree are truly remarkable. We enjoyed them from a distance, but it seemed that there was so much more rich artistry to enjoy.

We soon discovered that we had walked past a hidden gem many times before.

Discovery Island Trails

Credit: Donna

Discovery Island Trails are nestled to the left of the Tree of Life near Creature Comforts. This is such a peaceful respite from a fun, yet full, day in Animal Kingdom. The first day that I (Donna) walked along this path, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was quite busy. After an early rope drop from the park, I was able to enjoy may of my favorite attractions.

The crowds continued to grow as the morning progressed. A journey along the Disney Island Trails offered a break from the large crowds of people. Walking through the Tree of Life Gardenthe area is surrounded with lush vegetation and beautiful wildlife (more information on this in a moment.)

Credit: Donna

As I journeyed down the trail, I saw many beautiful animals carved along the pathway.

As I walked closer to the Tree of Life, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and majestic size of it. The sun filtering through the branches took my breath away. How had I never experienced the Tree of Life from this location before?

Credit: Donna

Discovery Island Trails are nestled to the left of the Tree of Life near Creature Comforts. This is such a peaceful respite from a fun yet full day in Animal Kingdom.

there is ample seating throughout the trail to allow Guests to unwind, relax, and take in the natural beauty of the Tree of Life. My children now enjoy trying to discover how many animals they can spy around the trunk of the Tree of Life.

Credit: Donna

A short walk along the Discovery Island Trails led to a beautiful oasis. Along this path, the sound of rushing water could be heard and this location was definitely worth the walk along this trail.

there is ample seating throughout the trail to allow Guests to unwind, relax, and take in the natural beauty of the Tree of Life.

Credit: Donna

Do you ever get home from a trip to Walt Disney World and notice that there are so many people in your family photos? The Discovery Island Trails offer many great locations where you can enjoy the Park, while also taking great photos without large crowds of Guests in the background.

Fun Animals to Explore

Credit: Donna

While you are taking in the beautiful carved animals along the Tree of Life, you may also encounter a few of these beautiful living creatures from various observation locations:

  • White Stork
  • Asian small clawed otter
  • Red Kangaroo
  • West African Crowned Crane
  • African Crested Porcupines
Credit: Donna
  • Galapagos tortoises
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Macaw
  • Ring Tailed Lemur
  • Saddle Billed Stork
  • Lappet Face Vulture

There is so much to take in along this scenic trail. This will now be an experience that we will add to all of our future travel plans to Walt Disney World. It is a quick trail that could easily be walked in a short period of time. However you may find yourself enjoying this trail so much that you stay a bit longer.

This is a breathtaking trail during the daytime, but I can’t wait to experience this trail at nighttime during a future visit. Can you imagine how beautiful the nighttime projections on the Tree of Life would look from this location?

Have you enjoyed date Discovery Island Trails before? What is your favorite part? Have you enjoyed this trail at nighttime? Will you be adding this to your touring plan for your next trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.

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